Cornrows are a traditional West African type of braid. The method used for braiding corn rows is an underhand, upward motion that begins tight to the scalp. Once the corn rows are completed they can stay in for many weeks, requiring minimal maintenance and making them very practical. A zigzag design adds an individual flare to standard cornrows. Braiding cornrows takes practice and will become quicker and smoother over time.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Butterfly clips
- Small rubberbands
- Oil sheen
- Hair conditioner
Wash the hair thoroughly to prepare it for braiding. Comb the hair and ensure that it is tangle-free. Straight hair needs to be longer than 7 centimetres long for the style to hold; the minimum for curly hair is 5 centimetres. Apply leave-on conditioner to the hair. This will make the hair smoother and help you braid neater cornrows.
Determine the zigzag pattern that you will be braiding and the size and direction of the individual cornrows. Draw the design on a sheet of paper before beginning so you have a reference.
Use a comb to divide the hair into sections, and put in the initial partings. Select the first panel and clip the rest of the hair with butterfly clips to avoid confusion.
Take a small part of the hair from the first panel and divide it into three equal strands. Keep your fingers close to the scalp and cross the left strand under the centre strand and then the right strand under the centre strand. This is one revolution.
Pick up a small strand of hair close to the braid and add it to the outer strand. Complete another revolution and pick up another strand from the other side of the panel. Alternate from one side of the panel to the other when adding strands to make the cornrow neat and even. Continue this method to the end of the hair following the zigzag design.
Secure the end of the cornrow tightly with a small rubber band.
Start on the next section of hair, repeating the steps above until the design is complete. Oil sheen can be applied to the cornrows for a finished, smooth look.
Tips and warnings
- Keep the braid close to the scalp for a tighter and tidier braid.
- If the hair is too slick, you can use hair wax to get a better grip.
- Cornrows should not be left in for longer than six weeks as the hair may lock and will need to be cut out.
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