In recent times, they have crossed gender and nationality gaps. Some men, especially celebrities like musician Jua Kali have them as their signature look. People of other races too, have embraced it.
Most of the time, women use cornrows to correct hair damage and promote healthy hair growth. Many, however, assume that once they have cornrows, there’s nothing much to do in terms of hair care.
Like with all hair styles, cornrows too, come with some challenges. If done tightly, they can lead to hair breakage. Wearing cornrows for long could also lead to dry, frizzy and dull hair.
To avoid damage and keep your braids shiny and neat, these tips will help: Choose your stylist wisely: Ensure your cornrows are done by someone who has experience in cornrows. Some stylists have hands that are quite painful; avoid them as they make tight cornrows, which are likely to pull the hair out from the roots, mostly around the edges.
Washing: As much as possible, avoid washing your hair while it is cornrowed as this makes them get spoilt fast. If you must wash, wear a net cap before shampooing. Thoroughly wet the hair through the net. Get a mild shampoo; put a small amount on the palms and press all over the head pressing the shampoo in as much as possible. Mild shampoo will not strip your hair of oils even as it cleanses your scalp. Let the shampoo stay on for a few minutes before you rinse it off using cool water. Ensure the soap is completely rinsed out.
Conditioning: This reduces breakage when you undo the cornrows. Do this on a regular basis. You could use rinse-off conditioner or leave-in. Dilute the rinse-off conditioner so that it is easier to use between the hair. When it is diluted, it is easier to rinse off. When not diluted, the heavy conditioner may lead to build-up between the hair tracks and residual will dry white, making the hair look untidy.
With leave-in conditioner, you can apply it at least twice a week. To guard against damage and bad smell from the hair, use braid sheen in adequate amounts.
Moisturising: This should be done on a regular basis. They mostly come in spray sheens. Avoid oil-based moisturisers when in cornrows. The oils will only sit on the top of the hair leaving you with oily hair. Instead, use natural oil-based moisturisers that prevent dryness and dandruff.
Moisturisers with oils like olive and jojoba are the best. Use adequate amounts, focusing on the scalp to minimise itching.
Go satin: Any woman needs a satin pillowcase or cap to protect the hair’s moisture level. It safeguards against moisture stripping. Cotton pillows will most likely soak up your hair’s moisture, leaving you with split ends and thinning hair. If using a cap, choose one that fits comfortably to avoid headaches. Wrapping your head before you go to bed will avoid frizz and breakage.
Protect your cornrows from harsh weather conditions by wearing a hat or scarf when exposed to windy, rainy or sunny weather.
Avoid brushing and pulling the cornrows and allow your scalp time to rest and repair. Rough handling of cornrows can lead to damage.