Everything You Need to Know About Knotless Braids, According to Stylists

Knotless braids have been a mainstay of protective styles since Janet Jackson donned them in “Poetic Justice” and have only evolved from there. This braided style is popular because they are lightweight and can reduce tension on the scalp. Unlike box braids, they use a feed-in method that blends with your natural hair versus incorporating extension at the beginning of the braid. They can be used with short, medium, and long hair and used in a variety of styles like Bohemian, bun, waist length, half up/down, jumbo, goddess, and more.

If you have ever been interested in learning more about knotless braids, we’ve secured the experts to give you all the details. Swella Beauty is a black woman-owned luxury braid bar in Atlanta, Georgia setting a new standard for the braid experience. They take the guesswork out of protective styles whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-timer with efficient services that are fast, luxurious, and educational. We sat down to get the 411 from their stylists about knotless braided styles, maintenance, and best practices.

What are knotless braids?

“Knotless braids are a great protective style in which hair extensions are gradually braided into
the hair” says Swella Stylist Gabrielle Wood, “very similar to traditional box braids, but without the knot at the base.” “The technique used creates a more natural look with a lot less tension [than box braids]” shares Swella Stylist Chantelle Clay “Nowadays with the way everyone is caring for their natural
curls, less tension is always better. Knotless came in about 5+ years ago and really changed the
game” says Clay.

What are the benefits of wearing knotless braids?

Zanbria Asante, Swella Founder, says “Knotless braids have less tension on the scalp but also in my opinion look neater than the traditional knotless braids. You’re able to do versatile styles to your braids immediately after installation, without feeling the braids are stiff or uncomfortable.” She started wearing knotless braids about four years ago. “With traditional box braids, I constantly felt the tightness for at least five days after getting them installed, and after 15 years of dealing with this, I was excited to try out a different method of receiving braids.”

Stylist Chantelle Clay likes how lightweight and flexible they are, “The same day, if installed correctly they can be worn in a top knot bun or a ponytail.” They also last weeks longer than box braids because of how they are installed. “Perfect for all ages during summer break and warmer seasons” Clay says.

Why do stylists like knotless braids?

“As a stylist, I absolutely love knotless braids because they look sleek and sexy, and I know I am
contributing to saving edges one client at a time” shares Wood. Clay agrees, “knotless braids are saving the girls’ edges all over the world!” They typically receive little to no complaints in regard to knotless braids being too tight or too heavy.

“Some of the best benefits of wearing knotless braids are how easily you can access your scalp and strands for oiling and maintaining the moisture and health of your hair” says Wood. “It is also a low-tension style that allows a lot of versatility for changing up your look. The best part is waking up for weeks without worrying about what to do to your hair!”

What are the best practices for maintaining knotless braids?

Zanbria Asante: It’s important to still show your hair love while wearing braids. Try your best to wear a scarf or bonnet to bed. For those who are active, I recommend putting your braids in one or two big braids or putting them in a bun while working out. Make sure when taking a shower to wear a shower cap, to protect your hair.
Knotless braids are a great hairstyle for outdoor activities, even including water activities. We recommend picking your favorite moisturizer and mousse to refresh your braids after water touches them, this will help with the frizziness.

Chantelle Clay: The best practice for maintaining knotless braids is to number one PUT ON THAT BONNET! Or scarf, or Durag, or whatever it is that you tie your hair down with. Making sure your hair is
protected while you sleep is very important but also protecting your hair while you shower is
important too, especially with knotless braids. Also, don’t be afraid to wash your edges and oil
your scalp at least once a week. Product build-up can be harmful to your edges and nobody’s
scalp should be dry while you have such easy access to it.

Zanbria Asante: We offer braid touch-ups at Swella for those who want to keep their braids in for an extra two weeks. Braid touch-ups provide a fresh look by getting the front and back touched up in half the time of a regular braid service. After six weeks with braids, we recommend coming in for a braid takedown and wash and blowdry before moving on to another style!

How do you maintain boho knotless braids?

Gabrielle Wood: Boho hair can be maintained by spraying on a leave-in conditioner, followed by an oil of your choice. To maintain frizz, a mousse or foam wrap may be used as well. Finger detangling occasionally is also helpful.

Chantelle Clay: To maintain those beautiful boho braids I recommend detangling curls after you have applied a generous amount of leave-in conditioner. You will probably need to detangle twice a day, morning and night. Once you detangle at night put your braids in 2-4 twists and put that bonnet on. The twist won’t prevent tangling but will make your detangling in the morning a lot less stressful.

Everything You Need to Know About Knotless Braids, According to Stylists

Who are celebrities with good examples of knotless braids?

Chantelle Clay: Celebrities with good examples of knotless braids are Gabrielle Union, Jhene Aiko, Keke
Palmer, & of course the Iconic BEYONCÉ (shoutout to my fellow beyhive!)

Gabrielle Wood: When looking for braid inspiration I frequently check out Eva Marcille, Gabrielle Union, and Tia Mowry. Sophisticated, sexy, and cool is the vibe I get when seeing the styles they step on the
scene with.

Are you ready to book an appointment for knotless braids? Have you tried them before? Let us know in the comments!

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