Are Cornrows Bad For Your Hair? ANSWERED!

Growing up with a mom who loved braiding my hair into cornrows made me love the style even as an adult, but I’ve heard contradicting things about whether cornrows are good or bad for your hair in recent years.

Cornrows aren’t bad for your hair; in fact, they can actually correct any hair damage that you’re experiencing by promoting healthy new hair growth; it’s the best protective style there is. That said, keeping hair braided in tight cornrows for longer than 6 weeks could lead to dry and frizzy hair.

If you’d like to find out exactly what you need to do to make your cornrows grow and strengthen your hair instead of damaging it, then keep reading.

Tips To Cornrow Hair Without Causing Damage

If you want to ensure that you get the most out of your cornrows and that they do not cause any damage to your hair, you will need to know how to take care of your cornrows. Keep reading to find out how!

To prevent hair damage with cornrows, keep your hair and scalp moisturized to prevent any hair damage from a dry scalp. You can do this by apply leave-in conditioners or moisturizing braid sprays. When doing so, apply the product in between your cornrows, on your scalp, not on your actual cornrows, as this will cause a product build-up.

To find out more about how to ensure that your cornrows last and you get the most out of your protective style without damaging your natural hair, keep reading!

01. Get a trained hairstylist to braid your hair

Although cornrows are super easy to do, so easy in fact that you can braid your own hair into cornrows, you should still make sure that if you’re getting your hair braided by someone else, that person should be a trained hairstylist or at least have enough experience with braiding hair.

Just as no two artists or chefs will paint or cook the same way, the same can be said for braiders. Some braiders or hairstylists have hands that are very tight or painful when braiding; always avoid these type of braiders as you will end up with tight cornrows which can lead to hair damage.

Tight cornrows will tug your hair out from the roots, generally around the edges.

02. Keep your cornrows clean

Although it’s important to always keep your hair clean, even when in a protective style, try not to wash your hair whilst it’s braided in cornrows as this can cause them to loosen quickly and come undone. This is why you ideally shouldn’t wear your cornrows for longer than 2 weeks so that you’re able to thoroughly wash your hair to keep it healthy.

That said, if you do want to risk washing your hair whilst it is in cornrows, then follow these steps below:

Step 01: Cover your hair with a hairnet before getting in the shower

Step 02: Thoroughly wet your hair in the shower with cool or lukewarm water

Step 03: Pour a dime-sized amount of mild shampoo onto your palms and cretate a lather

Step 04: Gently run your hands over the hair net to get all the shampoo lather into your cornrows through the net

Step 05: Thoroughly rinse out the shampoo with your hair net still on

Step 06: Once the shampoo is rinsed out, apply a leave-in conditioner

Step 07: Remove the hairnet and gently pat your hair dry using a towel. Do not rub your hair with the towel

Step 08: Let your hair air dry naturally

Step 09: Once your hair is dry, apply some hair oil to your scalp so that your hair and scalp are moisturized

03. Always apply a leave-in conditioner to your hair

Applying a leave-in conditioner to your hair scalp whilst it’s braided in cornrows can reduce hair breakage and shedding when you undo your cornrows. Do this consistently, at least 3 times a week. You can either use a rinse-out conditioner when washing your braided hair, or you can use a leave-in conditioning braid spray.

Leave-in conditioners in the form of braid spays are much better at peentrating your scalp through your braids as they are more diluted that normal leave-in conditioners. This also prevent product build-up and makes it easier to wash the product out of your braided hair.

The best leave-in conditioner for this is the Cantu Shea Butter Hydrating Leave-in Conditioning Spray from Amazon; it’s ideal for natural, relaxed, permed, and textured hair. You can purchase this conditioning braid spray from Amazon for only $5.97.

04. Keep your scalp moisturized

It would be best if you were moisturizing your hair and scalp at least 2-3 times a week; a leave-in conditioner brings moisture to your hair, and moisturizers help lock that moisture in. Avoid oil-based hair moisturizes when your hair is braided in cornrows as the oils will just sit on the top of your cornrows, leaving you with oily hair that attracts dirt and dust.

With that being said, stick to natural oil-based creams that are non-greasy to prevent dryness as well as dandruff. Moisturizing sprays with oils like olive and jojoba are the most ideal for braided hair.

The best moisturizing braid spray for when your hair is in cornrows is the Jamaican Mango No More Itch Gro Spray from Amazon. This product is non-greasy and helps to prevent braid-related hair breakage. You can buy this braid spray from Amazon for only $4.36.

05. Wrap your braids before bed

If you want to protect your cornrows and keep them looking fresher for longer, then I highly recommend that you invest in a silk pillowcase and sleep with a satin bonnet on your head.

Cotton pillowcases will not only cause friction that will cause your cornrows to become loose and come undone; they also cause your hair to be dry and brittle as they soak up your hair’s moisture. This is why sleeping on a silk pillowcase with a stain bonnet covering your cornrows will prolong the lifespan of your cornrows and keep your hair from getting dry, brittle, and having spit-ends.

Pro Tip: Be gentle when handling your cornrows to prevent not only hair damage but also to avoid causing your cornrows to come undone too soon.

How Long Do Cornrows Last?

If you’re interested in getting your hair braided into cornrows but are wondering how long you can maintain this style for, keep reading to find out!

Cornrows can last up to 2-8 weeks, depending on how you take care of your hair whilst it’s braided and how fast your hair grows. The quicker your hair grows, the less you can keep cornrows before your regrowth starts to make your cornrows look untidy. African American hair is stronger and more durable, which is why it can hold cornrows for longer.

I wouldn’t recommend keeping your cornrows in for longer than 2 weeks at a time as it’s quite difficult to keep your hair clean and to wash it whilst it is in cornrows. Luckily cornrows are easy to do, so even if you take them out after 2 weeks to tend to your hair, you can simply redo them again.


Hey, I’m Jodie, the gal behind CraftyHairHacks. I have a deep passion for hair extensions, hairstyles, and almost anything that has to do with hair, which leads me to the writing and research I do for this website daily. Our site is still small, however, we’re pushing to get the best hair hacks out to as many as people as possible. ENJOY!

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