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Home arrow Beauty arrow Hair arrow Cornrows for Natural Hair Growth: Are There Any Benefits?

Cornrows for Natural Hair Growth: Are There Any Benefits?

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by Isabel Mayfield
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: May 15, 2023
6 min read 956 Views 0 Comments
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Cornrows are a protective hairstyle that’s low maintenance and aesthetically pleasing. But can it also promote hair growth? Keep reading to learn more.

cornrows for natural hair growth

Finding new ways to promote healthy hair growth is a top priority for many men and women. They may turn to topical products or hair supplements to do so, not realizing the important part that hairstyles can also play in the equation.

Cornrows are a protective hairstyle, meaning they keep the hair tucked away and safe from environmental stressors. Aside from being beautiful to look at, they also pose several benefits for hair, which we will discuss in more detail below. 

Do Cornrows Help With Natural Hair Growth?

Although no evidence suggests that protective hairstyles like cornrows help boost hair growth, they can keep your hair healthy while it grows. Protective braids shield hair from sun and other environmental stressors and prevent damage that could be caused by using a straightener or blow-dryer.

It’s important to remember that using cornrows for natural hair growth will only enhance your hair health if you follow proper braid maintenance, which we will cover in greater detail below.

5 Benefits of Cornrows for Hair

Installing protective hairstyles like cornrows not only promotes healthy hair growth but can also provide some equally desirable benefits related to overall scalp health, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.

#1 Reduce hair breakage

Hair breakage is caused by several things, including using heat for styling, brushing and combing it, and going out in the sun. And while using protective braids can’t shield your hair from everything bad for it, they can help prevent breakage, especially at the roots and tips.

As long as you don’t braid your hair too tightly, braiding hair can protect it from heat, brushes, and environmental stress, keeping it healthy and strong as it grows.

#2 Protect the scalp

Cornrows, as long as installed correctly and well-maintained, can also help protect the scalp. Brushing your hair, especially when it’s thick or kinky, can put unnecessary pressure on the hair follicles and sometimes even cause irreparable damage. 

Excessive heat from blow-drying hair can also damage the scalp’s surface, which won’t be necessary if your hair is in well-kept braids.

#3 Prevent tension alopecia 

Box braids are another popular protective hairstyle that involves braiding many smaller, thinner braids, starting at the root and going through to the tip. 

While this style also offers some protective benefits, it places more stress on the scalp since a smaller piece of scalp is required to support longer hair strands – especially when used with synthetic hair, which is a common practice for box braids.

Too much pulling and tension on the scalp is not good for the hair follicles and can cause them to shrink, break, and in extreme cases, result in total hair loss.

A benefit of cornrows is that, as long as they’re not braided too tightly, they put less stress on the scalp and spread the pressure of supporting the hair more evenly over the scalp. 

#4 Low-maintenance

Unlike loose, natural hair, which requires more regular washing and styling, cornrows can be worn without daily brushing and styling using heat. You can also wear them for longer periods of time before your hair starts looking greasy.

Because of this, your hair can be left to grow with little to no intervention and can even make getting ready in the morning significantly faster since your hair requires no styling.

#5 Enhance hair growth

Although cornrows won’t necessarily speed up natural hair growth, they can help keep your hair healthy, allowing you to grow your hair for longer without needing a trim. 

Braids, when installed and maintained correctly, can also enhance the health of the scalp and hair follicles. Because their hair follicles dictate your hair’s growth, the larger and healthier they are, the healthier and thicker your hair will be. 

How to Cornrow Your Hair?

The hardest part of using cornrows for natural hair growth is the actual hair braiding. In this next section, we have written instructions and a video you can follow to get started.

Step 1: Start by washing and conditioning your hair. When you’re done, you can use a leave-in conditioner or hair oil to lock in moisture and make your hair easier to manage. You also have the option to either blow dry your hair or start braiding with damp hair.

Step 2: Next, you’ll part your hair in rows from front to back. You can do a middle part or divide out a row on the top of your head, parting your hair on either side of this top row. Afterward, divide the remaining hair into 1–3 rows on each side, securing them with bobby pins or clips. The more sections you make, the smaller the braids will be. 

Step 3: Then grab all of the hair in one of the sections, and divide it into three equally sized, smaller sections. Grab the outer section of hair on the left and bring it under the center strand, placing it between the center and right sections of hair. Then, take the right section of hair under the left (but now the middle section), placing it in between the other two sections.

Step 4: Repeat this first step, grabbing a small piece of remaining loose hair with your thumb and index finger to add to your section every time you make a braid. 

Step 5: Eventually, you will run out of loose hair and finish the ends of the hair with a simple braid, securing it with a small elastic at the tip.

How to Take Care of Cornrows?

Once your protective style is in, the next step is to keep it clean and well-kept to maximize the potential of cornrows for natural hair growth and ensure the health of your scalp. 

Below are 5 tips that will help you enjoy this hairstyle while mitigating its potential risks.

  • Don’t braid too tight: Many people think that installing tight braids will help with the longevity of their protective style, but the truth is, too-tight braids can cause traction alopecia, which is sometimes irreparable damage to the hair follicles.

Scalp pain that persists for days and bumps surrounding the hairline are two signs that your braids are too tight.

  • Keep your scalp clean: It’s recommended that you wash your cornrows every 7–10 days to remove oil and product buildup that may be lingering on your scalp. When washed, apply castor oil to moisturize your scalp and braids.
  • Protect your hair at night: Wearing a satin scarf over your braids, especially at night, can help you maintain their freshness and keep the edges from breakage and frizziness. They can also help lock in moisture, which is helpful if you plan to wear your braids for more than a few days.
  • Don’t forget to moisturize: When wearing braided hair, it’s important that you keep your hair, and especially your scalp, well moisturized. It’s recommended that you apply oil to your scalp twice per day and your braids at least once daily.
  • Take breaks in between: Your cornrows should only be kept in for a maximum of 4–6 weeks. After unbraiding your hair, be sure to give your hair a break of at least 1–2 days, up to a week for styles involving synthetic hair.

FAQs

How long to keep cornrows in for hair?

It’s recommended to leave cornrows in for a maximum of 2–8 weeks, but this will depend on the braid’s condition and how well you cared for your hair while it was in its protective hairstyle.

What can happen if cornrows are kept for too long?

Keeping cornrows in for too long can actually do more harm than good. This is because it can lead to unwanted buildup that damages the scalp, and the new hair growth can place pressure on the hair, leading to hair breakage.

A Word From a Trichologist

Although cornrow braids can be used to promote hair growth and improve the health of your natural hair, it’s important to be aware of the level of care that’s required to keep your braids healthy.

Cornrow braids are technically lower maintenance and can help you get away with styling and washing your hair less, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t still require daily attention.

Leaving your braids too long between washes or not using oil on them daily can lead to a flakey, irritated scalp that actually hinders hair growth. And exceeding eight weeks of recommended wear can put unnecessary tension on your scalp.

If you decide to install braids, ensure you intend to keep them healthy and well-maintained throughout their entire wear and have the proper tools to do so.

Conclusion

Although installing cornrows won’t boost your natural hair growth, it can provide many other benefits that will make growing long, healthy hair significantly easier – so long as you practice proper braid maintenance. 

Perks like being low maintenance, protecting your hair from heat and other environmental stressors, and enhancing scalp health can all make a significant difference in your hair journey.

Written by Isabel Mayfield
Isabel Mayfield is a certified yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. She is passionate about self-improvement and loves to help people improve their sense of self-worth through education and support in meeting their fitness goals.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by Isabel Mayfield
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: May 15, 2023
6 min read 956 Views 0 Comments
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