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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tales from the Roots: Protective Styling- Crochet Braids

For the past 5 weeks I have had my hair tied away in Senegalese Twists. I know that style usually lasts a lot longer than 5 weeks but I rarely keep styles that long so I was ready to take them down! I mostly missed washing my scalp and running my fingers through my hair but I knew that I wasn't ready to deal with my hair on a daily basis again, sometimes a girl just needs a break! So I was searching Pintrest & YouTube for ideas and came across this video about Crochet Braids and decided to try it out

Crochet Braids with Marley Hair
      What really drew me to this style was that it looked very easy, natural and low maintenance. I wanted to go straight from my Senegalese twists to another protective style all in one weekend  and WITHOUT paying a lot of money for someone else to do my hair so this seemed like the perfect option. The style looks and is very easy for us newbies to weave land.
     I also liked the fact that the Marley Hair looked very much like thick, full natural hair that has been blown out. Now that I have Natural hair I lean more towards curly, thick, or braided styles. Not only is it easier to blend with your natural texture but I also just prefer that look over straight, remy hair at this point in my journey.
     And lastly, I chose this style because even though TheChicNatural of YouTube kept her Crochet braids for 4 weeks, she only had to re-curl her hair once! The lazy person in me really loved that detail! Needless to say I was sold and I got to work...

What you will need:

     I got all of my supplies from the beauty supply store. Unless you are looking for a specific type of hair that's not sold or in stock at your BSS (beauty supply store) you wont need to order anything online. For the Marley hair I used the Vanessa Brand, which is the same brand that TheChicNatural used, each pack of hair was $4.99. I got two packs in the color 2, which still looked like a color 1B, and one pack of mixed 1B/30. I split the packs to get this length.
    I also picked up a latch crochet needle. My supplies totaled about $20. At home I used Argan oil on my scalp, orange perm rods to curl my hair and a brush to smooth out the hair.

     Above is a picture of my brad pattern, My braids were very small, I had about 6 Y braids at the top and the braids on the sides of my head went straight back. The Y braids are where you will part your hair. This will give your part a more natural appearance. Your braids don't have to be this small. The size of the braids don't really matter but the Y braids shouldn't be huge because you will actually see these.
   Adding the hair was very easy. The hardest part was judging the thickness of the back. The Marley hair is very full so it can be misleading as to how much hair is really in certain spots. Curling the hair was more difficult. I had issues with using the hot water, I had to recruit my mom to help curl the back, and certain strands of the Marley hair did not want to curl causing me to spend more time re-dipping them in the hot water. 

Here is my final review:
Soft bouncy curls 
2 hour installation time like what I heard from various YouTubers
Boiling hot water quickly & easily curls hair
Joan from Girlfriends/ Tracy Ellis Ross Look.
The Marley hair was bouncy, but not soft. I hated touching the hair.
It took me all day to install. Even though it was easy It look way longer than expected.
The curling process was frustrating. Some strands had a beautiful curl but others wouldn't curl until dipped 3-4 times. But the hair did dry quickly.
I did get a little of the Tracy Ellis Ross look but the actual texture was way thicker.
Moving forward...
I wouldn't use the Marley hair in the future. It's is just not for me. I loved how it looked in pictures but in real life I hated it. If the hair was softer I would feel differently. I kept the Marley hair in for two days and he curls did hold up but I just did not like the over all look. So before you try this, keep your expectations low. A lot of people on YouTube raved over this hair but none mentioned that it was extremely course, tangles quickly and can be difficult to curl. 

Crochet Braids with Freetress "Gogo Curl" 

     I was much more satisfied with the results of my second attempt at crochet braids using Freetress's Gogo Curl in the color TT 33. This hair was a little bit more expensive. I used 4 packs, each costing $5.99. I only used the one color because the brown color was already a different look and within the hair there is a slight gradient. I also split the hair in half as I did with the Marley hair, I did not want to deal with long synthetic hair in this Chicago Humidity.

     I used the same braids/ braiding pattern to apply this hair, it took slightly longer because more hair was used and I had to knot the hair more so that it wouldn't slip out. (If you need more in depth details please check out some videos on YouTube!)

     This hair is pretty soft and no additional styling was needed. It does shed a lot but I expect that to slow down as the days and weeks go on. From me research I learned that the hair will mat and tangle so I plan to keep my hands out of it as much as possible to avoid that. The 4 packs of hair makes this look very thick and it gets bigger if I finger comb it, but you could probably get the look completed with only 3 packs of hair. Some people only used 2, this really just depends on spacing and the overall look you are going for.

Here's my final review:
Wavy, soft texture
Able to run my finger through it and play with it.
A lot of initial shedding
More expensive than Marley hair
Tangles and mats with constant touching or styling
Beautiful color and texture
Moving forward...
I would use and recommend this brand of hair and texture. Freetress actually offers a lot of different curl patterns and colors that can be used for crochet braids. In the future I wouldn't use quite as much hair, I usually go for a more conservative look but I really do love this!

The take down process is very easy. All you need to do is cut the hair right below the not and the hair will slip out from underneath your cornrows. Once all the hair is removed you can just wash and condition your hair as normal. I intend to keep this style up for the next 3-4 weeks, Then I will be going back to the fro! 

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