"Designer Cornrows" Are 2022's Coolest Twist on the Hairstyle

  • "Designer cornrows" are predicted to trend in 2022.
  • This hairstyle strays from the traditional cornrow pattern.
  • It can feature different colors, shapes, and even textures of hair.

For many of us growing up in the early aughts, traditional cornrows were a quick style that could last through a chaotic grade school day. With some children — definitely not referring to ourselves here — returning home from school with completely different hairstyles than they left with, cornrows were a classic, clean, and dependable style that could last quite some time. Since then, we've been introduced to different variations of the look. Our favorite yet: the "designer cornrows" trend.

Known as designer braids, these styles incorporate different shapes into traditionally straight-back cornrows, letting you put your own twist on the typically straightforward look. With search terms like "heart braids black girl" up 374,426 percent on Pinterest, it's safe to say that the interest in customizability has skyrocketed, and experts agree. "Designer cornrows are going to make another comeback," Dr. Kari Williams, trichologist and celebrity hairstylist, previously told POPSUGAR. "With new artists in the marketplace, I expect to see new beautiful twists on the creative braiding styles we've seen in the past [this year]."

Cornrows have evolved from a status symbol to a protective style that can be highly individualized, and that's what makes this style especially appealing. People have gotten everything from intricate arrow-shaped designs to more simple looks like stitch braids in bold colors to make the style stand out. But the look is more than a timesaver and has long held roots in the Black community.

"Cornrows date back to over 3,000 years for women and for men, going back to parts of Africa," Camille Friend, hairstylist and HASK ambassador, previously told POPSUGAR. Not only were cornrows used for aesthetic purposes, but they were also indicators of social position, marital status, or what community someone belonged to, among many other signifiers.

If you want to get ahead of the trend — or just want an excuse to plan your next protective style — we've rounded up some of the best designer cornrows on Instagram, ahead.

Designer Cornrow Braids With Different Patterns

These designer braids are a seemingly simple hairstyle, but actually feature three different patterns. Alongside the traditional cornrow pattern, this style also features stitch braids and an arrow design on the side of the head. If you like styles that make a statement, this look is for you.

Stitch Braid Bun Designer Cornrow Braids

These braids look like traditional cornrows, but the parting technique is known as a stitch braid. These braids typically follow the direction of a normal cornrow (front to back) , but when the look is complete, the parts in the hair give the appearance of the braids being stitched together.

Large Designer Cornrow Braids

Designer braids don't have to be small to be intricate. This style features a curved design and larger plaits braided into a bun. Larger designs tend to be extremely low maintenance and only look better with time.

Colorful Designer Cornrow Braids

Designer braids are the perfect styles to incorporate bold hair color. This style not only features a heart in the braiding pattern, but also neon orange hair. The pattern and color combination are the perfect head-turners if you want to make a statement.

Designer Cornrow Braids Updo

Designer braids can also play with hair texture. This style features large plaits braided up into a ponytail, with the base of the ponytail featuring a loose, curly hair texture. The style screams elegance and is perfect for black-tie events.

Heart-Shaped Designer Cornrow Braids

This style is another design that looks much more simple than it is. It not only features stitch braids, but also two braids that overlap in the middle of the head. For an additional "wow factor," a heart was added to the side of the head for the perfect finishing touch.