Braids have been a popular hairstyle for thousands of years and are still widely used today. They are a versatile and protective style that can be worn by people of all hair textures and lengths. In recent years, knotless braids and box braids have emerged as two of the most popular types of braids.
Knotless braids and box braids are similar in that they are both protective hairstyles commonly worn by people with Afro-textured hair. They both aim to protect the hair from damage and promote hair growth by keeping the hair tucked away and out of harm’s way.
While box braids are installed by sectioning the hair and creating individual braids that are started with a knot at the root, knotless braids use a feed-in method where the braiding hair is gradually added to the natural hair, creating a more seamless and natural-looking braid without the bulky knot at the base.
In this article, we will take an in-depth look at knotless braids and box braids and compare their features, benefits, and drawbacks.
Knotless braids are a type of braids that are created without the use of knots. Instead, the braiding hair is intermittently added as you braid following a feed-in technique. This results in a braided style that is much more comfortable and less painful than traditional braids that requires anchor knots. Knotless braids are loved for their natural appearance.
Installation of Knotless Braids
The main difference between the knotless and box braids lies in the installation process. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to install knotless braids:
Start prepping your hair by washing and conditioning it. Your hair health as always should be the priority, coupled with the knowledge that your hair would be tucked in your braids for a long period, getting your hair rid of product buildup, oils, and dirt is a step in the right direction afterward follow up with a hydrating conditioner to provide your hair with the moisture it needs.
Let your hair dry completely. Brush your hair thoroughly to ensure it has been adequately detangled and then divide it into small sections. Apply braiding gel as you go to achieve a clean part.
Take a section and clip the rest away. Prep your hair bundles and split them into sections according to your preferred braid size. Split the selected hair piece into three parts and begin braiding after about two inches, add in a braiding hair extension according to the size, length, and thickness you’re aiming for, and continue the addition of the braiding hair until your desired result is achieved.
Tie each braid with an elastic band. Once the braids are done, dip the ends in hot water to seal the braids or use a braid sealer. After braiding your hair, apply a generous amount of hair mousse to your braids.
Benefits of Knotless Braids
- Comfort: The absence of knots in knotless braids makes them much more comfortable to wear than traditional braids. This is because there is no pressure on the scalp, which eliminates the risk of headaches and discomfort.
- Natural Look: Knotless braids have a more natural look because natural hair is first braided and the braiding hair is added concurrently. This creates a more seamless and natural look that is less noticeable and less damaging to the hair.
- Low Maintenance: Knotless braids are low maintenance because they do not need to require much to keep looking their best.
- Versatility: Knotless braids can be styled in a variety of ways, including ponytails, buns, half-up half down, and braided up-dos. This versatility allows you to change up your style without having to take out the braids.
Drawbacks of Knotless Braids
- Time-Consuming: Knotless braids are more time-consuming to install than traditional braids because they require more braiding. This can take several hours, which can be inconvenient for those with busy schedules.
- Cost: Knotless braids are more expensive than traditional braids because they require more braiding. The additional time and effort required to install knotless braids can result in a higher cost.
Box braids are a type of braid that is created by dividing the hair into square-shaped sections and braiding each section into a braid. Box braids are a popular style because they are easy to install, low maintenance, and can be styled in a variety of ways.
The braids are typically created using synthetic hair extensions, although it is possible to use natural hair as well. Box braids are a popular hairstyle among people of African descent and are often seen as a protective hairstyle because they can help to reduce the amount of stress placed on natural hair. The hairstyle can take several hours to complete and can last for several weeks, depending on the care given to the braids.
Installation of Box Braids
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do box braids:
You will need synthetic hair extensions, hair clippers or scissors, hair ties, a rat-tailed comb, and braid gel.
Wash and condition the hair, making sure it is completely dry and free of any tangles or knots. Section the hair into square-shaped sections, using the comb and hair clippers to create a clean line.
Start by selecting a section of hair and separating it into three equal parts. Prep the hair extensions and take your preferred size, fold them in half, and place them in the middle section. Then cross the right section over the middle section and then cross the left section over the right section. Repeat this process until you reach the end of the hair. Repeat this process for each section of hair until all sections have been braided.
Benefits of Box Braids
- Low Maintenance: Box braids are low maintenance because they do not need to be an inept care routine to look their best, simply frequently washing and moisturizing, sleeping with protective head wraps, and braid sprays or mousse would do the trick.
- Protective Style: Box braids are a protective style that aims to shield the natural hair from external elements that can be damaging to the hair such as excessive physical manipulation, weather, and humid environment.
Drawbacks of box braids
- Time-Consuming: Box braids can take several hours to install, and they require patience and skill to complete.
- Scalp Irritation: For some people, the braids can cause irritation or itching often because the braid is so close to the scalp or tightly done.
- Hair Breakage: Box braids can put stress on the hair, causing breakage and damage. This is particularly true for those with fine or delicate hair, and it’s important to protect the hair and scalp during the braiding process.
- Cost: Box braids can be expensive, especially if you go to a professional stylist. The cost can also increase if you opt for high-quality braiding hair.
Knotless vs Box braids: Which lasts longer?
The longevity of knotless braids and box braids largely depends on a variety of factors such as the type of hair extensions used, the tightness of the braids, and the individual’s hair care routine. In general, if properly maintained, both knotless braids and box braids can last for several weeks to a couple of months.
However, some people find that knotless braids tend to last a bit longer than traditional box braids, as the lack of knots reduces the amount of tension on the scalp, reducing the chances of hair breakage and prolonging the life of the braids. On the other hand, some people may find that box braids last longer for them because the braids are more compact, which reduces the amount of hair movement and protects the braids from damage.
Ultimately, the longevity of braids will depend on your hair care routine and how well you maintain the braids. So, it is recommended to keep your scalp moisturized and take good care of the braids to keep them looking fresh and lasting longer.