How Long Do Cornrows Last For? (African American & Caucasian Hair)

Although I love cornrows due to how easy they are to do, it always frustrates me how quickly they come undone when I do them, but they seem to last forever on my friends. This is why I’ve decided to get some answers on how long cornrows are supposed to last.

If you have done cornrows using just your natural hair, they can last between 4 days to 2 weeks. African American hair is more durable and stronger, so it’s able to hold cornrows better than Caucasian hair. That said, if you’ve done your cornrows using hair extensions, then they can last between 4 to 8 weeks with proper maintenance and care.

To find out exactly how to make your cornrows last longer, as well as some product recommendations, keep reading below and get the most out of your cornrows with these tips and tricks!

How To Make Your Cornrows Last Longer

Cornrows are an all-time favorite and classic protective style; honestly, what’s not to love? Except for the fact that they tend to unravel or come loose too soon unless you’ve used hair extensions. If you’d like to find out how to make your cornrows last longer, take a look!

The most crucial thing to do to make your cornrows last longer is to keep your scalp and hair moisturized. Apply hair conditioners and hair oils to your scalp and rub it in using the pads of your fingertips, at least 2-3 times a week. Choose products made from natural oils and wash your hair at least once a week to prevent product build-up.

Keep reading to dive deeper into exactly what you need to do to make your cornrows last longer whilst also keeping your natural healthy!

1. Choose the right braider

If you’re not braiding your own hair, then choosing the right hairstylist or braider to braid your hair is crucial as a trained hairstylist with experience braiding will be able to braid your hair in a way that isn’t too tight and isn’t too loose.

Cornrows that are too tight can cause hair damage, especially to your hairline, due to pulling and tugging that can actually dislodge your hair follicles, leading to hair loss. On the other hand, braids that are too loose will unravel quicker and last you only a few days, at most.

2. Protect your edges

Cornrows are braided as close to your scalp as possible; this can affect the hair on your hairline as it’s very fragile, whether your braids are tight or not.

However, if your cornrows are braided tightly, you will experience a tender feeling on your scalp within the first week of getting your cornrows as your scalp will be overly sensitive.

To soothe your scalp, apply a soothing hair oil to your scalp twice every day for the first week to allow your scalp and hair to adjust to the cornrows’ additional weight.  You can use the Design Essentials Scalp & Skin Care Anti-itch & Tension Relief, Tea Tree & Aloe from Amazon for $8.99.

The tension should subside after a few days; if you experience headaches along with a sensitive scalp for longer than a week, undo your cornrows immediately to prevent hair and follicle damage.

3. Moisturize your cornrows

Moisturize your cornrows at least 2-3 times a week to prevent your scalp from drying out. A dry scalp will prompt itching, and this can ruin your cornrows and shorten their lifespan.

A good way to moisturize your cornrows spraying or applying natural oil products to your scalp, in between your cornrows as opposed to oil-based products that could lead to product build-up. Natural oils include oils like olive oil, jojoba oil, and shea butter are perfect to use to moisturize your cornrows and your scalp.

A great product to use is the Cantu Shea Butter Tea Tree & Jojoba Hair & Scalp Oil from Amazon for only $5.97. To use this product, apply 2-3 drops of this hair oil on your scalp and rub it into your scalp, between the cornrows, using the pads of your fingertips.

4. Wash your cornrows

If you plan on keeping your cornrows in for longer than a week then you need to clean them at least once a week to avoid any product, dirt, or dust from building up on your scalp and causing your hair and scalp to itch which can affect the lifespan of your cornrows and the health of your hair.

To wash your cornrows you can use 2 methods.

Method 1:

Step 01: Cover your cornrows with a hair net

Step 02: Wet your hair in the shower using cool or lukewarm water

Step 03: Apply a dime-sized amount of gentle, sulfate-free shampoo to your palms and create a lather

Step 04: Gently run your hand over the hair net to get the shampoo onto your hair, ensure that you spread it adequately

Step 05: Rinse off the shampoo using cool or lukewarm water, just stand under the water until it runs clean 

Step 06: Once your hair is clean, remove the hair net and gently pat your hair using a micro-fiber towel to absord excess water

Step 07: Allow your hair to completely air dry naturally

Step 08: Once your hair is completely dry, apply hair oil on your scalp to moisturise it, in between the cornrows, you can use the pads of your fingertips to rub it in

Method 2:

How To Wash Your Cornrows

5. Condition your cornrows

Apply a leave-in conditioner to your hair at least 3 times a week. I know what you’re thinking, why do you need to apply a leave-in conditioner when you’ll be applying hair oils?

Well, the reason this is necessary is that conditioners bring moisture into your hair, and hair oils and moisturizers help to seal that moisture in your hair. The conditioner brings in moisture, and the moisturizing hair oil keeps it in your hair. 

I highly recommend getting a leave-in conditioner in the form of a braid spray as they are made specifically for braids, so it will not cause any build-up.

Try the Cantu Shea Butter Hydrating Leave-in Conditioning Mist from Amazon; it not only hydrates your hair but also reduces breakage and shedding. You can buy this product for only $5.97.

6. Avoid brushing your cornrows

Under no circumstances should you brush or comb your cornrows; brushing your cornrows will cause them to come loose and unravel.

If you notice that they are getting frizzy and flyaways are getting out of hand, apply your leave-in conditioning spray to your hair more often. Apply it every day to add moisture to your hair to reduce frizz.

If you have had your cornrows for longer than 4 weeks, you may need to undo them if you notice frizz and fly-aways as it could result from regrowth and no amount of brushing will make it better.

7. Wear a satin bonnet to bed

Always wear a satin bonnet to sleep if your hair is braided in cornrows; this is the best way to make them last.

This protects your hair from drying out and frizzing due to the friction caused when your head rubs against your pillow whilst you sleep. For added measure, switch out your cotton pillowcase for a silk one.

If you don’t have a satin bonnet, you can use a silk headscarf; stay away from cotton.

With the tips and tricks laid out in this article, you’re now well equipped with the info you need to make your cornrows last, which will help your natural hair grow and stay healthy even whilst in its protective style.


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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