Which braids are better box or knotless?

box or knotless braids
box or knotless braids
PHOTO: UNSPLASH/INSTYLE box or knotless braids

When I get my hair braided, I always ask for extensions. I’ve been adding braiding extensions of different lengths and colors to my own hair for years to make braided hairstyles that are one of a kind. Even though braids are my favorite hairstyle, the knots that form when you fasten an extension can be a pain to undo. That’s why I recently took a stylist’s advice and gave knotless braids a try; needless to say, I won’t be going back to regular box braids any time soon. I’m not sure why I didn’t realize that knotless braids were going to be so popular, but they quickly became my go-to style.

By now, you’re probably wondering, “When it comes to knotless braids vs. box braids, what’s the main difference?” Firstly, they are knotless, which is something you probably already knew. Susan Oludele, the founder of Hair by Susy and a celebrity hairstylist, will elaborate.

Oludele agrees that the look of knotless braids is more casual and chic. “The knot at the beginning of regular box braids exposes the use of extension.”

She goes on to say that the main difference is that knotless braids are made using the feed-in method, which involves adding braiding hair to the natural hair as you go, instead of the standard braiding method, which involves tying the hair extension to the hair at the beginning. In any case, aside from that, knotless braids are essentially invisible. This hairstyle is perfect for me because my hair naturally lies flat and smooth at the roots.

 8 of the Most Beautiful Protective Styles to Try Year Round

Why Are Knotless Braids a Good Protective Style?

The colder months can be particularly damaging to natural hair, making the fall a good time to consider protective styles. Knotless braids, says Oludele, are a fantastic protective style because they shield individual hairs from damage, thereby promoting hair growth. The scalp and hair can be easily hydrated while wearing braids, as stated by the wearer.

If the last time you braided your hair it was painful and kept you up all night, you may be relieved to learn that knotless braids put much less strain on the scalp and therefore cause much less discomfort. Celebrity hairstylist and founder of Ntrl by Sabs Sabrina Rowe, explains that the minimal pulling required to install knotless braids results in fewer hair breaks and greater comfort.

How Long Does It Take to Install Knotless Braids?

Even though knotless braids are a hassle-free protective style, setting them up can be a little tedious. Rowe claims that it takes about five hours to install a full head of braids. But that depends on the stylist, your braids, and how long or large they are.

What Is the Best Way to Prepare Your Hair Before Installing Knotless Braids?

Thorough cleaning Before getting your hair braided, it’s crucial that you wash out any buildup from your hair. If you don’t wash your hair before braiding, you risk developing a painfully itchy scalp and shortening the lifespan of your braids. Rowe recommends using an apple cider vinegar rinse before your salon visit because it does wonders for the hair and scalp.

Both Rowe and your stylist will tell you that blow drying your hair beforehand will help stretch it and remove tangles, making the braiding process go more quickly.

What’s the Best Way to Maintain Knotless Braids?

If you’re going to sit still for five hours while your hair is braided, you’ll want the results to last as long as possible. A lack of moisture can lead to split ends, so it’s crucial to keep your hair well-hydrated. There’s no point in wearing a protective style if you’re not going to take care of your natural hair by keeping it moisturized, especially now that autumn is here. To revitalize hair follicles, stimulate the scalp, and encourage hair growth, Oludele suggests using Ouee Hair Oil, a product she developed.

Covering your head at night is another way to protect your braids. Rowe suggests sleeping with a silk or satin scarf or bonnet to protect hair from friction damage.

box or knotless braids
box or knotless braids

How Do You Wash Knotless Braids?

You should take your time and gently work through the hair in sections when washing knotless braids. Braids will frizz and possibly unravel if you wash them quickly and rub them together. Oludele suggests using a downward motion while lathering shampoo and conditioner through the hair to prevent the knotless braids from becoming a frizz ball.

It’s also crucial to use high-quality hair care products when washing your knotless braids. If you want your braids to smell fresh long after you’ve washed the shampoo out, avoid using a shampoo with a heavy fragrance.

When Rowe washes her knotless braids, she uses NTRL by Sabs Shampoo and Conditioner Bars. “These bars last for a long time and can be applied to the scalp and hair without accumulating in braids. When using a liquid shampoo on braids, it can be difficult to avoid a mess and get all of the product out.”

How Often Should You Wash Knotless Braids?

Stylists advise washing knotless braids once or twice per month. Nonetheless, Rowe recommends more frequent washes if you have an oily or dandruff-prone scalp and engage in regular physical activity. The more frequently you wash, the more prone to frizz your roots and braids will be, so keep that in mind,” the stylist advises. Washing is entirely up to you, but you should know what you’re getting into beforehand.

How Long Do Knotless Braids Last?

Knotless braids, if taken care of properly, have a two-month lifespan at the most, though Rowe cautions against keeping them for any longer than that. Since more of your natural hair is on display when you wear a knotless braid, they tend to become frizzy much more quickly than traditional braids. Therefore, regular box braids are preferable if you want a protective style that will last more than two months.

When do the braids go out of style, and how do you know? Rowe says, “When your roots are exposed and they require a lot of touching up for them to look neat you’re coming to the end of the road,” Braids should be removed if they begin to cause discomfort to the scalp or new hair growth.

How Do You Remove Knotless Braids?

Knot-free braids may look fantastic, but untying them will take a significant amount of time. Oludele and Rowe agree that a tail comb greatly facilitates and accelerates the removal of knotless braids.

For safe removal, Rowe begins at the bottom of the braids and works her way up the hair, loosening them with the comb as she goes. To speed up the process of unraveling the braids, Oludele recommends using a tail comb.

How Much Do Knotless Braids Cost to Install?

Knot-free braids typically begin at $250. However, this is totally dependent on the expertise of your stylist, the hair you are installing, and your location.


Nia Soule Salon


Byrdie. The Fascinating History of Braids You Never Knew About. 


Amplify Africa. The Rich History of Braids. 


Paforfashion: Knotless Braids 2023: 18 New Looks:


Ebena. Fulani Braids. https://ebena.net/style/tribal-fulani-braids/6685

Ebena. Ghana Braids. https://ebena.net/style/ghana-braids/914

Ebena. Box Braids. https://ebena.net/style/box-braids/43

Onchek. 6 Popular Braiding Styles and Their True Origin. https://www.onchek.com/theinsight/6-popular-braiding-styles-their-true-origin/

ALSO READ: 30 Half Fulani Tribal Braids Half Knotless Braids Hairstyles

What Is The Difference Between Fulani And Tribal Braids?

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