Braids have been a cultural trait of African women for thousands of years and it’s little surprise that they have soared in popularity across different cultures around the world. Apart from the fact that they make for a fashion statement, braids can help you deal with different hair problems like breakage and tangling. They also help to lock in moisture to prevent dryness, especially for women with curly and wavy hair. Even more, black women love braids because they are a convenient hairstyle that you can rock over the summer and the winter. Plus, they are versatile, making them great for people who are looking to wear trendy hairstyles as you can style it in many different ways.
What are knotless braids?
Knotless braids are a variation of box braids, only that they are knotless as the name indicates. In other words, they adopt the traditional box-style parts all over the scalp but are without the small knot that sits at the root of the scalp. Thus knotless braids are created using feed-in braid technique because braiding hair is added to the natural hair as the stylist goes along for thickness and length as opposed to adding it all at the beginning. Knotless braids are fast becoming a favourite for many women because they are pain-free and cause less tension to the hair due to the absence of the knot, reducing the risk of traction alopecia and follicle damage. Simply put, knotless braids are great because there are less pulling, less breakage and less strain to your edges. So if you are tender headed or you just hate anything that causes tension to your scalp, knotless braids are your best bet. You can happily say goodbye to the days of taking Tylenol before sitting in a salon chair. Apart from the fact that they don’t have knots, another major difference between knotless braids and box braids is that former gives you instant flexibility to style and manipulate your hair as you wish. But with box braids, you might have to wait for a few days for your scalp to relax before you can style them. This protective style can last up to 6 weeks, depending largely on how well you take care of them and your hair type. In addition, knotless braids also decrease the chances of build-up, which is common with other braids and that can cause irritation.
How to do knotless braids
Now that you know what knotless braids are and the benefits they offer, it’s time to learn how to do this hairstyle on yourself. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial.
1. Hair preparation
As with any protective style, the first thing to do is to ensure that your hair is in optimum condition. So get started on the right note by washing your hair with a residue-free shampoo followed by a deep conditioner. Prepping your hair makes the braiding installation easy by providing your hair with long-lasting moisture.
2. Detangle like a pro
The next thing to do is to free your hair from any knots and tangles. Consider using a detangling brush as it will help you remove every knot and tangles without tugging or pulling your hair.
Once you’re through with the detangling process, go ahead and blow-dry your hair to make it lighter, softer and very gentle.
4. Part your hair into sections
Section your hair off into many parts and then begin to make smaller parts within the sections. Consider using a rattail comb as its long tail will make your parts look sharp and sleek.
5. Apply hair cream
Before you get started with crafting your knotless braids, apply a nourishing hair cream to increase the moisture level so as to further protect your hair for the duration of wearing this style.
6. Start braiding
Place the folded extension over your hair, tie and pull the strand apart so it lies on either side of your natural hair section. This will keep the braids as close as possible to your scalp. Then, start a regular three-strand braid by weaving the outer extensions under the middle strand. Once you reach the end, secure with a hair elastic.
7. Mist with holding spray
Once the braid is complete, mist a holding spray onto your braid from the root to the ends. This will help your natural hair stick to the synthetic hair and decrease the chances of your braid unravelling.
8. Do it again
Now repeat the process on the other sections till you have a mane full of knotless braids.
How to take care of your knotless braids
Many people wrongly assume that once they install their knotless braids, they don’t have to do anything anymore to maintain them. If you want your braids to last for as long as possible, you need to take care of them. Here are a few ways to do that.
1. Clarify and moisturize regularly
After installing your knotless braids, be sure to regularly strip away product build-up from your scalp and keep your hair moisturized at all times.
2. Practice night care
Tossing and turning while sleeping can cause a tug or pull on your braids, causing your hair to break. Wearing some type of band around your head or putting on a silk nightcap can protect your locs from pillow friction.
3. Wash your hair on a regular basis
If you want to keep your braids clean and healthy, you need to wash it regularly to remove build-up. The frequency of the washing depends on your hair type, so you might want to speak with your hairstylist to determine how often you should wash your locs. Be sure to thoroughly rinse your locks after using shampoo and also to let them dry before you wear them up in a hat. Air drying helps to prevent the horrible smell caused by moisture getting trapped.