The Ultimate Beginner’s Tutorial for Men’s Cornrow Hairstyles

A Beginner's Guide to Men's Cornrow Hairstyles: Tips and Techniques

Ready to switch up your hairstyle and try something bold? Look no further than the classic cornrow braids. Men across cultures have rocked this timeless look for centuries, and now it’s your turn to join the club.

In this ultimate beginner’s tutorial, we’ll guide you through creating neat and stylish cornrows that will turn heads wherever you go. From choosing the right products to mastering the braiding technique, we’ve got you covered.

Whether you’re looking to embrace your cultural roots, try a new trend, or elevate your grooming game, cornrows are a versatile choice tailored to your unique style.

So grab your comb, and let’s begin your journey to becoming a cornrow pro!

Preparation and Basic Techniques for Men’s Cornrow Hairstyles

1. Getting Started

Clean, moisturized hair is the foundation for neat, long-lasting cornrows. Wash your hair with a gentle shampoo to remove any dirt or buildup hindering smooth braiding.

Follow up with a nourishing conditioner to keep your hair hydrated and prevent breakage during braiding. To achieve the best results, gather these essential tools and products:

  • Rat-tail comb for precise parting
  • Wide-tooth comb for detangling
  • Hair clips for sectioning
  • Hair bands for securing braids
  • Moisturizing cream or leave-in conditioner
  • Light hair oil to add shine and reduce frizz

2. Hair Parting

Creating clean, even parts is key to achieving a polished cornrow look. Using the pointed end of your rat-tail comb, divide your hair into rows from your forehead to the nape of your neck.

Use visual guides, such as your eyebrows or ears, to ensure each section is the same width for a symmetrical appearance.

Avoid making sections too large, as this can lead to bulky, loose braids. Similarly, too small sections can result in thin, fragile braids that are more likely to unravel.

3. Sectioning and Braiding Basics

Once you’ve created your first row, divide the section at the front of your head into three equal parts. Begin your cornrow by crossing the right strand over the middle, then the left over the new middle strand.

Repeat this pattern, adding a small amount of hair from the section below as you braid along your scalp.

Maintain a consistent tension throughout the braiding process – tight enough to keep the braid secure but not so tight that it causes discomfort or pulls at your hairline.

If you notice redness, bumps, or excessive tension, gently loosen the braid and continue with a lighter hand.

Styling: Men’s Cornrow Hairstyles

Simple Cornrows

Classic straight-back cornrows are timeless for their neat appearance and low-maintenance upkeep. This style is perfect for those new to cornrowing, as it relies on a simple, repetitive technique.

To create basic straight-back cornrows:

1. Part your hair into even, horizontal rows from front to back using a rat-tail comb.
2. divide the first row into three equal sections at the front of your head.
3. Begin a tight, three-strand braid, crossing the right strand over the middle, then the left over the new middle strand.
4. As you braid, incorporate small sections of hair from the row into the braid, maintaining a consistent size and tension.
5. Continue braiding along the scalp until you reach the nape of your neck, then secure the end with a hair band.
6. Repeat each row until your entire head is braided.

Brief About Advanced Styles

For those looking to take their cornrows to the next level, try experimenting with creative patterns like side-swept, zig-zag, or swirled designs. These styles allow for personal expression and can be adapted to suit individual tastes or current fashion trends.

  1. Side-Swept Cornrows: Angle your parts diagonally from the front of your head to the opposite side of your nape. Braid each row following the direction of the part, resulting in a sweeping effect across the scalp.
  2. Zig-Zag Cornrows: Create a zig-zag pattern by parting your hair in alternating diagonal lines from front to back. Braid each row along the zig-zag part, maintaining consistent tension through the turns to keep the pattern crisp and defined.
  3. Swirled Cornrows: Visualize your desired swirl pattern and part your hair accordingly, creating curved sections that flow into each other. Braid each section along the curves, focusing on symmetry and balance to achieve an eye-catching, polished result.

To add length or volume to your cornrows, consider incorporating hair extensions. Choose a texture and color that matches your natural hair, then gently feed the extensions into your braids as you work, ensuring an even distribution for a seamless blend.

Maintenance and Care for Men’s Cornrow Hairstyles

Routine Care

Proper maintenance is crucial for keeping your cornrows looking fresh and protecting the health of your hair and scalp. By incorporating a few simple daily practices into your routine, you can extend the lifespan of your braids and ensure they remain neat.

To moisturize your cornrows, apply a small amount of lightweight oil or leave-in conditioner to your scalp and braids, focusing on the ends. Natural oils like jojoba, argan, or coconut oil seal in moisture without causing buildup.

Gently massage the product into your scalp and braids, not disturbing the braid pattern. Aim to moisturize every 2-3 days or as needed based on your hair type and environment.

Protect your cornrows while you sleep by wrapping them in a silk or satin scarf or using a satin pillowcase. This helps minimize friction and prevents frizz, keeping your braids neat and intact.

To secure your braids, gently gather them on your head and wrap the scarf around your hairline, tying the ends at the back.

Washing and Touch-ups

Washing your cornrows requires a gentle approach to avoid disturbing the braids. Start by diluting a small amount of sulfate-free shampoo in a spray bottle with water.

Part your braids and spray the mixture directly onto your scalp. Then, use your fingertips to massage the area gently. Rinse thoroughly with cool water, ensuring all shampoo is removed.

Follow up with a lightweight, moisturizing conditioner, applying it to the length of your braids and focusing on the ends. Rinse the conditioner with cool water, then dry your cornrows with a soft, microfiber towel.

Allow your braids to air dry completely, or use a hooded dryer in a cool setting to speed up the process.

As your hair grows, you may notice your cornrows beginning to loosen or appear fuzzy at the roots. This is a sign that it’s time for a touch-up.

To maintain a polished look, gently unbraid the affected rows, then rebraid them, incorporating the new growth. Be sure to use a light hand and avoid pulling too tightly, as this can cause discomfort and damage to your hair.

Aim to touch up your cornrows every 2-4 weeks or as needed based on your hair growth and desired style duration.

Troubleshooting Common Cornrow Issues

1. Itchiness

Itchy scalp is common when wearing cornrows, often caused by product buildup, dryness, or excessive tension. To alleviate itchiness:

  • Wash your scalp and braids with a diluted, sulfate-free shampoo to remove buildup.
  • Moisturize your scalp by applying a light, natural oil like jojoba or argan oil, focusing on the areas where the braids meet your scalp.
  • If your braids are too tight, carefully loosen them slightly to relieve tension and prevent irritation.

2. Braid Slippage 

Those with fine or overly moisturized hair may experience braid slippage, where the braids loosen or unravel prematurely. To combat this:

  • Before braiding, use a texturizing spray or dry shampoo to add grip to your hair.
  • Avoid over-moisturizing your hair before braiding, as this can make the strands too slippery to hold the braid pattern.
  • When finishing your braids, secure the ends tightly with a small elastic band and tuck them under the braid to prevent unraveling.

3. Frizziness


Humidity, friction, and lack of moisture can all contribute to frizzy cornrows. To keep your braids looking sleek:

  • Wrap your braids in a silk or satin scarf at night to minimize friction and frizz while you sleep.
  • Regularly apply a small amount of lightweight oil or serum to your braids to keep them moisturized and shiny.
  • For small, frizzy sections, use a toothbrush and a bit of edge control gel to smooth flyaways without redoing the entire braid.

4. Scalp Sensitivity and Soreness

Tight braiding techniques or allergic reactions to hair care products can lead to scalp sensitivity and soreness. To address these issues:

  • Gently loosen the braids in the affected area and massage your scalp with your fingertips to improve circulation and relieve discomfort.
  • Before using any new hair care product, conduct a patch test on a small skin area to identify potential allergens or irritants.
  • Opt for products free from common allergens, such as fragrances, dyes, and harsh chemicals, to minimize the risk of adverse reactions.

Cornrow Maintenance Schedule

Cornrow Maintenance Schedule

Weekly Schedule

  • Day 1: Braiding day. After braiding, apply a light scalp oil to soothe and moisturize.
  • Day 3: Mid-week moisture boost. Lightly mist your braids with a leave-in conditioner to keep them hydrated.
  • Day 5: Scalp care. Massage a small amount of natural oil into your scalp to prevent dryness and itching.
  • Day 7: Assessment day. Check your braids for looseness, frizziness, or scalp issues needing attention.

Bi-Weekly Schedule

  • Week 2: Washing day. Cleanse your scalp and braids with a diluted, gentle shampoo, followed by a lightweight conditioner.
  • Maintenance Touch-ups: Based on your assessment, touch up any loose braids or address frizziness to maintain a polished look.

Monthly Schedule

  • End of Month: Consider redoing your cornrows. Assess the overall condition of your braids and plan for a full redo or styling adjustments as needed to keep your hair healthy and looking its best.

Summing It Up

In conclusion, mastering the art of cornrow braiding is a rewarding journey that allows you to express your style while embracing a timeless cultural tradition.

You can achieve impressive results that showcase your skills and creativity by starting with clean, moisturized hair, creating precise parts, and maintaining a consistent braiding technique.

Whether you opt for classic straight-back cornrows or experiment with advanced patterns, the key to success lies in regular maintenance and gentle care.

By incorporating these techniques and tips into your haircare routine, you can rock fresh, neat cornrows that last for weeks. So, grab your tools, tune into your inner artist, and let your braids tell your unique story.

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