Are Crochet Braids Just Weaves in Disguise?


For many of us, going natural was a personal statement of self-acceptance.  It was a commitment to getting rid of harmful chemicals in your hair regime, and living a life where your natural hair and health were priority.  We looked society’s Eurocentric beauty standards in the face and said, “Nah boo!”and as a result, our self-esteem skyrocketed!

We realized that part of that commitment meant getting rid of weaves and wigs and anything that is not  naturally OURS.  We went natural and rocked our tresses in all their kinky, curly glory.  However, now it seems we are going back to the weaves again.  No, not the straight kinds, the kinky kinds.

The Crochet Craze

I have noticed this trend of crochet braids taking over the natural hair community.  It involves a technique I am very familiar with,since back in the 90’s I wore this style often. Back then, it was called “Latch Hook.”  The style is created by cornrowing your hair, then latching or weaving hair extensions through the braids – similar to a sew-in technique only the tool used for crochet braids is different.

Many naturals are doing this style using natural textured hair (like Marley Hair) to create fuller natural looking styles.  However, what I notice most is that the style is being used to create the illusion that your hair is longer than it really is.  This made we wonder about this new style craze and ask some questions.

Where is the self-Acceptance?

What is it about this new style that has everyone ready to try it?Are we obsessed with #longhairdontcare, hang-time, and the search for the perfect curl?  Are we repeating a dangerous cycle with this style?  First, we hide our true hair texture with relaxers,and now we are hiding our true length with extensions.

Are we trading a deeper sense of self-acceptance for another weave, even if it is a natural hair weave? Have we lost sight of the true end goal with going natural – healthy hair no matter what its length?

It seems like we are searching for what does not come naturally to us again – we are searching for longer hair instead of accepting what we have, working with it, and letting our hair journey happen in its own time.  Maybe we need more patience while our hair grows.  Maybe we need to be reminded that good hair is healthy hair – not necessarily long hair.

It Takes Patience

This is what happens when you go natural for fashion instead of self-acceptance.  Going natural is about letting go of the illusion that hair must be a certain texture, color, or length in order to be acceptable and beautiful.  Let us not fall back into the idea that beautiful hair must be long hair.

This is NOT about throwing shade to women who rock a mean crochet braided style! I understand the desire to speed along the process of growing your hair, and I know what it is like to desire long hair or just a new trendy style.  This article is to help us think more about our motivations for certain styles.  This article was written to prevent a sad and damaging hair history from repeating itself.

Rest in the knowledge that your hair IS growing…at its own pace.  Accept this and put the latch hook and Marley hair away!

 What do you think think ladies? Is it about a lack of self-acceptance or just a style change “whats the big deal?” Weigh in below. 

Contributor, Jane Lorraine, created Honoring Our HAIRitage as a platform to tell our own story, re-frame the negative messages about natural hair, and spread a more positive view of African American beauty by starting with understanding our history.



  1. Darcel Walker says:

    Uh okay. Where do I start.

    First, this article is VERY assuming. It assumes that the reason that crochet braids are installed is because women hate their own hair and want it to be long, luxurious and flowing in the wind. I have crochet braids. In fact, I have gotten so many compliments on my hair this week… because people think it’s mine. Talk about shocked faces when I lift them up and show them how I did it. More people have said “Well… it looks just like your hair, it’s just curled”. Same color, same texture, same length, less manipulation on my hair, less time taken for this few weeks of my life. Okay so there’s that.

    Second, there’s the fact that we shouldn’t have to explain why we did our hair a certain why. To me, this is a protective style that saves me time as I am training for a half marathon at 5am, working a full time job and teaching college courses at night. Why do I need to tell anyone that? Clearly, I need to say it here because you are assuming that I have crochet braided my hair because I’m “searching for something that doesn’t come naturally” (false). And while you “understand the desire to speed along the process of growing your hair, and I know what it is like to desire long hair or just a new trendy style”, it doesn’t seem like you do.

    This is a well written article that is so full of assumption that it makes me not want to read the rest of the well written articles. I see where you were trying to go, I do. But I would love to read the article without the assumption. As black women, you would think that we were on the same – accepting – team.

  2. I used to put crochet braids in my daughter’s hair every summer so she would have less maintenance to deal with and to give her hair a rest. I would imagine a lot of women doing today’s crochet braids or styles are doing it for some of the same reasons. It’s just another protective style and I’ve got no issue with it. If I were not locing my hair, I’d do a set of these extensions just because I think they’re pretty.

  3. Whoa there GC…the tone I’m getting is “naturalnazi” and “you’re either all #teamnatural or nothing. This is a very interesting article I must say. I say that because it’s very one sided. I love my natural hair and have been natural for 2 years; however, I use faux twists, crochet braids, tree braids, box braids, marley buns, etc to give myself and my hair a break. Sometimes that is needed because you can get frustrated and overwhelmed with taking care of your hair, whether natural, texlaxed, or relaxed. I mean it happens. And to clarify, you can’t just say naturals are hiding their hair again. Now, saying the #longhairdontcare and assume that everyone wants long hair is false. I’ve seen many naturals who have long and beautiful hair (I mean past APL hair) get a pixie cut wig or short crochet braids just for something different, versatility, without having to cut their own hair. And to answer the question: I don’t think crochet braids are weaves in disguised. I mean you weave the hair in the braid with a latch hook. So it is a weave. I don’t find this article too offensive, but I do find this article “hair-police-Nazi-ish.” But all in all, an article like this can cause an even bigger rift in the natural hair community. “You not team natural if you wear weave.” “Team natural is wearing an Afro puff all the time.” Let’s just celebrate each other for being creative with our stying options and lift each other up

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