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's now a popular practice for crochet hairstyling, as well.
It's hard to pinpoint the exact year the crochet method—originally known as the latch hook method—became popular. However, 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, according to hair expert Brittany Johnson. Once you have a braided foundation, the styles you can achieve are limitless (think braids, twists, weaves, wigs, and more).
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 and styling service experience.
Ahead, check out some of the most popular patterns for crochet braids.
According to Johnson, the beehive pattern is one of the most popular braiding designs for sew-ins and crochet styles. "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 long natural hair and makes it easy to tuck the end of the braid-down away." Sew-ins typically last anywhere from six to 12 weeks, depending upon how well-maintained they are.
- Use a comb to separate the bottom half of your hair from the top, and create sections within each half to begin the braids.
- Begin by braiding horizontally, across the hairline, and pull more hair in as you go (so it stays adhered to the head).
- Repeat until you have braids wrapping around the entire head.
Use shampoo and conditioning products with applicator tips, like Girl + Hair, which makes cleansing in between rows a lot easier.
The micro-pattern is very similar to a traditional cornrow, but it requires 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. This pattern will last between four and eight weeks.
- Section the hair with a comb, then begin on a small (roughly 1/8 of an inch) piece of hair, braiding it from scalp to end.
- Repeat all over the head.
- Secure the ends with braid sealer.
The Four-Way Vixen Pattern
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. As with many of the styles on our list, this pattern will last between four and eight weeks.
- Create four cornrowed sections, with leave-outs in the middle and on the perimeter of the hair.
- The four-way pattern allows for more versatility and gives braids a more realistic appearance.
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, which will last anywhere between four and eight weeks.
- 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," Johnson says.
The Invisible Part Method
A method of making it appear that the extension is growing from your scalp by covering the wefts and tracks, the invisible part is a "popular crochet braid pattern is one that's similar to a lace closure braid down," Johnson explains. An invisible weave is expected to last from six to eight weeks.
- For this look, "The hair is parted in the middle or on the side and cornrowed down towards the ears," Johnson says.
- "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. This style will last between four and six weeks.
- For this look, braid the hair into cornrows and leave out a small amount of hair in the front, which will help the natural hair to blend in with the wig.
- "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're parting in between the rows to really allow the product to do its magic. Rinsing really well is key here, too."
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.
Straight-back braids are exactly that—cornrows that wrap straight back on the head, curving with your head's natural shape. This style will last between four and six weeks.
- Braid one large cornrow on the far side of your head, bringing it all the way down. Create a smaller braid next to it, also bringing that braid all the way down the head. Alternate the pattern all over the head.
- Lay your edges with an edge control product.
- You can also pull the whole look into a low bun.