Cornrowing for Beginners: Tips and Easy Styles

Learning how to cornrow has been a struggle for me, I started watching videos and reading tutorials back in the summer (2011) and tried to learn to cornrow a little bit, but I couldn’t quite get it, the braids never looked that great, my technique was sloppy and I decided to “take a break” from learning. I recently picked it back up again, you can se and I’m proud to say it is going well. I have been practicing, practicing and then practicing some more. I haven’t read anymore tutorials or watched anymore videos, it’s just been about me finding my own technique and then practicing it. Here are a few photos from the past two months, you can see my (slow) improvements.


D had had her hair in box braids in for the month of January, mid month I took down the box braids in the front, they were getting a little fuzzy, and I put two cornrows in front:

Learning to cornrow

Not great, I know, but I’m showing these in order to show my progress, you see this was just the beginning. These braids are actually more difficult than smaller straight backs, I’ve learned. This style also marked the start of Kandy Land Kurls 8 Week Protective Style Challenge and I was determined to get better at cornrow, so I used this challenge as an excuse opportunity to practice.


The second week of the challenge I did a flat twist style, but the third week I was back to cornrows. Week 3 I did her whole head in 5 large straight back cornrows, there was a little improved. I have since learned that larger cornrows are more difficult, at least for me, than smaller ones, likewise really small cornrows are harder for me to do that medium/small sized braids.

cornrowing for beginnerscornrowing tips

Week 4 I just divided the largest braids into, did another straight back style with 7-8 braids this time, nothing special, still just practicing trying to improve my technique. And that is the best advice I can offer anyone who is just beginning to cornrow, practice makes prefect and you will get better with practice. Practice with easy, simple, basic cornrow styles like these when you first start out.

cornrows for beginnerseasy basic cornrow styles

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Week 5 I got a little more brave and creative with it, lol, I just free styled this starting with diagonal parts on the right side of her head.

easy basic creative cornrow styles

That is all the cornrows I’ll show for now, but there will be more coming soon!! Now on to some tips and advice on cornrowing.

What I’ve learned about cornrows:

  • It’s easiest for me to cornrow hair that is completely dry and has been stretched by banding. Before I was trying to braid on wet hair and damp hair thinking it would be easier, not so. But experiment and see what is easiest for you.
  • Small-medium sized cornrows are easier that large and tiny cornrows.
  • I have to make a conscious effort to keep my hands close to her scalp to avoid loose cornrows. I would start off good, but as I would get to the end the braid it would loosen up and the cornrow would come away from the scalp, like this:

loose cornrow coming away from the scalp

More cornrowing help, tips and hairstyles for beginners.

I want to leave you with some cornrowing tips I have gotten from my hair friends that I have found them very helpful in my learning how to cornrow.

I’d say, don’t worry about your hand technique looking like everyone else. when I first started braiding I thought I was doing it wrong because I didn’t hold my hands like most braiders. At the end of the cornrow my braids and their braids looked the same. You have to do what’s comfortable to you.”
Kandy Land Kurls

“Don’t expect it to look perfect when you’re first learning…your braiding will slowly improve as you keep practicing.”
Tweeny Hair

“When first learning, the bigger your braids are the sloppier they will look, but if you do them smaller they will appear neater.”
Tweeny Hair

“The most IMPORTANT word of advice I got for cornrowing was to make sure that my hands were comfortable when doing the braid… A comfortable hand equals a nice, neat braid… When you get to contorting your hands and straining them, that WILL show in the braid style.”
Once Upon a Curl

“Start with flat twisting. It’s easier and helps get your hands acquainted with picking up hair as you go. Then start trying w/a simple style like a headband or short rows in the front or side to keep hair away from the face..”
Charlotte’s Avenue

“Add hair only to the middle section of your braid as you go along.”
Diva Locks

“I learned to cornrow cause I knew how to French braid, I taught myself to do both, I can only say practice makes perfect or at least better. It is an easy concept if you can watch someone do it.”
Diva Locks

“Some people say not to try it on wet hair, but I find it easier to braid with damp hair at least, that way it stays together and doesn’t slip away from me as easily! Especially when learning. And as always, don’t make it too tight! I would also encourage people to just try it and don’t worry if your method isn’t the same as someone else’s – as long as the end product looks how you want it to it doesn’t matter how you held the hair, or where you added pieces from, etc.”
Girly and Curly


  1. Diva Locks says:

    Great post! I love the progress pics :) All the tips are posted were wonderful as well :)

  2. Char~ says:

    Okay… Now you are just showing out!! Those braids are fantastic!!! Great job, mamas… Now, I’m waiting to see some designs!! :)


  3. Great post, and good job!

  4. Nicole (Mama to 4 Blessings) says:

    I have always admired these hairdo’s. My daughter would never sit still long enough – she cries just when I brush her hair!

    • Brooke says:

      Oh I’ve been there! Now that D is older we don’t have much of a problem, she would rather spend 1 evening getting her hair done in a style that will last all week, than having to redo it every night, and I’m thankful because I prefer that routine as well.

  5. olfa says:

    I love the pics!! Thanks for sharing

  6. I need you in my house in the morning – I am so not creative with my daughter’s hair. And whatever I do fall apart by lunch

  7. Precious Curls says:

    Awesome post! Love the tips and the cornrows look great!

  8. goldilocksnme says:

    I think you did great! You were an old pro by the last pic! My braids come out at the bottom too, still working on it…

    • Brooke says:

      Yeah, I really have to concentrate so that doesn’t happen, lol, so I’m still working on it, too.

  9. Mina Slater says:

    Thanks for this, I need to practice more. I’m okay when it comes to cornrows but I’d like to be great…or at least good! Lol. I’ve always tried following others hand technique but I’m going to stop doing that and figure out what is comfortable for me!

  10. Shelly says:

    Brooke, those look awesome!!! I can’t wait to start cornrowing B’s hair when she is older and will SIT STILL! :-)

  11. curlychellz says:

    I love the tips! Cornrowing has been the most challenging thing for me to learn how to do. I braid overhand so french braiding is alot easier for me. As with all things I know that practice will make perfect. And you picked up the hang of it quickly!

  12. tee says:

    Ha ha i can relate. i say try braiding hair has no static or bush..u just get a really clean part and braid and no naps! its win win. hey can someone tell me about grease or moisturizer? what is best? when is best time to apply?

    • Brooke says:

      Well, I don’t use grease. I use moisturizer on her wet hair right after it is washed and detangled…I have read for some it is better for them to apply moisturizer the next day once the hair is dry… I guess it depends on the hair. And I absolutely love Bee Mine’s Luscious Moisturizer… the best… hands down!! Check our Bee Mine reviews and in the sidebar for a discount code… you will not be disappointed!

  13. Mojalefa says:

    I’ve recently moved to Japan and i’ve been struggling to find someone who can do my hair, so i think learning to do my own hair might save me from frustration

  14. Nirra says:

    Wow! I wonder if I could do it on myself??? Probably not. lol


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