Featured Image Nátaly Neri
They’ve been called many things throughout the years: knotless box braids, knotless braids, feed-in braids, and no-knot braids, but this style of braiding is becoming the new standard in protective styles. (AKA: You need to get these NOW). Here’s everything you need to know to rock this style.
What are Knotless braids?
Knotless braids have been around since the early 2000’s but after years of being on the fringe of hair braiding they’ve taken over. The term knotless references the knot used to start traditional box braids. With traditional box braids, the braider would secure the braiding hair tightly to the scalp, forming a knot. With knotless braids, the braid is started with your own hair and the stylist slowly feeds in braiding hair.
Here’s video of Caryn Prince doing knotless braids on herself. You can see at around the 2:15 mark she starts feeding the hair.
How long do they last?
Typically knotless braids last from four to six weeks, but depending on how well you take care of them they could go a little longer (more on that later).
Why do people love knotless box braids?
They’re PAINLESS. Yes, PAINLESS. One of the biggest problems with traditional box braids is the painful tugging and tightness on your scalp when you initially get them done. With this knotless method, there’s none of that. Your scalp is pain-free.
They’re not heavy. By feeding in the hair as you go down the braid you’ll get a braid that’s not as bulky, flows like real hair, and not as heavy on your head, meaning more hair flips!
There’s no breakage. With the knotless technique there’s less tugging on your hair. Also without a knot, there’s no friction at your scalp, meaning no breakage and less shedding. It’s a truly protective style.
Great for fine hair. Whether you have different textures all over your head, or just have a finer strand of hair, the knotless method should make for more secure braids. With traditional box braids, if the knot doesn’t stay tight to your scalp, the whole braid could slip out in a few days.
The cons of knotless box braids:
They can take longer to install. We’ve all heard of friends spending an entire day in the chair getting their hair braided. Well, knotless braids can take longer. Of course this varies from stylist to stylist, but anything above the standard 4-6 hours can seem like forever.
They are more expensive. A quick glance at online prices at a variety of hair braiders shows that you can expect to spend anywhere from $50 to $150+ more than traditional box braids. But when you look at the amount of extra time the style takes, the price difference makes sense.
How do I care for knotless box braids?
Since knotless typically braids start with your real hair, you’ll have more access to your scalp, which should make upkeep easier. Stylists suggest using apple cider vinegar to wipe down the braids weekly, including using a q-tip or small cotton pad to get rid of oil buildup on the scalp. You’ll also want to treat them like any other braided style, keep styling products to a minimum and wear a satin bonnet at night.
Preparing for Knotless Braids
So you’re ready to take the leap to knotless; now what? Whether going to a stylist or doing it yourself, you’ll need to have freshly washed, blow dried or stretched hair, and packs of braiding hair. Many stylists suggest five packs of X-pressions braiding hair for medium/long knotless braids and four packs for shorter styles. You can also use the standard Kanekalon braiding hair as well, but be mindful of the thickness of the hair. You’ll also want the hair to match your texture since you’ll be feeding into your own hair.
Want to do your own? Here’s a good knotless braid tutorial to get you started.
And if this woman can do it while in labor, you definitely can do it to 💪🏾 😅: