So I have been wearing Crochet / Latch Hook Braids for almost a month now and I have to say the benefits definitely outweigh the annoyances that come with wearing this protective style. Kinda like having a weave, you have to take care of your real hair underneath which includes oiling and moisturizing it almost every other day with an applicator bottle and washing it about once a week (sometimes more often since I am in the pool once or twice a week).
Unlike having a weave (or some types of weaves) you have to constantly be trimming the shedding synthetic hair that starts to get tanglely at the bottom. Some videos I glanced on YouTube recommend cutting the hair short enough so that it does not brush or touch your shoulders and become even more tangled. Unfortunately I cannot do that since I have two rat tails of my real hair tucked around the nape of my neck, so I keep the hair in the back a little bit longer.
This was taken a few days ago at a beach party and if you zoom in your see how my ends are getting kinda shaggy. I try to trim them off every morning but sometimes you get frayed ends like these. Granted I am swimming and washing this hair more than I would if I was not doing synchronized swimming, but it can become annoying.
I never felt that I was able to comb my fingers through the hair even when I first installed it but I do think it has become more tangled over time and I try to detangle the hair gently when in the shower or when I am putting some of the Shea Moisture Frizz-Free Curl Mousse on it.
I also realized that the synthetic hair was becoming increasingly dry over time and I realized I should be applying some sort of conditioner to the synthetic hair as well (I always apply a conditioner to my real hair when I wash it). I tried that this past weekend and I saw a great improvement in the feeling and bounce of the hair! It was not just one hard dry block that was frozen in place anymore. I was playing with the idea of getting one of those Better Braids Leave-in Conditioner - which caters to hair braided with synthetic hair but I found using a regular throw-a-way conditioner does the job just fine. I am thinking of putting some of that left over Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner tomorrow to see how that holds the curl pattern.
Other than the maintenance part I have felt my cornrows underneath and I have like a 1/2 inch of growth. I am also thankful for the one month break I have from constantly messing with and combing out my hair. I think I would normally leave crochet braids in for 4-5 weeks because I think they start to look a little too shaggy for me after awhile, even though the shaggyness and fade of the plastic synthetic luster makes it look more realistic. I think if you used like an Organic Root Stimulator Dry Shampoo and did not swim in them often it probably could last 1.5 - 2 months. I am taking a risk leaving them in for 7 weeks because I am going on a Caribbean vacation next week - I am just praying there won't be any dreading or tangling when I finally take it down!