There’s something inherently cool about cornrow styles for women. On natural hair textures, they’re an effective protective option, as well as a fun, sassy hairstyle rich in cultural heritage. On other hair types, they’re a great spin on your regular braid and provides textural interest to an updo.
Nowadays, a lot of looks that feature cornrow styles for women are also considered Dutch braids or boxer braids. This is particularly true when worn outside of the natural hair community. Our inner obsessive-compulsive can’t help but love the neat, symmetrical look of cornrows, and love how they amp up an otherwise bare ponytail base as well.
Cornrows are a traditional African style worn by females and males. Many wear their hair in this braided style as an homage to the tradition, as a protective hairstyle, or simply just for the look. Whatever your reason for trying your hand at the look is your choice. Read on to get inspired by these cool cornrow braid styles below:
1. Cornrows with High Bun
Teamed with a high bun, cornrows for women look exceptionally fashionable. To achieve the look, blend the braids with loose hair to form a texturized chignon that can sit high on the crown (weave the braids downwards till your nape, and you’ll have to wear a lower bun instead). Leave a few tendrils loose at the side to soften the look, and slick down your edges with some hairspray.
2. Helmet Plait
Definitely directional, this is a cornrow that snakes around your head and connects to a unicorn cornrow at the middle, effectively forming a helmeted look. It’s a daring version to try if you’re all about that fashion-forward life. Not only reserved for the high runways, we love this big cornrows style especially during festival season. It’s a bit medieval, a bit boho, and all-out confident. Leave the ends loose or tie them together in a low ponytail.
3. Low Bun
A sporty take on the more fashion-y high bun, cornrows with a low bun are crisp and no-nonsense. The three-section version features more hair per section and gives each plait a thicker, fuller look. To achieve, create three sections—left, middle and right—and begin creating your cornrow with a Dutch-braiding technique (cross each strip under the middle strip). Continue until you run out of scalp near the neckline, and tie all plaits together into one low chignon.
4. Threaded Cornrow Hairstyle
Adding embellishments, such as beads, threads or woven-in ribbons, are a nifty way to jazz up cornrows for women. These tiny accessories pack quite a cute punch and give a bit of an indie, boho feel to the look. They’re especially on-point for the beach or during the summer, where hairstyles take on a slightly whimsical, more playful feel. You can DIY this hairstyle with a knitting needle after you’ve created your plaits, and then wrap the thread around the plait, ballet-shoe-style, once you’ve passed the nape.
5. Side Cornrows Hairstyle
Wearing cornrows on one side of your head is a clever way to mimic a shaven or undercut look without the commitment. This is a cool option to try if you’re new to the style, or if you want a subtler take. Great with voluminous, almost faux-hawky volume on top, have your cornrow snake under and across your hairline, secure with a tiny hair tie, and pin under your opposite ear.
6. Middle Cornrow Braided Ponytail
To create this chic runway cornrow style, blow-dry your hair until straight. Prep clean hair with TRESemmé Get Sleek Heat Protection Spray to ensure you’ll get a sleek and super straight finish.
Release your top section and create a skinny part. Begin to plait hair into a thin French braid all the way to the ends. If you have slippery hair, use a molding wax to help create grip (we like Bed Head by TIGI Wax Stick). Continue this process until the entire section is braided then wrap the ends of your braids around the base of your ponytail and pin in place then set your style with hair spray.