The lowdown on knotless braids

Here's all you need to know about the braid trend of the season, from the super cool aesthetic to why they're better for your hair

Hair & Beauty

Braids are more ubiquitous than ever – and knotless braids have become one of the fastest emerging styling trends. Spotted on numerous Instagram feeds and worn by celebrities and influencers including Zoe Kravitz, Jordyn Woods and Alissa Ashley, we speak to a bevy of experts to find out all you need to know about this burgeoning trend…

They're much kinder to your hairline

Knotless braids are similar to traditional box braids – the only difference is the absence of a visible knot at the top of each braid. Natalie Dinsmore, founder of The Braid Box in London, has noticed the style's rising popularity among her clientele: 'Knotless braids differ from traditional box braids in that they are installed using a feed-in technique, starting the braid with the client’s own hair,' she explains. 'This creates less pulling and tension – especially to delicate areas like the hairline – making it a great style choice if your edges are receding or you have finer hair. The lack of knot also offers more movement from the scalp, making the braids easier to tie up straight away too.'

Knotless braids offer a natural look

One of the main attractions of knotless braids is that they give the hair a more natural look. Although you can use both human and synthetic hair extensions when styling, experts suggest human hair as it offers a more authentic look.

'We always recommend using human hair where possible,' recommends Colleen Reid, hairstylist at The Braid Box. 'It gives a more natural finish and is less likely to cause scalp irritation, although synthetic hair is fine and a cheaper alternative for this style.'

They may take a bit longer to install...

As previously mentioned, knotless braids are gentler to the hairline and require patience and skill to install. As such, it will probably mean sitting in the styling chair for longer than you might for traditional box braids.

However, you can rest assured knowing that the benefits still outweigh any inconvenience. 'Knotless braids will take slightly longer as it is necessary to keep adding in extra hair,' explains Colleen from The Braid Box. 'But the overall process will still take anything from four to five hours – depending upon length and braid size.'

No tightness and your head will feel lighter

If you’ve ever worn braided extensions, you will undoubtedly be familiar with the extra weight you feel on your head once the braids have been installed. The beauty of knotless braids is that they add much less weight to your scalp due to the process of feeding the extensions into your natural hair. 'This is a much softer and kinder technique to the scalp as the tension is reduced dramatically', says Harry Casey, hair extension and afro specialist at Jamie Stevens Hair. 'They feel much lighter and lay perfectly against the scalp and shape of the head.'

Knotless braid products

Braid basics: get the look

African Collection Jumbo Braid, £1.99

Urban Pre-Stretched Go!, £3.25

X-Pression Ruwa, £4.49

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