Can You Wash Crochet Hair? The Complete Guide to Caring for Crochet Braids


Crochet braids are a popular protective style for natural hair. By braiding your natural hair underneath and crocheting pre-twisted synthetic hair through the braids, you can give your hair a break from daily styling and allow it to grow and thrive underneath.

But one common question for those new to crochet braids is: can you actually wash the synthetic hair once it’s installed? The short answer is yes, you can wash crochet hair. However, there are some best practices you’ll want to follow to keep the hair looking fresh and your own natural hair and scalp clean underneath.

In this complete guide, we’ll cover:

  • What crochet hair is made of
  • How to wash crochet braids
  • Tips for washing different crochet hair textures
  • How often to wash crochet braids
  • Using dry shampoo on crochet braids
  • Swimming with crochet braids
  • Caring for your natural hair under crochet braids

What Is Crochet Hair Made Of?

The synthetic hair used for crochet braids is typically made from fibers like kanekalon or toyokalon. These fibers are manufactured using heat to set the curl pattern or texture.

The hair comes pre-twisted or braided so it’s easy to crochet through your natural hair. Common crochet hair textures include:

  • Curly
  • Kinky curly
  • Wavy
  • Straight
  • Marley hair (twist locks)

How to Wash Crochet Braids

When cared for properly, crochet braids can last 6-8 weeks or longer. To help them last, you’ll need to wash the hair every 1-2 weeks. Here are some tips for washing crochet braids:

Use Cool Water

Avoid using hot water when washing crochet hair. The hot water can re-set the curls, causing them to become irregular, tangled, or matted. Lukewarm or cool water is best.

Use a Clarifying Shampoo

Look for a clarifying shampoo made for synthetic hair. Clarifying shampoos help remove dirt, oil, and product buildup without being too harsh or drying. Avoid regular shampoos, which can be too stripping on synthetic fibers.

Condition Well

Always use a conditioner after shampooing synthetic hair. This helps restore moisture and prevent dryness and tangling. Let the conditioner sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing for best results.

Detangle Gently

Use a wide-tooth comb or fingers to gently detangle the hair while conditioner is on it. Avoid excessive pulling or friction which can cause the hair to mat.

Dry Thoroughly

Gently press out excess water with a towel. Allow the hair to air dry fully before styling to prevent mildew or bacteria growth. A hooded dryer can speed up drying time.

Refresh Curls

If needed, use a curling wand or flexi rods on medium heat to bring tight curls back to life. High heat risks damaging the fibers.

Tips for Washing Different Crochet Textures

The proper washing technique can vary slightly depending on the texture of crochet hair:

Curly or Kinky-Curly Crochet Hair:

  • Use more conditioner on highly textured hair to prevent tangles
  • Detangle in sections for tighter curl patterns
  • Twist curls back into shape while hair is still damp

Wavy Crochet Hair:

  • Use a cleansing cream or co-wash instead of shampoo
  • Finger detangle gently to avoid disrupting the wave pattern

Marley Hair:

  • Pre-soak in conditioner before shampooing
  • Avoid vigorous back-and-forth motions when detangling
  • Twist Marley hair back up after washing to prevent matting

Straight Crochet Hair:

  • Use minimal shampoo and focus more on conditioner
  • Air dry fully and use a flat iron on low heat to smooth down

How Often Should You Wash Crochet Braids?

Aim to wash crochet braids every 1-2 weeks. If you exercise frequently or live in a humid climate, you may need to wash as often as every 5-7 days. Use dry shampoo between full washings to absorb oil and sweat.

Overwashing crochet hair can cause dryness, frizz and matting. Underwashing allows dirt and oil to buildup. Find the right balance for your lifestyle and environment.

Also, avoid going longer than 6-8 weeks without taking the crochet braids down to wash and deep condition your natural hair.

Using Dry Shampoo on Crochet Braids

Dry shampoo is a great option for keeping crochet braids fresh between full wash days. Look for a dry shampoo formulated for synthetic fibers.

To use:

  1. Shake the can well.

  2. Spray or sprinkle the dry shampoo onto the roots and lengths of the crochet hair.

  3. Let sit for 2-3 minutes to absorb oil.

  4. Use your fingers to massage and loosen up the hair to distribute the powder.

  5. Shake out excess powder and style as desired.

Focus on the roots and parts to target oil and sweat buildup. But you can also freshen up the ends this way too.

Can You Swim With Crochet Braids?

Swimming is okay with crochet braids as long as you take a few precautions:

  • Wet the hair thoroughly before getting in the pool or ocean to prevent it from soaking up too much water.

  • Apply a pre-swim conditioner or leave-in product to protect the strands.

  • Keep the hair loose while swimming. Tie it back gently if needed.

  • Rinse out the chlorine or salt water as soon as possible after swimming.

  • Wash and deep condition after a day of swimming to restore moisture.

Avoid swimming in hot tubs or excessively hot pools, as this can re-set the curl pattern. And limit ocean swimming, as the salt can be very drying over time.

Caring for Your Natural Hair Under Crochet Braids

While the crochet hair requires some maintenance, don’t forget about your own natural hair underneath! Here are some tips:

  • Moisturize your braided hair every few days by spraying a water-based moisturizer and massaging it in.

  • Use a braid spray to keep your natural hair from drying out.

  • At wash time, shampoo and condition your braided hair underneath.

  • Take down the crochet braids every 6-8 weeks to deep condition your natural hair.

  • Avoid re-braiding too tightly to prevent damage and hair loss.

  • Give your natural hair a break between crochet installs when possible.

With some TLC, you can keep both your crochet hair and natural hair healthy! By learning the proper techniques, washing and caring for crochet braids doesn’t have to be difficult. Just be sure to use the right products and handling to prevent tangling or frizz. Your beautifully installed crochet braids will last long and look fabulous!


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