Protecting the hair is key if you’d eventually like to wear strands that are luscious, healthy, and beautiful, which is exactly what most protective hairstyles do.
From dreadlocks to twists to even cornrows, plenty of options exist in the land of protective looks. However, as of 2023, two options that are quite desirable and rising to prominence with each day are knotless braids and box braids.
Despite being different from one another in terms of characteristics and size, knotless braids and box braids serve the same purpose; to defend the layers.
Although both have tons of common ground, it is important to keep in mind the attributes that separate the pair from one another to avoid being in unfortunate scenarios. Also, if you feel that you can only pick one between the two, don’t miss out on this showdown of knotless braids vs. box braids!
Table of Contents
- Knotless Braids: Description, Types, Positives, and More!
- Box Braids: A Rundown On The Protective Look!
- Knotless Braids vs. Box Braids: A Much-needed Comparison
- “Knotless Braids or Box Braids?”: Factors To Analyze Before Making Your Pick
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Takeaway
Knotless Braids: Description, Types, Positives, and More!
Knotless braids are a protective hairstyle comprising a box-like base with thick units of braids from the roots to the ends. The braids typically come in all shapes and sizes, but create less tension on the scalp as opposed to box braids, making it a better option for those with sensitive skin. Knotless braids always require extensions, mainly to ease the scalp of the wearer.
From wearing jumbo braids to wearing thin units, knotless braids welcome any variant, both flashy and subtle designs, with open arms. Each option is long lasting too, with an average duration of 12 weeks!
Using the feed-in technique works best when creating knotless braids. However, having an afro comb or tail comb in hand is also quite important, especially for sectioning the base and creating boxes.
Forming the braids with one unit is often the easiest way to obtain healthy looking knotless braids. Adding extensions along the way or during the end of the braiding process should be mandatory to relieve the scalp from all the friction that braids often cause.
Knotless braids are easy to look at from the outside, but they can also be beneficial for the wearer in multiple ways.
For starters, knotless braids are quite versatile, offering a series of designs that can cater to a crowd of hair enthusiasts.
The braided look also survives for 3 months at a time, which can be enhanced with a proper washing routine and regular touch-ups.
Last but not least is the soothing effect they have on the scalp, which can save the wearer from years of traction alopecia and unintended hair loss.
Despite being one of the most desirable braided looks in recent times, Knotless braids also come with flaws.
One of the primary drawbacks is the cost of the procedure, which can be quite costly for beginners and those working around a tight budget. Unlike box braids, knotless braids require enhancements, which can’t be replicated at home.
Nonetheless, despite being somewhat high-maintenance, knotless braids are definitely worth the investment. Why? Because they attain the ability to protect natural hair for a long, long time.
Box Braids: A Rundown On The Protective Look!
On the other side of the tape are box braids, the easier way of protecting the natural hair and helping the strands age gracefully. In contrast to knotless braids, box braids seem better for beginners, as they can be implemented at home. Box braids only use the natural strands, making this braided look the better pick for those that seek authenticity.
In contrast to knotless braids, box braids are just as effective at forming, creating, and replicating an endless amount of designs. The units of the braids are thinner, however, as box braids don’t take assistance from enhancements.
Box braids can be created on any hair length, which seems to be the selling point of this braided look. Since it requires no artificial upgrades, installing box braids is quite cheap in contrast to most braided hairstyles. Just like most braided hairstyles, box braids typically last for four to six weeks.
Wearing box braids doesn’t make anyone immune from trouble, however, since box braids come with a fair share of challenges.
The amount of pressure it creates on the scalp and the tightness of the braids are two concerning factors about wearing box braids, leading to semi-permanent hair loss or shedding on most occasions.
However, know that the former issues can be solved as long as the wearer takes frequent breaks, washes their hair on a weekly basis, and provides the strands with tons of hydration.
When all is said and done, box braids are a hairstyle that is easy to implement on natural hair, irrespective of length and size. The strands can be curated in plenty of ways, which can eventually serve the wearer for over a month. For best results, giving the scalp a break from the weight of box braids is advised.
Knotless Braids vs. Box Braids: A Much-needed Comparison
Believe it or not, knotless braids and box braids are quite similar, not only visually, but also in terms of traits. Differences do exist as well, however, putting them in two different boxes at the end of the day.
Whether you desire box braids or find tons of contentment in knotless braids, siding with either of them will benefit you nonetheless. For a better understanding, however, give the following list of comparisons a read.
Both are good for natural hair
The best thing about knotless braids and box braids is how reliable they are for natural hair. Despite having short-term side effects, box braids and knotless braids are great at protecting 3a to 4c hair from frizziness, dryness, and pollution.
Knotless braids and box braids leave room for creativity
Unlike hairdos like Sisterlocks, box braids and knotless braids give creative freedom to their users. From wearing jumbo braids to rocking fancy patterns, knotless braids and box braids welcome bold looks with open arms!
Box braids are more convenient in terms of price
Box braids and knotless braids typically involve using a feed-in method, which can be easy to learn for beginners. However, since knotless braids require extensions, one can only avail them by visiting a hairdresser, which can be more expensive than following DIY instructions at home.
Knotless braids are semi-permanent
Knotless braids are equally promising as box braids, having the upper hand when it comes to their soothing properties. However, their longevity also gives knotless braids the edge over box braids.
In short, knotless braids last for 8 weeks before requiring a touch-up, while box braids need to be taken out after 4 to weeks of use.
“Knotless Braids or Box Braids?”: Factors To Analyze Before Making Your Pick
No matter how bold or beneficial it is, wearing braids is equivalent to a long-term commitment. Therefore, it is always better to consider some factors before making one’s pick.
While you can watch videos on YouTube if you’re a visual learner, get a glimpse of the following factors if you’d like to elevate your understanding in a heartbeat.
The length and density of your hair
Examining the strands should be vital before making your pick, since knotless braids have certain requirements.
While box braids can be created using any length, knotless braids require the strands to be semi-grown before one is rendered eligible to wear them.
Additionally, one should also measure the density of their afro-textured hair prior to deciding which hairstyle to go for. Since knotless braids look healthier, the look is usually more beneficial for those with thin to fine hair.
The condition of your hair
Keeping track of the size of your natural hair can be a good move to start with. But, if your hair is prone to dryness, throwing that into the mix is just as important.
Since both braided hairdos cause tons of tension, wearing them for weeks at a time can prove to be detrimental, leading to hair loss or shedding. However, in the grand scheme of things, knotless braids are better to rely on, since they’re less stressful for the cuticles.
Knotless braids are high-maintenance, requiring bi-monthly visits for touch-ups and hydration. While one has to pay more to keep them sound, knotless braids are less demanding than box braids when all is said and done, requiring daily washing and conditioning for avoiding split ends and hair damage.
As box braids can be created at home and with the help of a companion, all you need is some hair gel, a tail comb, and an afro comb to section the hair and convert them into highly-defined pieces of braids.
Knotless braids, on the other hand, can be a bit tough to settle for if you’re seeking healthier and longer extensions since the average procedure costs around $150 to $200.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’ve remained attentive so far, we hope you’ve received enough components to make your pick effortlessly. However, if you’re still quite unsure and indecisive regarding your decision, skim through the following portion for a quick recap!
Q: Are knotless braids better than box braids?
Ans: This take might seem subjective, as box braids and knotless braids, despite belonging to the same group, are quite different from one another.
In short, box braids are better for beginners, as the look is quite easy to create, can be done at home, and is significantly cheaper.
On the other hand, knotless braids look healthier, shield the roots from damage, and have more endurance than box braids in the long run.
Q: Do box braids last longer than knotless braids?
Ans: Box braids are definitely the better pick if you’re seeking to spend less and go for a legitimate braided hairstyle, but they fall short of being the better option in terms of duration. Box braids often wear off after 4 to 6 weeks, whereas knotless braids last for over 2 months.
Q: Are knotless braids better than box braids for thin natural hair?
Ans: Wearing box braids can be a good idea if your natural hair isn’t long enough for knotless braids. However, despite being more costly, knotless braids are much better as opposed to their counterpart since they last significantly longer and shield the scalp from the unnecessary tension that is usually caused by protective hairstyles. Knotless braids also offer extensions, which can be used to add to the density of hair.
When push comes to shove, the difference between knotless braids and box braids is very limited. Both are considered to be effective companions in growing natural hair without having to deal with frizziness and split ends. Both hairdos also come with a remarkable shelf life, which can further be extended with an effective washing and maintenance routine.
Due to being more lenient on the scalp, knotless braids are better than box braids for those with thin hair and sensitive skin, despite being the more expensive option. However, box braids can be implemented at home and require no help from professionals, making them the better hairdo for novices and beginners.
Before siding with one of the two, you must assess some key factors. Measuring the fullness and length of your natural hair should be mandatory, while evaluating your schedule and budget can be two great activities to make the final results more favourable.