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. Before I share crochet patterns you can try at home (or with your trusted stylist), let's talk about the importance of caring for your coils underneath your crocheted style to avoid breakage, matting, and an itchy scalp.
Always Start With a Clean and Well-Conditioned Foundation
Above all else, the crocheting technique is a protective style and meant to protect the hair while promoting hair growth. With that in mind, starting with a cleansing and a deep conditioning treatment pre-braiding is ideal to ensure your hair and scalp are in good shape. If you've ever worn a crocheted 'do, you know the itching can get real, and it feels impossible to reach the spot causing your discomfort.
Don't Be Afraid To Shampoo
Buildup is impossible to avoid, no matter your hair type. When you opt for a crocheted style, it can be a difficult task to make cleansing a priority because no one wants to over-wash a style they are working to keep for 4 to 6 weeks. Try a scalp massaging tool and a sulfate-free clarifying shampoo in your product line up at least once every two weeks. 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.
Now that we've talked through a few hair health tips, let's talk patterns. There are quite a few to choose from, but don't you worry—selecting the right one is relatively easy. You want to think about a few things: the hair you're planning to use, how you plan to part your hair, and how much time you want to spend in the chair or glued to your mirror.
The beehive pattern is one of the most popular braiding designs for sew-ins. When braided correctly, you have a flat surface perfect for an undetectable sew-in. Aside from sew-ins, this pattern makes an excellent foundation for braids and twists.
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.
The Invisible Part Method
The invisible part method is my personal favorite. In my experience, I find that it looks the most natural and gives me the ability to wear a middle or side-part without detecting my braids underneath.
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.