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Crochet hair, or crochet braids to give them their proper name, are an incredible way to add some extra hair into your styling routine. The likelihood is that you've seen crochet braids and never realized, as they pass so effectively for natural hair. They have been making a comeback thanks to celebrities like Issa Rae, and Youtube star Alicia B Gettys. Today's crochet braids are inspired by the natural hair movement, so you're more likely to see people wearing them in Havana twists, braid outs, or simply with their hair in a ponytail.

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What Are Crochet Braids?

Crochet braids are sometimes known as latch hook braids. Rather than the hair itself, the method is actually called the crochet method and is an effective way to add synthetic hair extensions onto your own hair. Usually, the extensions are looped through your own cornrows, providing extra length or volume. The joy of this kind of braiding is that they can be freely styled in many different ways. When you've had enough, you can take them out and still easily wear your hair naturally.

what are crochet braids Delmaine Donson / Getty Images
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It's easy to DIY

You don't need to be a master of styling your own hair to use crochet braids. If you know how to cornrow your hair, then the good news is, you can do your own braids. The cornrows don't have to be particularly neat and tidy, as they're going to be covered by the hair extensions. So all you really need to do is a little time to practice, and a couple mirrors to make sure that you're getting the angles right. Of course, if you have an extra pair of hands to help, this can be made a little easier!

putting in cornrows RyanJLane / Getty Images
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It's Inexpensive

The emphasis on styling with crochet braids is to make things look as natural as possible. This means that using braiding hair like Kanekelon, or hair that has already been braided or twisted, is a much cheaper option. This kind of hair can be found at many beauty stores or drug stores, from around $3 - $10 a pack.

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It's Quick to Do

Depending on the style you choose for your crochet braids, you'll find that you're spending much less time than you would for a box braid or a twist. A medium braid can take between 5 - 8 hours, depending on your speed. Crochet braids, on the other hand, take around 2.5 hours to do. Best of all, as this method is particularly versatile for styling, you can still have braids or a twist - just now taking less time!

how long do crochet braids Tassii / Getty Images

You Can Change Up Your Style

The only limitations that you have, when it comes to your crochet braids, are the kinds of hair you have available and your own imagination. Choosing a different kind of texture for your synthetic hair means that you can opt to go for any style, from a long, twist-out look to something softer and more gently curled. With proper care and making sure to moisturize your scalp, you'll find that crochet braids can last for up to six weeks.

crochet hair different styles adamkaz / Getty Images

Great for going on vacation

If you want to make sure that your hair is looking as fresh as possible crochet braids give you that flexibility. If you're going on vacation, you can enjoy a stunning natural look without having to worry about too much maintenance or damage. Instead, you can have your full and vibrant "natural" hair, and nobody is going to know that it's not quite homegrown.

full natural hair crochet braid Tinpixels / Getty Images

They're Suitable for Wigs

Crochet braids are already pretty simple. For something even simpler, you could consider a crochet braided cap. These slide over your cornrowed hair, and then you can cut or trim them to whatever style you like. This is perfect if you want to have a new look in a hurry, or perhaps try some different coloring or styling techniques.

crochet braided cap Vladimir Vladimirov / Getty Images

They Work Just As Well On Short Hair

Crochet braids work really well if you're looking for length or volume in your hair. However, they're also a great way to get a playful pixie or shorter crop, without having to commit to cutting all of your hair. Instead, you can go for the crochet braid technique, and then simply get your hair trimmed to the length you want to try. Whether it's a stack of curls, or something a little more avant-garde, you can experiment without risk.

crochet braiding izusek / Getty Images

Stars Swear By Crochet

The gorgeous Issa Rae, the star of HBO's Insecure regularly shakes things up when it comes to the way she styles her hair. Rae works regularly with Felicia Leatherwood, the celebrity stylist who specializes in natural hair and has championed the use of crochet braiding. Crochet braiding allows Leatherwood to add some extra length to Rae's natural hair length, while still creating a natural look. "Issa's hair has grown so much, but it's in that in-between stage where it shrinks a lot," Leatherwood says. "The clip-ins give me another couple of inches to play with."

crochet hair braiding issa rae Taylor Hill / Getty Images

They're Easy To Take Out

Best of all, once you've decided that you're done with your crochet braid look (or you want to try something different), crochet braids are pretty simple to take out.

  • Cut the extra hair as close to the knots as you possibly can, while being careful not to cut your own hair.
  • Unravel your cornrows.

It's that simple. As you unravel your braids, you should find that the crochet knots fall out.

take out crochet braids hartcreations / Getty Images

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