braid hairstyles How to Do Knotless Box Braids

The easy-to-follow tutorial you need.

July 15, 2022
Knotless Box Braids

Whether out of need or in an effort to improve our skills, we’ve learned to master so many protective hairstyles in the past few years. Fewer available trips to the salon had forced us to learn how to do many of the styles we love and once thought were too complex for us to execute. But one that still evades many is knotless box braids. 

This low-tension version of our beloved box braids may look easy to do, but takes some level of skill and know-how. If you haven’t quite perfected your knotless box braiding skill and you’ve made a resolution to grasp this style, take notes from this easy-to-follow tutorial. Grab your comb and your gel and get ready to enter hair braiding heaven.

What Is the Difference Between Box Braids and Knotless?

Knotless braids are just like your traditional three-strand box braids. They can be done in various sizes and lengths. The biggest difference is that knotless braids do not include the small knot that starts at the root of traditional box braids. Traditionally, this knot is used to attach braiding hair. 

With knotless braids, the hairstyle is created with a feed-in braid technique instead. This involves adding small amounts of braiding hair to your natural hair as you braid, making for a plait that sports a flatter appearance. As a result, your braids also aren’t as heavy on your scalp, which can help minimize the risk of hair breakage.

How to Do Knotless Box Braids

Follow our step-by-step tutorial to create a knotless braids masterpiece with ease just like a pro braider, right from the comfort of your own home.

Step 1. Prep Your Hair

Before braiding your hair into any style, you should always kick things off with freshly washed and conditioned strands. The key is to provide your hair with long-lasting moisture since you’ll have your braids in for weeks. Use the L’Oréal Paris Dream Lengths Curls Moisture Push Shampoo and the L’Oréal Paris Dream Lengths Curls Moisture Seal Conditioner no more than a day before you journey into knotless box braids.

Step 2. Detangle Your Strands

Next, as always, make sure your hair is free of any knots or tangles. Reach for the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Non-Stop Dreamy Curls Leave-In Conditioner, which adds slip and additional moisture to your strands. Using a wide-tooth comb, detangle your hair starting from the ends and working up to the roots.

Step 3. Divide Your Hair Into Sections

Breaking up the braiding process will make the overall task feel less overwhelming. To help you do that, divide your hair into four even sections. Use hair ties and claw clips to pin three of those sections out of the way while you start on one.

Step 4. Add Your Hair Cream

Next, you’ll want to give your hair a bit more moisture to protect it for the duration of wearing your knotless braids. Apply a nourishing hair cream or a little more leave-in conditioner to your strands, and be sure to show your ends some love too.

Step 5. Perfect Your Parts

Using a rat tail comb, create your parts. You can choose to go with box parts or triangle parts — but make a decision at the start. Creating precise parts will help you avoid borrowing hair from outside of each individual braid and it will give your knotless braids a more polished look in the end. 

Editor’s tip: Your parts should be sized one to one for the size of braids you desire. In other words, don’t use a one-inch part of hair for a two-inch sized braid. Too much extra hair will cause unnecessary tension on your scalp, even with a knotless braid.

Step 6. Craft Your Knotless Braids

Once you have your parts decided and the size of your braids confirmed, create your first part and apply some hair gel, like the L’Oréal Paris Studio Line Invisi Gel, on the roots of the section to help keep the braid in place. Split the section into three strands and start weaving your braid. Once you’re three braid links in (or as far down as it makes sense for the length you want for your braids), feed in some braiding hair and continue to braid your way down. Once you reach the ends, add a little gel for hold. 

Editor’s tip: The type of braiding hair you buy will make all the difference in how well your ends stay in place, so be sure to choose exactly what you need for a fuss-free experience.

Step 7. Use Holding Spray For Extra Staying Power

Once the braid is complete, mist a holding spray onto your braid from the root to the ends. This will help your hair bond to the synthetic hair and prevent your braid from unraveling while you continue to work. This extra step does add some time and work to the process, but it can make all the difference in how long your knotless box braids stay intact.

Step 8. Repeat In Each Section

Repeat the process on your remaining sections of hair until you have a head full of knotless braids.

Step 9. Seal Your Style

Apply an egg-sized amount of hair mousse, like the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle BOOST IT Volume Inject Mousse, to your braids from the root to the ends. This will provide your braids with extra hold for a long-lasting look.

Step 10. Add the Finishing Touch

Once your braids have fully absorbed the mousse, it’s time to finish things off. If you've ever had your hair professionally braided you may recall them dipping your braids in hot water to seal in the mousse. Unless you know exactly what to do you may want to skip this step at home. Instead, spritz your braids with a mist of shine-boosting hairspray, like the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Precious Oil Satin Hairspray, to give your braids natural shine.

How Long Do Knotless Braids Last?

How long your knotless braids stay intact is up to how well you take care of them and the quality of the braiding hair you used to create them. Though, most experts will tell you not to wear any protective style like this for more than four to six weeks to avoid damaging your hair underneath. If you’re hoping to make it closer to that six-week mark, follow our three tips below to help keep your braids looking flawless while you protect your natural hair too.

1. Oil Your Scalp Every Week 

While you should have taken steps to provide your hair with moisture, after a while, your strands will need more hydration. Using your favorite hair oil, oil your mane once a week to keep your scalp and hair properly moisturized.

2. Protect Your Braids At Night

While you may feel like having a protective style means less maintenance, you still need to protect it at night so that it lasts. Covering your braids with a silk scarf or bonnet can help protect your hair from frizz and keep your braids intact. After all of your hard work, you wouldn’t want to see your knotless braids unravel.

3. Take Them Down When It’s Time

As beautiful as knotless braids look, as we mentioned earlier, it’s time to take your braids down after six weeks. If you leave them in too long you run the risk of your hair matting at the roots, which can lead to breakage when you try to detangle it. So, play it safe and take out your braids at the appropriate time.

Next: 10 Yarn Braid Hairstyles To Try In 2022

Edited by: Shalwah Evans, Photo Credit: Tynece Juanita, IG/@necenita