African-American’s type 4 hair is renowned for its unique springiness, strength, and vigor. And it’s these properties that make type 4 hair fantastic for styling.
With its supple pliability, type 4 hair can be styled into many distinct styles: afros and dreads. But for those looking for a neat and easy way to style their hair – cornrow styles with natural hair is the best look.
What are Cornrow Styles with Natural Hair?
Cornrows are a hairstyle where the hair is worn in braids very close to the scalp. This is done via an upward braiding technique, which results in neat rows of hair, thus giving the hairstyle its name.
Cornrows not only look fashionable, especially when paired with thick and robust African-American hair but are also relatively easy to maintain.
Historically, cornrows were most prevalent in Africa, where they were used not only as a protective hairstyle but also to indicate a person’s social status. Cornrows made a comeback in the 70s, 90s, and 2000s, and it’s a safe bet to say they’re here to stay.
Natural Hair – Braids Styling
Cornrow styles with natural hair, as the name might suggest, mean an all-natural hairstyle. This means that cornrow styles with natural hairs feature zero extensions. No clip-ins, weaves, tie-ins, or anything that doesn’t come out of your own scalp. Instead, cornrow styles with natural hair leverage the strengths of your type 4 hair to create a look that’s neat and incredibly versatile.
While it may seem daunting to use cornrow styles with natural hair, rest easy. Easy cornrow styles can be done in as quick as 15 minutes, and practice makes perfect for more complex and intricate hairstyles.
Best Cornrow Styles with Natural Hair
Cornrow styles with natural hair by themselves are easy: just braid neatly, and you’re basically done. Yet this simple braiding action gives rise to a huge selection of cornrow hairstyles. And because cornrows are done on tough type 4 hair, you’ll have a lot of leeways to experiment and style your hair. Just be sure to treat your hair kindly!
Cornrows for Women
There are a ton of cornrow styles with natural hair for women. Short, fine, thick, long – you name it, there’s a cornrow style for it. Here are some of the best cornrow styles with natural hair that you can use.
Cornrows for Women with Thin Hair
Just because your hair is thin and fine doesn’t mean you can’t rock cornrow styles with natural hair. In fact, cornrows are a great choice for women with thin hair. Compared to other braided hairstyles, cornrows are less demanding and put less strain on individual hairs. This makes cornrows a great way to protect your hair and look stylish.
If your hair is particularly thin and you aren’t satisfied with just the cornrow look, you can opt to add accessories to your hairdo. Items such as shells or beads work great not only with locs but are fantastic accessories in tandem with cornrow styles with natural hair.
Crown Cornrow Braids
Crown braids have a regal name and appearance, and crown cornrow braids are one of the best-looking cornrow styles with natural hair.
Crown cornrow braids may look fancy, but they’re not hard to do. As an extension of the French braid, one simply has to combine the styling process of that braid with that of cornrows. Professional stylists and barbers can help you with this, but you can just as easily find a wealth of learning materials online if you have the time and patience to study how to set your own hair.
Half Cornrow Up Half Down Braids
Half cornrow long braids are one of my favorite cornrow styles with natural hair.
This cornrow style combines the best of both worlds: neat, easy-to-style cornrows combined with the luxury of long, luscious braids. The result? A beautiful, versatile cornrow style that’s both elegant and casual all at once.
While half cornrow braids are undoubtedly one of the best-looking cornrow styles with natural hair, a lot of work goes into them. Sure, they’re low-maintenance as with other cornrows, but the length of each braid is something to consider. If you’re not confident in your styling capabilities or don’t have the patience to braid these by yourself, you can seek the assistance of professional stylists.
Giant Lemonade Braids
Lemonade braids, or side-swept braids, are one of the more prominent cornrow hairstyles with natural hair today, and it’s not hard to see why. As if regular cornrows weren’t easy enough to maintain, lemonade braids are long-lasting and are easy to do with just your natural hair. The name of these braids comes from Beyoncé’s 2016 album, Lemonade.
Compared to other cornrow styles with natural hair, giant lemonade braids have a very different appearance. This is due to their side-swept nature, which causes hair to fall gently over one shoulder for a stylish look. While the braiding process is somewhat similar to regular cornrows – and there are a lot of online tutorials if you’re planning to style your hair – don’t be afraid to ask for help from your stylist if you want to try this style out. They’ve been doing it since Lemonade’s release, so they’ll know what you’re talking about.
This half-up cornrow, half-down unplaited style is a strikingly beautiful dichotomy of both structured cornrows and loose, tumbling locks. All of these come together to create a gorgeous and unique look that’s hard to match.
Owing to the half-and-half nature of this hairstyle, this cornrow style with natural hair can be harder to execute as you’ll need to know where the cornrows end and the unplaited hair begins. While there’s a wealth of online resources that show how to achieve this look, beginner stylists may wish to seek professional help for this one.
Cornrow Braids in a Bun
Cornrows are very neat, but you can take this further by styling them into a bun. This allows you to quickly transform your longer cornrow braids into a shorter, more professional look if the situation calls for it.
Cornrow Braids Style for Men
Cornrows aren’t just for the ladies. Men can get in on the fun, too, and here are some of the best cornrow styles with natural hair for men.
Short cornrows are one of the most common cornrow styles with natural hair. Neat, easy to do, and even easier to maintain while keeping a versatile short-haired look ready to tackle any social situation. What’s not to love?
Cornrows with Undercut
While cornrow styles with natural hair are impressive, they can and will benefit from highlighting, such as when paired with an undercut.
By keeping the hair on your sides and back cut extremely short, you can emphasize your cornrows and ensure that they’re the centerpiece of your hairdo. Before doing so, though, ensure you’re giving yourself an undercut, not a fade. You’ll want to cut the rest of your hair very short and, most importantly, evenly to not subtract from your cornrows.
Two Cornrow Braids
For men seeking to style their long manes into cornrow styles with natural hair, the two cornrow braids style is a good choice. By tying your hair not only into braids but into two symmetrical braids at the sides (or back) of your head, you can create a casual and free yet approachable look.
The two cornrow braids are one of the easiest cornrow styles with natural hair, too. No fancy tricks are needed here – just braid your hair as you normally would, but leave an allowance for two longer braids!
Cornrows with Tribal Braids
If you’re looking for cornrow styles with natural hair for men and have long hair but want something a little more rugged, why not try out some tribal braids?
Tribal braids get their name from ancient African people, who used braiding to express themselves – who they were, their families, their social status, their occupation, and so on. Today, tribal braids are used to express the self through intricate and mesmerizing patterns limited only by your skill and imagination.
Tribal braids can also be further accessorized by using shells, beads, and rings. These items can serve to not only enhance but amplify the effect of your tribal braids’ patterns.
Cornrow Styles with Natural Hair Inspirations
FAQs about Cornrow styles with natural hair
How long do cornrows last?
With proper maintenance and a bit of luck, cornrows can last for up to 12 weeks. That’s only if you’re really lucky, though. On average, cornrows can last from 4-6 weeks, depending on the style and how well you take care of them.
Should I shampoo my cornrows?
Yes, you should shampoo your cornrows at least once a week. You don’t even have to undo them – just massage shampoo gently and thoroughly into your scalp and cornrows, and rinse with warm water.
How do I protect my cornrows at night?
Like locs, you can opt to use a scarf or a durag when you sleep to not undo your styling work.
Should I moisturize my cornrows?
Yes, you absolutely should. For best results, use a moisturizer with natural oils, such as olive or jojoba oil.
Why are cornrows a good protective style?
Cornrow styles with natural hair are a great protective style because they’re fire and forget. Once you’ve set your cornrows, you don’t need much maintenance besides washing and moisturizing. And the less treatment you need to keep a hairstyle, the more protective it is, as you’re not exposing your hair to heat or chemical styling.
Rocking The ‘Rows!
Whether for fashion or fun, cornrow styles with natural hair have firmly cemented themselves into modern culture. And if you’d like to try them out, feel free to dive right in – thanks to their easy maintenance and simple construction, you can style your hair in any cornrow style you like!
Mel is a licensed Chemist in New Jersey who has worked in several cosmetics companies and has years of experience formulating hair care and beauty products. She uses her knowledge in cosmetics to distinguish and find the best products to recommend to Union Of Barber’s readers. When Mel’s not writing, you can find her walking her dogs or cooking and baking at home!