Knotless box braids are becoming a pop culture sensation because celebrities like Zendaya or Rihanna are always rocking the style.
Knotless box braids, a hairstyle borne from the creativity of hair stylists in the black community, are so popular now that even the New York Times published a long-form article on it.
Braiding knotless box braids is a time-intensive hairstyle that could require a day-long visit to a hairstylist.
The average hairstylist may charge anywhere between $140 and $350 to braid and weave knotless box braids for a client. The price for the service will depend on braid length and degree of styling difficulty.
And many hairstylists will now charge appointment security deposits to deter no-shows and protect their income flow.
The knotless box braid hairstyle, a long and flat plaited braid emanating from a box-shaped section of hair scalp, is a style evolution of the box braid style.
And the only difference between the two styles is that the knotless style forgoes the use of the bulgy "knot" braid at the scalp.
The knotless box braid hairstyle is considered a protective hairstyle that protects hair from the elements and excess style manipulation. And the braiding technique also protects the hair follicles at the scalp from excess tension force and pulling.
Knotless box braids are aesthetically flatter and non-bulky than traditional box braids. So, each braid strand is less of a weight strain on the follicles at the scalp.
And if you have dreadlocks, you can enjoy the same benefits of wearing knotless box braids. For best style results, you need to have long-length dreadlocks of thin to medium-width dreadlocks.
And we will tell you how to create basic knotless box loc braids on your own if you are still saving money to see a professional stylist.
But first, let's talk about box braids, knotless box braids, and protective hairstyles. Because once you understand all of these hairstyle concepts, it is easy to adapt these methods and then create knotless box loc braids.
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Related: Lessons Having Locs Will Teach You
What Are Box Braids?
We can't talk about knotless box braids or their dreadlock style variation without first discussing box braids. And we also need to discuss why knotless box braids essentially obsoleted the box braid style.
The hair on the scalp is strategically sectioned into box-shaped portions. The larger the box-shaped section on the scalp, then the larger the resulting box braid will become afterward.
Box braids are bulky and with hefty width in appearance. And that is because synthetic hair is methodically interwoven and braided with natural hair.
After sectioning the hair into box shapes on the scalp, a large knot of synthetic hair is tied at the follicle scalp line. The synthetic hair is then fed into the plaits of the braids with the real hair to create the signature box braid style.
And the easiest way to spot a box braid hairstyle is to look for the large signature knot at the scalp base. This style, also known as a "stitch knot," is also why the box braid fell out of favor.
The box braid knot at the scalp is usually tied very tight. That tightness was practically ripping the hair follicles out of the scalp.
Tightly braiding, pulling, or twisting hair in service of a hairstyle for years or decades can result in traction alopecia. Traction alopecia is self-cause bald spots, receding hairlines, and even baldness caused by tightly pulling hair for a hairstyle.
The bulkiness of each box braid also created a weight hazard for the tautly pulled follicles at the knotted scalp. And this problem also made baldness and follicles being ripped from the scalp more likely.
Tension pain at the scalp and tension headaches were accepted in getting box braids.
But box braids were relatively cheap and quick to install, so they were popular for a long time.
That is until knotless box braids became a hairstyling phenomenon.
Knotless Box Braids
Knotless box braids use the same installation technique as boxless braids with one major difference - there is no requirement for the giant stitch knot at the scalp follicle.
After sectioning the scalp into a box-shaped partition, the synthetic hair is fed into the braids' plaits under the scalp line where the large stitch knot would have previously been installed.
And since there is no extremely tight stitch knot installed at the scalp, there is no extreme tension on the scalp line. There is less risk of developing traction alopecia and baldness with knotless box braids.
Knotless box braids are flush flat against the scalp and are not aesthetically bulky. So, they are not as heavy and don't pull against the scalp with their weight like box braids.
However, since hairstylists don't have the benefit of the stitch knot at the scalp to work from, it can take a lot longer to install knotless box braids. And that fact also explains why hairstylists charge so much for installation.
Now that we understand box braids and knotless box braids, let's explain why they are known as "protective hairstyles."
What Are Protective Hairstyles?
A protective hairstyle protects your hair from environmental, physical, and chemical damage.
Excessively combing, twisting, touching, and styling your hair can cause damage. Protective hairstyles, like braids, protect hair from excessive styling and airborne particulates and allows them to grow while protected.
Protective hairstyles are also convenient and time-saving. Knotless box braids can last six to eight weeks before they need to be undone. Additionally, you don't have to worry about switching to a new style daily with a protective hairstyle.
Knotless Box Loc Braids
So, if you read all the way to here, you know that installing knotless box braids can be done on your own.
Knotless box braids are usually sealed or woven tightly with synthetic hair so they don't unravel. So, if you want to rock the traditional knotless box braids with your locs, you may want to visit a professional hairstylist or loctitian, a stylist with experience handling dreadlocks.
Your locs should be thin to medium width and long-length for best results.
You can also use faux loc extensions if you wish or settle for fewer and larger knotless box loc braids by using your own locs.
Partition your dreadlock strands into box-shaped sections on your scalp. Remember that the bigger the square on your scalp, the bigger the braid will be.
Braid each box section of locs into long-length braids. You can tie off each end with a hair clip or tie.
Make sure there is no tension at the scalp. Since DIY knotless box loc braids are not of hair stylist caliber, you may need to redo them every week or two.
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