Cornrow braids or also known as canerows in the Carribean are African style of hair grooming. This ancient traditional hairstyle is braids which very close to the scalp. This type of braid is using an underhand and upward motion to produce a continuous and raised row. As the name implies, cornrow often formed in straight lines. It is suitable to everyone who wants to style their hair simple yet pretty. But, it can also be formed in curvilinear or complicated geometric styles.
Cornrow braids are worn by women or men, or both, it depends on the region of the world. These braids sometimes adorned with cowry shells or beads to make the hair prettier. Fortunately, cornrow is easy to maintain. If you maintain them through careful washing of the hair and use oil to the scalp regularly, the rows can be left in for some weeks. If braids worn too long or if you pulled them too tight, it can cause traction alopecia which is a type of hair loss.
The History of Cornrow Braids
In various global areas, cornrow is a traditional type of styling hair. Dated back in Stone Age, as far back as 3000 BC, there were paintings in the Tassili Plateau of the Sahara that depicted women with cornrow. Female hairstyling in cornrow is a tradition which remains popular in Africa, especially in West Africa and in the Horn of Africa. As for men, they hairstyling in cornrow can be drawn as far as the early 19th century in Ethiopia. Even kings such as Yohannes IV and Tewodros II were portrayed wearing cornrows.
Not only function as hair style, cornrow also symbolize a wide social terrain such as status, religion, age, kinship, ethnicity, and other attributes of identity can be all symbolized in braids. The act of braiding also expresses bonds between friends, transmits cultural values between generations, and also forms the role of professional practitioner. Cornrow became popular between 1960s and 1970s. And they made a comeback again during 1990s when Allan Iverson, a NBA basketball player, worn this hairstyle.
Controversy around Cornrows
Over the years, cornrows always been the subject of several differences in American workplaces as well as universities along with dreadlocks. Some educational institutions and employers have saw them unsuitable and sometimes banned them. They even terminating employees who have worn cornrow braids. Soon, the civil rights organization and employees have opposes that those things becomes the cultural bias. In some cases, it has resulted in a lawsuit.
At the High Court of United Kingdom, reported as a test case in a decision in 2011, there was a rule against a school’s decision to refuse accepted students with cornrows. The school said that this was part of its rule which was “shirt back and sides” haircuts and banning styles which might be worn as signs of gang membership. However, the court said that the student was just expressing a tradition. Meanwhile, such policies were accommodate reasonable cultural and ethnic practices. Those were also possibly justifiable in certain cases. Some cornrow styles have been called “boxes braids”, especially those who worn by white people. This name has emerged criticism at that time.
But, don’t worry girls. These days, cornrow can be worn comfortably. You won’t meet people who judge you just because you style your hair in cornrow. Actually, it is a trendy way to style your hair. Although, these braids are a little time consuming, but the result are worth to try. If you want to know how to braid cornrow, here’s our tutorial.
Cornrow Braids Tutorial
The simplest way to create simple cornrow is to part a front section and dampen your hair. Next, take small part of your hair and braid into two stitches. From below braid, collect the rest of your hair into the middle strand and braid only one stitch. In each stitch, add a little more hair until you reach the end of the braids. Read below, for full tutorial!
- Plan your style
Before you ready to braid your hair, you should know what style that you want to form a path for getting there. You can imagine the style in your head, draw a picture, or even make some braids on a Styrofoam wig holder. The simplest amount to begin with is around four to six parts from the front until the back of your hair. Don’t forget to think about what path that your rows want to take. Do you want them to curve or to go straight from front to the back?
- Wet your hair
Spray some water or water mixed with detangler on your hair. Brush or comb it through to make your hair neat. Your hair should be wet, but not really wet, it should be slightly damp. Because you don’t want to take your time pulling your hair so many times to create the tightness needed to hold the cornrow together. Your hair will “grow” more when it’s wet and contracts as it dries. Although a tight braid is not good for your hair’s health, but it is the best way to achieve good cornrow. But you should not pull the hair too hard from the scalp.
- Part your hair
Start this step with apart of hair in the front. It is where you will start to cornrow your hair. Put the sides of your hair which you wouldn’t braiding in two stitches, so those won’t get in your way. Move the other hair out of the way so that you get a clear path to cornrow. The, take a small part of your hair where you want the braid to begin. You shouldn’t take too much hair, especially those near the hairline since you will have to pull too hard to braid later. Use some cream if you want the first part moisture. Keep moisturizing as you braid other parts.
- Separate the first part into three strands.
Make a normal braid that consist of two stiches to get it started. Pass the left stitch under the middle, the right stitch under the middle, the left stitch under the middle, and the right stitch under the middle.
- Start cornrowing
Holding the two outer braids aside, reach down under your initial braid then add a little hair to the middle braid. Combine fully this new hair to the middle braid so that it becomes a part of it, now you have 3 braids. Make a braid stitch out of these strands and continue braiding. Always add a little more hair every time to reach the middle braid, repeat this step until there is no more hair to add. If you already reach the end and there is still hair left over, braid the rest into a regular 3 strand braid.
- Secure the cornrow
When you secure the cornrow, there are various things to use which are hair clip, a snap bed, barrette, bolo tie tip, or anything you like. Use anything that able to easily remove later. It is not recommended if you want to uncovered rubber bands (elastics) unless the ones that you used are the kind made for hair specifically. If you use for office, those will break off your hair.
- Start the next row
Loosen a part of your hair next to the first part. The size should be the same size as the first part. Moisturize the new part of the hair and start the braid, again, with two stitches. Cornrow the part until there is no more hair left, then secure them.
- Final step
After you finish cornrowing the rest of your hair, work systematically to create your cornrows running form the forehead to the back of your neck. Each cornrow should be the same size.
Tumblr Cornrow Braids
- Part hair for individual cornrow section
You can create cornrow if you know the basics of braiding. Basic braids are hang freely form their individual parts, meanwhile cornrow are braided from the scalp. To create the size part you want, you can use the tail end of a rattail comb. The skinnier the parts the smaller the cornrow be. Meanwhile, larger parts will make cornrow bigger.
- Divide hair part into three for braiding
Divide your hair into three equal part at the hairline and you can begin any braid. At the hairline, divide the hair section into three equal parts as you would to begin any braid.
- Braiding small part of your hair at the hairline
Begin to braid the small section of hair at the hairline.
- Add more hair
This step is that the basic waive becomes the cornrow. When you try to waive the hair, add more hair from the part which you waive and make it looks like a cornrow. This what makes the braid attaches to the scalp. Every time you pick up one of the three parts of hair to braid, pull your hair gently form the parted off sections then add it in as you cornrow. For a uniform look, add hair evenly.
- Continue braiding and adding hair to the braids
Continue the last step as you make your way toward the end.
- Detangle parts of your hair
Spray your hair with conditioner mixture or oil mixture so you can detangle your hair easily. But if you have straight or relax hair, you can skip this step.
- Continue cornrowing
When you’ve braided the hair until you reach the scalp, continue braiding if your hair is long. Cornrow them as you do regular braids since those braids won’t attach to the head.
- Secure the braids
You can curl cornrow around your finger to prevent them from unraveling. But this way work better on natural hair. If you have straight hair, you can barrette or use snap-free rubber band.
- Repeat cornrow
Repeat the cornrow process with the rest of your hair and make sure to part your hair the same size.
How to Take Care of Cornrow Braids?
Cornrow braids isn’t just for African or kids. It’s a good hairstyle for you who want to give your hair a break from heat styling or chemical products. If you don’t want to wear simple cornrow, you can add Afro puff extension or ponytail extension for a different look. Cornrow is a protective hairstyle and it allow your hair a break from constant styling such as heat, combing, and styling products. This hairstyle only need minimal maintenance and proper care which can last the styling a month or more.
- Always use moisturizer to your cornrow every day. If your hair becomes too oily or waxy, you can moisturize them less frequently.
- Wrap your hair tightly at night with scarf. If your cornrows are long, gather and tied them off of the scarf to make sure they are also covered with scarf.
- It is not allowed to wet the cornrow between washing or you attempt to brush or comb your braided hair. You need to avoid handling your cornrow unnecessarily since frequent manipulation will cause your cornrows to become frizzy.
- Unbraided your cornrow every six weeks. If you wear this style any longer, it can result in extremely tangled hair.
- Once a week, wash your cornrow or as you needed. How to wash cornrow braids? First, place a stocking over the cornrows. Mix one tablespoon of shampoo with one cup of water. Soak the stocking cap with the mixture and use the pads of your fingers to make sure the mixture go through the cornrow.
- With the stocking still in place, rinse your hair until clean or you can place your head directly under the shower to make sure your hair is rinsed. Squeeze the stocking until the water go through the braids.
- Wrap your hair with towel while the stocking still in place. Squeeze your hair with the towel until dry or until you feel that the moisture already gone.
- Remove the stocking and apply conditioner spray, hair tonic spray, or oil spray. Leave your braids to air dry. To avoid your braids becomes frizzy, handle your wet cornrow as little as possible.