There are many different cornrow styles but generally it is a flat braid that lays against the scalp in several rows all over the head. You may have also heard them called track or flat braids, but in essence they are cornrows. It is believed that this type of braiding had its start in Africa, but there is also proof, via Ancient Greek and Roman art that show cornrow braiding as a hairstyle.
Some of the artistic depictions of African and ancient Roman and Greek cultures show elaborate cornrow styles as well as standard cornrow braids. If you have ever seen Yoruba (located in west Africa) art you may not know that these rows represented order, agriculture and civilization.
This braiding style was lost during the slavery era and brought back during the 60s and 70s through the Black Nationalist Movement and media like the TV series East Side/West Side where Cicely Tyson wore cornrows and the movie Ten where Bo Derek sported cornrows.
This braiding style is still used today and there are many cornrow styles that are used among people of all genders, ages and ethnic backgrounds. Here are some descriptions of various styles used for cornrow braids today.
Different Cornrow Styles:
- Straight Rows – These are simple, finely braided rows evenly braided all over the head.
- Rows With Beads or Shells – This can be straight rows or any kind of braid design with the inclusion of beads or shells for adornment.
- Zig Zag – This pattern is pretty self-explanatory and involves crisscrossing the braids in a zig zag pattern.
- Patterns – There are many patterns and designs that can be done with cornrows. You can find illustrations, photos and videos on them online. The weave pattern is popular and is called the veil style.
Some cornrow styles are very elaborate and should be done by professional hair stylists that specialize in cornrow braiding. You can try them by following video instructions if you are creative and enjoy working with hair.
The basic process of braiding cornrows:
- Decide on your cornrow styles.
- Separate hair into small strands starting at the center of the head and begin braiding tightly and right against the scalp.
- Move horizontally across the rest of the head
- Continually pick up hair for each braid strand and keep the braids tight and close to the scalp.
The biggest two advantages to cornrow styles and braiding is that it allows you to show off your personal style through designs and it aids in keeping your head cool in the hot weather. Many athletes use cornrows because they are easy to maintain.