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 and find out how to create cornrows yourself:
What are cornrows?
Let’s Break it Down
Cornrows are tight, 3 strand braids that are braided very close to the scalp. The 3D look of cornrows is achieved by weaving the strands under the center section instead of over. This is similar to a dutch braid.
Cornrows are much more than a hairstyle, originating in Africa thousands of years ago (there’s evidence of them as far back as 3000 BC). Historically, braids have held a lot of meaning with different styles and patterns reflecting a person’s religion, relationship status, and ranking within their community.
Many celebrities have worn cornrows recently, which has sparked lots of commentary and discussions about this style in mainstream media.
How to Do Cornrows
Step 1: Wash your strands.
Start by washing your hair with the Love Beauty And Planet Hope & Repair Coconut Oil & Ylang Ylang Shampoo and Conditioner and comb through to remove tangles.
Step 2: Section your hair.
Next, section off your hair to create a vertical row from front to back of your head. Using a tail comb will make this easiest.
Editor’s tip: More sections equal smaller braids, larger sections will create bigger braids.
Step 3: Divide hair to start braiding.
Starting at the front of your row, take a small section of hair, and divide this small section into 3 equal pieces.
Step 4: Begin braiding.
Now that you have your hair divided, start the braid by crossing the left or right strand under the center strand and then repeating with the outer strand from the other side.
Step 5: Repeat step four.
Now, you’ll want to keep repeating step 4. However, this time, add in additional hair to each side from underneath as you weave. Do this until you’ve reached the base of your neck.
Step 6: Start a three-strand braid.
Once you don’t have anymore hair to add from underneath, continue to do a traditional 3-strand braid until you reach the end of your hair.
Step 7: Secure with an elastic.
To make sure your braid stay secured, finish off the ends with a knot or secure with an elastic.
Step 8: Repeat steps two – seven.
Continue step 2-7 until all of your hair is braided.
Step 9: Smooth edges.
Using a gel, like Emerge Style Goals Gel, smooth edges down with a toothbrush.
The Best Cornrow Styles for Women
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. Classic Cornrow Styles
You can never go wrong opting for a classic cornrow style like this. If you want to add extra flair, try adding metal beads to your braids.
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 braids, and then wrap the thread around the braid, 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. This style is 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, start with freshly washed hair. We love using Love Beauty and Planet Sulfate-Free Delightful Detox Charcoal & Bergamot Shampoo and Conditioner. We love this set because it helps purify and remove build-up from your hair and scalp.
Release your top section and create a skinny part. Begin to braid 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, 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.
7. Slicked Back Cornrows
Even if you have short hair, you can still sport cornrow styles. This is a great option if you want to get your hair slicked back, out of your face. Plus, this is a perfect style for warmer months!
8. Blonde Cornrows Style
Do you have dyed hair? Make your color pop–literally. Use thick cornrow styles to show off your colored strands.
9. Cornrow Mohawk
Feeling adventurous? Try doing cornrows up the sides of your head to create a mohawk style.
10. Cornrow Top Knot
Adding cornrows to the base of your top knot can make a basic style a lot more interesting!
11. Cornrows With Extensions
Sick of waiting for your hair to grow? Use extensions to achieve the long hair you’ve always wanted.
12. Cornrow Ponytail
13. Ghana Cornrows
Wearing a weave helps you create the thick appearance of Ghana braids.
14. Cornrow Updo
An updo like this is a go-to for so many when you need to keep your hair out of your face.
15. Big Cornrows
Don’t have time to spend a long time braiding your hair? Opt for big braids instead.
16. Cornrow Braid Styles
Use your cornrows to create space buns.
17. Side Cornrows
This is the perfect day-to-night look.
18. African Cornrows
Give your beads an African twist by adding beading details.
19. Cornrow Plaits
For a more voluminous look, only do three cornrows in your hair. This will allow for fuller-looking braids.
20. Cornrow Wig
Do you want to try out a lot of different styles and switch your look often? Wigs
21. Basic Cornrows
You can’t beat a simple cornrow style.
22. Cornrows in a Bun
For a sleek look that’s easy to do, bull all of your cornrows into a bun.
23. Half Head Cornrows
Half cornrows allow you to have a lot of versatility with your hair. You can wear it down, in a sleek ponytail, and many other updos too!
24. Cornrow Hairstyles With Beads
Give your cornrows some extra flair by adding beads.
25. Half Cornrows
This half updo style allows you to show off your length, while keeps strands out of your have with intricate braiding.
26. Blonde Cornrows
You can easily do this cornrows style yourself. Plus, you’ll have gorgeous heatless curls when you take it out, what can be better than that?
27. Cornrow Kinky Twists Styles
If you’re in need of a new look, try this kinky cornrow twist.
28. Feed-in Cornrows
Feed-in cornrows are a go-to style for a lot of natural-haired women because you can easily add length and thickness.
29. Cornrow Hairstyles To The Side
From perfectly laid baby hair to curly ends, this style is 100% approved.
30. Mohawk Cornrow Styles
If you’ve always wanted to try a mohawk, but are scared to fully shave the sides of your head, we totally understand. A mohawk cornrow style is perfect for you! This gives you the same effect without the commitment.
31. Jumbo Cornrows With Extensions
The thicker the braid, the better!
32. Red Cornrows
Get creative with your cornrows by switching up the color.
33. Mohican Cornrow Hairstyles
Make your mohawk cornrow style stand out even more. We love this boho take on the look.
34. Double Cornrow Style
Try this on-trend double braid look. Braid your hair the night before to save time getting ready in the morning.
35. Tight Cornrows
These tight side-swept cornrows instantly give you such a sleek look.
36. African Design With Beads
Grab some inspo from your favorite celebrities and add beads to the ends of your braids.
37. Cornrow Crown Braids
This braided halo cornrow style is perfect for any special occasion–even a wedding!
38. Cornrow Ponytail With Bangs
Make your cornrow ponytail look even better by adding braided side bangs.
39. Unicorn Cornrows
Similar to unicorn braids, this cornrows style uses just the front section of your hair to create three tighter braids.
40. Fishbone Cornrow Styles
Use your cornrows to create unique patterns like this fishbone one.
41. Cornrows With Singles In The Back
When you mix cornrows and single braids, you get the dreamiest look ever.
42. Half Cornrows Half Afro
Create a faux undercut look by using cornrows.
43. Pink Cornrows
Side cornrows are one of the most popular ways to style the look right now. Try switching up the trend by adding a bold color link bright pink.
44. Micro Cornrows
These micro cornrows will definitely be popular among your friends. Feel free to add extensions for extra length.
45. Tribal Cornrows
We’re obsessed with this traditional cornrows style.
46. Pigtail Cornrows With Extensions
With the help of extensions, anyone can achieve this look!
47. Side Cornrows With Weave
Adding a weave will give your braid a thicker look.
48. Thick Extensions
Make your cornrows look even cooler with braiding extensions.