Cornrow Braids: Guide to Styles, Techniques and Inspiration

Cornrow braids are a popular protective hairstyle for black hair that have been around for centuries. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about cornrow braids.

Key Takeaways

  • Cornrow braids are a traditional African protective style that involves braiding the hair flat to the scalp in an underhand, upward motion.
  • They are versatile and can be worn by both men and women in different lengths, styles and patterns.
  • Cornrows are low maintenance, allow your natural hair to grow long and healthy underneath, and can last for weeks with proper care.
  • There are many creative ways to style your cornrow braids like adding hair jewelry, getting an updo or half cornrows/half box braids.

What are Cornrow Braids?

Cornrow braids are a traditional style of braiding the hair flat to the scalp in an underhand, upward motion to create rows that resemble cornfields, hence the name. They are formed using the underhand braiding technique to create tight braids that lie close to the head.

Cornrowing has its roots in African culture and has been practiced for centuries as both a functional and fashionable hairstyle. Not only do they look beautiful, but cornrow braids also serve as a convenient protective style for natural hair.

Braids like these allow you to take a break from daily styling and manipulation while keeping your hair and ends tucked away neatly and allowing length retention. It’s the perfect hassle-free summer style!

Benefits of Wearing Cornrow Braids

There are many reasons why cornrow braids remain such a popular choice:

  • Protect hair & ends: Keeping your ends tucked in preserves length.
  • Low maintenance: Can last 4-6 weeks with care. No need for daily styling.
  • Grow natural hair: Perfect for transitioning or giving your natural hair a rest while achieving length retention.
  • Versatility: Lots of stylish options. Can create stunning braided hairstyles.
  • Convenience: Easy to manage, wash, and workout with cornrows.

Whether you choose to braid your natural hair in straight back cornrows or get your stylist to cornrow braid extensions into your real hair, this protective low-maintenance style has amazing benefits!

Cornrow Braid Styles, Patterns and Designs

There are endless creative ways to cornrow your hair. You aren’t limited to straight back braids. Here are some of the most popular styles:

Cornrow Style/PatternDescription
Feed-In BraidsWhen natural hair is braided horizontally first to serve as a base for vertical cornrow braids that are then fed in and braided upwards.
Half Cornrows/Half Box BraidsCombines straightened cornrows on one half of the head with freestyled triangle part box braids on the other half.
Goddess BraidsCornrows styled into a high ponytail or bun, sometimes with curled ends or hair jewelry added.
Halo CornrowsBraids curve around head in a circular pattern resembling a halo.
Side Cornrow BraidsBraids only cover one side of the head and fall diagonally across forehead.
Cornrow PonytailCornrows braided into a high or low ponytail, perfect for a sleek and stylish look.
Mohawk Cornrow BraidsAlternating cornrow braids going in opposite direction to create a faux hawk.

There are no limits with cornrows! Combine with hair extensions, beads, cowrie shells or gold cuffs for extra flair.

How to Get & Maintain Cornrow Braids

While you can DIY cornrows at home, they tend to look best and last longer when done professionally by an experienced braider at your local African braiding salon.

Here are some top tips for getting and maintaining your cornrowed style:

  • Preparation: Make sure hair is freshly washed, detangled and conditioned to prevent breakage during the braiding process. Do not braid over unclean, dry or matted hair!
  • Braiding method: A professional stylist will part the hair meticulously in straight rows then begin cornrowing against the natural direction of your hair growth in an underhand, upward motion.
  • Extensions: Synthetic hair or human hair extensions are often braided in for length and fullness as they braid. Kanekalon braiding hair is commonly used.
  • Maintenance wash: Use a moisturizing shampoo specifically for braided hair and avoid getting your scalp too wet to prevent mildew and buildup.
  • Moisturize often: Spritz your braided cornrows with a leave-in conditioner and seal with oil daily to keep hair moisturized. Focus on the ends.
  • Sleep care: Always tie down your braids gently at night with a silk scarf. Sleep on a satin pillowcase.

Cared for properly, cornrows can last for up to 6 weeks!

How Much Do Cornrow Braids Cost?

The cost for getting cornrow braids done depends on various factors but averages around $50-150. Rates vary by:

  • Your city/region
  • The braiding salon
  • Your hair type, length and thickness
  • Whether extensions are added
  • The intricacy of the braided style

For example, basic shoulder-length straight cornrows on natural hair may cost $50-70. But long box braids with synthetic hair extensions included can cost upwards of $120-150.

Some additional charges to consider:

  • Hair extensions: $20+
  • Designs shaved: $5 per line
  • Extra-long lengths: Additional $10-20

To save costs, provide your own extensions/braiding hair for them to use when getting your cornrows installed.

While cornrow braids seem high initially, remember they can last 6 weeks with proper maintenance. Saving on daily styling offsets the price over time.

Inspiration for Cornrow Braids

Looking for inspiration for your next cornrow braids style? Here are some ideas to spark your creativity:

  • African Cornrow Braids: Embrace traditional African-inspired designs and patterns for a timeless look.
  • Cornrow Braids with Fade: Pair cornrow braids with a fade haircut for a modern and edgy style.
  • Updo Cornrow Braids: Create an elegant updo using cornrow braids for a special occasion or event.
  • Creative Half Cornrows, Half Box Braids: Combine cornrows with box braids for a unique and eye-catching hairstyle.