How to Wash Cornrows

Cornrows are easy to do protective styles that require very little maintenance. I know it's common to see women put their hair into cornrows and do nothing to take care of them. However your cornrows deserve better, they still need to be kept clean for the duration of time you would be keeping them in. 

Now you might be wondering if it's possible to keep your cornrows clean without unraveling them. I will be showing you a simple technique you can use to wash your cornrows without ruining them or causing frizz in the process.

What you need to wash your cornrows

  1. Shower cap or plastic bag
  2. A towel or an old t-shirt
  3. Spray bottle
  4. Shampoo
  5. Conditioner
  6. Leave-in conditioner
  7. Essential oil of choice

How to wash your cornrows

Here's a step by step process on how to wash your cornrows:

1. Shampooing your cornrows

Before you start, mix your sulfate-free shampoo with warm water and your favorite oil into a spray bottle. Then shake well to get a runny consistency.

  • Run warm water over your hair to get your cuticles to open up.
  • Spray the shampoo on your roots, scalp, and your cornrows.
  • Lightly massage the shampoo into your scalp and squeeze the shampoo down your cornrows. Do not rub your cornrows, wash from scalp to end. This helps to prevent frizz.
  • Then rinse the shampoo off. 

2. Conditioning your cornrows

For this next step, mix your moisturizing conditioner with warm water and your favorite oil in a spray bottle and shake well. Your conditioner mix has to have a little thick consistency so it doesn't drip over you while you wait for it to get absorbed into your hair.

  • Apply the conditioner on your scalp and cornrows evenly.
  • Gently massage it in slow vertical motions, going from the hairline to the nape of the head.
  • Then cover it up with a shower cap or plastic bag.
  • Cover up the plastic bag or shower cap with a towel and let it sit for about 20 minutes or more.
  • Rinse off thoroughly with warm water to remove any buildup.
  • Dry with a towel or an old t-shirt.

3. Moisturizing your cornrows

To make your leave-in, mix water, leave-in conditioner, and any essential oil of your choice in a spray bottle. Then shake well. This step is important because it will leave your hair moisturized and shiny.

  • Spray the leave-in on your cornrows.
  • Wrap your hair with a silk or satin scarf to smooth your hair down while it dries and to reduce moisture from getting out of your hair.
  • If you have a dry scalp, you can also apply extra oil to your scalp or allow the oil from the leave-in to really penetrate your scalp. 
  • Style as desired.

You can typically repeat this process for washing your cornrows every two to three weeks or once a month. 

Before you go to bed, remember to put your cornrows in a satin bonnet or silk scarf. This will prevent frizz and breakage and ensure that your cotton pillows won't strip your hair of its moisture.

To see how it's done, @Fezokuhle Zulu will show you in this tutorial how she washes her own cornrows: