So I'd thought with less than a month until synchro season starts and I am back in the water, I wanted to try a style I have been sooooo hesitant to try but I figured it's less than four weeks I would have to wear this so it can't be too bad. Introducing my phases of Blow Dried Straight Double Strand Cuban Twist crochet braids in the #4 color.
I thought these pictures accurately not only represented the often times scary process of installing this extremely textured hair but also the disappointment that comes with it and then the somewhat pleasant results you can achieve from styling it.
How I did It
Corn Row Pattern
I found this cornrow pattern from a Kymberli Brenzell video online. The only difference was that I did a beehive cornrow pattern in the back so I didn't have to deal with the rat tails and all that.
- Make the cornrows in the front very small. Since I have a BIG head and lots of hair I added like five more rows than I was originally anticipating, but this is key to making multiple clean natural hairline parts
- This pattern is great because you can have several choices of side parts for your head on top of a middle part
Knotless Crochet Technique for Natural Part
I found online there was not a really good specific video showing or explaining well how to do the knotless technique, it looks simple but then I realized it matters what direction your crochet needle is going for the part to look natural!
- Take one strand of the double strand cuban twist hair (it should be pretty thick) and separate it in five individual strands (some people were fine with 4 strands but I wanted mine even thinner when installing it in the front)
- Now when we generally do crochet braids, we put two strands through the loop created. For knotless you only put one strand of hair through the loop but depending on where you want your hair to fall, you put the needle in the opposite direction of where you want your hair to fall. The knot won't show if you do it that way
- This is gonna feel weird especially if you are right handed you are usually used to sticking the crochet needle one way only; it takes a little time to stick it in the other way and I had to do those sides in the mirror to see what I was doing
After doing your natural part(s), the back of the head is really fast and easy to do; Just use the regular crochet method (two strands through the loop)
- Take a strand of the Double Strand Cuban Twist hair and split into two pieces and install using the regular crochet method in the back of the head
- Make sure to space it apart about two to three finger width spaces because the hair is voluminous
- around the edges of the back of the head, crochet closer together using the knot less technique again in case you want to do an updo
Blow Drying and Straightening
This is the most time consuming part. All that hair you got to get straight.
- I started off by doing the front of the head first. I combed out a section, about a handful of the textured hair and combed it out with a paddle comb (it will never be comb through but will help get rid of some of the shed hair)
- Once that is finished blow dry on high heat (make sure to do a test strip before to make sure your setting doesn't melt the hair!). Don't use a blow dry comb attachment. I tried using a comb and a blow dryer and it wasn't really working out unless you have someone helping you. Otherwise just keep oscillating the blow dryer from root to the tip, holding the hair straight while doing this.
- Afterwards the hair should be more comb through at that point - I used a wide tooth detangle comb.
- On a less than 400 degree heat (I kept mine on 330) use a flat iron (make sure to try a test strip!) further straightening the hair; I flat ironed it about three times through for each section and combed through it even more. The hair will never become bone straight but is more like an in between press and blow dry
I had my friend trim, layer and cut the length a little bit so it was more manageable
- Using a razor comb was kind of helpful, I used it mostly at the ends to give it a more natural look (because who's ends are totally full at the end?), so I focused my razoring mostly there
- Add some type of finishing oil (I used this hair polish) to add after the straightening; Not only does it give it shine, it also gives it a less dry feeling and little bit more bendability especially when styling
- I was surprised how versatile you could wear this hair, probably because it was straight and has more length than the traditionally textured crochet braids I wear
I definitely have to paddle comb it a little every morning and trim the ends after for any straggly ends.
Sleeping with it is a little interesting. It is not like how I traditionally do it with long crochet braids like twisting it up at night. I generally just do it like if I had a press in, paddle combing it around my head like a honey comb then putting on my night cap - same concept can be applied here.
I have to say, this is one of those love hate crochet braids styles where one minute I am like this is awesome and another minute I'm like I just want to cut this out of my head and wear a wig for the next three weeks.
It does take more patience and time than I am used to in comparison to other crochet braids styles - in terms of installation and maintenance. But the versatility is wonderful!!! I have really been enjoying the different styles I can wear which has been the silver lining for the whole experience.
I am curious how it is going to hold up as time goes on and I am going to attempt to curl it again even after my failstyle a year or so ago. Crossing my fingers no hot water burns!