Maintaining Hair Health: Knowing When to Remove Your Cornrows

Cornrows are more than just a hairstyle. They are a centuries-old traditional African method of hair braiding, where hair is styled in close, neat rows that lie flat against the scalp. They can be simple, straight lines or complex geometric patterns and often hold much cultural significance. While cornrows are a beautiful and protective style that can help in hair growth by safeguarding the hair from manipulation, it's important to recognize when they should be refreshed or removed. The question, "When should you take cornrows out?" is essential for maintaining the health of your hair and scalp, as leaving them in too long can lead to potential damage.

plaited cornrow braids

Understanding Cornrows

The art of cornrow braiding has deep roots in African culture, with evidence of its existence dating back thousands of years. This hairstyle was an aesthetic choice and conveyed social and marital status, age, religion, and ethnicity. Today, cornrows are worn by people of all backgrounds and remain popular due to their low maintenance and protective qualities, especially for those with natural hair.

The Lifespan of Cornrows

Cornrows can last anywhere from a few days to about six weeks. However, the suitability of keeping them for an extended period varies based on several factors. Hair type is significant; finer hair may need to be redone sooner to avoid breakage, whereas coarser hair might hold the style longer. The size of the cornrows also plays a role; smaller, tighter braids might last longer but can be more damaging if kept for too long. Additionally, your hair growth rate and how fast your scalp produces oil will affect the freshness of your cornrows. Lastly, an active lifestyle that causes sweating or frequent hair washing can reduce the lifespan of the style. 

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cornrow braids in a ponytail

Signs It'sIt's Time to Take Out Your Cornrows

Knowing when to take out your cornrows is crucial in maintaining healthy hair. Here are several signs to look out for:

Scalp Itchiness and Discomfort

An itchy scalp may show product buildup or a lack of proper scalp care while wearing cornrows. If you notice persistent itchiness or discomfort, it'sit's time to remove the braids and thoroughly clean your scalp.

Noticeable Hair Growth and Looseness

As your hair grows, the cornrows will naturally become looser. This new growth can cause tension at the roots if the cornrows are not taken out in time, leading to potential hair breakage or loss.
goddness cornrow braids

The buildup of Products and Natural Oils

Natural oils from your scalp, mixed with chemicals used to keep the cornrows in place, can accumulate over time, making the hair appear greasy or dirty. If left untreated, this buildup might cause scalp concerns.

Frizz and Flyaways

While some frizz is usual, excessive frizzing and stray hairs can indicate that the cornrows have been in for too long. This can make the style look untidy and signal that your hair is starting to suffer.

Tension and Stress on the Hairline

Suppose you feel tension around your hairline or notice that the braids are pulling too tightly. In that case, it'sit's essential to remove them to prevent traction alopecia—a condition caused by constant pulling on the roots that can lead to permanent hair loss.

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cornrow braids with curly hair

Potential Risks of Overwearing Cornrows

Wearing cornrows for too long can lead to several hair and scalp problems:

Traction Alopecia and Edge Damage

Tight cornrows can cause stress on the hairline, leading to traction alopecia, where hair begins to thin or recede due to constant pulling.

Breakage and Hair Weakening

Old, tight braids can lead to hair breakage and split ends, weakening the overall hair structure.

Scalp Conditions

An unkempt scalp can become a breeding ground for dandruff or fungal infections, which are both unsightly and uncomfortable.

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mix colored  cornrow braids with extension

Proper Removal and Aftercare

When it'sit's time to take your cornrows out, follow these steps to avoid damaging your hair:

1. Use a light oil to gently massage the base of the cornrows to loosen them and ease the removal process.
2. Carefully unbraid each cornrow, starting from the back and working to the front to minimize tension on the hairline.
3. Remove the braids and carefully detangle the hair with a comb that has wide teeth or your fingers.
4. Once all the braids are out, wash your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo to clean the scalp and remove any buildup.
5. Follow up with a moisturizing conditioner, and consider a deep conditioning treatment to restore hydration to your hair.
6. If necessary, trim any split ends to maintain hair health.

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side cornrow braids

Alternatives to Prolonging Wear

If you wish to prolong the life of your cornrows, follow these maintenance tips:

 ● Keep your scalp clean using a cloth and diluted shampoo to dab and gently clean the scalp and braids.
 ● Moisturize your hair and scalp with light oils or sprays to prevent dryness.
 ● To prevent friction and frizz, wrap your hair in a silk or smooth scarf or bonnet every night.
 ● Consider having the front rows redone if they start to look loose or untidy; this can refresh the style temporarily without entirely renovating the entire head.

By incorporating these practices, you can enjoy your cornrows for a little longer without compromising the health of your hair and scalp. At JALIZA, our braided cornrow wig range offers the classic charm and intricate detail of individually crafted braids for those seeking a more traditional protective style.
long cornrow braids


Cornrows are a stylish, versatile, and protective hairstyle that, when maintained correctly, can enhance your hair'shair's health and growth. However, it's imperative to recognize the signs that indicate it's time to take them out. Ignoring these signs can lead to hair damage and scalp issues. To avoid friction and frizz, put your hair in a silk or soft scarf or bonnet nightly. By doing so, you ensure that your hair remains strong, healthy, and beautiful, ready for the next time you decide to rock cornrows or any other protective style.

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short cornrow braids


In this section, let'slet's address some common questions regarding removing cornrows.

Q: How can I tell if my cornrows are too tight and might cause damage?
A: If you feel persistent pain or headaches after getting your cornrows or if you notice white bumps or hair loss at the base of the braid, they may be too tight.

Q: Can I wash my cornrows?
A: Yes, you can wash your cornrows. Use a gentle, diluted shampoo and apply it directly to the scalp, carefully massaging and rinsing without disturbing the braids too much.

Q: What oil should I use to moisturize my scalp while in cornrows?
A: Lightweight oils like jojoba, coconut, or almond oil are excellent for moisturizing the scalp without causing heavy buildup.

Q: How often should I touch up my cornrows?
A: Touch-ups should be done sparingly, as frequent manipulation can lead to breakage. Every 2-3 weeks is a general guideline, but continuously assess the need based on your hair's individual growth and condition.

Q: What should I do if I notice hair breakage after removing my cornrows?
A: If you experience breakage, give your hair a break from styling. Treat it with protein treatments and deep conditioning, and consult a professional stylist or trichologist if the breakage is severe.

By understanding the right time to take out your cornrows and how to care for your hair before, during, and after wearing them, you can enjoy the benefits of this beautiful hairstyle without compromising the health of your hair. At JALIZA, our braided cornrow wig merges the timeless appeal of this iconic style with the versatility of a wig. Each product is a testament to the craftsmanship and attention to detail that JALIZA is known cornrow braids

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