Swimming with Cornrow Braids: A Guide to Maintaining Your Style in the Water

Cornrow braids, a traditional African hairstyle that has gained popularity worldwide, are both a fashion statement and a practical solution for hair management. Cornrows, distinguished by their clean, close-to-the-scalp braiding design, can be worn by anyone for both aesthetic and functional purposes. Can you swim with cornrow braids without hurting your hair or your style? This is a common question among athletes, particularly swimmers. This article examines the complexities of swimming with cornrow braids, revealing the benefits, preparations, and care required to keep this hairdo in the water.
the image of cornrow braids

Understanding Cornrow Braids

Cornrow braids are a flexible and protective hairstyle that requires braiding hair in a continuous, elevated row extremely close to the scalp. They can be made in straight lines, curved patterns, or elaborate motifs, making them a highly personalized alternative for many people. Cornrow braids are often applied by an experienced braider who can tightly intertwine the hair to get the desired effect, which can last for several weeks with proper maintenance.

Materials used in cornrows range from natural hair to synthetic or human hair extensions, providing options for length and volume. These materials can react differently when exposed to water, chlorine, or salt, which is an essential consideration for swimmers.
long cornrow braids

Benefits of Cornrow Braids for Swimmers

Swimmers may find cornrow braids particularly beneficial for several reasons:
1.When braided down, the streamlined nature of the hair can reduce drag in the water, potentially improving swimming performance.
2.As a protective style, cornrow braids help prevent the hair from tangling and becoming damaged due to the constant motion in the water.
3.For those who swim regularly, cornrows are a low-maintenance hairstyle that can withstand frequent water exposure without the need for daily restyling.

Considerations Before Swimming with Cornrow Braids

Swimmers wearing cornrow braids should consider the effects of pool chemicals and saltwater on their hair before diving in. Chlorine and salt can dehydrate the hair and scalp, causing dryness and potential damage. It is critical to ensure that the braids are correctly fitted, as loose braids may unravel or become frizzy when exposed to water. Furthermore, when wearing cornrows, the scalp is generally more exposed, increasing the risk of sunburn. When not in the water, use sunscreen intended for the scalp or wear a helmet to protect yourself.
swimmers wearing cornrow braids

Preparing Cornrow Braids for Swimming

Proper preparation is critical to maintaining the integrity of cornrow braids while swimming. Before swimming, moisturizing the hair and scalp with appropriate products can help minimize the drying effects of chlorine and seawater. Applying oils or leave-in conditioners can create a protective barrier, locking in moisture. For additional protection, especially in chlorinated pools, wearing a swim cap can be beneficial, although it may not cover all the hair depending on the cap's size and the volume of the braids.

6 Tips for Swimmers with Cornrow Braids

A consistent hair and scalp care routine is essential for those who swim regularly. This might include weekly washing, daily moisturizing, and the use of protective sprays or oils. Swimmers should also be aware of when to redo their braids; repeated exposure to water can cause the style to look worn or lead to hair breakage. Another tip for long-term swimmers is to consider "protective styles within protective styles," such as wrapping the braids into a bun or tucking them under a swim cap to provide extra security and variation in appearance. Here are 6 tips to protect your cornrow braids when swimming:

1.Moisturize Before Swimming:

When diving into the pool or ocean, apply a generous amount of hair oil or leave-in conditioner to your cornrows. This will help to form a protective layer around the hair dryer, reducing the absorption of hazardous chemicals such as chlorine and the drying effect of salt water. Products containing substances like as coconut oil, shea butter, or castor oil can be very beneficial since they seal in moisture and provide an added layer of protection.

2.Rinse Hair with Fresh Water:

Rinse your cornrows completely with clean, fresh water before and after swimming. When you soak your hair with fresh water before swimming, it becomes saturated, which means it will absorb less chlorinated or saltwater. After swimming, rinsing helps to wash away any chlorine, salt, and other impurities that may have penetrated the protective barrier, reducing their potential to cause dryness or damage.

3.Use a Swim Cap:

Although it might not be the most fashionable accessory, a swim cap can significantly protect your cornrow braids from direct exposure to water. Choose a cap with enough room to fit all your braids comfortably, and make sure it's made from a material resistant to chlorine if you're swimming in a pool. Silicone swim caps are usually a good choice, as they are durable and less likely to snag on your braids than latex caps.

4.Apply a Waterproof Protective Product:

There are products created expressly to protect hair from chlorine and seawater. Applying a waterproof or water-resistant product can provide a solid protective layer for your braids. Look for products labeled as "chlorine-resistant" or "for swimmers" to get the best protection.

5.Dry Your Braids Properly:

After swimming, it's essential to dry your cornrows thoroughly. Squeeze off any extra water and pat your braids dry with a towel. Allow your hair to air-dry entirely in the sun (if wearing a UV protectant), or use a hooded dryer in a relaxed setting. Avoid going to bed with wet braids, as this can lead to scalp irritation, a musty smell, and the potential for mildew growth.

6.Maintain and Refresh Your Braids:

Regular maintenance is necessary to keep your cornrow braids looking fresh after swimming. A light wash with a clarifying shampoo can help remove any buildup of chlorine or salt, and re-applying moisturizer will replenish any oils stripped from your hair. If your braids start looking frizzy or feeling loose, schedule an appointment with your stylist for touch-ups, and consider redoing your braids every so often to maintain their neat appearance and the health of your hair.

By following these tips, you can enjoy your swimming activities without compromising the look and health of your cornrow braids. At uBraids, we recognize the importance of maintaining your style, even when engaging in water activities such as swimming. Our collection of braided wigs is meticulously crafted to mimic the look and feel of authentic cornrows while offering the convenience of a wig.

With uBraids, swimmers no longer have to worry about their braids getting damaged or frizzy from the water. Instead, they can protect their natural hair while still enjoying the aesthetic of cornrow braids
wearing a swim cap with cornrow braids

Care After Swimming

Post-swim care is crucial for the longevity of cornrow braids. Swimmers should quickly rinse their hair with fresh water to remove as much chlorine or salt as possible. If the hair has been exposed to these factors for an extended period of time, a gentle wash with a clarifying shampoo followed by a moisturizing conditioner will help restore balance to the scalp and braids. Drying the hair completely after washing is also necessary to prevent mildew growth and the creation of undesirable odors. Regular maintenance, such as tightening loose braids and applying scalp treatments, can help keep the hairstyle fresh and extend its wear.
swimmers wearing cornrow braids 2


Cornrow braids are not only a stylish and cultural hairstyle choice but also a practical one for swimmers. With the proper preparations and post-swim care, there is no reason why individuals with cornrow braids cannot enjoy the water. The key is to protect the hair and scalp from the potential drying effects of swimming pools and ocean water by moisturizing, rinsing, and using protective barriers. Swimmers with cornrows should embrace the benefits of this protective style while also being mindful of the maintenance required to keep the hair and the braids in optimal condition.The JALIZA Premium Wig Store, home to the uBraids brand, understands the versatility and significance of cornrow braids. As specialists in braided wigs and cornrow wigs, we offer high-quality options for those who want to embrace the cornrow look with the convenience of a wig. Our cornrow wigs are designed to emulate the intricate details of cornrows while providing the ease of a protective style that can be worn in any situation, including swimming.

uBraids takes pride in crafting braided wigs that are not only stylish but also functional for the active individual. With the use of premium materials and attention to detail, our braided wigs are an ideal solution for swimmers who want to maintain a cornrowed look without exposing their natural hair to the potential damage from pool chemicals or saltwater.
the image of cornrow braids 2

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