Cornrows are a popular hairstyle, known for their unique braided pattern and low-maintenance upkeep. However, to ensure that your cornrows last as long as possible and remain looking neat, there are certain steps you should take to properly maintain them. In this article, we will cover the essential tips for maintaining cornrows and keeping them looking fresh for weeks to come.
What are Cornrows?
Cornrows are a type of hairstyle that involves braiding the hair close to the scalp in a straight line. They are often created using a technique called braiding or plaiting, in which three or more strands of hair are intertwined together. Cornrows can be styled in a variety of patterns and designs and can be worn by both men and women. They are a traditional African hairstyle but now are worn by people of all cultures and ethnicities.
Cornrows have been worn by people of various ethnic groups across the continent, and have been used to convey cultural and spiritual significance. The style is believed to have originated in West Africa and was worn by men and women of all ages.
African cornrows braids were used to communicate social status, age, marital status, and even occupation. In some societies, women would braid their hair in a certain way to indicate that they were married, while men would braid their hair in a different way to indicate that they were warriors.
Cornrows were also used in spiritual and religious ceremonies, as they were believed to have spiritual power. They were thought to help protect the wearer from evil spirits, and to bring good luck and prosperity. In modern times, cornrow braid styles have gained popularity around the world, and are no longer limited to a specific culture or ethnicity. They are worn by people of all backgrounds as stylish and convenient hairstyles.
How to Maintain Cornrows: Step by Step Guide
Proper maintenance is crucial to ensure that your cornrows last as long as possible and remain looking neat. Here are some tips to help maintain your cornrows:
1. Keep the braids moisturized
Cornrows can cause dryness and itching if left without proper moisture. You can use a light oil or a leave-in conditioner to keep the braids moisturized. A leave-in conditioner provides longer-lasting hydration and doesn’t require rinsing out. Avoid using heavy oils or greasy products, as these can cause build-up on the scalp and make the braids look greasy.
2. Protect your hair at night
To prevent the braids from unraveling or getting tangled, it’s important to protect your hair at night. You can use a silk or satin scarf or bonnet to cover your hair while you sleep.
A protective head wrap function is underrated and can be the magic you need for many good hair days. A silk or satin head wrap has a smooth feel or textures and this provides an easier glide for the cornrows, unlike the cotton material which pulls and tugs at the braids absorbing its moisture and resulting in frizziness. Using a protective head wrap would help prevent that and keep the hair looking shiny and less tangly.
3. Avoid tight hairstyles
While cornrows are a tight hairstyle, it is still important to avoid pulling the braids too tight. This can cause tension on the scalp and hairline, leading to hair loss, or damage. Traction alopecia is hair loss brought on the scalp by excessive tension or stress. To prevent damage to the hair in this light, it is paramount to exercise carefulness with styling.
4. Avoid washing the braids too often
Washing the braids too often can cause them to become loose and unravel. Instead, try to wash your hair once a week or every two weeks. When you do wash your hair, use a gentle shampoo and conditioner, dipping a cotton ball and dabbing on the scalp being careful to avoid rubbing the braids too much.
Do the same process to rinse out, this would prolong the longevity of the braids and keep the scalp healthy. A sulfate-free shampoo is typically recommended because it contains gentler surfactants and does not overly strip the hair of its natural oils as naturally textured hair seemingly has troubles with moisture retention due to the oval-shaped hair follicles.
5. Regularly check for any loose braids
You should check for any loose braids regularly and retighten them as needed. This will keep the braids looking neat and prevent them from unraveling. It is recommended that you visit your stylist for routine checkups if you intend to keep the braids in for longer.
6. Take care of the scalp
A healthy scalp is essential for maintaining cornrows. You should keep your scalp clean and exfoliate it regularly to remove any dead skin and product build-up.
7. Keep a hair mousse handy
Frizz is bound to happen and you’ll need to be armed with a remedy to counteract its effect and that’s what a hair mousse or braid spray is for. It adds gloss and shines to the braids instantly making the frizz a thing of the past.
8. Avoid using hair accessories
Avoid using hair accessories such as barrettes or hairbands on the braids as they can cause damage and make the braids look messy. For scalp braids such as cornrows, accessories such as those listed above would do more harm than good. It would not only make the braids messy and frizzy, but the scalp also would be prone to damage.
9. Take it down after 2-4 weeks
Cornrows can be worn for up to 2-4 weeks, but you should take them down after that time to give your hair a break and avoid damage. With the cornrow takedown process, you’ll need to exercise care to prevent hair breakage and damage of any kind. You should enlist the help of a friend for the process.
10. Style your edges
To get the most out of cornrow braids and to ensure you are looking the best. Grab a hold of an edge brush and an edge control cream or gel and style your baby’s hair for a sleek and chic look. This would greatly improve the overall braids’ appearance.