Mastering the Art of Showering with Cornrows: A Detailed Guide to Protecting Your Braids

Cornrows have been a fashion statement for generations, typically described as a succession of narrow rows of firmly braided hair close to the scalp. A common question among those sporting this style is, "Can you take a shower with cornrows?" Indeed, cornrows are not just a protective style that can aid in hair growth by reducing manipulation; they also carry significant cultural heritage. For those wearing cornrows for their low maintenance appeal or for cultural reasons, it is essential to understand proper care techniques. This includes managing them during daily activities, especially when showering. This article will delve into the necessary steps and precautions to maintain your cornrows, even in a wet shower environment.
thick and thin cornrow braids

Understanding Cornrows

Cornrows are made by braiding the hair very near to the scalp in an underhand, upward stroke to form a single, elevated row. They can be adorned with beads or shells and vary in size, pattern, and complexity. Typically, cornrows can be worn for several weeks, and their longevity often depends on the hair type, the tightness of the braids, and how well they are maintained.

To keep cornrows looking fresh, specific maintenance steps should be regularly performed, which include proper cleansing and moisturizing. However, the question of how to handle them in the shower can be tricky due to the impact of water on braided hair.

The Impact of Water on Cornrows

Water can both be a friend and a foe to hair. While it is the source of hydration, water can also cause hair to swell and contract, leading to frizz and potential slippage of the braids. This effect varies depending on hair porosity and texture. For those with cornrows, the critical concern is avoiding frizz and keeping the braids intact.

Excessive water exposure can lead to loosening of the braids, which might cause the style to become messy or undone. Moreover, if cornrows are not adequately dried after getting wet, this could lead to scalp issues like mildew or a foul odor, known colloquially as "scalp smell."
blonde cornrow braids

Pre-Shower Preparations

Before stepping into the shower, taking measures to protect your cornrows is essential. A good practice is to wrap your hair in a high-quality shower cap. This will act as a barrier between your braids and the water. If you do not have a shower cap, you can use a plastic bag as a makeshift one, securing it with a clip.

Applying a small bit hair oil or leave-in condition to your cornrows may create a protective barrier that repels water. Essential tools for this step include:
●A spray bottle of leave-in conditioner.
●Natural oils like coconut or jojoba.
●A shower cap or plastic wrap.

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cornrow braids in a ponytail

Showering With Cornrows

Showering with cornrows requires a delicate balance between maintaining scalp hygiene and preserving the integrity of the braids. Here's how to accomplish this:

Water Temperature:

Start with lukewarm water when showering. Extreme temperatures and boiling water can cause the hair to frizz and may even lead to hair cuticle damage. Warm water is sufficient to cleanse the scalp and body without affecting the structure of the cornrows.

Avoiding Direct Water Pressure:

Direct water pressure on your cornrows from the showerhead can lead to the loosening of the braids and potential frizz. To avoid this, tilt your head backward or to the side, allowing the water to run off without directly hitting the braids. You can also cup your hand over the cornrows or use a waterproof visor to shield your hair.

Cleansing the Scalp:

Keeping your scalp clean is crucial to prevent itchiness, dandruff, or buildup. To cleanse your scalp without soaking the cornrows:

1. Damp Cloth Method: Dip a washcloth in a mixture of water and shampoo and gently rub the cloth along the parts between the braids.
2. Applicator Bottle Method: To target the scalp, use a bottle with a nozzle tip filled with diluted shampoo. This minimizes the amount of
water and product that gets on the braids.
3. Cleansing Wipes: There are products on the market specifically for cleaning the scalp while in protective styles, such as cornrows.

After using the shampoo or cleanser, use your fingers to gently massage your scalp along the cornrow grooves to help break down any buildup. Rinse the scalp using a damp cloth or squeezing water over it and allowing it to trickle down without disturbing the braids.
stylish cornrow braids

Specific Shampoos or Cleansers:

Choosing the right shampoo or cleanser is essential. A gentle, sulfate-free shampoo or a natural cleansing solution, such as apple cider vinegar diluted with water, can be used to wash the scalp without stripping it of natural oils. If you're using a regular shampoo, cut it to ensure it's mild enough not to cause dryness or irritation.


While you may want to avoid getting your cornrows wet, it's still essential to condition the scalp and hair. After lightly cleansing the scalp, apply a leave-in conditioner or natural oil to the parts and edges of the cornrows to keep them moisturized and healthy. This can help to prevent breakage and maintain the sheen of the hair.


If you get your cornrows wet, rinse them as gently as possible. You can use a handheld showerhead to control the flow of the water, ensuring that you're not soaking the braids. Remember to always rinse with lukewarm water and do so gently, not disturbing the braids.

By following these steps, you can effectively shower with cornrows without jeopardizing the longevity of your hairstyle. Keeping your cornrows clean and intact during a shower is all about being gentle and tactical with your approach to water and products. With the proper care, your cornrows can continue to look neat and stylish for their entire duration. At JALIZA Wig Store, we understand the importance of variety and quality in our selection. For those who admire the sleek and elegant lines of African braiding, our cornrow braid wig range offers a seamless blend of cultural heritage and modern style
cornrow braids with curly hair

Post-Shower Care

Drying your cornrows thoroughly is crucial. After showering, gently pat your hair with a microfiber towel to remove excess water. Avoiding rubbing, because it can cause frizz and flyaways. If possible, sit under a hood dryer on a relaxed or low setting, or use a hair dryer with a diffuser to accelerate up the drying process while avoiding damage.

After your cornrows are dry, apply a light moisturizing hair product to keep them looking fresh and to maintain moisture balance in your hair.

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Alternative Methods

If you want to clean your scalp without the risk of getting your cornrows wet, consider using dry shampoo or scalp treatments that don't require water. You can also use a damp cloth with witch hazel or a mild astringent to clean the scalp. Understanding the diverse preferences and needs of our clientele, JALIZA Wig Store offers an array of options including the ever-popular braid wig, which embodies both the traditional and contemporary styles.
side cornrow braids

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Stop showering with hot water since it can promote frizz in your hair. Additionally, do not rub your cornrows vigorously with a towel or leave them damp, as this can lead to mildew. Be careful not to apply heavy products that can cause buildup on the scalp, as it can be difficult to wash out without thoroughly wetting the cornrows.


Q: How often should you wash your hair with cornrows?
A: Generally, it's recommended to wash your cornrowed hair every 2 to 3 weeks. However, if your scalp gets oily or feels itchy, you might need to clean it more frequently using the methods described.

Q: Can you go swimming with cornrows?
A: Yes, you can swim with cornrows. Wearing a swim cap safeguards your hair against chemicals and saltwater. Afterward, rinse your hair with fresh water and follow the post-shower care steps.

Q: How long should you wait to shower after getting cornrows?
A: It's best to wait at least 24-48 hours after getting cornrows before you shower, allowing the style to set and the scalp to adjust.

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black cornrow braids


Showering with cornrows is possible, but it requires a bit of preparation and care. Protecting your hair from direct water exposure, using the proper cleansing methods, and ensuring your cornrows are dry is vital to maintaining your hairstyle. With proper care, you may enjoy the ease and beauty of cornrows while preserving their integrity in the shower. JALIZA Wig Store stands as a beacon of excellence for black women seeking the finest wig products available. Our platform is meticulously curated to ensure that every wig, from the small box braid wig to the intricate cornrow braid wig, meets the high standards our customers deserve.

Each piece is crafted with the utmost attention to detail, ensuring that it not only enhances your personal style but also offers the comfort and durability you require. Whether you're looking for a subtle enhancement or a bold transformation, our small box braid wigs and cornrow braid wigs provide versatile solutions that cater to your unique aesthetic.
red cornrow braids

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