As POPSUGAR editors, we independently choose and write about stuff we love and suppose you will like too. If you happen to purchase a product we’ve really useful, we might obtain affiliate fee, which in flip helps our work.
Cornrow hairstyles are intricately stunning, inventive, and entrenched in Black hair culture — they have been a part of our id since centuries earlier than colonialism. Whereas the cornrow options lately are limitless — from lemonade braids and cornrow buns straight again to two-cornrow braids and half-up cornrows — caring for the protective style and making it last turns into the tough half. Sustaining regrowth, hydrating your ends, cleaning and moisturizing your scalp, avoiding itchy patches, and combating off fuzziness can really feel like one massive juggling act.
“Cornrows are adored as it is a low-maintenance and nice protective style — it helps defend your hair from moisture loss and breakage — however it’s important to repairs a routine,” Gail Waterman, former hairdresser and cofounder of Watermans Hair, informed POPSUGAR. With that in thoughts, we spoke to the consultants about easy methods to hold your cornrows more energizing for longer, easy methods to care of each your scalp and your hair, and easy methods to keep away from injury and potential hair loss — in addition to their really useful cornrows dos and don’ts.
Tip 1: Prep Earlier than You Set up
Cornrows are a protective style, however they’ll trigger injury if there may be an excessive amount of pressure 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 greatest 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 Mary Sommerlad, BSc, MBBS, MRCP, stated.
Hairstylist and Hask ambassador Camille Friend reiterated this, recommending Hask’s Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Shampoo ($6) and Biotin Boost Thickening Conditioner ($5) to make it simpler to model your curls with out stretching and weakening the hair.
Tip 2: Do not Use Too A lot Pressure
“The risks of cornrows on the hair and scalp is vital to notice,” Dr. Sommerlad stated. “If [the braids are] too tight, it may well trigger pressure and breakage [of the hair strands], whereas on the scalp you may develop itchy spots. With recurrent traction, you may then develop traction alopecia, the place there may be hair loss, which will be everlasting because of the pressure on the scalp over time.”
This may be averted in a quantity methods, in response to 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 goal for at the very 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 swap up the cornrow patterns to assist keep away from manipulation total.”
Tip 3: Set the Look
To sharpen the coiffure, it is vital to include the best merchandise that can 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 beneath a dryer or wrapping your hair with a silk scarf for a time,” Deborah Johnson and Florence Johnson, co-owners of London hair salon Simply Gorgeous, informed POPSUGAR, highlighting The Doux’s Mousse Def Texture Foam ($15) as a agency favourite. “Initially, attempt to keep away from getting them moist and sleep with a silk scarf on to maintain them as neat as attainable.”
Tip 4: Scale back Friction
Because the weeks go by, regrowth goes to occur and your cornrows will loosen, however that does not imply that it must be the tip of the coiffure altogether. In response to consultants, there are a number of methods to assist preserve the lifetime of your cornrows.
“The easiest way to keep up cornrows is to keep away from any pointless friction in your hair. For instance, for those who’re placing on some kind of hair accent, reminiscent of a hat or a beanie, your hair will grow to be fuzzy or your cornrows will come free,” stated Araxi Lindsey, hair-department head for Netflix’s The More durable They Fall. “Nevertheless, friction primarily occurs while you’re sleeping on cornrows with out safety. If you happen to’re rubbing your hair on a pillow when resting, it is best to put on a silk scarf or a protecting to keep away from friction on the braids.”
Tip 5: Keep away from Greasing the Scalp . . .
Via childhood, we frequently learnt about “greasing the scalp,” which concerned making use of heavy and thick merchandise to be able to hold the scalp moisturized when carrying cornrows. Nevertheless, because of the heavy nature of these hair merchandise, greasing the hair can typically lead to build-up, which in flip would require extra washing, thereby shortening the lifespan of your cornrows. “Keep away from the temptation to grease the scalp,” Dr. Sommerlad stated. “As a substitute, hold the scalp freed from build-up by gently sweeping a moist material between the rows on the scalp as soon as per week.”
. . . As a substitute, Hydrate With Intention
Despite the fact that you are attempting to keep up the lifetime of your cornrows, holding your hair and scalp moisturized continues to be a precedence. As a substitute of making use of thick and heavy merchandise that may trigger extra build-up, our consultants suggest hydrating the hair with intention.
How a lot you’ll want to moisturize is determined by the well being of your scalp, however usually, in relation to holding the scalp balanced and hydrated, you may “moisturize your hair with a combination of water and light-weight oils, reminiscent of olive oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil,” Yonkel Chamberlain, curl professional and founding father of Hair Pop Lounge, stated. If the oil is diluted with water, it reduces the possibility of build-up while nonetheless offering the scalp with the moisture it wants.
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,” Kaur stated. “This not solely ensures that they are nourished, but it surely additionally helps to forestall the braids changing into free.”
Tip 6: Have Your Washday Plan Down Pat
“To increase a protecting model by a few weeks, proceed to offer your hair love and a spotlight by feeding the brand new development with hydrating merchandise so the hair does not get dry,” superstar hairstylist Ursula Stephen beforehand informed POPSUGAR. “The longer you retain these kinds the dryer the hair turns into. Dryness results in breakage and breakage results in hair loss. I would suggest doing periodic washes to maintain your scalp clear and hair moisturized.”
When the hair is in cornrows, there’s a explicit washday method that helps preserve the model. “First, begin with a clarifying shampoo as this helps to raise and cleanse product and environmental build-up from the floor,” defined Florence Johnson. “Observe this with a moisturizing 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 moisturizer or scalp oil for nourishment,” Waterman shared.
Johnson additional outlined: “Conditioners are greatest targeted on the hair because the scalp creates its personal moisturizing and conditioning agent (sebum). An overload of heavy conditioner on the scalp can result in an irritation and irritation, subsequently you probably have a very dry scalp, apply a light-weight oil just like the Afrocenchix Soothe Natural Scalp Oil ($9) or the Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil ($28) for added nourishment.”
Tip 7: Guarantee a Lengthy-Lasting Type
“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,” Lindsey stated. “If you happen to’re not in a position to make use of right grooming methods reminiscent of carrying a shawl and moisturizing the scalp, there’s a likelihood that your hair won’t look the identical. The most important issues to remove are moisturizing your scalp, carrying a shawl, and avoiding merchandise which have build-up.”
Hold studying to buy these consultants’ product suggestions for sustaining and caring to your cornrows.