Dear Newly Natural Me: Can You Please Learn to Cornrow?

Dear Newly Natural Me,

Can you please learn to cornrow? It will break the space-time continuum, considering your first attempt isn’t for another year, but it’ll be worth it.

In fact, here: watch this tutorial by Breanna Rutter and thank me later. I know what you’re thinking. “I just managed to get these flat twists in and she thinks I can somehow get my clumsy fingers to do that? Ha!”

Hey, congrats on your flat twisting success! But, yes, I’d like you to start learning to cornrow, as well. Flat twists are appealing because they are quick and easy, and work just fine for protective styling. No doubt there’s a steeper learning curve to cornrowing, but if you start practicing now, by the time you are me, my cornrowing will be faster, neater, and way more stylish. I’m talking cornrows, goddess braids, forwards, backwards, and zig-zagging.

What’s in it for you? Well, cornrows are especially great for short hair. For one thing, you have less tangles to slow you down. For another, cornrows last longer because they have an interlocking hold, a better grip than those struggle flat twists your two inches of hair refuse to stay in. If I recall correctly, your current set will come loose in a few days and because twisting going backwards is still a challenge, you will give up and retwist those two rows going forwards. And you will look silly. Just saying.

Your flat-twisting improves, of course, but think of it. When you’re on a protective styling regimen, instead of putting in two hours or so of flat twists that last only a week, if that, you could install cornrows in the same amount of time that will, at minimum, last twice as long with proper care. That’s more time to leave your hair undisturbed, which means less mechanical damage and major length retention. You can even wash in them!

All I’m saying is don’t be afraid to try new things just because they appear intimidating. You’ll miss out.

Cornrows seem to have gained a reputation of being one of those essential life skills that if you weren’t taught as a teen by some wise elder in your family, you ain’t never gonna get it. Wrong. Anyone can learn, and there are plenty of wise elders–and youngers–online willing to help you. You’re smart, creative, and doing this natural thing. So, go for it and give a girl a head start, will you? Thanks!


Future You with the Beginner’s Braids

Image credit: Lenyon Whitaker,

Written by a °Yeka team contributor

Article credit: Pursuit of Natural


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