Knotless braids have been trending in online searches recently. The reason might surprise you! Find out what makes this natural hairstyle special and learn tips to style and maintain your knotless braids in our guide below.
What Are Knotless Braids
Knotless braids are box braids featuring a blend of interwoven natural hair and extension hair.
The braids are not knotted at the root, unlike traditional box braids that feature an anchor knot at the root of each braid where the extension hair is tied in. Knotless braids use a different technique entirely.
Instead of adding all the extension hair in at the root of each braid, knotless braids use the feed-in technique where small pieces of extension hair are added into the box braids along the length of the braids.
When you get knotless braids, your braider will start with a basic three-strand braiding technique at the roots of your natural hair to keep the roots flat and knotless. Extension hair is woven into the braid piece by piece with the feed-in technique.
Outside of the feed-in technique, knotless braids are very similar to traditional box braids. You can have them done in any length, thickness, or color you want.
The main differences you’ll notice about the knotless variety are all beneficial – they’re more lightweight, put less tension on the scalp, and have an overall more natural and seamless appearance. We’ll talk more about the benefits of knotless braid styles below.
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Why You Should Try Knotless Braids
Knotless braids may be trending right now, but are they really worth trying out? We say yes. There are a range of reasons to try these braids, but the benefits below are some of the top reasons this protective style should be your next ‘do.
Reduce Scalp Tension
The biggest benefit of wearing knotless braids is how gentle they are on your scalp and strands. Without the traditional anchor knot (that typically ties in all the extension hair right at the root of each braid), the style puts a lot less tension on the scalp than traditional box braids.
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Less tension on the scalp means less pain during installation – another major benefit of choosing knotless feed-in braids.
If you’ve been known to shed a tear or two in the stylist’s chair thanks to a sensitive scalp, braids of the knotless variety may be your saving grace.
Knotless braids are lightweight and don’t feel as heavy as similar styles. With traditional box braids, the extension hair is all concentrated in a knot at the roots.
This makes the style feel heavier on the scalp as all the weight of the braid is concentrated in the anchor knot. With the knotless type, the weight of the braid and extension hair is more evenly distributed along the braid for less tugging and weight on your scalp.
Reduce Traction Alopecia Hair Loss
Less tension on the scalp also means the style is more gentle and kind to your follicles. Getting protective styles that don’t tug on strands as much can help stave off traction alopecia (baldness due to repeated tension on the scalp over time).
Since braids that are knotless evenly distribute their weight and don’t focus it all on the roots, your follicles won’t be constantly playing tug o’ war. You should see less breakage and hair loss when you wear protective braids like these consistently.
Promote Longer, Healthier Hair
Since this type of braid is so much more gentle on your scalp and strands, many find that it’s a great protective style to wear while you grow your hair out longer and healthier.
Get knotless braids, focus on providing moisture and keeping them clean, and by the time you take them down, you’ll see new growth and stronger, unbroken strands.
Attractive and Versatile
Plus, there’s no denying that knotless braids are a versatile, cute hairstyle for natural hair. These gentle braids give you the classic box braid look, but without the unsightly anchor knot at the roots, many women find knotless braids to be their favorite look to wear.
Like traditional box braids, you can rock the knotless type in a range of styles and parts to change up your look whenever you want.
And if you’re all about unique or trendy looks, you can have your knotless braids installed the way you want – long or short, thin or thick, and in natural colors or bright, funky shades.
Next up, we’ll take a look at some of the ways women are rocking trendy knotless braids with different looks.
We’re Obsessing Over These Knotless Braids
If you’re thinking about getting this protective style, you have tons of options for ways to wear it.
From different lengths, thicknesses, colors, and styles, there is never a shortage of ways to rock knotless braids. Here are some of our favorite trendy looks featuring the knotless braid!
1. Half-Up Knotless Braids With Curly Ends
Differently colored extensions give knotless braids a funky, boho look that really highlights the weave pattern in the braids. Try wearing your braids in a half updo like this – we really like the finishing touch of curly ends to set the style off!
2. Long Knotless Braids With Center Part
Ladies who can’t resist long-haired looks will love a good knotless braid since they’re more lightweight and put less tension on the scalp than traditional long box braids. Try a center part for an easy, everyday look that always looks polished and on point.
3. Two-Tone Knotless Braid Bun
Have a little fun with your knotless plaits by trying a two-toned look with a lighter or vibrant color at the ends! This look is pretty worn down and loose, but we’re loving the way the auburn-brown color makes the jumbo bun pop here.
4. Accessorized Auburn Knotless Short Braids
This unique look is accented with colorful beads near the roots and a vibrant auburn color that suits any warm skin tone. We love the short length – somewhere between the chin and shoulders for a comfy, lightweight style with lots of movement.
5. Deep Side Part With Loose Ends
If you’re ever struggling to come up with a new hairstyle for knotless braids, try a deep side part like this. Arrange the braids over to one side.
This way, you create a little boost in volume on top (perfect for a round or square face) and get the effect of layers on one side. If you like the undone look, opt for braids that are knotless with loose ends!
6. Half-Up Knotless Caramel Braids
These mid-length braids are filled out with caramel-colored extensions that bring the length a little past the collarbones.
This is a great length if you want to avoid super long braids that can get heavy, even when they’re knotless. The warm caramel color will brighten up your face and give you a glowing-from-within look!
7. Ultra-Long Colorful Knotless Braids
If you always do the most, this is the perfect knotless style to try. Tons of bright colors draw the eye and the exaggerated length really makes these braids something special. Good thing they’re so lightweight and won’t tug on your scalp – these braids are incredibly long!
8. Honey-Brown Long Knotless Braids
This gorgeous shade of honey-kissed brown pairs perfectly with a rich, deep natural hair color. The lighter shade weaves into the braids from the roots all the way down and helps highlight and accent the weave pattern in the braids.
Things to Consider
After seeing some of the many ways knotless braids can be worn and styled, you might be thinking this is the perfect go-to protective style for you to try.
Before you do, there are a few things to consider if you want to ensure this is a style you’ll love. Here’s everything you need to know about knotless braids before you commit!
- Knotless or not, braids need moisture. If you’re wearing a protective style, you should be pampering your hair and scalp with a little extra moisture and hydration on a weekly basis. To keep your strands and scalp hydrated for optimal hair health and shine, plan to oil and moisturize your scalp deeply once a week. Your favorite hair oil will work, but we always recommend coconut oil or argan oil for natural hair.
- Night-time protection makes them last longer. Covering your braids with a silk scarf or satin bonnet while you sleep will help them stay locked tight and secure without frizz. Don’t skip even one night if you want your braids to last as long as possible! If you can’t stand wearing a bonnet or wrapping your braids at night, you’ll need to sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase to keep frizz to a minimum.
- Wear them for up to 12 weeks. Knotless braids are secure and shouldn’t unravel on you, but you can’t wear them forever. At best, they can last around 12 weeks – and that’s on coarse, tightly coiled hair. If you have finer hair, expect your braids to last anywhere from 6-8 weeks. You risk breakage and matting if you leave them in much longer than this, and for a protective style that’s supposed to encourage stronger, healthier growth, there’s no reason to chance it.
- They’re not cheap. Knotless braids are a lot of things – trendy, pretty, lightweight, protective, and convenient – but they’re not cheap. You can expect to pay a skilled braider anywhere from $300 to $600 to get these braids done. When you factor in how long they last (up to 12 weeks), it could cost you somewhere between $1,200 and $2,400 a year if you get them done back to back. Keep this in mind before you commit!
- Installation time is 4-7 hours. If you’re the impatient type, it’s good to know going in that this type of braid is going to take a minimum of 4 hours to install, but may take as long as 7 hours. It all depends on the length of your hair and the thickness of each braid. The longer installation time is also one of the reasons these braids are more expensive than other types!
- Knotless braids don’t hurt. If you’re used to braiding sessions ending in tears, know that getting knotless braids is much less painful. Without the tight knots at the roots, these feed-in braids aren’t going to tug on your scalp like traditional box braids. Even if you have very low pain tolerance or plan to do them on your child’s hair, you can rest assured that knotless braids won’t hurt like other braids.
Are Knotless Braids Right for You?
With these things in mind, you should have a better idea of whether or not trending knotless braids are the right protective style for you. Yes, they’re more expensive and take longer to install.
No, they don’t last as long as other types of braids and they do require some special maintenance steps to look their best. But knotless braids look so much more natural and appealing than traditional box braids without the anchor knot at the roots.
They flow more like natural hair, get rid of the “humps” on top of the head that anchor knots create, and are much less painful to install. They better protect your hair and scalp from damage and can help you fight traction alopecia related hair loss. What’s not to love?
If there’s room in your budget and you love the look, give knotless braids a try and see what you think. If this just isn’t the right style for you, we’ve got you covered. Check out more of our guides next to find a natural or protective style you’ll love!