9 Ways To Wear Natural Hair In Cornrows That Are So Chic

From stitch details to intricate updos.

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A roundup of eye-catching natural hair cornrow styles to inspire your next look.
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Whether it’s because of the intricate designs or the get-up-and-go ease, cornrow hairstyles for natural hair continue to be popular. In a nutshell, cornrows are braids or plaits that are actually affixed to the scalp in neat rows, and the style possibilities are plenty — you can wear them in everything from high ponytails to fancy updos and traditional lines that travel straight back.

Of course, you can’t talk about cornrows without talking about what the styles mean to Black women. From little girls sitting between their mothers’ legs on Sunday evenings to get their hair done all the way up to Beyoncé’s Lemonade braided cornrows, the styles’ long history is ingrained in the culture. “Cornrows are not only adorned for protective styles to keep our hair protected from damage, but it also has been a way that we've expressed ourselves in a very stylistic way,” says Larry Sims, celebrity hairstylist and co-founder of hair care brand Flawless by Gabrielle Union. “Cornrows are forever a form of self-love and self-expression.”

For beginners just learning to cornrow, Felicia Leatherwood, celebrity stylist and natural hair expert, recommends not pulling those edges too tight in order to avoid breakage around the hairline. Another pro tip? “Be sure to steam the scalp for relief with a hot, steamy towel covering the head for two minutes. This will open up the scalp making the braids less stressful on the scalp and hair,” she tells Bustle. And, according to Sims, those rocking cornrows should keep the scalp moisturized and tie the braids down while you sleep.

Keep scrolling for nine eye-catching cornrow hairstyles for natural hair that are sure to inspire your next look.


Heart Accented

Add a little something extra to a classic straight-back style with a braided heart detail on the side for a fun take on cornrows.


High Ponytail

It’s impossible not to feel sassy when crowned with a high, whip-able ponytail crafted with cornrows and box braids.



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Sims says straight-back cornrows will always be one of his faves for the way it works on both men and women. Pair them with statement earrings and bold makeup for the perfect going-out glam.


High Bun

You could pull your cornrows into a super-high voluminous bun for an effortless ‘do — and it’ll stand out even more if you’re rocking multicolored braids like these.


Stitch Detail

Keep your protective style simple with a side part, which brings you the perfect opportunity to add a single stitch-like braid for a cool and artful point of interest.


Intricate Updo

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Dress up your cornrows with an evening-worthy style like this one seen on Issa Rae that combines cornrows, a crown braid, locs, and gold accessories.


Tribal Details

Opt for tribal braids that feel quietly elegant and regal if you’re looking for a different way to wear cornrows.



For an edgier take, go for a half-shaved, half-braids look. Pulling it into a bun is a great way to showcase the cool style.


Space Buns

Keep it playful with cornrows that feed into always-fun space buns. The heart detail is the perfect added touch.

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