Celebrity Braid Stylists Share Their Insider Tips For Sleek AF Cornrows

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Cornrows are one of the most popular braiding styles throughout history. In fact, ancient stone paintings of women in North Africa show that the braid style dates back thousands of years. Fast forward to 2022 and they’re just as popular. If you’re looking to embrace the style or even learn how to install cornrows at home, we spoke to two celebrity braid stylists; Sabrina Porsche and Evalyn Denis, for their top tips on how to protect your cornrows, when to know they’re ready to go, and more.

How to Prep Your Hair for Cornrows

Both Evalyn and Sabrina agree that the best way to prep your curls for cornrows is to stretch out your natural hair. Evalyn explains, “You have it blown out from root to tip.” She adds, “The stylist will handle moisturizing & oiling of the scalp. However, if you’re the one installing your cornrows, add all the moisture at the end so there isn’t any slippage while trying to install your cornrows.”

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As for the length of your natural hair, Sabrina says, “For cornrows, your natural hair should be no shorter than three inches!” She explains, “Anything shorter would provide no grip. Also, adding braiding hair will help with gripping if you feel the hair is still too short.” Evalyn recommends a little extra length, specifically, “four inches all around before installing any braid style.”

How to Protect Your Cornrows

Once your cornrows have been installed, Evalyn says you should, “Oil the scalp and wrap your hair at night with a silk scarf.” Evalyn’s go-to oil is the Pravana Intense Therapy Leave-In Treatment, $20, which is a multi-use hydrating mist that’s ideal for nourishing protective styles. Sabrina confirms, “The best way to protect your cornrows is to wrap them up in a silk or satin scarf or sleeping on a silk or satin pillow!”

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Evalyn also warns that you shouldn’t leave your cornrows installed for longer than two months. She explains, “At the end of the day it’s a protective style, and braiding too tightly strains growth.” She adds that leaving any style in too long will make the take-down process more difficult. Evalyn begins, “All the hair you’ve grown could be pulled out due to the detangling process.” Therefore, she says a “good rule of thumb is two months per protective style.”

Tips For DIY Cornrows at Home

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Learn a basic braid: According to Sabrina, you should, “first learn to do a basic braid. Once you understand the pattern then it will be easier to learn how to cornrow.”

Find the right products: “Using products, such as conditioning gels, help for a more precise and neat cornrow!” says Sabrina. Right now, we’re obsessed with the Alaffia Curl Defining Gel, $13, as it’ll add a glossy shine and provide the ideal amount of slip for finger styling, twist-outs, and of course, braids.

Create a part: Both Sabrina and Evalyn agree that creating a parting is a fundamental step for sleek, tight cornrows. Evalyn advises, “I like to part then put my Murray’s Edgewax, $6, on the part I just created then go back over the part so it’s as precise and clean as possible.”


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Stretch out your hair: “Take your time when blowing your hair out, it’ll make all the difference when it comes time to part your hair,” says Evalyn.

Leave your edges/baby hair out: Evalyn insists, “Don’t braid your baby hairs into your cornrows. It’s the thinnest most fragile hair on your head so it may break off if braided too tightly.”

For more braid hairstyling tips, check out our guide to jumbo braids.