Box Braids vs Cornrows: Understanding the Differences
If you're in search of a protective hairstyle that can last for weeks, you might have heard about box braids and cornrows. Both cornrows and box braids are popular protective hairstyles for black women, and each has its own unique features and benefits. In this article, we'll explore the difference between cornrows vs box braids, help you understand which one is best for your hair type, and provide some tips on how to maintain your style.
What are box braids?
Box braids are a popular protective hairstyle for black women. They involve sectioning the hair into small squares and then braiding each section from the roots to the ends. Box braids can be any length, color, or thickness, and they're typically made with synthetic hair extensions. Box braids can take anywhere from 4 to 10 hours to install, depending on the length and thickness of your hair.
What are cornrows?
Cornrows, also known as canerows, are a traditional African hairstyle that involves braiding the hair in a series of small, tight braids that lay flat against the scalp. Cornrows can be styled in various patterns and designs, and they can be made with or without extensions. Cornrows can take anywhere from 2 to 6 hours to install, depending on the complexity of the style.
The difference between cornrows and box braids
The main difference between cornrows vs box braids is the way the hair is braided. Box braids involve braiding the hair into individual sections, while cornrows involve braiding the hair in a continuous pattern along the scalp. Box braids also require the use of synthetic hair extensions, while cornrows can be made with or without extensions.
Another difference is the amount of tension placed on the hair. Box braids are typically braided tightly from the roots to the ends, which can cause tension on the scalp and hairline if not done correctly. Cornrows, on the other hand, are braided close to the scalp but not as tightly as box braids, which makes them a good option for people with sensitive scalps.
Pros and cons of box braids and cornrows
When it comes to cornrows and box braids, each style has its own pros and cons. Here are some of the pros and cons of each style:
- Versatile and can be styled in various ways
- Last longer than cornrows
- Low maintenance
- Good for protecting natural hair
- Can cause tension on the scalp and hairline if braided too tightly
- Can be heavy and uncomfortable, especially if they're long
- Require the use of synthetic hair extensions, which can be expensive
- Can take a long time to install
- Can be styled in various patterns and designs
- Low maintenance
- Don't require the use of synthetic hair extensions
- Good for protecting natural hair
- Less tension on the scalp than box braids
- Can be uncomfortable if braided too tightly
- Don't last as long as box braids
- Can cause breakage if not removed properly
- Limited styling options compared to box braids
Factors to consider when choosing between braids vs cornrows
When choosing between cornrows and box braids, there are several factors you need to consider:
- Hair type: Box braids may be a better option for those with thicker hair, while cornrows may work better for those with thinner hair.
- Length of time: Box braids typically last longer than cornrows, so if you're looking for a longer-lasting protective style, box braids might be the way to go.
- Style preference: Box braids offer more versatility in terms of styling options, while cornrows are limited to a few patterns and designs.
- Cost: Box braids require the use of synthetic hair extensions, which can be expensive, while cornrows can be made without extensions, making them a more affordable option.
- Comfort: Box braids can be heavy and uncomfortable, especially if they're long, while cornrows can be uncomfortable if braided too tightly.
Consider these factors before making a decision on which style to go for.
How to maintain cornrows and box braids
To ensure that your cornrows or box braids last as long as possible and maintain their look, you need to take proper care of them. Here are some tips for maintaining your protective style:
- Wash your scalp every 1-2 weeks with a diluted shampoo to avoid buildup.
- Use a leave-in conditioner to keep your hair moisturized.
- Sleep with a satin bonnet or pillowcase to avoid friction and breakage.
- Avoid scratching or pulling on your scalp, which can cause tension and damage.
- Cover your hair with a scarf or hat when going outside in harsh weather conditions.
Which one lasts longer - cornrows or box braids?
Box braids typically last longer than cornrows. Box braids can last anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks, while cornrows usually last 2 to 4 weeks. However, the lifespan of both styles ultimately depends on how well they are maintained and the individual's hair type and growth rate.
When it comes to choosing between cornrows vs box braids, it's important to consider your hair type, style preference, and maintenance needs. Both styles are great protective hairstyles for black women and offer their own unique features and benefits. With proper care, both styles can last for weeks and help promote healthy hair growth.