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Box Braids Vs. Crochet Braids: What Are The Differences?

Box braids and crochet braids are both gorgeous and very versatile hairstyles, and each of them has its own particularities that everyone interested should know. But many get confused because of not knowing the differences between box braids and crochet braids.

However, when crochet braids are made with ready-made braids, the two styles can look very similar, some people can’t even make the difference. But there are a lot of differences, in fact.

Therefore, let’s analyze these two fundamental afro hairstyles and get a clear idea about the differences between box braids and crochet braids. 

Box Braids

knotless box braids
Knotless Box Braids, Model – Mc. Gani, Photographer – Baciu Foto

When installing box braids, all the hair would be divided into squares, (or triangles or rhombuses) where each braid would start and hang from.

For traditional box braids, a piece of synthetic hair would be wrapped around the root to tighten the base, and then start the classic 3-strand braiding technique together with the extension.

For knotless box braids, there would be no hair wrapped around the root, and they are less tense and usually painless.

The size of the boxes (number of braids), the amount of hair extension added, the length and the colors vary according to preferences, and, together with the geographical location and hairstylist’s level, they define the price and the working time.

Crochet Braids

mixed crochet braids
Mixed Crochet Braids, Model – Ina Shan, Photographer Baciu Foto

When installing crochet braids, the first step is making a dedicated cornrows pattern on the natural hair (some synthetic hair can be added if needed), where there will be no braids going off the scalp.

Any of the braids that don’t end up on the scalp would be introduced together with the others that are attached to the scalp with the help of a crochet hook.

The second step will be adding the desired hair. It can be anything. Any type of new hair wanted (curls, straight hair, coily, waves, ready-made braids or dreads or twists, or anything else) would be caught by the needle on those braids and secured with one or two knots.

Difference Between Box Braids and Crochet Braids

differences between crochet braids and box braids
Box Braids Vs. Crochet Braids, Model – Inashan

First of all, there are two completely different techniques.

While the braids from box braids are braids that individually start from those boxes made on the scalp (or other shapes), the braids from crochet braids are cornrows that support the hair attached to it like a custom wig made piece by piece directly on the head with the crochet hook.

Box braids look like many braids coming out from the head, while crochet braids can be any kind of hair that is hooked on the braids underneath (those braids that should not be visible). 

Working time, price, and weight are usually higher for box braids, but the size of braids and other factors also influence these.

The process of taking them off is also different, and crochet braids are much easier to unbraid. However, you also need to take your time combing and moisturizing your hair well.

Below is an easy-to-read box braids vs. crochet braids comparison table to summarize every key difference.

Box BraidsCrochet Braids
Individual braids “coming of from head.”Hair attached on braided support on the head.
You can opt for the size, colors, and amount of braids.You can opt for any type of natural-looking hair, mixed or pre-styled.
You can style them in many different ways.You can style it more or less, and you can (may need to) trim it and detangle (if not pre-braided/twisted)
Usually takes more time to installUsually takes less time to install
Usually more costlyUsually less costly
Usually lasts more (8 weeks)Usually lasts less (6 weeks)
Easier to washNot much access to wash
Usually quite heavyUsually not heavy
Can damage the hair if they’re excessively tightened.Can also damage the hair if they’re too tight
Takes much time to take offEasy to take off


Both of them are long-term protective styles, installed together with synthetic hair. However, both of them can be damaging when they’re excessively tense or kept for too long.

If the hair attached to the crochet braids’ pattern is pre-braided, crochet braids will look very much like box braids and the hairstyle would be called crochet box braids.

Crochet Box Braids

Crochet Box Braids

Crochet box braids are a quicker and cheaper way to get box braids.

In this case, the braids’ color will remain the same, as the braids will not be blended with the natural hair.

They would also last slightly less, they would be cheaper, and the working time would be quicker, but you’ll have less access to wash them and less styling flexibility.

This technique is often mixed, as the headline is usually individually braided, like normal box braids, and only the rest of the head is crocheted. That gives more styling flexibility.

In my opinion, if you like these styles and you want to pick one of them, try both. You have a lifetime, make it full of beautiful experiences!


Which is better, box braids or crochet braids?

It depends on everyone’s preferences. Both styles are amazing and have their own pros and cons.

Which is more damaging for the hair, box braids or crochet braids?

Both or none of them. First, they need to be just tightened enough, not more. For box braids, you can opt for knotless ones, which are less tensed, and for crochet braids, make sure the cornrow pattern isn’t too tight because when the hair will be added, it will be more tensed.

Also, take good care of your hair while wearing those styles and when taking them off.

Can you wash box braids? What about crochet braids?

Yes, you can wash both types of braids.

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