Cornrows styles: Everything you need to know

Still don’t know your cornrows from your French plaits? Don’t worry. Read our essential guide to discover everything you need to know about cornrow braids.  

Let’s be honest, sifting through a copious amount of braid pics on the Internet to figure out what exactly cornrow styles are (or what makes them different from a French braid) can lead to a lot of confusion.

And if you’re still unsure, don’t worry. We’re here to tell you everything you need to know about cornrow braids and answer all the questions you’ve always wanted to ask.

Your definitive guide to cornrow hairstyles is just a scroll away…

A black and white close-up of canerows/cornrows on black hair
Do you prefer canerows or cornrows?

What are cornrows?

It can be rather confusing when the terms cornrows and canerows are used interchangeably. But no need to panic: they’re basically all the same thing. Cornrow looks are a type of flat plait that originates from Africa and the Caribbean.

As you may have guessed, the name comes from their appearance, similar to rows of cane or corn. However, just to make things even more confusing, you might hear people refer to two cornrows as boxer braids. This is because it’s become a firm fave with female boxers (remember Maggie Fitzgerald played by Hillary Swank in the film Million Dollar Baby?).

Why is everyone talking about them?

Even though cornrow braids aren’t a brand new hairstyle, they’ve definitely gained new popularity with A-listers and fashionistas. The likes of Kim Kardashian and crew, Hailey Baldwin, singers Katy Perry, FKA Twigs, and Rita Ora are all devotees of cornrow hairstyles.

cornrow hairstyles: cornrows looks work on long or short hair
Cornrow styles work on long or short hair. Credit:

How to style them

We know cornrows can look rather difficult, but don’t let their intricate appearance intimidate you: it’s easier than you think! In fact, it’s close relative to the Dutch braid (also known as the inverted French braid).

Can cornrows damage your hair?

Good news: this hairstyle is a great option if you’re looking for a protective ‘do and can create a beautiful braid out.

Just remember to be gentle with your tresses and not to make your plaits too tight, as you don’t want to end up with a tension headache or even worse, hair loss!

A black girl with cute cornrows and space buns
There is just so much you can do with cornrows! Credit: Verity Jane Smith

Should you try it?

The short answer is yes! Spotted on the street and the catwalks, this braid is a low-maintenance, practical, and durable style that works on a variety of hair lengths and types.

It’s also a hairstyle that allows for a lot of individuality: you can opt for chunky, pigtail cornrows, play around with multiple rows, or bravely experiment with different partings and shapes. Now, the real question is: will you try them out this season?


Still need some convincing to rock this braided style? Well, we just so happen to have some cornrow hairstyles to inspire you. Trust us you don’t want to miss this.

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