Box braids are a tried-and-true protective style and for good reason. Braids offer an opportunity to switch things up while keeping our kinks, coils, curls, and relaxed tresses protected. Braids also give our curls a break from the daily manipulation that can cause breakage, especially for coily hair textures. The downside to box braids can be the tension they place on the scalp and hair. However, an updated version of the popular hairstyle has made a positive impact on how we protect our curls. Say hello to knotless box braids.
We’re giving you the rundown on what knotless box braids are, how they're installed, how they differ from traditional box braids, and how to care for your hair while it's protected. Keep scrolling for everything you need to know.
What are knotless box braids?
Knotless box braids are just that—a single braid without the knot. Unlike traditional box braids that require a knot at the base of the hair, the knotless technique infuses kanekalon hair after the braid is started. For example, your stylist will begin to add hair just below the base of your scalp in small increments. This technique helps create a light, weightless braid. Since the hair is fed-in down your hair's length, knotless box braids can take up to 10 hours vs. traditional box braids that take up to eight hours, depending on the braids' size. Like most protective styles, knotless box braids can last four to six weeks. How you care for them, however, will dictate their longevity.
Good hair day by @mizani.
Who should try knotless box braids?
Knotless box braids are an excellent styling option for a variety of curly and natural hair types. Your scalp health and hair density can help you decide what size knotless box braids are best for you.
Jumbo knotless box braids, for example, are ideal for those with a healthy scalp who like to spend minimal time in their braider's chair. Medium knotless box braids offer an excellent middle ground for those worried about tension along their edges and scalp, but still like the look of a larger braid.
In contrast, small knotless box braids require extra commitment during installation and takedown. However, they can be a good choice for those with finer hair textures or those who work out and want the lightest braids possible.
How To Care For Knotless Box Braids
Wrapping braids in a satin scarf nightly as well as frequent cleansing is non-negotiable when it comes to caring for knotless box braids. Cleansing the hair and scalp in a protective style can be scary for those hoping to maintain frizz-free braids. However, we want to encourage you to care for your scalp because the goal of protective styling aims to maintain healthy hair. Cleansing regularly is still essential even with knotless box braids. Mizani's Scalp Care Shampoo is infused with peppermint oil and cucumber extract to help keep the scalp healthy and flake-free.
Put your shampoo in a bottle with an applicator to shampoo without disrupting your braids. This way, you place the product directly on the scalp for a more centralized cleansing. Conditioning, applying a leave-in conditioner, and locking in moisture with a light hair oil are the keys to maintaining hydrated hair with box braids. Mizani's Scalp Care Conditioner, like the shampoo, does the work to keep your hair hydrated and your scalp balanced and itch-free.
Post-cleanse and condition, you want to layer a leave-in that will lock in your washday moisture. Try Mizani's 25 Miracle Milk, a lightweight, multitasking, coconut oil-infused conditioner that hydrates and strengthens. Next, add six to eight drops of oil to your fingertips. Massage the oil into your scalp and the length of your hair to nourish your scalp and curls. The jojoba, olive, and coconut oils in the Mizani 25 Miracle Nourishing Oil will nourish without buildup and help keep your braids frizz-free. Once all of your products are applied, wrap your braids in a cotton shirt or microfiber cloth for 20 to 40 minutes to soak up any excess water.
Lastly, as your braids age, you may find that your edges are doing their own thing—but we know that's nothing a toothbrush and little edge control can't fix. Made with anti-breakage ceramides, vitamin E, and natural oils, Mizani's Edge Trimming Gel will lay down those edges and ensure they continue to flourish. Wrap your hair in a silk or satin scarf as your hair dries to ensure those edges are laid and frizz-free.
Interested in trying knotless box braids? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.