Cornrows and box braids are braided hair styles for black natural hair. These styles are also popular among women who have a combination of natural and synthetic hair.
Cornrows are thin, flat braids that sit tightly against the scalp. Typical cornrow styles feature parallel rows of braids running in a single direction, but curved and zigzag styles are also popular, says About.com.
Unlike cornrows, box braids do not lie against the scalp. These braids may be thick or thin and are often extremely long. Long box braids often feature a combination of natural and synthetic hair; they are popular among women who are transitioning to fully natural styles. Box braids last up to six weeks, according to NaturallyCurly.com.
Successful hair braiding requires adequate preparation and maintenance. Deep-conditioning the hair on the day before braiding strengthens it and minimizes breakage, according to NenoNatural.com. Applying oil to the roots of newly braided hair reduces stress on the tightest part of each braid and keeps the scalp comfortable.
Braided styles require washing every seven to 10 days. Pouring shampoo and conditioner into applicator bottles with long tips makes it easy to apply the products to the scalp and roots. Thorough rinsing is also essential. Swabbing the scalp with a mild astringent removes excess oil between shampooing sessions, states NaturallyCurly.com.