How to Take Care of Cornrows: Essential Tips for Maintenance

To take care of cornrows, avoid excessive pulling and friction, moisturize your scalp, and gently wash and condition your hair regularly. Proper maintenance is key to keeping your cornrows looking fresh and preventing damage.

Cornrows are a popular hairstyle that involves braiding the hair close to the scalp in straight or curved lines. This style is not only versatile and trendy, but it also requires special care to maintain its neat and polished appearance.

Whether you’re new to cornrows or looking for ways to improve your hair care routine, understanding how to properly care for this style is essential. By following a few simple steps, you can keep your cornrows looking great and minimize the risk of damage to your hair and scalp. We will discuss the best practices for taking care of cornrows and keeping your hair healthy and vibrant.

Introduction To Cornrows

Cornrows are a traditional hairstyle where the hair is braided close to the scalp in straight rows. This classic hairstyle is created by braiding the hair close to the scalp in neat, even rows.

People with all kinds of hair types and textures can wear this style, and it’s both practical and stylish. Individuals can customize cornrows with different patterns, thicknesses, and lengths to express their creativity.

You can add beads, cuffs, or colorful extensions to this hairstyle. Besides protecting the hair from harsh elements, cornrows minimize the need for daily styling. Cornrows are a popular and timeless hairstyle, whether for cultural reasons or personal preference.

Challenges In Maintaining Cornrows

Maintaining cornrows can present challenges, but with proper care and attention, you can ensure they stay in great condition. Here are key guidelines to help you maintain your cornrows effectively:

  • Optimal Duration: It is recommended to keep cornrows in for no longer than six weeks. This prevents potential damage to your hair and scalp.
  • Moisturize Constantly: Regularly moisturize your scalp to prevent dryness and itching, which can be uncomfortable and lead to hair issues.
  • Hair Washing: Prior to getting your cornrows done, thoroughly wash your hair to ensure cleanliness and readiness for the hairstyle.
  • Deep Moisturization: Apply deep moisturizing products to your hair to keep it well-nourished and prepared for styling.
  • Hydration is Key: Regularly apply oil to your hair to maintain adequate hydration and minimize breakage.
  • Silk or Satin Covering: Protect your hair while sleeping by covering it with a satin or silk scarf or using a silk pillowcase. This reduces friction and helps maintain the style.
  • Clean Scalp: To maintain a clean and healthy environment, remove any flakes or buildup from your scalp.
  • Avoid Straining Hairstyles: Be cautious of hairstyles that put excessive strain on your scalp, as this can cause damage to both your hair and scalp.

Importance Of Hair Care

Taking care of your hair, especially when you have cornrows, is crucial for maintaining their appearance and ensuring the health of your scalp. Here are some important steps to follow:

1. Keeping The Scalp Clean

Proper Scalp Cleansing

Use a gentle shampoo like Nguvu Black Soap Shampoo to keep your scalp clean and free of dirt and buildup.

Cornrows can be drying, so regularly moisturize your hair. Apply a leave-in conditioner or hair oil to maintain hair hydration. Don’t forget to moisturize your scalp as well.

Frequency Of Washing Cornrows

Aim to wash your cornrows every 1-2 weeks to keep them clean and fresh. Use a sulfate-free shampoo and lukewarm water to cleanse your scalp and hair.

Be gentle while washing to avoid damage or frizz. Avoid scrubbing or rubbing your cornrows vigorously.

Rinse thoroughly to remove any product buildup that may occur.

How To Wash Cornrows

  • Begin by wetting your hair with warm water.
  • Apply a small amount of shampoo to your fingertips and gently massage it into your scalp without scratching or pulling on the braids.
  • Rinse out the shampoo thoroughly with warm water.
  • Apply a moisturizing conditioner, focusing on the scalp and the ends of the braids. Leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing.
  • Gently pat your hair dry with a towel, avoiding vigorous rubbing or tugging.
  • Apply a small amount of leave-in conditioner or hair oil to maintain hair moisture and reduce frizz.

Remove Scalp Flakes

To remove scalp flakes, gently sweep a damp cloth between the rows on your scalp once a week.

Refrain from hairstyles that put excessive strain on your scalp.

Do not keep your cornrows for more than six weeks to prevent potential hair damage and promote healthy hair growth.

Dilution Of Shampoo And Conditioner

Dilute your shampoo and conditioner by mixing them with water in a separate container before applying to your hair.

Ensure even distribution of diluted products to prevent buildup.


After getting your cornrows done, rinse your scalp and hair with lukewarm water to remove excess hair products and sweat buildup.

Pat your hair dry with a towel or allow it to air dry, avoiding excessive heat and vigorous rubbing.

Regular rinsing helps keep your cornrows clean and fresh while minimizing the risk of frizz and damage.

Towel Drying

After washing, gently pat your cornrows with a towel to remove excess moisture.

Use a squeezing and blotting technique with the towel to maintain the cornrows’ shape and prevent unraveling.

Towel drying helps speed up the drying process and reduces the risk of mold or mildew growth.

2. Moisturizing Your Hair and Cornrows

To maintain the health and appearance of your cornrows, proper moisturization is crucial. Follow these guidelines for effective hair and cornrow moisturization:

Pre-Cornrow Moisturization

Prior to getting your cornrows, apply a deep moisturizing treatment to prepare your hair. This helps prevent dryness and promotes a healthy scalp.

To prevent dryness, regularly apply hair oil to your cornrows. This nourishes both your hair and scalp. Be consistent with your oiling routine.

Refrain from hairstyles that excessively strain your scalp as they can lead to breakage and discomfort.

Shea Butter Application

Apply shea butter to your scalp to moisturize and nourish it. Shea butter prevents dryness and itchiness.

When applying shea butter, use a squeezing motion to ensure even distribution throughout your scalp.

Consider using mousse to keep your cornrows looking fresh. Apply mousse and set it with a blow dryer to maintain the style and reduce frizz.

Spritzing With Water

To maintain freshness, spritz your cornrows with water. This keeps your scalp hydrated and prevents dryness.

Apply water evenly, avoiding excessive saturation of your hair. Use a spray bottle with a fine mist setting for better control.

Enhance moisture by adding a leave-in conditioner or moisturizing spray. This softens and manages your hair.

Spritz your cornrows daily or as required to keep them adequately moisturized.

Regular Hair Oiling

Maintain your hair’s moisture by regularly applying hair oil. This prevents dryness and keeps your scalp nourished.

Apply oil using a squeezing motion from roots to ends, ensuring even distribution.

Consider using mousse for additional moisture and to preserve your cornrows. After application, set it with a blow dryer for quick drying.

3. Checking for Loose Braids

Taking care of your cornrows involves regular checks for loose braids to maintain their neatness and durability. Follow these steps:

Periodically inspect your cornrows for any loose or unraveling braids. This can occur due to daily activities or hair growth.

Identify loose braids early to prevent them from causing damage or frizz to the rest of your cornrows.

When you spot loose braids, take immediate action to re-braid or secure them. This ensures your cornrows remain tight and maintain their shape.

Checking for loose braids is a vital part of cornrow maintenance, helping to extend their lifespan and keeping your overall look fresh and well-kept.

4. Regular Trims for Cornrows

Proper cornrow care includes regular trims to maintain their appearance and promote healthy hair. Here’s what you need to do:

Trim your cornrows every few weeks to prevent frizz and flyaways. Regular trims help preserve the shape and integrity of your cornrows.

Removing Cornrows with Care

When it’s time to remove your cornrows, doing so with care is essential. Here are the key steps to ensure a gentle and damage-free removal process:

Cornrows should typically be kept in for 2-4 weeks. This timeframe helps prevent any potential damage to your hair and scalp.

To start the removal process, gently un-braid each cornrow. Take your time and avoid pulling or tugging on your hair to prevent breakage.

Apply a natural hair oil or conditioner to your cornrows as you un-braid them. This helps to reduce friction and minimize any hair breakage.

After un-braiding, use your fingers to gently detangle your hair. Start from the tips and work your way up to the roots.

Once all cornrows are removed, wash your hair with a gentle shampoo and conditioner to remove any product buildup and keep your scalp clean.

After washing, deep moisturize your hair and scalp to replenish any lost moisture.


Taking care of cornrows is essential to keep them looking fresh and protect your scalp and hair. One vital aspect is moisturizing your scalp regularly to prevent dryness and itching. Before getting your cornrows done, make sure to wash your hair and deep moisturize it.

Additionally, oiling your hair can help keep it hydrated and prevent breakage. It is important to protect your hair while sleeping to avoid frizz and maintain the hairstyle. Using a do-rag or silk bonnet can help keep your cornrows intact.

Removing flakes on your scalp is crucial to maintain a clean and healthy environment. Gently use a damp cloth to sweep between the rows on the scalp once a week. Avoid hairstyles that put strain on your scalp, and do not keep cornrows for longer than six weeks to prevent hair damage.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your cornrows stay in excellent condition for longer periods. Taking care of your cornrows can help you maintain your desired style and keep your hair healthy and strong.

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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