You know the saying "no pain, no gain"? Well, there are a lot of beauty treatments that require a little bit of pain before the final result. There's the ripping of eyebrow wax, the pinch of extractions, and the headache that comes with getting a fresh set of box braids. Some braiders tug tightly on the roots to get a flawless finish, and that ache can last days after your styling session, making things as simple as sleeping or putting your braids in a bun a literal pain.
That's why more people are asking for the knotless (also called feed-in) method at their hair appointments. It's also why the term "knotless braids" is up 150% in search on Pinterest this year. Unlike the traditional braiding technique that adds extensions right at the root, the knotless method starts with your natural hair and gradually adds pieces of hair to the braid as you go. This creates less tension on the scalp and minimizes the chance of breakage.
The knotless technique isn't new by any means. Hairstylist and expert braider Kamilah has been using it on her clients since 2016, and she tells Refinery29 that she fell in love with the method because of its flexibility. "I love it because it looks extremely natural — like they've grown out of your head," she tells us. "It's a great alternative to other techniques because there is very little pressure put on the hair. You can tie your hair up in a bun or ponytail, and sleep comfortably immediately after with knotless braids."
Before your next appointment, we rounded up some knotless looks — and some pro tips — to get you inspired. Fair warning: Once you go knotless, you'll be fully committed to the technique forever.