top of page

Everything you need to know about Cornrows HairStyle

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

Many braided hairstyles are aboriginal to Africans, including cornrows. In the black community as a whole, cornrow has been around for centuries. Several decades ago, braiding patterns and different hairdos were used to establish the identity of a person, based on the community, age, or marital status.

Cornrows have been in existence since 3000 BC, and it was referred to as canerows or cornrows to portray or mimic slaves planting sugarcane and corns. The hairstyle has been adopted by children, men, and women, from several races and ethnic groups. Here is everything you should know about cornrows.

What are Cornrows?

Some individuals can choose to call it boxer braids, but the most popular name for this hairstyle is simply cornrows. The look you will get after cornrowing your hair is typically flat-plaited. Having a Caribbean and African origin, they are similar to the appearance of rows of corn and cane.

How Did People Use Cornrows to Escape From Slavery?

It may interest you to know that this hairstyle was used as an escape route or map, which was used by so many women during the slave trade in Trans Atlantic. If they were not planning an escape route with their cornrows, they used it as a complex pattern to deliver signals of secret messages amongst themselves.

Even though cornrows were used to express messages and tactics, they also became the main show of freedom and liberty that many see and enjoy in today's world. According to the cornrow history of Columbia, King Benkos Bioho who was captured from Africa by the Portuguese used cornrows to weave routes and send coded messages.

He built San Basilio de Palenque in the 17th century in his country, Northern Colombia after escaping from his captives. He then created a personalized language and brought about the idea of women using cornrows hairstyles to weave routes and escape maps. Over centuries, many do not know about this history and the cornrow has since become a trendy hairstyle even in the 21st century.

How to Style Cornrows

If you love Dutch braids, then cornrows can be just as appealing and almost in the same category of hairstyles. Sometimes, cornrow hairstyles can seem a bit discouraging but if you are looking for fun braid styles, never get intimidated by the appearance of the cornrow. Many individuals can cornrow their hair without needing assistance from a stylist.

For the DIY purpose, you can create this style by obtaining one or more inches of your hair volume and sectioning it into three parts. Cross the right section under the middle hair section then repeat the process with the left one. You will have to repeat this until you have braided down to the end. If you leave any hair in the middle, it will no longer be cornrows but Dutch braids.

Can Cornrows Cause Hair Damage?

The answer to this question is No! Cornrows will rather grow your hair than damage it. It is a good option if you are considering a protective hairstyle. The main thing is for you to go gentle when tressing the hair. This means you should not knot the braids too tight to prevent loss of hair or tension headache.

You can protect your hair better by applying extra hydration to nourish the strands while wearing the braids. You can also add a leave-in hair conditioner to care for your strands before weaving cornrows. Also, you can go for a more professional look by walking into a hair braiding salon near you.

Should You Wear Cornrow Braid Styles?

Yes! You should rock it soon if you have never tried it. You can see many people daily, wearing the hair on the street, you see them on runways and in hair catalogs too. This hairstyle is easy to wear, affordable, fashionable, and long-lasting. You can also go for styles that can befit your hair texture, and length. It is an individual braids style and you may want to experiment with different shapes and partings to appear more elegant.

Add moisture to the hair to avoid dehydration which may be bad for your hair strands. You can do this before going to the salon to get the braids done. If you cannot wash your hair alone, ask your stylist to do it for you before braiding it. Your hairstylist can deep condition the hair and massage your scalp with more hair treatments that will help in protecting your hair.

How to Cornrow Your Hair in Steps

  • Step 1: Wash hair with conditioner and add treatment oil to keep it moisturized. Some hair textures may demand the use of leave in- conditioners to allow for easy combing.

  • Step 2: Use a tail comb to part the hair to form rows starting from the back. Note that, more sections will mean the braids will be small, while a few sections will form large braids.

  • Step 3: Take a small part of the hair, starting from the front row, and make 3 sections having the same volumes.

  • Step 4: Start weaving by crossing the right or left strand beneath the middle strand and do the same for the remaining strand at the other end

  • Step 5: Repeat the previous step by adding more hair to individual sides from under while braiding into weaves.

  • Step 6: Weave down until you have finished all the strands and there is no hair to add under it. Then, do a traditional 3-strand braid to finish the hair.

  • Step 7: Secure the ends of the hair with an elastic band or a knot.

  • Step 8: Continue braiding by repeating steps 2-7

  • Step 9: use a soft-bristled toothbrush to smoothen the edges of your hair, to keep it laying firmly and neatly.

What Are the Trendy Cornrow Hairstyles You Can Wear?

  • Cornrow Styles to the side

  • Cornrow Styles in a bun

  • Tribal cornrows

  • Chunky cornrows

  • Middle-part cornrows

  • Accessorized cornrows


Now that you know so much about this braid style, it will be much more fun if you try it on your head. You can wear either small or large cornrows, the aim is to look elegant and appear different from your usual self.


bottom of page