Are you considering box braids? I don’t blame you. Box braids are an undeniably timeless and cool style that looks great on just about everyone. But when you walk into your salon and the hairstylist asks whether you want box braids or knotless braids, you might scratch your head.
What’s the deal? While box braids are infinitely stylish and sleek, there’s a new beauty trend on the horizon. It’s called knotless braids. Knotless braids give you that same popular box braid style without tension or pain.
If you’re trying to decide whether you’ll opt for classic box braids or try out the new-and-improved knotless method, we’re here to help. Below you will find imperative information on medium knotless braids and box braids so that you can make the right decision (for you and your locks).
I don’t know about you, but I do not like to make hasty and uninformed decisions when it comes to my hair. Well, that’s why I’ve broken down the most vital information to know about knotless braids and box braids. Let’s dive in.
Most of us know about the notorious box braid and have seen it on our favorite celebrities, from Beyonce to Keke Palmer. But what actually are they?
This renowned hairstyle starts by sectioning hair into squares (or boxes, hence the name “box braids”). Then, three-stranded plaits are created around the head, beginning with a small knot at the root.
These braids are not connected to the scalp, providing more movement and flexibility. They are, however, more defined than a traditional braid and require plenty of tension to keep the shape with no flyaways.
There are plenty of styling options when it comes to box braids. You can stick to your natural locks, but many women prefer to add length and volume with extensions.
- Set it and Forget it Hairstyle – You can sleep, shower, party, and swim without needing to style your locks – ever.
- Encourages New Hair Growth – With just a slight greasing on the scalp here and there, you will notice impressive hair growth, unlike before.
- Cheap and Effective – Most people will need to get their box braids maintained every few weeks, but most stylists charge less than $100 per trip.
- Plenty of Style Options – Box braids offer endless possibilities, giving you complete control of your final look.
- Long-Lasting – Most box braids can last up to two months, making this a long-lasting look you won’t need to fuss over anytime soon.
- Can be Very Heavy – Box braids can become cumbersome depending on the length and thickness. It may take some getting used to, especially initially.
- Not Good for Edges – Make sure your stylist does not add your edges into braids. That’s a devastating no-no!
- Some Pain Involved – Box braids require plenty of tension to ensure they stay uniform, which isn’t always the most comfortable.
- Potential for Breakage – Again, it all goes back to the tiny knots and tension. If your hair is weak, it could potentially fall off.
- Takes a Long Time – Be prepared to sit in the salon chair for quite an extended period, especially if you’re adding in extensions.
Box braids will typically last up to two months with a maximum of ten weeks. However, most individuals will need to have their box braids maintained before the two-month mark.
Okay, but what about this new beauty trend, knotless braids? Well, it’s all in the name – knotless. Traditional box braids require a small knot at the root before plaiting. Knotless braids do not. So, you get the same look and style like box braids without the tension or pain.
- No Pain Involved – This is undeniably the biggest pro of knotless braids. Since there is no initial knot, there is far less tension and pain. Big win.
- Less Tension on the Scalp – While this is beneficial for everyone, it is especially great for weak hair or sensitive scalps.
- Neater Appearance – Knotless braids tend to have an overall cleaner appearance than box braids.
- Long-Lasting – While box braids last a relatively good amount of time, knotless braids last even longer.
- Lightweight – A big con about box braids is the weight. With knotless braids, you will notice a much more lightweight and effortless feel even with extensions.
- Shows Off More Scalp – While this isn’t a huge negative, it’s something to consider. Knotless braids will reveal more of your scalp, which isn’t ideal for everyone.
- Takes a Long Time to Install – You’re going to be sitting in that salon chair for quite some time, hon. Be prepared.
- Hair Can Grow Out of Braid – Your hair has the potential to grow out of the braid, especially if you have the knotless braids in for a long time. This can cause some severe issues, especially appearance-wise.
- Pricy – Knotless braids are way more expensive than traditional box braids. However, most would say it’s worth it due to the lightweight and pain-free finish.
Knotless braids have impressive longevity, with most braids lasting up to three months at a time. However, that all depends on how well you take care of them and your overall hair texture. The thickness of the braids can also play a role in how long they last.
Let’s cut to the chase: yes, knotless braids are better than box braids. They pose far less tension on the scalp and hair and offer a cleaner, lightweight, and pain-free finish.
Now you know that knotless braids are better than box braids. Great. But there’s still some more imperative information you need to know, such as how much they cost and whether or not you can do them yourself. We’re answering these questions and more below.
Medium knotless braids can easily last up to three months with proper care.
You can undoubtedly do knotless braids on yourself. All you need is a rat tail comb to properly section your hair and hold spray for the ends. You might also need a handheld mirror to see the back of your head. Here is an excellent and easy-to-follow video for creating knotless braids at home. (P.S. – it’s easier than you think!)
You should expect to spend at least four hours getting your knotless braids done. However, this time varies depending on the size and length of your braids. For example, someone with extremely long locks wanting micro braids may require up to nine hours of styling.
The price will depend on many factors, including the length and size of the braids and the stylist’s experience. Regardless, you should expect to pay a little more than traditional box braids. Most people will find prices between $250 and $500.
How many packs of hair you need for knotless braids depends on the length and thickness you’re seeking. Most stylists recommend four packs of hair for short styles and five to seven hair packs for longer and thicker styles. Of course, you can always adjust as necessary if you want more length or fullness.
Maintenance is key to successful knotless braids (and any other hairstyle, for that matter). But how do you properly maintain knotless braids? Let’s find out the best way to maintain your new look.
Yes, yes, and more yes. Don’t hesitate to wash your knotless braids! Washing is essential for removing any excess buildup, dirt, and grime. This ensures that your scalp is in good health and your style stays in tip-top condition. Here are a few tips to help you out:
- Wash every other week. While washing your braids is essential, you shouldn’t do it too often. Every other week is the recommended timeframe for almost everyone with knotless braids.
- Don’t rush it. The last thing you want to do is ruin your knotless braids because you’re in a hurry. Wait until you have ample time to massage and wash your scalp thoroughly yet gently.
- Don’t sleep with wet knotless braids. Just don’t. It’s best to let them air dry, but if you’re trying to get some shut-eye, don’t be afraid to bust out the ole blow dryer.
- Wash from root to tip. While you should give extra focus to your scalp, you don’t want to skip over the braids entirely. Your braids are going to get some grime and dirt, too. Give them a good cleaning, but do it gently and efficiently.
Getting the most time out of your knotless braids is imperative for most braided men and women. If you’re looking for some great ways to preserve your look, consider these simple tips:
- Wash every other week. No, you do not have deja vu. I did say this in the previous section. But I am mentioning it again because it is so utterly important. Clarifying your scalp and braids will prolong their longevity (not to mention make them look gorgeous).
- Always be gentle. Just because knotless braids don’t cause tension or pain, it doesn’t mean that you should be rough with your locks. Be gentle, and your braids will thank you.
- Ditch tight hairstyles. Knotless braids in a ponytail are cute, but pulling the hair into a tight ponytail will cause problems. Opt for looser hairstyles.
- Use a deep conditioner. Deep conditioning is essential for adding necessary moisture to your scalp and braids.
- Wrap when you’re sleeping. A silk scarf or head wrap is ideal. The silk will add moisture and help fend off undesirable breakage while sleeping.
It’s not just about taking care of your knotless braids during the day; you have to be careful at night, too. Don’t worry – it’s easy. Before going to bed, make sure your knotless braids are 100% dry. You can spritz a little conditioner on the scalp and braids, then wrap in a silk scarf or headwrap. The silkiness will keep your hair hydrated and fend off breakage.
Since knotless braids do not cause any tension to the scalp or hair, it’s noted that they can help encourage hair growth. You can further hair growth by using deep conditioners and certain natural essential oils (such as lavender, peppermint, or rosemary) on the scalp.
Unfortunately, knotless braids are prone to frizziness (like most other braided hairstyles). The good news is, there are plenty of ways to say sayonara to frizz for good. Here are some of the best tips.
- Moisturize! One of the significant causes of frizz is a lack of moisture and hydration. If you notice frizz, it might be time to bring out the conditioner. A conditioning spray can be applied to the scalp and braids. Try to avoid overly heavy products as this will do your hair disfavor.
- Use hot water. Hot water can tame frizziness in seconds. Dip a towel in boiling water and remove it using tongs. When the heat is tolerable, lay it on your head and leave it until the towel is cold.
- Always opt for silk. Bedtime is typically when frizziness rears its ugly head. You can avoid this by wearing silk head wraps or scarves. Swap your traditional pillowcase for a silky or satin one, too.
Knotless braids are the new and improved way to get that notorious box braid style. They’re tension and pain-free, leaving you with a lovely and lightweight appearance that turns heads. While you can accomplish knotless braids on your own, I highly recommend getting them professionally installed. Don’t forget to maintain them to increase longevity and look.