Many clients with the coming of spring weather want cornrows on straight hair.   If you have never done this it can be challenging to keep them even and not have the hair  swell up after completing them.  To begin, it is always better to have hair at least chin length.  More than that is a bonus and will help immensely to keep the style in place.  I should note here that these challenges apply to all cornrows on straight hair, not exclusively caucasian.  Naturally, certain frizzy hair hold this style better.

Firstly get your equipment together.  You will need:

  • fine-toothed comb, in the hairdressing world we prefer a rat-tail comb.
  • clips, flat ones are best on shorter hair; ¬†I find the duck bill clips slip and slide too often.
  • gel or beeswax for hold; water does not stay really well.
  • small elastic bands; preferably in a color that matches the hair or black.

To know how to cornrow is similar to making a french braid, just smaller.   Part the hair in small lines going towards the back of the head in the beginning.  You can graduate to making designs when you get better.  Take a little gel or beeswax on the fingers before starting the braid and apply it along the braid.  The most important thing to remember is to keep the tension all through the length of the braid.  If you loosen your tension, the braid will have puffy sections and will be a bit uneven.










If you find it difficult the first few times this is quite normal. ¬† I advise my clients who have girls to practice on dolls to get it right before annoying their kids. ¬†If you are pregnant and not sure what you will have, practice on a doll while watching TV just in case. ¬†Boys are hard to read when it comes to braiding. He might like it at first and grow to hate it. ¬†I have had this happen a few times in my career ( much to the mother’s despair as she thinks he looks too cute).

You will find if you braid different people’s heads that some people have a lot of space at the back of the nape while some do not. ¬†Some have a lot of space but finer hair. ¬†Some have too much hair and very little space. you will have to adjust the size of the rows according to the individual. ¬†Adding extensions will make them stay a lot longer. ¬†Depending on the style you are making, it could take up to 2 packs of hair depending on the style. ¬†What else can I say but practice! practice!

By Paula Barker










Call (613) 789-2179 for an appointment if you are in the Ottawa, Canada area.