Thursday, May 2, 2013

Chevron Cornrows

This is our go-to style for cornrows. It is simple and quicker than some other styles. Since Scholar's hair is too short along the sides and back to cornrow (we cut it that way for summer), this style only takes about 30 minutes. When his hair was longer on sides and back and needed to be styled, most styles would take about an hour to an hour and a half. He can sit for about 30 minutes at a time, so we make sure to take breaks so he can play and run around.

Top Left: The first time I did Chevron Cornrows on Scholar, 10 months ago
Right: Chevron Cornrows Style now. The braids extend about 2 inches longer than they did the first time.
His hair is at least two inches longer, even with having been trimmed a time or two.

Styling usually follows a bath. I either style his hair the same day he's had a bath or the next day. I want his hair to be clean and moisturized before it is put into a style. The style helps to hold in the moisture. Read this post about how we moisturize after bath.

When I am styling Scholar's hair, I sit with my legs "criss-cross applesauce" (sorry, preschool teacher coming out there) and have him sit in the "nest" that is formed. This keeps him from wiggling as much and it's comfortable for both of us. Soon, he will be too tall to sit like this and I'll have to have him sit on a chair while I do his hair.

These are our styling essentials:

  • a pintail comb for making parts,
  • alligator clips for holding the loose hair out of the way,
  • a washcloth to wipe my hands as needed
  • a spray bottle with water, aloe and oils to wet hair,
  • Babycakes Honey Butter
  • and, most importantly, the Roku remote so we can watch endless episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine while styling.

I also have books and toys nearby in case he wants to play or look at a book to keep himself entertained. Most times, though, he throws all the toys and books away from him in the first 5 minutes and then has nothing else to do.

Fortunately, he is the one of the two boys that is most likely to sit quietly for a little while.
Unfortunately, when I am working on Scholar's hair, Explorer is, well, exploring. By exploring I mean that he is tearing up the living room and making it look like a disaster struck. That's my little tornado.

First, I spray the section of hair I will be working on with the spray bottle. I make the first part with the pintail comb.

For this style, the part begins at the front and moves at a diagonal toward his right ear. This particular day, I started the  part just to the left of center, so the whole Chevron pattern will be slightly off-center. At other times, I've started the part at the exact middle of the front of his hair and that centers the pattern on his head. Either way it turns out well, so it is only  a matter of preference whether to start at center or to the left of center.

I place the alligator clips on the hair that I will not be working with to keep it out of the way and to maintain my part line while working. 

Before beginning the cornrow, I spray the section of hair with the water bottle again, to make sure it is wet enough to work with easily. Then, I scoop out a little bit of Honey Butter. It is firm, but softens on my fingers. I rub my fingers together to smooth it and melt it to be applied to the hair.

Taking small sections of hair at a time, I work the Honey Butter through all of the hair that I will be braiding. I use my  fingers to gently detangle the hair as I go. It is much easier to braid the hair if it has all been detangled before beginning the cornrow.

Starting at the left side, I cornrow the hair that I've prepared, adding more Honey Butter as needed.

There are many good videos on YouTube that demonstrate how to cornrow.

Braiding my Barbie's hair when I was a kid definitely got my fingers used to working with small sections of hair and making small braids. I had several Barbies, but one I remember most was a Miko Barbie doll. She had long, black, shiny hair. I used to love combing and braiding her hair. Scholar's hair reminds me of hers when I am braiding it. His hair is so black and shiny.

Here is a side-view of the first cornrow. If he had longer hair on the sides, I would have continued the row down the side of his head, to end by his ear. Or, I may have braided it a little farther, then put horizontal rows on the side. For now, the row ends up high and I continued to braid the hair until I was almost to the end. I put a little more Honey Butter on the end and twisted it around my finger to make a coil. His hair will hold itself without using any thread or rubber bands.

The second part line forms a V with the first part. I removed the clips from his hair, sprayed the hair with the water mixture and made the second part, starting just to the right of the beginning of the first part, moving diagonally toward his left ear. I used the clips to hold the hair that I wouldn't be working with out of the way.

I repeated the process as for the first cornrow: spray the hair again with the water mixture, work the Honey Butter through the hair,detangling the hair and then cornrowing from the right to the left, ending the braid with a coil.

The third row is parallel to the first row. The part is made, about 3/4 of an inch from the first part. I cornrow as previously.

I work the cornrows, alternating sides, keeping the left rows parallel to each other and the right parallel to each other. Like any good farmer, plowing rows in his field, I try to keep my rows the same width and nice and straight.

I continue to work in this way until there is a small triangle of hair remaining to be cornrowed. I cornrow this section of hair and the style is complete.

To maintain this style, I spray the hair every day with my water bottle mixture and add coconut oil to the hair with my hands if it seems to be too dry. I add Babycakes Hair and Body Butter to the ends of each braid every few days to keep them from drying out and becoming brittle.

After about a week, the new hair growth is becoming apparent and the style begins to look a little fuzzy. Keeping the hair well-moisturized helps with this, but I've come to realize that we're going to deal with fuzziness when we try to maintain a style for longer than a few days.

This type of style has lasted for 7-10 days most times. It would probably last even longer, but I start to get bored of a style after a week or so and want to try a new style.

Update: On day 8 of this style, his hair was beginning to look a bit fuzzy. Instead of taking the style out and doing another style, I chose the 4 fuzziest rows (one had a whole tuft of hair sticking out because he must have caught it on something) and redid those rows. I sprayed them with the water bottle, took them out and, applying more Honey Butter, cornrowed them again. This took about 15 minutes and cleaned up the fuzzies. I was able to leave the style in for another week.

From the back - the braids are evenly spaced. 

Side-view of Chevron Cornrows

Scholar noticed his braid hanging down.
We recently cut his hair on the sides and back, so until now, he had cornrows all the way down, without
any braids hanging free. So, having braids hanging was a new experience for him.

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