Cornrow braids (also known as underhand track braids) have been around for thousands of years and populated as far as Egypt. Centuries later, the style gained wide popularity in the late 60’s and 70’s, and then later again in the 90’s during the hip-hop culture. Since then, men and women everywhere have sported cornrow braids. This beautiful technique can require a lot of time and patience, but the end results are fabulous.
· First, decide what type of style you want for your cornrow braids. If you need to, plan out your style on a piece of paper. You’ll want to begin with four to six sections from the front to the back of the head since this is the easiest way to begin.
· Begin by misting the head with water until it is slightly damp and then comb through the hair to remove tangles. Never brush wet hair.
· Next, part a section of hair where you would like the cornrow to begin and then clip the rest of the hair out of the way. Now, take a small section of the parted section and separate it into three strands. Make a normal braid with the strands and then make “one” or “two stitches to get you started.
· Continue working with the braid by picking up some of the hair from the rest of the section that you parted and add it to the strand you are currently working with. The idea behind this is to braid and pick up hair as you’re working. If you want an “invisible” track braid, tuck the hair under. If you want a “visible” track braid reach for hair from underneath and bring it out.
· Once you have reached the end of the braid, secure it with a hair accessory such as a barrette or snap bead. Avoid using uncovered rubber bands since they can snap and break hair easily.
· Repeat the steps above for each section where you would like a cornrow braid to begin.
Some Things to Remember
· If you have very straight hair, consider using a protein hair gel to help the style to last longer.
· Avoid pulling hard from the scalp. If you do, it can cause the style to no last as well as cause hair loss, infection and pain. You’ll know if you’re pulling too tight if the scalp looks raised or the person complains of pain.
· When braiding, keep in mind that narrow braids will last longer than bigger ones.
· If you’d prefer, you can use a hair cream or leave in conditioner instead of misting hair with water when braiding.
· If you have tight, curly hair, you should use a natural oil mixture or hair grease to prevent hair from becoming brittle and braids from loosing their shape too soon.
· Generally your cornrow braids will only last for about a week. After that they will need to be redone.
Caring For Your Braids
· You can wash your hair with the cornrow braids in. The best way to wash your hair is to wear a stock cap over your braids and then use the head of a shower or a water pick to force water under the braids. Shampoo hair by diluting it with water and follow up with a leave in conditioner.
· You should wear a hair scarf while you are sleeping to help the braids stay for at least a week.
· If you’re going to go out in the sun, wear a sunscreen on your scalp or wear a hat to keep from being burned.
Now that you know how to cornrow braid, have fun and enjoy.