How to Keep Cornrows Moisturized

Cornrows help keep hair attractive and healthy.

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Cornrows are a style of braiding hair traditionally worn by African Americans to minimize the wear and tear inflicted by daily styling. Cornrows can last from one to four weeks. They can be worn as a stand-alone style, or as a way to neatly protect your natural hair underneath weaves and wigs. The sponge-like texture of African American hair means it can dry out easily, and must be consistently moisturized to avoid painful tangles and brittle, easily broken hair. Keep your cornrows moisturized to maximize the health of your hair.

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Prepare your hair for braiding before having your cornrows done. Wash and rinse your hair twice with a moisturizing shampoo. Apply deep conditioner to your hair; put on a plastic cap and allow the conditioner to sit for at least 20 minutes so your hair strands will be thoroughly penetrated and softened. Rinse out the conditioner and pat excess water with a towel.


Part your hair into numerous square-inch sections, and put an oil-based hair grease on the exposed areas of your scalp to seal in moisture before braiding. Massage your scalp with your fingers to evenly distribute the hair oil throughout. Don’t allow your hair to dry before combing and styling to retain the maximum amount of moisture.


Cornrow your hair neatly but not too tight, to avoid painful breakage. Keep your hair moisturized by liberally spraying a leave-in conditioner during the braiding process. Braid your hair all the way to the tips to seal in moisture.


Spray leave-in conditioner into your hair every night before sleeping. Don a silk scarf before laying down to prevent moisture from escaping, and to keep your hair from frizzing during the night. Every two days, use your fingers to apply an oil-based hair grease to the exposed areas of your scalp to lock in moisture.


Wash and deep condition your hair immediately after removing your braids to keep it from drying out before your next round of styling.

Tips & Warnings

Don’t leave your hair in cornrows for longer than two weeks to keep your hair from drying out. Leave-in conditioner and hair oil are only temporary replacements for real moisturizing, which can only come from water. Also, the build-up of conditioner and oils on your hair and scalp can cause excess itching -- constant scratching can lead to a dry, flaky scalp.

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ReferencesBlack Voices; Braided Up: 5 Steps for Maintaining Cornrows or Extensions; Nykia Spradley; December 2010Elev8: 5 Tips to Keep Your Hair Moist During the WinterPhoto Credit Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty ImagesRead Next:

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