Do Cornrows Hurt

Cornrows are one of the most flamboyant hairstyles of today’s time. However, most people do not get completely right, increasing the scepticism regarding the hairstyle. Well, do they put too much pressure on your head, do they hurt? Let us find out.

Are cornrows uncomfortable

Are cornrows uncomfortable

Cornrows are uncomfortable for those who have worn the style over an itchy scalp. Wearing such a sophisticated hairstyle on a dry scalp will not only cause itchiness but also inflammation.

Whether the style is feeling out of place on your head is revolved around the health of your scalp. The problem is not limited to a dry or itchy scalp, having a sensitive scalp, in general, is going to cause discomfort. 

The cornrows need to be tight in order to keep the style compact, but this in turn causes some pain on the scalp. It is key to ensure the style is installed properly, with the utmost attention. Get it done by a stylist if you feel you will mess it up. 

What do cornrows feel like

What do cornrows feel like

Cornrows are super-tight braids that start right from the root of your hair strands from the scalp. Since they are in such close proximity to the roots, they directly pull your hair follicles. This gives a feeling of stretch and in worse cases, pain.

However, it is not possible to achieve the right look with cornrows by keeping them loose. You might opt out of the style before you had calculated, to relax your scalp. A sustained amount of pressure could lead to long-term and irreversible issues. 

Why do cornrows hurt

Why do cornrows hurt

Yes, it is necessary to keep the cornrows tight, but a piece of wrong information needs to be addressed. There is no truth in the statement that the tighter the cornrows, the better it is, and the longer they will last. 

The constant stretching of your delicate hair during the time of installation is the predominant reason for them hurting. And most people do not have a fully optimum scalp condition, which also caters to the pain.  

Note: The pain might fade away within a few days of installation.

The careless installation will not only hurt your scalp, but it will cause severe hair fall or hair breakage. Not only that, but delay in treating them could also lead to something as bad as traction alopecia, albeit, you can fix that with natural methods. 

And another undermined reason for cornrows to hurt is wearing them for a prolonged period of time. You should not hold on to your cornrows for more than a few weeks, otherwise, you will feel the pain, and also lose a lot of hair. 

Having a migraine will only add to your problem. Your cornrows will seem to hurt more in conjunction with your headaches. 

How do you loosen tight cornrows quickly

loosen tight cornrows quickly

A shower with lukewarm water can help immensely. It will soothe your scalp, and also loosen the cornrows a bit. But if you are not alright with warm water on your scalp, then you can rub your scalp on the areas that are hurting. 

Before you install this hairstyle, you should always be aware of these potential problems. Only then you should be committing your money and preciously delicate hair to the style. 

How to relieve pain from tight cornrows

relieve pain from tight cornrows

Apply warm, or normal oil on your scalp. Doing so will relieve the pain, as well as add nutrients to the scalp, which would treat the dryness and itchiness of your scalp. 

Or, you can go the other way around. If warm oil does not suit you, then you can opt for cold oil. Take some oil in a bowl, and put that in the refrigerator for five to ten minutes. Take that out and apply that cold oil on your scalp.

The same applies to the point of lukewarm water. If it doesn’t suit, washing your cornrows with cold water can also give you calmness. You just have to figure out which way you are comfortable with. 

And finally, you can use leave-in-conditioners, like the Creme of Nature’s Argan Oil 7-in-1 Leave-In-Conditioner.  

Maintaining cornrow hairstyles: the best practices

Maintaining cornrow
  • Regularly wash your hair, but not too frequently. Doing so will strip off your hair from the natural oils and moisture it generates.
  • Use a pH-balancing shampoo or a good serum to remove the yeast and dandruff that are causing the inflammation and pain on your scalp.
  • Do not wear your cornrows for too long, uninstall them a few weeks later. Two to four weeks is the ideal length you can sustain it, beyond this, it can get risky.
  • Wearing the cornrows for a long span of time will create soreness in the region of the roots. This will also make your hair more used to that position. As a result, when you try to go back to normal, your scalp hurts. This is because your hair got used to the positioning and arrangement of the previous look.
  • Avoid the over-usage of hairstyling products, they close the hair follicles and pores, leading to dryness and itchiness. They also damage the natural texture of your hair.
  • Avoid hair colour and hair bleaches. They not only ruin your hair and scalp’s health, but they also cause skin diseases. 


Can cornrows cause headaches?

Yes, they can. The constant pull the follicles of your hair remain in due to the style can easily accumulate to a headache. 

How long does it take for cornrows to loosen up?

There is no specific time by which you can expect them to loosen up. It depends on the situation of your hair. If your scalp or hair’s condition is not that bad, it may loosen up fast. If they are too bad, then it may take some time. 

Related Articles:

  • Were Cornrows Used as Maps: How Hairstyles Saved Lives
  • History Of Cornrows in Slavery
  • Who Invented Cornrows
  • History Of Cornrows
  • History of Braids in Slavery


None of us has everything perfect. But we should also not shy away from the problems we have. Cornrows are great, but you do not wear them if they don’t suit you. Keeping your hair healthy will open up a lot more styling options. 

By Cindy Mahlangu

Hey there! I'm Cindy Mahlangu, a pro hairstylist with a serious passion for natural hair care. My mission? To inspire and educate others on the beauty and benefits of protective hairstyles. Through my creative writing, aim to empower individuals to embrace their unique hair texture and confidently care for their locks. So, whether you're rocking locs, braids, or twists, join me on this hair journey and let's achieve healthy, fabulous tresses together!

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