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Cornrow Braid Styles

Parul Solanki
A cornrow braid style that you choose, needs to be practical and should suit your lifestyle. A flamboyant and wacky design might be great for a special occasion, but it is up to you to decide whether it would be easy to look after and be appropriate for everyday wear.
Bo Derek from the movie '10', was spotted with cool cornrows. Well, if Bo started the trend that crossed ethnic lines, then other celebrities are not far behind. From the cool cornrows of Snoop Dog to the extremely weird ones sported by David Beckham, everyone seems to have adopted braid hairstyles for that exclusive look.
In fact, cornrows are the buzzword in the fashion industry, with celebrities like Alicia Keys, Jada Pinkett and Regina King sporting this style with ease.
Cornrows are small, extremely tight braids, that are made by braiding the hair flat against the scalp. The final result looks likes a plowed field with alternate strips of braided hair and scalp, hence the name cornrows. The technique used for braiding this hairstyle is known as the underhand braiding motion.
It has been used as a way of styling natural African-American hair for centuries. Over the years, the simple linear styles have evolved into funkier geometric patterns and swirls.

History of Cornrow Braids

Once a common way of styling hair in Sub-Saharan Africa for centuries, cornrows stood for the religion, kinship, status, age and ethnicity of a person.
As a matter of fact, you can see black braided hairstyles like cornrows on ancient hieroglyphic statues and roman coins.
Clay sculptures from Nigeria's Nok civilization dating back to 500 BC displays cornrow braids. With slavery, the cornrow braid styles came to America, where it was used not only to keep a clean and tidy appearance in the plantation houses, but also as a means of covert resistance.

Evolution Of Cornrow styles

After the Civil war, African-American women started straightening their hair. However, braided and cornrow styles could usually be seen on children. With the advent of 1950s, when colonialism in Africa started having an impact on the political system in America, the emergence of black hairstyles were seen.

Influence of Hip Hop on Cornrow hairstyle

With the emergence of hip hop culture in the 1970s and '80s, this hairstyle grew in prominence and broke cultural boundaries, with more and more people adopting it. When Cicely Tyson wore it on an appearance on a television show, it created ripples in the fashion industry. With time, many African-Americans have embraced their natural hair texture, and cornrows hairstyles have shot into fame.

â–ºTypes of Cornrow Braid Styles

Straight Cornrows

The hair is styled into cornrows in simple, straight lines from the front of the head to the nape of the neck.
The alternating strips of hair and bare scalp should be in straight lines and have a uniform appearance. Straight cornrows are great for formal or semi-formal events. Ideally, the braids should be small or medium thick in size. It can be tied back in a ponytail or just secured with rubber bands and beads.
The hair is allowed to grow out so that it is easier to braid it into cornrows.

Zigzag Cornrows

You can braid then in a Z-shaped or S-shaped cornrows. The hair needs to be washed so that it is tangle-free. Divide the hair into sections, and part them according to the zigzag shape that you want to give your hair. Take the first part and clip the rest of the hair section.
Cornrow the first section of the hair, and then unclasp the rest of the hair and braid it in cornrows while keeping the zigzag shape. Secure the ends of the hair with a rubber band or beads.

Cornrow Updos

For a classic look, try cornrow updos with the braids secured into an elongated updo.
The long hair is styled into straight cornrows and then secured into a tight bun in the side or gathered into a ponytail. You can also curl the braids and pin it on the top. In certain cases, where a person has extremely tight curls a faux hawk can be created along with cornrows.
Just cornrow on both sides of the head and leave the middle part of the hair unbraided to create a faux hawk.

Goddess Braids

Oversized inverted cornrows that lay flat on your scalp and can be made into different patterns and shapes are known as goddess braids.
This hairstyle is extremely good for long, thick hair, as it requires less styling and can be maintained easily. If you have long hair, then an elegant updo or a ponytail can work extremely well.

Cornrows with Extensions

Synthetic hair extensions can be easily added to cornrows or individual braids while styling the hair.
This helps in adding volume to the hair. For a natural look, use the feed-in method of adding extensions in which small pieces of hair extensions are added to fill the base and close in the adjoining hair. The cornrows are made by braiding the natural hair and the hair extension.

Sew-in weave Method

The sew-in weave is another way of applying natural or synthetic hair extensions. For this, you will need weft hair extensions, a needle and a thick thread. This is done by cornrowing your hair into two to three braids at the back of the head, and then adding the extensions on the braids on weft.

Cornrows Braid Styles for Children

Cornrow braids look fashionable as well as help in keeping the hair neat and tidy.
The straight cornrows are the most popular ones among children, because it is easy to do and is comparatively less time-consuming as well. The tightly-woven cornrows are accentuated with colorful beads, rubber bands and flowers.
Some people also prefer to cornrow the front part of the hair and tie the rest into a ponytail or pigtail. This is known as partial cornrows, and is perfect for younger kids.
Other than straight cornrows, angled and zigzag cornrows are also popular among kids. When choosing the cornrow braid style for children, it is important to keep in mind that these hairstyles are extremely time-consuming and younger children would have little patience for it. Therefore it is best to work with simpler styles rather than a complex geometrical design.

How to Create Cornrow Braids

The method for creating a traditional cornrow is by using an underhand 'pick-up' technique.
The process involves sculpting the parted sections into braids. This is to be done keeping the final result in mind, which will help you create smooth and curved contour partings.

Steps for Making Cornrow Braids

Step 1:Divide the hair into sections using a rat tail comb, depending on how small you want the braids to be. Now divide the middle part of the section into three equal strands for braiding.
Step 2:Start from the hairline and begin braiding the hair. After you have braided two stitches, add hair from the sides into the middle strand of the braid. This attaches the hair to the scalp. Keep doing this while braiding the rest of the section as well. Remember that you should attach uniform amount of hair to the braid to create a neat look.
Step 3:Continue braiding the hair and then tie it at the end with a rubber band. Apply the same steps to the rest of the sections. Secure your cornrows with a snap bead, hair clip, end bar, barrette or a bolo tie tip. If you have extremely frizzy hair, then use a detangling spray or a leave-in conditioner before braiding the hair.
Caring for the cornrows is definitely not an easy job. You need to clean your scalp and hair to prevent itching and frizzy hair. Usually, a leave-in conditioner or natural oils like castor oil or coconut oil can keep your hair smooth and fizz-free. Choose a customized and unique cornrow to suit your hair, personality and lifestyle.