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A beautiful young black woman with glasses sporting knotless braids.

What to Know About Knotless Braids

A famous literary quote once stated that a girl without braids is like a city bereft of bridges. The humble braided hairstyle looks simple enough. But braiding hair requires complex hand and finger movements to accomplish the look successfully.

It takes practice, skill, and craft to learn how to braid hair efficiently; to tie up and braid and knot hair to resemble an aesthetically pleasing rope is not easy for the uninitiated.

Braids can be compared to bridges because they are a style bridge for most young women to learn about hairstyling. Most young girls, and young hairstylists in general, master the art of braiding hair before moving on to learn more complex hairstyles or hair grooming regimens as they get older.

And mastering the braided hairstyle can be a complex thing to accomplish. There are numerous variations and styles of the simple braid. There are cosmetology schools that entirely specialize in teaching students how to create dozens of kinds of braid styles.

That is the thing about styled and hair salon braids – experienced or certified hairstylists must braid them to last for months.  

Box Braids v. Knotless Braids

Hairstyles like the "box braid" can be woven with synthetic hair interlacing so that the braids last for 60-days or more. However, such expertly braided hairstyles must be interwoven tightly, which could potentially cause distress and hair damage, and hair damage, amongst other problems.

The box braid style, for example, requires braiding a tightened knot at the scalp base with synthetic hair that is then interlaced into the braid to make it look fuller. Box braids and similar braided hairstyles tend to create a lot of scalp tension that can't be relieved until the roots grow out and loosen.

The "knotless braid" hairstyle is just as popular, however. 

Knotless braids don't require synthetic hair interlacing or cause scalp tension. 

And knotless braids look natural and allow for more styling flexibility.

Knotless braids can resemble faux-locs when styled correctly. Hair braiding is a natural African hairstyle, just like dreadlocks, that was first documented in ancient Egypt over 5,500 years ago. But "documented" and "invented" are two different things. 

Hair braiding as a natural hairstyle is undoubtedly a far older ancient practice.

And ancient dreadlocks may have been the bridge hairstyle to hair braiding, or vice versa. The truth is lost to time.

So, we will tell you everything you need to know about knotless braids. We will notify you of the pros and cons of wearing knotless braids. And we are also going to explain that if you want the style of the knotless braid, you may as well try developing and grooming dreadlocks.

Grooming your dreadlocks should not be a hassle. 

And it should be done the all-natural organic way too! Only use Lion Locs organic dreadlock grooming products for your locs.

Related: How to Interlock Dreadlocks

What are Knotless Braids?

To fully contextualize why knotless braids are so popular, we must first briefly describe the classic three-strand braid and the box braid style.

Conventional Brands

The classic three-strand braid is the simplest kind of braid to style weave for children and adults. You start by separating a section of hair at the scalp. Then, section the hair into two or three separate strands, or "plaits."

And then you alternately weave each plait over another in a rope-like weaving pattern. It does not take a very long time to do simple braids. The scalp isn't tightened. And the end of each braid is tied off with a rubber band, ribbon, or a clip. The classic braid is a utility hairstyle that is worn for hours or a day or two at most.

Box Braids

 Model sporting box braids with white-colored synthetic weave.

Box braids are a hyper-stylized variant of the simple braid. The hair against the scalp is sectioned into box-shaped patterns. 

A plait of synthetic hair, usually made of kanekalon, is usually tightly woven around the braids' scalp base and then interweaved into the braid. The signature look of the box braid is the tightness of the weave.

Box braids are braided so tightly that scalp tension is normal but should not be painfully discomforting. And box braids are braided outward from the scalp and not against it like cornrow braids. Box braids can be ultra-thin or thick. 

The synthetic and human hair can be colored and woven to look more voluminous, elegant, and stylish as desired. 

The synthetic hair can be heat sealed at the root to keep the braids tightly set.

Depending on the braiding skill, braid style, thickness, and amount of synthetic hair used, it can take anywhere between three to eight hours or more to braid box braids in a salon. Box braids can be expensive. 

And intense, long-term scalp tension can cause "traction alopecia," which is a scientific term meaning potential permanent hair loss.

Knotless Braids

Knotless braids are box braids without the scalp-base tightening knot. The hairs at the scalp are tension-free, and the braids look more natural and less glamour fabricated.

Synthetic hair can be woven into the knotless braid length and tightened or have the synthetic hair heat-sealed at the base of the braid.

Knotless braids are just box braids with a lot less of drawbacks. With knotless braids, you are less likely to experience headache-inducing scalp tension, hair breakage, or hair loss.

Knotless braids can be so tight that wearers can't put their hair up until the roots grow out to relieve the scalp tension. There is no scalp tension with knotless braids, just like traditional ones.

Knotless braids can last for up to six to eight weeks. If you leave them in for too long, grime and dirt could buildup. Or the tightly braided hairs can begin the initial stages of the follicle matting and locking process, which creates dreadlocks.

Why You Should Consider Wearing Dreadlocks

 Black model with experimental makeup sporting dreadlocks.

We think that knotless braids are a beautiful hairstyle. Many women wear them like faux-locs sometimes.

However, knotless braids can be expensive, and they are maintenance intensive. And removing them after two or three months can damage the hair.

You may be better off getting dreadlocks since wearing knotless braids regularly will require a lot of financial, grooming, hygiene, and time sacrifice.

There are many drawbacks to wearing knotless braids.

As previously mentioned, you can wear knotless braids generally for about two months. But nothing in life is free.


The average cost to have knotless braids professionally installed on your scalp ranges between $300 and $600. And that is only the average - your hair stylist or loc technician may charge more for the service.

So, think about that. You will have to make continual financial sacrifices to rock knotless braids regularly. You will have to pay up to $600 per session, or $3,600 annually, just to maintain the hairstyle.


And there is a time sacrifice that is required with wearing knotless braids. Depending on the installation difficulty, you will have to spend up to six hours per session sitting in the stylist's chair to get knotless braids. 

You may end up spending up to 40 hours annually sitting in a hair stylist's chair to get knotless braids. And remember, this is only an average - your hair stylist may require more than six hours to install your knotless braids.

And there is a lot of maintenance and clean-up involved with rocking knotless braids.


No matter how often you wash your hair, there will be segments of the braids that won't get cleaned properly. It's why you have to get knotless braids removed every six weeks at the least and then get them reinstalled.

Even though knotless braids are designed to alleviate pressure on the scalp, the braids under it will still be taut. And your hair will collect a buildup of grime, dirt, and hair product residue in the crevices and tightened surfaces of those knotless braids.

Hair rot, a form of fungus and mold, can grow and proliferate on hair and on the scalp if grime, dirt, bacteria, and the residue of hair products stay trapped in between braids.

In all reality, you take a break from washing and cleaning your hair thoroughly for six weeks at least every time you get knotless braids installed. And you have to treat your hair to a thorough cleaning and washing regimen every six weeks.

Potential Baldness

The knotless braid alleviates tension and stress along the scalp line. However, this installation strategy is only as sound as the hair stylist installing them. 

If you get knotless braids installed every few months, your hair stylist may accidentally get in the habit of installing them too tightly, even at the scalp line.

And even if they don't, knotless braids still require the tight installation of interwoven braids featuring your natural and synthetic hair. Over years and decades, the combined weight of the braids pulling against your scalp could be enough to cause a potential baldness problem.

Aggressively pulling and twisting your hair in the service of a hairstyle can cause potential baldness; the condition is known as traction alopecia. Hair's aggressive pulling and twisting can cause receding hairlines, bald spots, and baldness within years or decades.

Why not treat knotless braids as a hairstyle bridge to dreadlocks. 

It may take months and up to two years to develop dreadlocks. But once they develop, the time commitments to twisting them as the new hair grows from the scalp lessens, not increases. 

As long as you thoroughly dry your dreadlocks after washing them, you never have to worry about dread rot.

And as long as you don't twist your hair aggressively and leave a little slack on the hair follicle at the scalp, you never have to worry about traction alopecia.

While some see braids as a bridge, we think your hair is a crown, especially if you wear dreadlocks. Braids are similar to dreadlocks, only naturally grown.

Always buy your organic dreadlock grooming products from Lion Locs. Check us out today.

Related: Everything To Know About Congo Locs

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