Must-Know Tips for Lemonade Braids and Other Cornrow Styles

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By: Morgan Gilliam, Contributor

Want a know hassle protective style that can also make a statement? Cornrows might be your best bet and there are a TON of ways to do them. Here are a few cornrow ideas and tips to make your install a little easier.

[Oh by the way 👋🏾, if you’re thinking about getting a protective style, our short film, Pretty Shouldn’t Hurt, is a must-watch. Also learn all about safe protective styling here.]

Do These Things for The Best Cornrow Results

DO – Prep Your Hair

For you to get the most out of this style and to protect your hair, you’ll want to do some deep conditioning a day or two before. Make sure you cleanse and purify your scalp with an apple cider vinegar rinse (she will become your best friend after the install), a deep conditioning masque, and a nourishing oil for hair and scalp.

Pro Tip: If you have sensitive skin, or just want to avoid itchy synthetic hair—soak the hair in an apple cider vinegar rinse (warm water and ACV) until you see a white film appear, dump the water, rinse the hair and let it air dry.

DO – Moisturize Your Cornrows and Scalp

Use a light butter or oil to keep braids shiny and your scalp healthy. Pro-tip: Itchy scalp between washes? Use some witch hazel and water mixed with an essential oil and spritz on your scalp before bed.

DO – Stretch Your Hair

This will depend on what your stylist suggests based on your curl pattern, but most of the time after your hair is thoroughly washed and moisturized you’ll want to make sure your coils are elongated. Either pull the hair back in a bun or use a blow dryer on a low setting to stretch your curls.

DO – Get Creative

Here’s the fun part. There are tons of great cornrow patterns and styles to try – don’t limit yourself to the basics.

We all stanned for Beyonce’s Lemonade Braids, so…

…how about a chunky version?

Or, weave in some color.

Go long.

Or up.

Add some jewelry or gold thread.

Go full-on Fulani

If a full head of braids isn’t for you, get the top half done.

Go short, with beads (caution, beads can get LOUD if you do too many!)

Be daring! Shave the sides.

Try different patterns.

Think outside the box (braid).

Whatever style you decide, make sure you can rock your cornrows for as long as possible. (But, know when it’s time to take them out.)

Don’t Do This to Your Cornrows

DON’T – Forget the Night Scarf

Use a silk or satin scarf to tie down the edges and protect your scalp. If you’ve got long braids, tuck them under a silk bonnet. Also, get a satin pillowcase to protect your braids.

DON’T – Use Too Much Product on Your Edges

You want to minimize the number of times you wash your braids to cut down on frizz. Only use a tiny bit of product to lay down your edges (if that’s your thing).

DON’T – Apply Heat

Most synthetic hair won’t tolerate heat so be prepared to let your cornrows air dry.

DON’T – Do Back to Back Cornrow/Braided Styles

Even though cornrows are a protective style, you’ll want to give your hair time to breathe and relax before braiding it back up again.

As you can see there are quite a few options out there for someone looking to switch up their cornrow style. Before you head to your stylist or attempt a DIY, grab your favorite deep conditioner and prep any synthetic hair with ACV. After you’re done, make sure to tie-up your edges and keep styling products to a minimum to prevent build-up. Whatever style you choose, remember with a little prep before and the proper care after you can keep your cornrows looking fresh and frizz-free for weeks.

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