How could I forget tuning in to Beyoncé: Behind The Scenes of Video Phone and observing her hairstylist cornrow her signature long blonde hair into a (very apropos) beehive? Not only was this an inside look at how one of the biggest beauty icons in the world gets her hair styled—it showcased the artistry of Black hair techniques. Though the beehive has been a pattern generally used for sew-ins, it is now a popular practice for crochet hair styling.
Now, it's hard to pinpoint the exact year the crochet method—originally known as the latch hook method—became popular. Though, many hair forums mark the 1990s as the decade when crochet became a go-to hair styling technique.
With platforms like YouTube and Instagram acting as digital hair classes, the crochet method has thousands of videos filmed by hairstylists and kitchen beauticians worldwide since the benefits are hard to miss, like shorter styling time and cost-effectiveness. Ahead, check out some of the most popular patterns for crochet braids.
Meet the Expert
Brittany Johnson is a licensed cosmetologist and the senior content manager for Mayvenn Hair, a virtual hair salon offering an affordable, luxury end-to-end hair + styling service experience.
The beehive pattern is one of the most popular braiding designs for sew-ins and crochet styles says Brittany Johnson, licensed cosmetologist and senior content manager for Mayvenn Hair. "There are a few different braid patterns that work really well for crochet styles," says Johnson. "First, the classic beehive is great for people with longer natural hair and makes it easy to tuck the end of the braid-down away."
Use shampoo and conditioning products with applicator tips, like Girl + Hair, who makes cleansing in between rows a lot easier.
The micro-pattern is very similar to a traditional cornrow, but they require much smaller braids, hence micro in the name (which can be tedious for the stylist). When done right, though, the micro-pattern creates a flat base for hairstyles using straight hair. Seun's video provides a detailed tutorial on how to recreate her sleek look at home.
The Four-Way Vixen Pattern
I like to think of this pattern as a four-way stop. The four-way requires a little more work and detail than the beehive or the micro design, but the vixen pattern is one of the most vertical crochet designs you can try since this style gives you the option for "leave-out" to create a more natural look at your hairline.
The Zig-Zag Pattern
Utilizing a crochet pattern doesn't mean you need to always wear your hair down, thanks to the zig-zag design. What makes this pattern special is it starts as a traditional cornrow, but as you move to the middle of the head, you begin the zig-zag layering pattern to help achieve any of the half-up, half-down styles. "Straight back cornrows also work well for crochet styles and allow the style's parting to be moved around more freely once the hair is attached," says Johnson.
The Invisible Part Method
"[Another] popular crochet braid pattern is one that's similar to a lace closure braid down," Johnson explains. "The hair is parted in the middle or on the side and cornrowed down towards the ears. Then, the rest of the hair is cornrowed straight back, from the crown to the nape of the neck. This pattern makes parting in your desired area easy and straight to the point whenever you style your hair."
The U-part pattern is one of the most used methods for those who enjoy wearing wigs. The leave-out required with this pattern makes for a more natural look. Not to mention, the U-part takes the tension off of your edges and makes securing your wig easier given you don't have to sew in individual tracks.
If you're still feeling a little unsure about washing your hair without disrupting your style, YouTuber Taste Pink has an insightful video that guides viewers through her crochet wash routine.
"Keeping your scalp properly cleansed is important with any protective style," says Johnson. "With crochet styles, it can be a little more difficult because they tend to use hair that is either synthetic or a human-synthetic blend, and shouldn't get wet as often. When you do shampoo and condition your hair in crochet styles, use lukewarm to cool water (never hot - this can cause tangling with the crochet hair) and make sure that you are parting in between the rows to really allow the product to do its magic. Rinsing really well is key here, too."