Cornrows are a great, low-maintenance style for men, women and children. They can be styled easily on your own hair or by using hair extensions for added length. Professional stylists who create this style can work with very short length hair to create cornrows, but there is a minimum length that's necessary in order to design a head full of cool cornrows.
Cornrows without extensions
The more texture to the hair, the easier this style will be to accomplish. The nature of black hair tends to make it easier to hold this style together. Naturally straight hair slips out of this style more often than textured hair, due to its more slippery nature. The minimum length of hair required for cornrows with the wearer's natural hair is about 4.5 cm (1.75 inches). When braiding cornrows, which are braids attached to the scalp in rows, you need enough hair to grip as you braid. The hair that's added to the braid, or cornrow, should be long enough to incorporate into the braid without falling out of it. Part hair in straight rows beginning at the hairline and going back to the nape of the neck. Begin braiding a small section of hair at the front of the head and pull in hair from the section that you're braiding to affix it to the scalp, forming a cornrow. Continue braiding all the way to the ends of the hair. You may need barrettes or rubber bands to hold the ends together.
Cornrows with extensions
Hair should be at least 5 cm (2 inches) long when braiding hair extensions into cornrows. Besides needing sufficient length to hold the cornrow style in place, you also need enough length to hold the weight of the additional hair. For hair that's only 7.5 cm (3 inches) or less in length, avoid very long extensions. The heavy weight of long hair additions may pull on your short hair. Once your hair is at least 10 cm (4 inches) long, you can wear longer extensions without worrying that they'll slip out. Begin braiding cornrows as you would without extensions, but feed in extension hair at the same time you incorporate hair from the section you're braiding. Braid the extensions at least 2.5 cm (1 inch) past the end of your natural hair. If you cut and burn the extensions -- for synthetic hair only, not human hair -- you don't want to cur or burn your hair, which is why extensions should fall past your natural hair length.