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How Long Should Hair Be For Cornrows?

While some African-Americans may find their curly and fluffy hair hard to care for and even annoying at times, it can actually create one of the most beautiful and interesting hairstyles called cornrows. It is like a piece of artwork in your head with those tiny braided strips.

We believe that there will be millions of questions around this hairstyle, like how long is enough for cornrowing and can you wash it? In this article, we’ll show you some facts about this Afro hairstyle.

How long should hair be for cornrows?

Your hair should be at least 3 inches to have a cornrows style. This hairstyle can be made on short or long hair, but you can only braid it with the minimum aforementioned length of hair.

Even if you possess three-inch hair, you might still need a skillful hairstylist or some extensions to result in the best cornrows.

Cornrows hairstyle
Cornrows hairstyle (Source: Allthinghair)

Can you cornrow one-inch hair?

As already mentioned, your hair length must reach three inches to possess a cornrows style. If your hair is only one inch long, you better make friends with hair extensions in this case.

However, since your real hair is short, don’t dream about too long extensions. It will not only look unnatural, but your hair might also not handle the weight of the additional hair.

Also see: Dreadlocks vs. Cornrows

How do you shower with cornrows?

Have you ever wondered how people with cornrows shower and shampoo their hair? It is actually easier than you thought. However, you need to make sure to give these plaits a gentle shampoo to not make them frizzy.

Things you’ll need:

  1. A shower cap
  2. A towel
  3. A spray bottle
  4. Shampoo for African-American hair
  5. Essential oil (optional)


  1. Mix shampoo with warm water and your favorite essential oil to create a runny mixture in a spray bottle
  2. Run warm water over your hair
  3. Spray the shampoo mixture into your cornrows from root to top
  4. Gently massage your scalp and down to the cornrows to clean them
  5. Rinse the shampoo off with warm water
  6. Use a soft towel to dry your hair

As you can see, just shower as normal if you have a cornrows hairstyle.

In fact, there are many other ways to wash your cornrows, the key is always to ensure to never rub your braids and just treat them gently, otherwise, they will look frizzy and are gradually loosened.

See also: The 15 best dry shampoos for African-American hair

How do you do cornrows in short hair?

It would be pretty easy to cornrow on a woman with long hair, so what about short hair men?

The same technique will be applied, but with a more skillful braiding. So here’s how you do cornrows in short hair by steps:

Things you’ll need:

  1. A brush or comb
  2. Hair clips
  3. Shampoo
  4. Conditioner
  5. A moisturizer


  1. Wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner before braiding
  2. Use a brush or a comb to remove all the knots and tangles on your hair
  3. Use the comb’s teeth to divide your hair into two equal parts
  4. Create additional parts in each section and use hair cream or olive oil to moisturize them
  5. Choose a part to start braiding while clipping the other ones
  6. Repeat with different parts

Remember to clean your hair before cornrowing because you won’t want to wash it too frequently after done. Preparing a good comb for visible separate parts will also help a lot in cornrowing. It can be DIY cornrows, or you can ask for help from others.

For a more visible illustration, you can refer to the video via the link below and practice on your short hair.

See also: How Do I Prepare My Hair For Cornrows?



I’m Aida and this is my blog where I write mostly about beauty & make up related stuff, but I like to spice it up a bit with lifestyle and photography posts. Or with whatever that comes to my mind. Hope you will enjoy the reading enough that we will ‘see’ each other more often!

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