Cornrow braid is a traditional African hairstyle in which the hair is braided very close to the scalp to give a clean, sectioned and amazing look. Cornrow braids are a great way to style your hair especially when you have frizzy hair, and you are trying to protect your hair from pollution or any other hair styling products. Although, this hairstyle is time taking, it’s quite easy to make them and take care of them by following the steps given below.
How to Make Cornrow Braids?
1. Wash and detangle your hair
Wash your hair clean by using a good shampoo and condition your hair properly. Use a wide-toothed comb to detangle the knots, if any. Gently brush your hair neatly. You may apply oil/serum of your choice before you start braiding.
2. Choosing a cornrow braiding style
While the basic front-to-back cornrows are pretty cool alone, you may try the side-swept cornrow braid where all the cornrows are braided to one side of the head. You may also try the supercool swirling cornrows. To do this, start braiding from one side of the head slightly towards the other side and then back to the opposite side of the head to giving a swirling look. You may also braid your cornrows to the end length of your hair and tie them up in a high ponytail.
3. Part your hair into thin sections from front to back
This is the crucial step in braiding the front-to-back, i.e. the basic cornrow. With the help of a rattail comb, start sectioning your hair into thin sections. If you want a middle part, then part your hair midway and make rows of hair starting from the forehead to the nape of your neck. Make sure that the rows are of even thickness.
4. Take the first row and divide it into 3 small sections
Divide the first row into 3 small sections. Clip the rest of your hair neatly and tightly according to their rows. With the help of your fingers, keep the 3 sections, i.e. the center, right and left ones separate. Mark the borders neatly before starting to braid.
5. Start braiding the cornrow
Take the 3 thin sections of your hair and place the right one over the center, replacing it as the current center strand. Now put the left one over the center, and the center becomes the current left strand. Add a small section of hair from the row of hair to each side sections as you braid. This keeps the braid tightly attached to your scalp. Braid in this fashion all through the hair strands, taking the hair tightly from the very near of the scalp.
6. Continue braiding till the nape of your neck
Continue the French braid till you reach the nape of your neck. Braid the remaining rows by unclipping them one by one up to the nape of your neck and secure each one with a rubber band.
7. Braid the remaining length of your hair
Take each row, until it and braid the remaining portion of hair into normal braids up to the ends. Repeat braiding into normal braids until you are done with all the rows. Then, finally, secure your braids with tight rubber bands.
8. For other cornrow styles
For other cornrow braiding styles, follow the pattern of each style and braid in the above mentioned fashion carefully. Use sufficient clips and bands to keep them separate and avoid flyaway hair strands.
How to Clean Cornrows?
1. Shampoo your hair
- Prepare a wash mixture: Take a 1/4th quantity of shampoo with 2-4 tablespoons of oil (coconut or jojoba oil) and mix them well. Take a spray bottle and add the shampoo-oil mixture and add 1/4th cup of warm water. Shake the spray bottle well. Choose a good quality sulfate-free shampoo to retain the moisture of your hair. You may take the above contents in a bowl, as well.
- Rinse your hair with lukewarm water: Take lukewarm water and just simply pour it over your head and hair. Lukewarm water opens up the cuticles so that it can absorb the wash-mixture well.
- Spray the mixture over your scalp and hair: Take the spray bottle and gently spray the mixture near your scalp and your hair strands evenly and properly. If you are using a bowl then later the contents in your hand and then gently spread them in your scalp and hair. It is important that you don’t neglect the scalp area that is going to have a lot of built-up dirt and dust.
- Gently massage the shampoo mixture into your hair: By using your hands, massage the mixture gently into the cornrow braids. Avoid massaging roughly to ensure that your hair doesn’t break or cornrows become loose.
- Wash your hair with normal water: After the application of the mixture, leave it for a couple of minutes and then rinse your hair by normal water. Make sure you rinse your hair clean so that no shampoo leftovers remain. Leftover shampoo in your scalp will lead to irritation and building up of chemicals, as well.
2. Condition your cornrows
- Prepare a conditioning mixture: Take warm water, olive oil and a protein-based conditioner containing keratin and mix them all in a spray bottle/bowl. You may use coconut oil and any hair oil of your choice.
- Spray the conditioner: Spray the conditioner over your cornrows and scalp as well. Make sure you spray evenly all over your hair.
- Cover your hair with shower cap: Cover the evenly sprayed conditioned hair with a show cap and leave it for not more than 20 minutes. You may also use a plastic grocery bag if you don’t have a shower cap. This will retain the moisture in the hair.
- Rinse your hair with normal water: Rinse conditioner off your hair by using normal room temperature water. Make sure you rinse all the lathers and conditioner well.
- Towel dry your hair gently: Take a smooth towel and pat your hair gently to absorb the dripping water. Don’t rub your hair with the towel; otherwise, it may undo the cornrows.
3. Moisturize your cornrow
- Prepare the moisturizing mixture: Take 1/4th of leave-in conditioner, 1/4th of water and 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil and mix them in a spray bottle.
- Spray the mixture evenly: Spray the above mixture evenly over your cornrows making sure you pay equal attention to the scalp as well as the ends. If you have dry hair then moisturize your hair every day to prevent dryness or fizziness.
- Rub the moisturizer gently on your cornrows: After spraying the moisturizer, gently massage or rub the moisturizer on your scalp, hair, and ends. Make sure you rub with your fingers by just applying mild pressure to avoid unwinding of the braids.
How to Care For Your Cornrows?
1. Shampoo them regularly
Cornrows need care consistently. Shampoo your hair with good quality shampoo and the above mentioned shampoo-mixture every 7-10 days. While washing them daily wouldn’t do any good, neglecting them would lead to more breakage and damage.
2. Use applicator bottles for better application.
Use applicator bottles with long nozzles to put in your shampoo, conditioner and moisturizer mixture. These applicator bottles make it very easy to trace down the exposed scalp and ensure better application.
3. Condition after you wash your cornrows
Conditioning the hair is one of the most important steps while taking care of your cornrows. Proper conditioning ensures the good health of the hair, and it also prevents fizziness and dryness of the hair.
4. Towel dry your hair gently
After washing your hair, the cornrows might feel too heavy due to all the soaked up water. Gently let the residual waterfall off and then use a towel to pat the hair gently. Make sure you don’t rub the towel vigorously unless it may loosen and undo the braids.
5. Moisturize your hair regularly
Keep the spray bottle filled in since you would need it to moisturize your cornrows every day. Just spray the moisturizing mixture evenly over your hair. Don’t spray too much of it, just at one place. You may also use essential oils to massage your washed hair.
6. Cover your hair while sleeping
Use a shower cap or a silk cloth to cover your hair while you sleep. Covering your cornrows braids will take away flyaway and fizziness. You can also make a bun if your hair is too thick and long to manage.
7. Visit a salon regularly
Visit a salon twice every month to keep a check on the health of your hair. Do a hair spa or massage and trim the ends if you have any split ends. Discuss with the hair stylist about your hair.
8. Trim your hair regularly
Visit a salon every 6 weeks to get your hair trimmed. This checks the split ends and any hair damage at the ends. This keeps your hair nice and neat while making your cornrows look healthy.
Cornrows are easy to make once you learn the technique, a tad bit challenging to maintain but go a long way. It keeps your hair healthy and clean as well as saves time for other days to style your hair if it’s long and thick. Cornrow braids work great for frizzy hair, and the variety of styles make it even look cooler.