Cornrows are a great protective style. They are easy to braid and style, easy to manage, and require very little to no manipulation.
Did I also mention that getting cornrows done professionally is quite affordable? The exact cost will obviously depend on the complexity of the style, the reputation of the hairstylist, among other things.
It’s also pretty easy to learn how to do cornrows by yourself. There are plenty of YouTubers you can learn from.
Basically, it’s a hairstyle that you wouldn’t mind rocking anytime they need a break from constant hair manipulation.
One challenge though: Cornrows are prone to frizzing which can make you look so unkempt.
Today we’ll be looking at how to keep cornrows from frizzing in order for them to last long.
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What Causes Cornrows To Frizz Up?
The major cause of frizzing is friction.
Friction occurs when your hair comes into contact with fabrics that absorb moisture from your hair.
This can be on your pillowcase, bed sheets, sofa cushions, car seats, the collar of your shirt, your headwrap, and so forth.
Also, the short hairs that pop out of the cornrows are another cause of frizzing.
New growth that comes after cornrows are plaited also causes frizzing.
For new growth though, there isn’t much that can be done.
Once your hair starts frizzing due to new growth, it’s best to just undo your cornrows.
Luckily, new growth isn’t so significant until after about 3-4 weeks which is time enough to have rocked your cornrows.
You will also notice that the ends of your cornrows are a lot more likely to frizz than the new growth as they tend to be “thirstier”.
How To Keep Cornrows From Frizzing
There are a number of ways you can keep your cornrows from frizzing.
Start With Clean, Stretched Hair
Before doing your cornrows, ensure your scalp is free from any product build-up and that your hair is super clean.
You also need to deep condition your hair – you can use a protein treatment to strengthen your hair.
Even though your hair will be free from manipulation for a while, you still need it strong and moisturized for the next 2-6 weeks or for the duration of the hairstyle.
Next, stretch your hair to prevent frizzing.
The more stretched it is, the lesser the frizz.
There are plenty of ways to stretch your hair without using heat.
These include African threading, banding, running, using roller sets, among other methods.
If you must blowdry, only do so when your hair is still 80% damp to minimize heat damage.
Create Neat Partings
Get started with neat partings.
For this, you will need to use a thin metal rat tail comb.
You can use a plastic one but a metal-tipped comb does an excellent job with partings.
Be sure to clip the section of the hair you are not working on to avoid picking additional hair strands when plaiting.
When the parting is not accurately done and there are hair strands crisscrossing between cornrows, it not only looks unprofessionally done, but also encourages frizzing.
Wrap Your Hair When Sleeping
Sleeping with your hair uncovered is a great recipe for frizzy cornrows.
The tossing and turning at night creates tension on the strands of your hair, which causes it to frizz.
But it isn’t just about wrapping your hair but using the right wrap.
The most recommended is a satin bonnet or scarf.
Also, sleeping on a satin pillowcase helps to reduce the tension and ultimately the frizzing.
When using a scarf, tie it from back to front with the scarf going all the way to the nape of your head.
This way, your most important parts – the sides and back – are covered since you most probably sleep on your back or sides.
Use An Anti-Itch Spray
You may not realize this but scratching your hair/scalp every day encourages your cornrows to frizz. Solution?
Use an anti-itch spray when going to bed.
You will wake up the next day with no urge to scratch since your scalp won’t be itchy.
Find a spray with tea tree or peppermint oil – these are known to be the best cures for itching.
You can also use other scalp treatments that contain ingredients such as witch hazel.
Apple cider vinegar also works great in treating itchy scalps.
Use Pomade Or Gel
If you watch a lot of natural hair YouTubers, you must have noted that they use pomade or gel when getting cornrows installed.
This is because gel or pomade has a great ability to hold down hair strands – including flyaways and split ends.
This ensures that all strands lay flat for an extended period of time.
Be sure to get a good pomade or gel that holds your hair without causing it to be stiff or flaky.
Detangle Your Hair Before Plaiting
There are two reasons why detangling before you plait is important in preventing frizzing.
One, because detangling makes hair smooth and easy to comb, this makes parting easy as well. Two, because as you detangle, you comb all hair into one direction avoiding flyaways.
Ensure that you detangle every part or section that you make before your plait.
Moisturize As You Do Plait
The other trick to keep frizz at bay is to moisturize each parted section as you plait.
Once you make your neat part, detangle, moisturize and then start plaiting.
Do that to each section until you are done.
Use Anti-Frizz Finishing Products
Once you are done doing your cornrows, you now need to give them a good finishing by using the right products and techniques.
If feeding you are doing the cornrows with synthetic hair to achieve length and thickness, use hot water to hold them down and to prevent the synthetic hair from unraveling.
For your natural hair, apply a small amount of foam mouse on the hair to conceal frizz.
You can also use mousse to manage frizz weeks after having your cornrows done.
Wash Your Cornrows Gently
If you can avoid washing your cornrows, the better, as they tend to “spoil” faster after they’re washed.
However, if you must, follow these steps to minimize frizzing:
- Before you start, get a mild sulfate-free shampoo, an old t-shirt for drying, and a bathing sponge.
- Run water over your hair, use warm water for your cuticles to open up faster and fully.
- Lightly spray some shampoo in between the cornrows to reach your scalp, the ends of the cornrows, and on top of the cornrows. DO NOT RUB the shampoo into your hair (important step) but using the sponge, squeeze down your cornrows for the shampoo to reach deep inside of the scalp.
- Wash the scalp and the ends and rinse off the shampoo. Again, do not rub, scratch, or use force when rinsing off.
- Wrap your head with the old t-shirt to remove excess water.
- Finally, leave it to air dry.
After washing, condition your cornrows. Follow these steps:
- Apply your conditioner on your scalp (in between the cornrows) and on top of the cornrows.
- With your finger, massage your scalp gently, being keen not to rub the cornrows.
- Cover your hair with either a shower cap or a plastic bag.
- Leave it on for about 20 minutes or more before rinsing off with warm water
- Dry with an old t-shirt and let it air dry completely.
How To Manage Frizzy Cornrows To Make Them Look Neat
It is nearly impossible to have your cornrows frizz-free after a while.
It is however possible to tame frizz and still rock neat cornrows for weeks.
Follow these steps every day to achieve a frizz-free look.
Moisturize your cornrows first thing in the morning.
Use a moisturizing braid spray or a homemade moisturizing spritz made of a mixture of leave-in conditioner and oil of your choice.
Use plain water or water-based moisturizer when you feel your cornrows are too oily or waxy.
Seal In Moisture
Next, use a light oil to seal in the moisture.
I would highly recommend, olive oil, argan oil, or grapeseed oil.
These make great sealants and are easily absorbed into the hair.
Therefore, you won’t have any product build-up or have oil sitting on top of your cornrows.
The next step, use a foaming mousse to lay all the stray hair strands and flyaways down.
Apply a generous amount of mousse all over your cornrows and wait for your hair to dry.
Finally, spray your cornrows with your favorite shine spray.
This will help to bring instant life to your cornrows – it makes them look shiny and brand new.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you take care of the cornrows at night?
By covering your cornrows every night with a satin or silk hair scarf or a bonnet.
Avoid using cotton or other absorbent fabrics because they will soak in the moisture from your hair causing it to dry and eventually frizz.
Can you wash cornrows?
If you are not planning to wear them for longer than two weeks, it’s best if you don’t wash them.
However, you can wash them gently without causing them to frizz.
The trick is to avoid rubbing or scratching the cornrows when washing them.
You should squeeze the cornrows down gently for the shampoo to reach the scalp.
Rinse with warm water thereafter and leave them to air dry.
If you don’t have time to air dry, use an old t-shirt to squeeze out the excess water.
How long can cornrows last?
Cornrows are ideally meant to be a temporary protective style, just to give your hair a break.
You shouldn’t wear them for longer than 6 weeks, the ideal time frame should be 2-4 weeks.
Anything longer and you risk getting your hair tangled.
Cornrows are cost-efficient and easy to manage. They however come with some challenges- the most frustrating being frizz.
In addition to the tips we have shared in this article on how to keep cornrows from frizzing, you should avoid wearing them too tight.
Tight cornrows will hurt your scalp and even break your hair. This will also eventually cause frizz.
Moreover, you shouldn’t wear cornrows for too long.
They should ideally be worn for 2-4 weeks max.
You can stretch it to six weeks but don’t push it longer than that, otherwise, you will end up with tangled hair and massive frizz.