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Cornrow hairstyles are intricately lovely, inventive, and entrenched in Black hair culture — they have been a part of our identification since centuries earlier than colonialism. And while the cornrow choices as of late are infinite — from lemonade braids and cornrow buns straight again to two-cornrow braids and half-up cornrows — caring for the protecting type and making it final turns into the tough half. Sustaining regrowth, hydrating your strands, cleansing and moisturising your scalp, avoiding itchy patches, and preventing off fuzziness can really feel like one massive juggling act.
“Cornrows are adored because it’s low-maintenance and an important protective style — it helps shield your hair from moisture loss and breakage — however you must repairs a routine,” Gail Waterman, former hairdresser and cofounder of Watermans Hair, informed POPSUGAR. With that in thoughts, we spoke to the specialists about the right way to maintain your cornrows more energizing for longer, the right way to care of each your scalp and your hair, and the right way to keep away from injury and potential hair loss — in addition to their advisable cornrows dos and don’ts.
Prep Earlier than You Set up
Cornrows are a protective style, however they’ll trigger injury if there’s an excessive amount of stress on the roots of the hair, particularly if the hair is prepped incorrectly (or styled too tightly, which we’ll get into in a second). To finest put together your hair earlier than set up, “keep away from blow drying the hair earlier than putting in the cornrows; as an alternative, deal with hydrating the hair previous to styling by shampooing the scalp rather well after which conditioning and nourishing it,” London-based consultant dermatologist Dr Mary Sommerlad defined.
Hairstylist and Hask ambassador, Camille Friend, reiterated this, recommending the Hask Monoi Coconut Oil Moisturizing Shampoo (£7) and Biotin Boost Conditioner (£5) to make it simpler to type you curls with out stretching and weakening the hair strands.
Do not Use Too A lot Pressure
“The risks of cornrows on the hair and scalp is vital to notice,” mentioned Dr Sommerlad. “If [the braids are] too tight, it may trigger stress and breakage [of the hair strands], while on the scalp you may develop itchy spots. With recurrent traction, you may then develop traction alopecia, the place there’s hair loss which may be everlasting as a result of stress on the scalp time beyond regulation.”
This may be prevented in a quantity methods, in line with Dr Sommerlad. “Be certain that your stylist doesn’t pull too tight on the hairs being plaited — you shouldn’t expertise ache or itching after having the hair cornrowed. I additionally advise to give your hair a break between cornrows and purpose for at the least a month of the hair being left in its pure state earlier than cornrowing or braiding once more.” Erim Kaur, influencer and founding father of hair-care model ByErim, helps this and advises “avoiding repetitive pressure on the identical areas, so undoubtedly change up the cornrow patterns to assist keep away from manipulation total”.
Set the Look
To sharpen the coiffure, it is vital to include the fitting merchandise that may add shine with out introducing pointless buildup on the scalp. “When getting cornrows — with both your pure hair or extensions — set the look by making use of a mousse throughout your hair and, for those who’re in a salon, sitting underneath a dryer or wrapping your hair with a silk scarf for a time,” Deborah Johnson and Florence Johnson, co-owners of SIMPLGorgeous Hair Salon, informed POPSUGAR, highlighting Doux Mousse Texture Foam (£16) as a agency favorite. “Initially, attempt to keep away from getting them moist and sleep with a silk scarf on to maintain them as neat as doable.”
Cut back Friction
Because the weeks go by, re-growth goes to occur and your cornrows will loosen, however that does not imply that it must be the tip of the coiffure altogether. In accordance with our specialists, there are a number of methods to assist keep the lifetime of your cornrows.
“One of the simplest ways to keep up cornrows is to keep away from any pointless friction in your hair. For instance, for those who’re placing on some sort of hair accent, corresponding to a hat or a beanie, your hair will turn into fuzzy or your cornrows will come free,” mentioned Araxi Lindsey, hair division head for Netflix’s The Tougher They Fall. “Nevertheless, friction primarily occurs if you’re sleeping on cornrows with out safety. Should you’re rubbing your hair on a pillow when resting, it is best to put on a silk scarf or a masking to keep away from friction on the braids.”
Keep away from Over “Greasing the Scalp” …
By means of childhood, we frequently learnt about “greasing the scalp”, which concerned making use of heavy and thick merchandise so as to maintain the scalp moisturised when sporting cornrows. Nevertheless, as a result of heavy nature of these hair merchandise, greasing the hair can typically end in build-up, which in flip would require extra washing, thereby shortening the life-span of your cornrows. “Keep away from the temptation to grease the scalp,” mentioned Dr Sommerlad. “As an alternative, maintain the scalp freed from construct up by gently sweeping a moist fabric between the rows on the scalp as soon as per week.”
. . . As an alternative, Hydrate with Intention
Although you are attempting to keep up the lifetime of your cornrows, maintaining your hair and scalp moisturised remains to be a precedence. As an alternative of making use of thick and heavy merchandise that may trigger extra build-up, our specialists advocate to nourish the hair with intention.
How a lot that you must moisturise is dependent upon the well being of your scalp, however typically on the subject of maintaining the scalp balanced and hydrated, you may “moisturise your hair with a combination of water and a light-weight oils, corresponding to olive oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil”, Yonkel Chamberlain, curl professional and founding father of Hair Pop Lounge, advisable. If the oil is diluted with water, it reduces the possibility of build-up while nonetheless offering the scalp with the moisture it wants.
Moreover, to keep away from messing up the braids when making use of the oil (particularly for those who’re somebody who wants to use the oil undiluted), “apply it to the place the scalp is uncovered and likewise press it into the braids themselves as an alternative of rubbing the product in. This not solely ensures that they are nourished, nevertheless it additionally helps to forestall the braids turning into free,” mentioned Kaur.
Have Your Wash Day Plan Down Pact
“To increase a protecting type by a few weeks, proceed to present your hair love and a focus by feeding the brand new development with hydrating merchandise so the hair does not get dry,” superstar hairstylist Ursula Stephens previously told POPSUGAR. “The longer you retain these types the dryer the hair turns into. Dryness results in breakage and breakage results in hair loss. I might advocate doing periodic washes to maintain your scalp clear and hair moisturised.”
When the hair is in cornrows, there’s a specific wash day method that helps keep the type. “First, begin with a clarifying shampoo as this helps to elevate and cleanse product and environmental construct up from the floor,” defined Florence Johnson. “Observe this with a moisturising shampoo, massaging it gently into the scalp (avoiding rigorous motion) after which apply your conditioner.” As soon as patted dry, “end by utilizing a leave-in conditioner to forestall breakage and apply a moisturiser or scalp oil for nourishment”, Waterman shared.
As Johnson additional outlined, “conditioners are finest targeted on the hair because the scalp creates its personal moisturising and conditioning agent (sebum). An overload of heavy conditioner on the scalp can result in an irritation and irritation, due to this fact in case you have a very dry scalp, apply a lightweight oil just like the Afrocenchix Soothe Natural Scalp Oil or the Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil for extra nourishment,” she mentioned.
Guarantee a Lengthy-Lasting Fashion
“You’ll have to settle for the truth that after the second or third day, your braids will not seem like they did on day one. Should you’re not in a position to make use of appropriate grooming methods corresponding to sporting a shawl and moisturising the scalp, there’s a likelihood that your hair is not going to look the identical. The most important issues to remove are moisturising your scalp, sporting a shawl, and avoiding merchandise which have buildup,” Araxi concluded.
Hold studying to buy these specialists’ product suggestions for sustaining and caring in your cornrows.