Here's How To Cornrow Your Own Hair

It only takes a few simple steps.

How To Cornrow Your Own Hair
Photo: Getty Images

There are now more braiding styles to choose from than ever, but let's be honest: cornrows are a staple. Not only are they intricate, but the variation of shapes, sizes, and styles gives you endless possibilities. There are natural hair cornrows, cornrows that incorporate hair extensions, cornrows for weaves — the list goes.

But what differentiates cornrows from other braids is that they lay directly on the scalp, explains celebrity hairstylist and author of Stunning Braids, Monae Everett. "The hair is parted and the braid follows the part, producing rows that resemble corn, hence the name. While creating the braid, you make three subsections, each time you go under on the left or the right, you pick up another piece of hair — this creates the braid detail that shows on the scalp."

Today, cornrowing is available as a service at many salons, but you can also cornrow your own hair at home if you want to save both time and money — but it does take a bit of skill. That's why we asked Everett to share a few simple steps for doing natural hair cornrows at home. Read on to learn more about this technique.

Step 1: Wash Your Hair

The most important step to follow when looking to achieve beautiful cornrows is prep. That said, always make sure to start the cornrowing process on clean, hydrated, and dry hair. "Shampoo and condition with the Biolage Ultra Hydrasource Shampoo and Conditioner," says Everett. "Next add a leave-in conditioner like Biolage Ultra Hydrasource leave-in cream, before blow drying your hair straight with a comb or brush."

Step 2: Create Your Parting

The key to beautiful cornrows are your partings — wonky parts will make the cornrows looks messy and less defined. "Section your hair in the pattern of your choice, then add a little gel along the parts to direct the hair to neatly lay flat" says Everett. "Add a dime size amount of Qhemet Biologics Aethiopika Hydrate & Twist Butter on the ends of the hair to lock in the moisture from the leave-in conditioner. Then use the small Pattern Dual Edge Control Tool to direct the hair toward the center of the section to be braided."

VIDEO: Monae Everett Shows You How to Cornrow Your Hair | InStyle

Step 3: Cornrow

Now that you have your partings in place, subdivide one section of hair into three. "Take the center section and cross it over the right," says Everett. "The right section is now the center. Cross the center section over the left section, and pick up a small section of hair. Continue crossing the center strand over the right section, then the new center strand over the left section. Pick up more hair on the left each time you cross it with the center strand.

"Continue to repeat the three strand method with the other sections (partings) you created to see the cornrow pattern form. Secure each cornrow with an elastic. "Once you finished all your cornrows, make them look as neat as possible by applying the Naked by Essations Max Premium Foaming Solution on top and tying them down with a silk scarf or paper strips until dry. This will secure the cornrows, reduce flyaways and lock the hairline in place."

This is All Natural. From the kinkiest coils to loose waves, we're celebrating natural hair in its many forms by sharing expert tips for styling, maintenance, and haircare.

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