Tis’ the Season
Springtime is finally here. As we begin to fill our calendars with spring break plans, cookouts and pool parties… one question remains...“What am I going to do with my hair?” If you’re like me, you’ve been scrolling Instagram, Pinterest and hair blogs for for style ideas - particularly protective styles as they are low maintenance and promote hair growth.
After all, who has time for hours-long wash days when you could be having fun in the sun?
Slaying While Protecting
Protective styles are healthy for your hair because they allow you to tuck your ends, retain moisture and take a break from daily styling. An added bonus is that these styles allow you to look good while taking care of your natural tresses.
Over time, the ends of your hair can become dry and damaged, causing breakage and hair loss. Moisture is key to maintaining healthy, growing hair. A good protective style will allow you to regularly moisturize your hair with water and water based products. Daily styling is stressful on most hair types, especially on fragile edges.
Wigs, Sew-Ins, Braids, Crochets...Oh My!
With so many options, choosing a protective style can become overwhelming. In recent years, crochets have become the go to protective style for women with both relaxed and natural hair. The popularity of crochet styles is due to the versatility, affordability and ability to protect the hair better than other styles. I’ve been natural for seven years and in that time, I’ve worn just about every protective style.
By far, crochet styles have proven to be healthiest for my hair and have helped me sustain my length. Below, I’ve done a comparison of my experiences with protective styles.
Crochets vs Sew-Ins
Crochet styles are achieved by cornrowing the hair (we will talk about braid patterns in a different article) and attaching synthetic or human hair using a crochet needle.
A sew in is a technique where the natural hair is braided and either synthetic or human hair wefts are sewn onto the braids.
While both styles require that your hair is braided (with ends tucked), the comparison ends there. Typically, hair is left out around the perimeter of a sew-in to achieve a natural look. That hair is left unprotected. Not only are the ends not secured, daily styling is often required to blend the natural with with the human/synthetic hair used for the sew-in. As I mentioned, our edges are very delicate. With a sew-in, the edges (hair around the perimeter) can become thin due to manipulation.
A sew-in can last, with maintenance, for about 3-4 months. This usually includes additional trips to your stylist to have your wefts (also called tracks) tightened. The stylist will use a needle/thread to tightly re-secure the sects to your braids. Not only does this process add an additional expense, it also adds stress to your natural hair.
Crochet styles are not sewn to your hair. Instead, stylists use a crochet need (or hook) to attach sections of hair to your braid. This technique does not require any further maintenance like tightening. Most crochet styles do not require that you leave hair out to blend. This makes crochets a naturally protective style.
Crochets vs Braided Styles
Almost every naturalista has worn some type of braided style. Cornrows, box braids and Marley twists have remained popular over the years. While braids are trendy, they are not necessarily always the best protective style.
Larger braids are heavy on your hair and can cause hair loss from the root each time it’s manipulated. After months or weeks of product buildup, it can be difficult to detangle your natural hair when removing the braids.
Synthetic crochet hair is very lightweight. No matter the size of the braids underneath, you don’t experience the pulling of your natural hair when styling with box braids or cornrows.
Crochets vs Wigs
Wigs have become increasingly popular with younger women. Now that lace wigs are affordable to the masses, more women are trying this protective style. While wigs seem to be an easy way to maintain healthy hair while looking good, they are not always the best option to protect your edges.
Stocking caps are worn under wigs to protect the hair and help the wig lay flat for a natural look. However, daily wear can cause dryness and breakage around your hairline. Adhesives used for lace wigs can cause balding around the hairline as well.
If you don’t purchase a custom wig, which can be expensive, you run the risk of wearing a wig that’s too small. You guessed it! A wig that is too small will pull tightly on your hairline as it rises throughout the day.
You don’t need nets or caps with crochet styles. If fact, your scalp remains free to breathe and retain moisture.
As you can see, crochet styles can save your hairline, require low manipulation and truly protect your hair.
Next week, we will talk about the different styles that you can rock with crochets, including links to hair that you can purchase on the site!
In the meantime, let us know the benefits that your hair has experienced by wearing crochet styles!