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Knotless Braids vs Box Braids: Which Style is Better?

Box braids have been a timeless hairstyle, and many people have rocked them over the years to protect their hair from split ends, dryness and breakage. However, knotless braids recently stormed the beauty industry and are here to stay thanks to their lightweight, tension-less and pain-free nature. 

With the emergence of knotless braids, one might find it difficult to decide between the two. Therefore, this article will do a detailed guide on knotless braids vs box braids to help you understand how you should decide. 

These are two attractive types of braids that nowadays are not only reserved for African American women only, and they can be rocked all over the world. Generally, there are several differences between the two protective styles, and we have discussed them in detail below. Dive in.

1. Installation Technique

In simple terms, knotless braids are a type of regular box braids that are pain-free and cause minimum tension on the scalp. They blend with your hair and appear natural. Knotless braids use a technique where you start braiding with your natural hair and then insert the synthetic hair braids mid-shaft ot mid-way using the feed-in technique. 

On the other hand, box braids are installed by adding a braid as an extension on the base of your hair. Then, you make a knot and use the knot to anchor your synthetic braiding hair to your hair. 

2. Installation Period

Getting your hair done will cost you money and your time. Box braids win when it comes to the duration they take to get installed, as they take between one and three hours. However, this will depend on the size of the braids and the speed of your technician.

Notably, if you want knotless braids, you will have to wait about four to eight hours, depending on the size and length of the braids. Generally, micro braids will last between 10 and 12 weeks, medium braids between 8 and 10 weeks, and large box braids will last between 6 to 8weeks. 

However, knotless braids don’t last as long as traditional box braids because of their feed-in technique. They last a maximum of 6 weeks. 

3. Cost

Box braids have a shorter installation period, which is also reflected in their price, making them cheaper than knotless ones. On the other hand, knotless braids cost more since products are applied to your hair, such as edge control and gel to some hair sections. 

The two braids can have a price difference between $50 and $150, with knotless braids on the higher side.

Women may choose box braids when they are on a strict budget and when the budget is more flexible, they could opt for knotless braids.

4. Hair Breakage

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Knotless braids will win when it comes to hair breakage since they cause less hair breakage than box braids. In addition, when properly installed, you will experience less friction, reducing your chances of hair breaking. 

On the contrary, box braids can cause hair breakage, eventually leading to traction alopecia. This is because of the constant pulling and tugging of the hair when creating the knot, which will cause hair damage.

5. Versatility

Box braids are not flexible and hence difficult to style because of how they are installed. In addition, the tension from the knots could cause discomfort when styling, and you will have to wait a few days so that the braids can loosen to style them. 

On the other hand, knotless braids are easily styled from the get-go thanks to their lightweight nature, which causes no strain to your hair. 

6. Scalp Sensitivity

The scalp is usually sensitive, where other scalps are more sensitive than others. However, knotless braids have a gentle feel, and they don’t feel too painful when they are being installed. This is because they are installed so that the synthetic braids don’t touch your scalp closely.

However, box braids are fully synthetic braids, and they tend to cause inflammation which causes the scalp to feel more sensitive. In addition, they are more painful to install since the knot is made closer to the scalp, and some people have experienced itchiness and developed bumps after using box braids. 

7. Appearance

In most cases, expensive things usually look more beautiful, and it’s also the case here. Knotless braids will give you a seamless and natural look since the hair braid naturally blends with your hair. Contrarily, box braids don’t look natural since the knot is at the base. 

How to Choose Between Knotless Braids vs Box Braids

While these two styles are quite similar, there are significant differences that one should consider when deciding the type of protective style to try. Generally, any hair stylist will advise you don’t wear any of the braid styles for longer than ten weeks to avoid damaging your edges and scalp. 

If you are still unsure about which braids to opt for, here are some tips to help you decide. 

  • Choose knotless braids if box braids cause you pain or you have experienced breakage.
  • Opt for box braids if your number one priority is longevity because they last a bit longer than knotless box braids in most scenarios.
  • Choose knotless braids if you want a natural look.
  • Choose box braids if you are new to doing your hair and want an easy style to DIY.

Notably, if your hair is prone to breakage or has recently broken off, you should give your hair a break and nurse it back to healthy growth. This means avoiding all extension braided styles, including box braids and knotless braids.

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