Cornrows which are also known as track braids or flat braids, are braids that lie directly on the scalp. Braiding African cornrows is accomplished by plaiting hair in a three strand pattern as close to the scalp as possible. They usually run the length of the scalp from the forehead to the nape of the neck. Natural hair can be combined with synthetic or human hair extensions to produce dazzling hairstyles. African cornrows can also be decorated with beads or shells. You will need to learn how to braid cornrows if you would like to plait braided African hair bobs and traditional hair weaves.
How To Cornrow African Hair. A Slow Step By Step Video Guide
Before you begin braiding cornrows, ensure that you wash and condition your hair, then blow dry it using a wide toothed comb. Thereafter, oil your scalp with hair food evenly and massage.
You need a toothed comb, a hair clip (optional), hair food or Vaseline and a hair band (optional). For ease of braiding, use a hair clip to hold and keep the remaining natural hair in position every time you part it into three strand sections.
It is good idea to use a lubricant like TCB hair food on your finger tips which will enable your fingers to slide easily through your hair and will help any protruding braided hair ends lie flat.
Normally, each cornrow is braided in an interlocking manner up until the hair ends. You could add hair extensions at the hair ends. For a unique look, you may prefer to use different colored braid extensions.
The most common way of removing cornrows is to use a comb and pick at the middle of the interlocking braids starting from the ends and moving towards the front.
Cornrows strengthen the natural hair. Cornrows are neat and give a stunning and unique look.
When braiding cornrows with the hair extensions, caution should be taken not to pull the natural hair from the hairline as this will weaken the hair and break it. You should not braid cornrows too tightly as it can be painful and you could damage the hairline.
The minimum hair length for braiding cornrows is usually about two .
Braiding short hair is more challenging than braiding long hair. This is because it’s more difficult to grip the short hair while braiding three strands. Braiding cornrows with the long hair is a lot easier as there is a continuous flow of hair without strain on the hands.
In general, there are three thicknesses of cornrows: thin, medium and thick cornrows.
Braiding thin cornrows normally requires a firmer grip on the hair so as to maintain the small size of the three strands. Whereas braiding and managing hair flow of medium or thick cornrow braids is much easier.
Thick braids take a much shorter time say half an hour to braid. Cornrows of medium thickness can take up to an hour to braid. Thin cornrows will generally take more than an hour to braid.
Thick cornrows can last up to a month and a half before they begin showing signs of unraveling or general untidiness. Whereas thin to medium size cornrows take about two months before they begin showing signs of becoming untidy.
To maintain your cornrow braids for a longer time, you will need to oil your scalp regularly. Also before you sleep, you will need to wrap your head with a silk cloth so as to maintain the shape of the braids.
If you soak your braids in the water, they will become loose and may unravel. The natural hair also becomes tangled. It is advisable to wear a shower cap while having a shower.
When the braids become dirty, you may take a piece of cotton wool and dab some mineral oil on it, carefully remove any dirt and grime with the treated cotton wool. Apply hair food along the braided lines beginning from the hairline to the nape of the neck.
When braided improperly, the cornrow braids will tend to look very untidy, unkempt and aged. The braids also become loose and will unravel.
Many styles can be created including geometric patterns and designs in the braids with curling, wavy or zig zag lines.