Tree braids are derived from cornrows. Cornrows can be traced as far back as 3,000 BCE. The Nok civilization was known to wear cornrows in around 500 BCE to symbolize religion, and as social and cultural identifiers, according to FashionWeek. In Ethiopia, according to Ebony, warriors and kings were also known to wear cornrows.
After Africans were taken to the New World in the Middle Passage, their heads were shaved, but cornrows became prevalent again amongst enslaved peoples as a way of adhering to the requirement that their hair be kept neat.
During the Black Power movement of the 1960s, cornrows again saw a resurgence in popularity as they became a way of distinguishing young militants from their older counterparts.
Cornrows can still be seen today and are worn both in the United States and Africa. In Africa, they are particularly popular in West Africa and the South Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, and Djibouti), where they denote religion, marital status, economic status, and age among other identifiers.
ORS Herbal Cleanse Hair and Scalp Dry Shampoo
What Are Cornrow Tree Braids?
Tree braids are the combination of braids and free-falling extension hair, which resembles having a weave. For this article, we are focusing on the cornrow technique for creating Tree braids.
With this technique there is free-falling extension hair left out within each cornrow, thus, creating the tree braid effect.
How to Do Cornrow Tree Braids?
The synthetic hair is braided into the cornrow starting at the top. As the stylist braids the hair, a small amount of synthetic hair is left out with each portion of the braid; this is what gives the tree braid its aesthetic.
- At the start of the braid, additional synthetic hair should be added with each stitch to create the tree braid effect. Begin by making a few stitches of your cornrow.
- By leaving small strands of the extension hair out as you cornrow, this will create the Tree braid effect. However, as the stylist moves down the head, it will become necessary to pull existing synthetic hair from the braid without adding more so that the braid doesn't become too thick. Tree braids can be created using braiding hair such as Kanekalon, human hair, or virgin bulk braiding hair.
- After the hair is braided all the way down to the bottom, the cornrow can be secured with a rubber band or stitched down with a sewing needle.
It is recommended that clients sleep with a hair bonnet or scarf over their hair at night and fingerstyle in the morning to preserve the style. However, braid sprays and oils are not necessary for this braiding technique since the synthetic hair will keep its sheen. Make sure the braids are not too tight, as excessive tightness can cause damage.
Are Cornrow Tree Braids Versatile?
Cornrow Tree braids are a very versatile style. Tree braids styles are plentiful so, there’s something out there for everyone’s taste. They can be installed curly, straight, into a bob, long, short, etc. Also, with the braids, you can create updo hairstyles with them if you wish, however individual Tree braids will make it easier to achieve updo looks.
How Long Do Cornrow Tree Braids Last?
They can be worn up or down, withstand exercise, and even swimming. If properly cared for, Cornrow Tree braids can last up to 6 weeks. Most women take them down at around the five- or 6-week mark.
They take an average of 3 to 6 hours to install. To remove tree braids, they should be taken down from the bottom up and it is best to have them removed by a stylist.
Who Are Cornrow Tree Braids Suitable For?
Cornrow Tree braids are a good style for coarse hair textures ranging from 3A to 4C. The style doesn’t discriminate between natural, relaxed, or transitioning hair either.
The style shouldn’t be too unbearable for those with sensitive scalps but always tell your stylist if they are braiding too tightly. This can not only be uncomfortable but cause unnecessary breakage as well.
When to Wear Cornrow Tree Braids?
Another great thing about Cornrow Tree braids is that they aren’t specific to any certain time of the year. They can be worn year-round. However, many opt to wear them in warmer months, as braids are a popular summer hairstyle.
Pros and Cons of Tree Braids
- They take minimal time to install. Cornrow Tree braids are a great braided style option for those looking to cut down on their time spent in a salon chair. Tree braids can take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours to install, which is less time than some other braided protective styles.
- They are a long-lasting protective style. Cornrow Tree braids can be left up from 4 to 6 weeks, which is a long time to keep a style up. That means for 4-6 weeks you won’t have to be bothered with your hair. Not only that, but your hair will be protected during this time, therefore, it’ll have room to gain health and grow due to the low manipulation.
- They give the illusion of wearing a weave. Hair weave is a wonderful protective styling option, but if having more accessibility to your scalp is important, then Cornrow Tree braids could be an alternative. The free-falling hair involved with tree braids give the appearance of weave, but with more freedom to your scalp compared to weave. The cornrowed braids underneath the free-falling hair give you direct access to your scalp to moisturize, oil, and cleanse it as necessary. This can especially come in handy in warmer months as weave often leaves your scalp hot and without room to breathe. Now, you can achieve a similar weave illusion without trapping your scalp under layers of sewn-in hair.
- They can cause breakage. Cornrow Tree braids are a fantastic protective style, but they can cause issues if not installed properly. The braids can cause breakage if they cause too much tension on your hair. They can especially cause tension around your edges if the beginning of the cornrow is tugging at your edges too much. This type of hair loss could be long-lasting and lead to Alopecia, which is a hair condition leading to patches of hair loss.
- They can be difficult to cleanse. With the extension hair for this braided style being partially left out, it can lead to tangling. The free-falling hair can make getting to your scalp difficult as you don’t want to damage the extension hair. If you are going to cleanse your scalp, consider applying your shampoo with an applicator bottle so that it directly touches your scalp. The ORS Herbal Cleanse Hair and Scalp Shampoo is a terrific option because it comes in an applicator bottle. Also, applying a conditioner all over your head, including the extension hair, can help soften it and combat tangling.