Do Knotless Braids Hurt? (If so, Why?)

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do knotless braids hurt

Knotless braids are the latest obsession and have sent the braiding world into a frenzy. The appeal of this style is accredited to it’s golden selling feature, no pain!

As opposed to traditional box braids which are installed tightly with a knot at the roots, knotless braids begin with your own hair thus keeping your head comfortable.


Do knotless braids hurt?

Knotless braids should not hurt if they are installed the right way. However, in some situations, knotless braids may cause some irritation and pain because of a number of reasons that we will look at in this article.

Why do my knotless braids hurt?

Like we’ve mentioned, knotless braids are designed to be more gentle of the scalp because the installation involves less tension. Therefore they should ‘hurt less’.

But in a less than ideal situation, your knotless braids may hurt due to the following reasons:

1. Installed tightly

Some stylists grip your hair so strongly with an aim of giving you a long-lasting style. It’s undeniable that every coin you can keep in your pocket is precious in the current economic climate.

However, your hairline should be spared as continuous tugging will lead to receding hairline or traction alopecia. (I don’t think anyone is aiming to be bald).

This is all in addition to the sleepless and unbearable nights when your braids are fresh and are in incredible discomfort.

2. Over-styling the knotless braids

I think we all crave a high ponytail or a neat look to rock our fresh braids. Yes, you look gorgeous of course but your braids create some extra tension on your scalp.

Especially bun-like updos, they tend to be quite the menace in terms of discomfort level. Try to make your styles a bit less tight and less frequent. That way you’ll be good to go.

3. Having a sensitive scalp

A sensitive scalp is generally more susceptible to stimuli as compared to a regular scalp, any form of pull may cause pain and inflammation.

Thus, there is a possibility of experiencing some unease even when adorning knotless braids.

A warm Compresses should help reduce the tension but avoid wearing braids too often as it leads to severe inflammation.

4. Styling immediately after braiding

You just got your braids done, you want to go hang out and show them off so you style them immediately.

The instant effect is the soreness on your scalp and it feels like you are on fire.

Whilst they are meant to be gentler on the scalp, some manipulation and tension is involved in installing the braids, therefore it’s best to let them loose for a day or two before you proceed to style.

5. Feeding in too much hair

Some of us crave long braids that reach the floor because why not? Inches are the goal. Nevertheless, this comes with extra hair extensions which bear their own weight.

And according to basic physics … the higher the mass the more the pressure.

This pressure goes to your scalp and regardless of the fact that the braids are knotless, there will be some twinge.

6. Having a dry scalp

Having a dry scalp will increase the likelihood of your knotless braids hurting. A dry scalp tends to be more tender and the tightness of the braids amplifies the ache.

With a proper moisturizer, your hair will be hydrated enough to loosen itself and reduce any agony you may have.

It is essential that after braiding you oil your scalp and you’ll feel the difference.

7. When the knotless braids are super large

Knotless braids can come in a range of sizes and sometimes the bigger the better but not for all hair types.

If you have curls on the looser end of things, super large knotless braids aren’t exactly good. Not only does it tend to be more painful but also their shelf life is shorter.

Looser textures are unable to handle large-sized braids as a result of having softer and less dense hair cuticles so choosing the appropriate braid size really matters.

In a nutshell,

Knotless braid shouldn’t be hurt provided the installation is gentle, the scalp is moisturized and little styling is done immediately after braiding.

Otherwise, from the article we’ve seen that they can hurt if:

  1. Installed tightly
  2. Styled with high tension
  3. You have a sensitive scalp
  4. Styled immediately after installation
  5. Feeding in too much hair
  6. You have a dry scalp
  7. They knotless braids are super large

PS: if you are looking to learn how to do cute knotless braids, check out this video we did:

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