14 Crochet Hairstyles to Inspire Your Next Protective Look

All the inspo you'll ever need.

Two woman with curly hair
(Image credit: Instagram)

Naturalistas know that when it comes to protective styles, the options just keep getting better. Protective natural styles are popular for a reason: They allow you to wear your hair in a myriad of ways without the need for hot tools, which can cause damage, breakage, and weak strands if over-used. One of the most gorgeous ways to rock a protective style is with a crochet hairstyle. Crochet hairstyles are created with crochet braids, a special method of braiding that adds extensions to the hair. Crochet hair can be worn straight, braided, twisted, or curly, and can last up to eight weeks if cared for properly. Yes, eight whole weeks. They're the most practical protective style of the bunch because they require the least amount of upkeep. Perhaps that's why crochet hair has been favored by busy celebs like Issa Rae, Lupita Nyong'o, and Solange Knowles, with each woman rocking her own chic, unique look. Check out the most popular styles on Instagram, below, then bring this article to your stylist.

1. Cornrows and Waves 

Woman with cornrows and waves

(Image credit: Jason LaVeris / Getty Images)

Celebrity hairstylist Felicia Leatherwood created the perfect crochet half-up, half-down look on Issa Rae for the 2017 Image Awards. To adopt this stunning style yourself, start by cornrowing the crown of your hair up into an off-center bun. Finish with crocheted-in waves.

2. Bold Curls 

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A photo posted by on on Oct 27, 2016 at 3:02pm PDT

Show up as your boldest self with this face-framing, voluminous crochet style created on Aïssata Diallo. Fluff up your curls from the top of your head for even more drama.

3. Half-Up Curls 

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Keep it classic with this half-up, half-down hairstyle like this 'do on Melissa Walker . For an undetectable look, keep the crown of your natural hair exposed so it seamlessly blends into your ponytail.

4. Voluminous Ringlets 

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Complement your big, voluptuous curls with golden highlights like Alyssa's look. Keep your ringlets super defined like this photo, or comb through them for a carefree, imperfect curl. The style options are endless.

5. Crochet Curly Fro 

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A photo posted by on on Oct 17, 2019 at 6:14pm PDT

Craving big volume? No problem. Try this mesmerizing, face-framing crocheted curly fro as your next protective style. Part it down the side, middle, or let your curls hang freely. After all, the beauty of crochet hairstyles is the versatility.

6. Curly Crochet Low-Ponytail 

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Protect the ends of your natural hair with a low-maintenance, tucked-back style. Then take your pony volume to the next level by incorporating a curly crochet style. It's a win-win hair situation.

7. Face-Framing Curls 

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A photo posted by on on Jun 5, 2018 at 10:48am PDT

Try a free-flowing look like these shoulder-length curls on Alicia and brush them out to shape the style. Keep this curly 'do up for the long haul by sleeping in two strand twist or flexi rods.

8. Free-Flowing, Natural Curls

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A photo posted by on on Jun 17, 2018 at 7:31am PDT

If you like undone and carefree curls, replicate this style. To add a little height to your hair, look for springy, bouncy curls when buying your crochet hair, like this extensions brand. Then, use a wide tooth comb like this Revlon Perfect Styling Comb Set For Thick & Curly Hair to tease each curl for extra volume.

9. Extra-Long, Shaggy Curls

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A photo posted by on on May 3, 2018 at 8:59am PDT

Here's proof that crochet hair has the ability to gift you with goddess-level curls like this stunning look on Ines. Warning: this style takes hours and hours of sitting, but it's obviously worth the wait. Part your hair into tiny sections and braid a couple inches down, stopping prematurely at the root. Brush out your hair for these effortless, shaggy-looking curls.

10. A Shapely, Textured Bob

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A photo posted by on on Nov 30, 2018 at 9:31am PST

Adding shape and structure to your crochet curls can create a unique, fashion-forward look, like this face-framing style with chin-length curls and major dimension. Fluff up your curls with your hands to amp up the texture.

11. Close-Cut Curls

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Crochet curls look good at every length. If short hair is your style, rock a curly 'do like this iteration on Annisa LiMara—ringlets look even more defined with a short cut. As I mentioned above, color, like this eye-catching platinum hue, makes everything better. Be sure to consult a stylist on which shade will suit your skin tone the best.

12. Faux Dreadlocks

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A photo posted by on on Jun 8, 2018 at 10:39am PDT

How gorgeous are these faux locs on Jasmine Newbold using crochet hair? If you're not sure about making a permanent commitment to dreadlocks, crochet hair lets you try out the look first. Faux locs are a beast to master on your own, though, so I recommend taking an inspiration photo like this to a salon that specializes in faux loc styles. A professional will know how to replicate this specific crochet method.

13. Wavy, Goddess Locs

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A photo posted by on on Oct 23, 2018 at 3:33pm PDT

There are so many things to love about this style on Jessica Odoh. For one, this is another rendition of faux locs commonly known as "Goddess Locs," a wavier style. Second, the gradual blend from black-t0-brown-to-honey blonde is a stunning take on ombré. Add this to your saved hair collection on Insta ASAP if you haven't yet.

14. A Crochet Ponytail

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As gorgeously proven on Jodi, braided styles pair perfectly with crochet hair. Let your creative juices take over and experiment with cornrows and added embellishments like hair jewelry (try these gold cuffs and stretchy ribbon). Bring this look together with a curly crochet ponytail that adds extra volume.

Maya Allen
Former Beauty Editor

Maya Allen is the former Digital Beauty Editor at MarieClaire.com where she covered makeup, skincare, haircare, wellness, you name it! She has a 15-step skincare routine, owns over 200 red lipsticks, and enjoys testing the latest and greatest in beauty. On most weekends, you can find her at her happy place, which is her makeup vanity. There, she’s usually blasting her speakers while singing along to lyrics at the top of her lungs, and making sure her highlighter is on point.