How to do Cornrow Braids. History and popular designs

July 10, 2016 — by MCutts4

Cornrow hairstyles for men

Braids are considered as one of the most comfortable, creative and gorgeous hairstyles. This kind of a hairdo gives you unlimited opportunities for experiments with the personal look. Cornrow braids traditionally are done close to the scalp and create various rows. This unique and original hairstyle can create complex ornaments made of geometrical textured lines. Moreover, cornrows can be beautifully decorated with shells, beads or whatever you like. This kind of hairdo requires careful treatment such as washing and oiling that should be done right. But overall, it’s really comfortable and easy to maintain, requires almost no styling on a daily basis.

History of cornrow hairstyles

History of cornrow braiding

Cornrow styles, also known as canerows in the Caribbean, are a traditional hairstyle for many African tribes. The main feature of this hairdo is that locks are braided very close to the scalp with the use of upward motion that creates long and raised rows. It is mostly popular because of it is really easy and simple to take care of. The cornrows may last for many weeks and that is why Africans quite often opted for this gorgeous ‘do. Both men and women used to wear it in the past and successfully wear it at modern times.

However, according to specialists, cornrow braids were widely spread all around the world during the ancient times. It is known that Stone Age women from Sahara Tassili Plateau wore this kind of hairdo in 3000 B.C. The tradition of cornrow styles for women was really popular throughout all the African history, especially in the Horn of Africa and West Africa. At the same time male cornrow hairstyles appeared in early nineteenth century to Ethiopia. Local kings like Yohannes IV and Tewodros II successfully wore this kind of hairdo.

Cornrows history
Egyptian braids
Braiding in africa
Egypt women

In Africa scalp braids also were used in order to demonstrate social status, religion, age, kinship, ethnicity etc. All of these features can be showed by a haircut. Moreover, the act of braiding is symbolic and important itself. It beautifully demonstrates the ties of different generations, friendship bonds etc.

African cornrows hairstyles

There was a massive comeback of the cornrow hairstyles in 60’s and 70’s. NBA basketball player Allen Iverson played a significant role in bringing the hairdo back to lifestyle and fashion. However, scalp braids were considered controversial in the United States and have caused several huge disputes. Actually, it was prohibited for workers to wear cornrows in the workplace. Civil rights groups and employees considered it as a cultural bias. Many of those disputes have resulted in litigations. Nowadays cornrows hair are very popular among people of various ages, ethnicities, religion, cultures and sexes. Please notice that many modern professional sportsmen like basketball, tennis, baseball or soccer players opt for this hairdo and rock it with flawlessly.

How to braid cornrows


If you want to get an ideal hairdo then look for a hairdresser who knows how to do cornrows right. However if you are dedicated enough you can try braiding yourself. But remember: only practice makes perfect.

Usually the cornrows are braided on a freshly washed tresses but it’s up to you. The first step is parting hair in separate parts. It can be symmetrical or asymmetrical. Use a big mirror to see your head from both sides and behind. Once the section is separated, apply some high quality conditioner, oil reconstructer and black custard oil on it. Spread generously the products on the length of your locks and the custard oil to the roots.

The next step is braiding itself. Separate a small section and divide it in three smaller parts. For inexperienced people braiding their own hair may be a little tricky but as soon as you understand the process it will turn out very easy. You will get quicker as you learn. In order to create braids in a traditional way always take tresses from underneath. Specialist recommend not to rush yourself and take some time while you are learning how to cornrow. Enjoy the process after all! Professional hairdressers need from 1.5 to 3 hours for the whole braiding depending on the individual hair parameters of every client. From time to time finger comb the locks to get out any knots. After you’re done with first half go ahead and finish with the second. Remember that the bigger separate sections you use to braid a cornrow the wider the final result will be. If you want to create small braids then take less hair. In order to lay down any fly aways cover the hairdo with silk or satin scarf and go to bed. In the morning the hairstyle you’ve created will be really flawless.

Now you know how to cornrow using these tips and basic steps of the exciting process. Then go ahead and experiment with the length and wideness of the cornrows, try various designs. However if you feel that it’s too complicated or takes too much time – leave it to the professional barber.

Popular cornrow hairdos

Popular cornrow hairstyles

Here you can check out various stylish cornrow hairdos that are a hot trend of 2016. Try different fresh options and find out which one is the best for you. Knowing your head and face shape allows to choose styles that will definitely look good.

Rapper style

Rapper haircuts

This look considered as one of the most recognizable. It was extremely popular back in early 2000’s as many famous rappers like Jim Jones, Xzibit etc. used to wear it. However today it’s fancy again so go ahead and try on this super cool style yourself.

Symmetrical parting

Cornrow styles for men

Symmetrical cornrows parting is a traditional way of styling scalp braids. This kind of cornrows for men appears very neat and elegant. It can be successfully worn as a part of office style if the dress code isn’t too strict. Try this look with classic costumes or even with casual clothes.

Cornrows with Afro

Afro cornrow styles

Combining various haircuts is definitely trendy in 2016. It is perfect for men with naturally curly hair texture. The front side of the head is cornrows and small Afro can be worn at the back side. This hairdo looks gorgeous and requires almost no extra styling.

Complicated ornament

Cornrows designs hairstyles

If you like complicated ornament designs then totally opt for this hairdo. It looks creative and stylish. Moreover, you can ask your hairdresser to create an exclusive design that no one else is wearing. Make sure that mostly small braids are used, because they allow adding extra intricate details.

Stylish Zig Zag

Zig zag cornrows styles

Cornrows for men allow you to experiment a lot with the design. Although traditional type is the most popular and widely worn, there are unique variants that will help you to stand out and get noticed. This hairstyle combines straight-lined braids with zig zag parts. The contrast of these two types of geometrical lines appears to be fresh and original.

Androgynous bob style

Micro braid bob

This haircut looks great for both men and women. The peak of its popularity was back in 90’s, thanks to fashion icons Maxine from ‘Lining Single’ and Jada Pinkett. Today it’s still trendy yet looks very unique. This bob hairdo suits well for people of different ethnicities and allows creating contemporary and hot apperanace.

Cornrow swirls

Pictures of scalp braids

If you are not into classic cornrows braids then you will definitely like this option. These creative and trendy swirls will become a significant and outstanding part of your personal style. All the lines together look like a intricate and complicated ornament that decorates the head. That’s a very casual hairstyle that goes well for most face shapes, so try it yourself!

Cornrows and Mohawk

Mohawk cornrows hairstyles

Well this one is really fierce! If you are looking for creative and artistic hairstyle that expresses personal point of view. It combines extremely trendy Mohawk with sexy cornrows. This gorgeous mix has a wonderful casual and heavy metal attitude. Looks good for people of any nationality.

Cross shaped design


As you may know geometrical shapes are a hot topic in modern design. So make sure you’ve tried this X-shaped scalp braids ornament. There are few rows of braids that start on the left and the right sides of the head. They go to the opposite direction diagonally and create multiple crosses at the top.

Cornrows into bun

Cornrow bun hairstyles

If you are a proud owner of long locks and would like to try unique cornrow hairdo then go for this one. Ask your hairdresser to create cornrows at the top of your head and leave short bristle at the sides. Then you can make a lovely man bun out of the long cornrows. Some extra short facial hair will make the look really balanced, masculine and trendy. You can also decorate long braids with beautiful beads made of natural materials like wood.

Beckham inspired look

David Beckham cornrows

David Beckham is a well known not only for his successful soccer career, he’s a trend setter with a great taste. Check out this short cornrow braided look that David rocked back in 2003. It became really popular in England since then. The variant is very universal so people of any skin color may try it. Notice that Beckham opted for medium sized braids that look just fine on his head shape.

Money sign design

Unique cornrow designs

Now this is a very cool-looking cornrows hairdo. The whole dollar sign is made of braids that are done creatively. This may be not the best style for work cause your boss might not like it, however, if you have artistic soul then sport this look fearlessly!

Blonde cornrows

Blonde cornrows

Blonde big cornrows suits really well for black men because it contrasts with the skin color. However, guys with fair skin may also experiment with this hairstyle. If you are a fan of Chris Brown’s or Fetty Wap’s style then totally try this bleached blonde scalp braids. The design is completely up to you, it can be either complicated or very simple.

Allen Iverson Style

Allen Iverson cornrows

Allen Ezail Iverson is a famous basketball player from Hampton, Virginia. He has a distinctive hairstyle and is also known for wearing various trendy cornrows since 1997. This winding scalp braids style is not only very practical, it appears to be fresh, simple yet gorgeous.

Allen Iverson's cornrows

This man enjoys experimenting with various cornrow hairdos. Allen wears both complicated designs and simple hairstyles. Once he sported straight-lined scalp braids, that actually look very minimalistic yet attractive. You may also try this one, make sure you have added a cool headband to the overall appearance.

Allen Iverson braids

However, the sportsman also have opted for more sophisticated variant like this one. His hairstyle is made of lots arch-lined cornrow braids. The impression is very fresh, careless and masculine at the same time. The design of Allen’s cornrows suits his face shape really well. So make sure you’ve chosen the hairstyle right and it compliments you.

Allen Iverson Braids Styles

One of the most appealing Allen Iverson’s hairstyles combines both straight and S-shaped braids lines. They look very harmonious together and create a really unique and outstanding style. When experimenting with Allen-inspired appearances please stay true to yourself and don’t blindly copy him. You want to express exactly your character so develop personal look, using the famous sportsman as an inspiration.

Intricate cornrow design for kids

Cornrow hairstyles for kids

Kids cornrows are definitely a good choice. It’s creative enough so the boy will draw attention of classmates and friends. This variant of scalp braids has one center that is located slightly at the side of the head. Corn rows start there and go to the sides like sun beams. They are straight at the beginning but then turn into zig zag motion. The overall look is very original and expressive. However you can vary the design as the kid prefers. Just consult your hairdresser to create what the boy wants.

Stylish S-lines for boys

Cornrow designs for guys picture gallery

The S-shaped braid lines channel a wonderful feeling of organic design. Because of circular head shape they appear to be very harmonious and contemporary. The modern look will be appreciated by kid’s peers and he will be definitely considered as an outstanding and artistic person.

Geometrical design

Cornrow designs for men

The use of geometrical shapes is one of the hottest trends of modern hair design and styling. That’s why this variant is a great choice for kids of any age. Squared lines create a gorgeous labyrinth made of small corn rows. The look is really up-to-date and refreshing.

Modern cornrow braids are worn by people of various skin color, sexes, races and ages. It’s a very comfortable way of styling your hair no matter what is your texture. There are few haircare routines that are necessary for keeping it shiny, healthy and always gorgeous. So if you’ve chosen cornrows then make sure that you wash and moisturize your locks properly. It is necessary if you want to enjoy the look. This hairstyle gives lots of opportunities for fashion experiments, so go ahead and try new exciting looks right now!

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