Okay here are the basic instructions, with some additional notes. After this, there are illustrations with hand positioning tips.
Hand positioning is crucial to a good turnout. Different methods and positions work for different people but remember that your objective is to get the hair that will be added to the middle strand (or rather the strand that is going to be in the middle) from under your other hand.
Some add hair to the outside strands,
but be warned that for many people, this is confusing. It resembles French
braiding too closely, and those who are used to French braiding may get
The Salon Chair
Most cornrowing in this world is not done in salon chairs. They are done in stable normal diningroom chairs, on park benches, and most commonly with the person sitting between the stylist's knees or laying on their lap.
Because it is nearly impossible to braid comfortably for long periods of time standing up with your arms raised away from your body. Some people can do it...some male stylists prefer the salon chair because it is most comfortable for them, but most people do it the old fashioned way.
You can replicate the time honored ways in a salon environment and still look out for client comfort and sanitation. An easy way is by setting up a stool and chair and rigging it so it won't slide around, or purchasing an African head rest so that the client isn't actually laying on your lap. Get a high one that will fit between your legs with the headrest part just higher than your thighs. Put a towel over your lap and the headrest.
Even if you choose a good braiding position and your arms are comfortably on or near your body, you will still get tired after awhile. When you're tired, you may make mistakes such as using too much tension (tightness) that can cost your client their hair and alot of pain.
Ideally, you should break every half hour for about 5 minutes, and every hour for at least 15 minutes. If you're doing extremely fine tedious work such as microbraids or mini rows, then take an hour break every 3 to 4 hours as well.
Have food, water, and coffee nearby for yourself and for your client. If you're in a salon where you can't bring food into the styling area, then offer them something during the breaks.
Braid tension is one of the most common causes of hair damage and loss due to cornrowing. It defeats the whole purpose of having a natural hairstyle if the style ruins the hair. This is why being rested and in a good position is so important.
Do not try too hard to pull the hair into position. Natural hair is going to have a little frizziness, and this is okay. It is best to resolve this with good hair care rather than more tension. Use the dexterity of your hands, not the force of your arms.
If you are working with straight hair, or hair that is too frizzy, a good product to use for holding is hair wax. It gives great hold without the stiffness of gels.
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© 2006 Nicole Singleton Lasher
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