Everything you need to know about cornrows AKA straight back braids
Straight back cornrows are a classic natural hairstyle for any time of the year. They’re an elegant protective hairstyle that looks spectacular on just about everyone. Yet in winter, cornrow styles almost become a necessity because they keep your natural hair safe in the season of cold, dry air and heat styling – two causes of breakage in ethnic hair. However, your scalp is still exposed to the dry winds of winter, so you’ll still need to do some work to keep it (and your perfect natural hair cornrows) looking fresh. Here are the best cornrow styles for winter and how to take care of them.
Also known as Ghana braids, this is a beautiful African hairstyle sure to turn heads. Spirals are similar to regular straight backs, but they curl around the head in an attractive spiral pattern. The braids begin at a central point, sometimes from the crown of the head and other times from one side. The African braids are plaited onto the head moving in a circular pattern to form the spiral. Once the braids reach the nape of the neck, they’re often left to hang loose.
A popular straight back style because it’s the quickest braid style you can get. Two hairpieces from the left and right are braided straight down onto the scalp until they reach the nape. The two tails are then braided to the ends and are left loose to hang down the back. There are also plenty of variations to this style, such as having the two braids inverted or twisted into a halo ring at the hairline.
These side-swept braids, popularised by pop culture, became an instant classic. This double-spiral cornrow, begins on the left, and is braided onto the scalp around the head to behind the ear. The right side begins at the top of the head and is braided across and down the right side until above the ear. Then both sides meet on the right side and fall in front of the shoulder.
Half Braided Cornrows
This has to be the most elegant and grown-up style of braids. The cornrow tracks are thinner than the usual straight backs, and are plaited onto the head until they reach the middle of the head. Then the braids are plaited to the ends and are left to hang. This style is always decorated with thick-stacked beads.
If you want to keep your braids and cornrow styles looking sharp for up to six weeks, you need to keep your scalp moisturised to prevent itching, flaking and dandruff. Mizani Scalp Care Calming Lotion was created for braids to keep the scalp nourished and prevent itching. In addition, wash your braids with moisturising Mizani Moisturfusion Milk Bath Shampoo, available from your nearest salon – and while you’re there, ask your hairdresser about Mizani Bond PHorce weave and braids treatments, aimed at maintaining your hair under those pieces. Only the very best Afro hair products will do.
As for daily care, apply Mizani 25 Miracle Milk every day. And when you go to bed, wrap your hair in a silk scarf or sleep on a silk pillowcase to protect your hair from friction. Also, be nice to your edges during styling; don’t pull on them too tightly while creating updos or twist styles.
To get the most of this look, shake it up with different coloured hair pieces and add decorations. Beads and clips are sure to take over your natural hairstyle. Freehand doesn’t always deliver a clean look, especially if you’re a straight back amateur, so be sure to visit your salon stylist to get clean lines and the accurate pattern you want.
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