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There’s no denying the beauty of braided hairstyles for natural hair. One of the most popular braided styles is cornrows, which, while not a new trend, have been dominating our social media feeds as of late. In addition to being one of the hottest hairstyle trends of 2020, cornrow braided hairstyles can help to protect natural hair by minimizing the damage that comes with brushing and styling your strands daily. One of the best parts is that once your hair is braided, there are countless ways to wear and style cornrow braided hairstyles, from elegant updos to preppy ponytails. Upgrade your ‘do with the hottest cornrow hairstyles for women, ahead.
Comfortable, sophisticated, feminine—the high bun is a classic for a reason. To get this look, simply gather your cornrow braids in both hands and twist the bunch around itself to form a high, voluminous braided bun at the top of your head. Be sure to secure the knot with plenty of bobby pins to keep it in place all day.
We know cornrow hairstyles like Dutch braids look complex. But if you know how to do a basic three-strand braid, you can nail this surprisingly simple double-braided style with ease. To get the look, part your hair down the middle, creating two equal sections. Then, use each section to Dutch braid your hair as you normally would, resulting in an intricate, fun double Dutch hairstyle.
We’re already suckers for a classic half-up hairstyle, and if you add cornrows into the mix, there will be serious heart-eye action. For this look, you need to create a section of hair at the top of your head (pro tip: use your fingers to create a part circling your head an inch or so above your ears). Grab this section of hair at the scalp, then twist it around itself to form a top knot and pin into place or secure with a scrunchie.
If you’re low on time, adding a few hair cuffs to your cornrow braided hairstyles can take your ‘do from tired to trendy. You can focus the cuffs on your face-framing cornrows for just a subtle nod to the trend, opt for accented ends for a bit more bling, or place them throughout your mane for a full-on look.
We love intricate cornrow braid styles, and this style fits the bill. Gather your cornrows into a low, traditional three-strand braid that falls down your back. That’s it! Your combined cornrows will speak for themselves in this intricate braided hairstyle.
When learning how to cornrow (or having your stylist do so), stop halfway down the length of your strands and secure with elastics. Leave the rest of your hair untouched and natural for an eye-catching contrast in textures.
A classic cornrow hairstyle for women, the high ponytail slays in any situation. Pull your cornrow braids into a high ponytail. Secure with a clear elastic or statement hair tie. Cornrow ponytails are one of the easiest ways to instantly upgrade your traditional pony.
A chic way to step outside of the box, cornrow pigtails add a flirty and playful vibe to your look that won’t go unnoticed. Simply gather your cornrows into two ponytails on either side of your head, making sure that both sides line up more or less evenly. Seal the deal with a few stylish clips to complete the look.
Pull your cornrows into a low ponytail, then twist the braids around themselves to form a low bun at the nape of your neck. Pin it in place, and you’re good to go!
This cornrow hairstyle may be best left to a stylist (or friend) and is ideal on those with medium length hair, but it’s worth the extra effort it requires. To create this look, weave braids from the nape of your neck toward the crown of your head so that your mane’s length is at the top of your head. Once your cornrows cover your scalp, fluff your remaining un-braided natural hair to form a frohawk to ensure all eyes stay on you.
Prepare to add a rocker aesthetic to your look with the layered mohawk. This unique look is a step up from a classic frohawk. It features cornrows that transition upward into three mini buns at the center of your head.
To get the style, first, divide your hair into several one-inch sections. Braid each section upward and continue weaving until you reach the ends. Secure with a clear elastic.
At this stage, you should have a full set of cornrows with none of your natural hair left out at the ends. Next, split your cornrows into three even sections (at the nape of your neck, the crown of your head, and right above your hairline) and fasten each with a hair tie. Roll each section into a small bun and pin your braids in place to finalize your fab faux-hawk.
One of our favorite cornrow styles, this look involves braids on braids again. First, bring your cornrows into a high ponytail, securing with a clear elastic. Then, braid the ponytail into a traditional three-strand braid. Twist the braid around the ponytail base to form your braided cornrow bun, tucking the ends and securing with bobby pins.
Spritz individual braids with a temporary hair color spray for a playful twist on your go-to plaits. Take your pick from the shades in the L’Oréal Paris Colorista Hair Makeup Temporary 1-Day Hair Color Spray and L’Oréal Paris Colorista Hair Makeup Temporary 1-Day Color lines, then color your strands to your heart's desire.
This is a convenient, super-quick hairstyle for when you want to get your cornrow braids out of your face but still rock your length. To perfect this look, twist back the frontmost braids on either side of your face and pin the twisted sections into place just above your ear. Accessorize with cuffs or colorful clips for an eye-catching take on this simple style.
Part your hair down the middle and put your cornrow braids into fun, quirky space buns. If you aren’t sure how, check out our easy-to-follow tutorial here.
Changing up the size of your braids can give your cornrows a completely different vibe. If you know how to cornrow your own hair, you can do this one yourself by adding more hair to your braids for an unexpected, textural twist on a classic style. Otherwise, ask your stylist to give you chunkier braids, and style to your heart’s content.
Buns, updos, faux-hawks—we love how versatile cornrows are. Sometimes, though, the simplest looks are the most stunning. Stitch braids are one of our favorite cornrow hairstyles, though it does require a bit of skill to pull off since it has an intricate look. The idea is to create sharp horizontal parts down the length of each braid (parallel to your main parts) to create the illusion that your cornrows are, well, “stitched” onto your scalp.
Gather your locks into a high ponytail and secure it with a clear elastic. Then, weave the length of your ponytail into a traditional three-strand braid and tie a trendy scrunchie or a glam metal ponytail holder around the ends for a simple look that you can wear anywhere.
If you need to look polished in a pinch, try a low ponytail. Simply gather your braids at the nape of your neck and secure with a clear elastic for a chic take on the classic style.
Cornrow braid styles can easily be upgraded by experimenting with the thickness of your braids— and the thinner the braids, the more intricate your locks will look. Next time you’re at the salon, have your stylist weave your mane into ultra-thin, tight braids to give your tresses a little extra texture.
Shuruba cornrows are a traditional Ethiopian style that features tight braids woven to the crown of the head and secured, while the remaining hair is left free. You can add visual interest with angled parts, or incorporate a thicker center braid with chic hair clips for a gorgeous finish.
For a side-swept look, create a deep side part and divide your hair into two sections. Take the larger section and weave it into thin, tight braids that run perpendicular with the part. Allow the rest of your hair to hang free for a fresh and eye-catching contrast in textures.
Embrace your playful side with flirty, half-up space buns. First, section your hair as you would to create a half-ponytail, then divide the strands into two equal portions with a sharp center part. Twist each section into a bun at the top of your head, securing with bobby pins, and let the rest of your braids hang free. That’s it!
If you want to give your strands a bit of added texture, consider varying the size of your cornrow braids. Mix and match thin and thick cornrows for a multi-dimensional mane with lots of personality.
Twist your cornrows into low space buns for a cute and quirky ‘do. Divide your braids into two equal sections with a center part, then twist each section into a low bun at the base of your neck. Secure with bobby pins, scrunchies, or clear elastics to complete the look.
Upgrade your go-to ponytail with a chic wrapped base that looks way more complex than it is. First, gather your cornrows into a high pony, securing with a clear elastic. Then, take a one-inch section of braids out of the pony, wrap them around the base, and cover the elastic. Secure at the bottom with a bobby pin or two to ensure your sleek style stays put.
Cornrow styles don’t have to be complicated for your braids to look beautiful. One of the simplest and most beautiful ways to wear cornrow braids is straight back for a classic, straight-from-the-salon vibe.
As its name suggests, this fresh look features standard cornrows at the front of your head and box braids at the back for a playful and unexpected variation on a classic style.
Instead of braiding your entire mane, consider accent braids as a fun way to play with texture. This look leaves plenty of room for creativity; experiment with braid placement to find a look that suits your needs.
Another cornrow ponytail option is the pull-through ponytail. First, gather your braid into a low ponytail and secure it with a clear elastic. Then, slide the elastic down about an inch and create a small hole in your hair just above the elastic. Guide your ponytail into the hole and pull your strands out through the bottom. If done correctly, you’ll have subtle twists on either side of your pony for a chic look suited for work or play.
This look utilizes extensions to give your braids a fuller, more natural look. Head on over to our article, 4 Feed in Braid Tutorials to Try, for some pointers on how to do it yourself.
This one is pretty self-explanatory: It features cornrows that fall to your waist. If you don’t have naturally long hair, have your stylist weave in extensions to get to the length you’d like. It’s a bit more high-maintenance than some of the other styles on this list, but worth it if you’re looking to add a touch of glam to your look.
Similar to stitch cornrows, this style utilizes the addition of zig-zag parts to create a playful, eye-catching look. You can create zig-zag pattern parts throughout your mane and weave your braids straight back, or braid your cornrows in a zig-zag pattern for an edgy alternative.
This ethereal style may seem complicated, but looks can be deceiving: If you can manage weaving a simple french braid, you can pull off a halo braid, too. First, part your hair into two sections as you would for a half-up hairstyle and clip the bottom layer out of the way. Cornrow braid the top half, securing each plait at the crown with clear elastics.
Next, release the bottom layer of hair and take one medium-sized section of hair from above your ear on one side. Split the section into three strands and French braid, adding more hair as you continue to weave around the back of your head. Once complete, there should be no loose pieces, and the braid should wrap around the nape of the neck, ending just above the braid you started with. Tuck the ends of the braid into itself and secure with bobby pins for a seamless finish.
A style popularized in the ‘90s, this look features thin, short braids that stretch just a few inches past the hairline, with the rest of the hair left free. Slightly different from Shuruba cornrows in that far more hair is left unbraided in this variation, tree braids can pair with just about any hairdo, from sleek waves to a voluminous afro.
Jumbo cornrows are a great entry-level introduction to the world of cornrow styles, since they’re far easier to manage long-term than thinner, more delicate braids. Instead of splitting your strands into dozens of small sections to braid, this style calls for just a handful of plaits (the magic number is somewhere between six and eight). Bonus: Opting for chunkier braids means you won’t have to spend all day in the salon chair.
While cornrow braided hairstyles are convenient and versatile, cornrow styles can be a bit of a commitment. If they're not something you’re up for, you can test the waters with a cornrow lace front wig. The idea may seem somewhat counterproductive, since it’s common practice to cornrow your hair underneath the wig, but wigs make it simple to switch up your look as often as you change your clothes, and that’s something we can get behind.
Best suited to those with medium to long hair, this style features cornrows that extend just to the crown of the head, with the remaining hair worn loose and curly. To get the look, first apply a generous amount of curl mousse, such as the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle CURVE IT Elastic Curl Mousse, to damp strands and scrunch while air-drying. Next, use a comb to make a part circling your head, so you’re left with two sections of hair. Clip the bottom half out of the way.
Grab a one-inch section of hair from your hairline and braid, continuing until you reach your part, then secure with a clear elastic. Repeat this process until the entire top section is braided to the part. Lastly, release the clip from the bottom section of hair and fluff your curls for a stylish hairdo that holds all day.
Next: 15 Braided Bob Hairstyle Ideas for Natural Hair
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