How to Do Bantu Knots in 6 Easy Steps

Have you always wanted to know how to bantu knot?  We've put together a foolproof tutorial just for you.

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Bantu knots - model with brown hair with bantu knots all over as final look of tutorial


Bantu knots are a protective hairstyle that has been worn by African women for many years. Though they have knots in their name, bantu knots are essentially small, coiled buns that are achieved when you twist strands of hair together and secure them to make a ‘knot’. You might find that they are also known as ‘Zulu knots’ or ‘du Doubs’.

Not only are they a great protective hairstyle for natural hair, but they also give you the most wonderful heatless curls, too, when they are left overnight and uncoiled the next day.

Intrigued? If you want to learn how to get this popular black hairstyle, keep on scrolling for our easy step-by-step guide.

How To Do Bantu Knots

1. Wash Hair

Banru knots -model with curly brown hair pushed back
Wash hair. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

Wash your hair with a cleansing conditioner like the Love Beauty And Planet Happy & Hydrated Gentle Cleansing Conditioner to remove any product build-up on the scalp and hair and to condition and detangle your strands.

2. Detangle Your Hair

Bantu knots - model with brown curly hair adding product
Detangle your hair. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

Creating a bantu knots hairstyle requires the hair to be parted all over, so it is best to get rid of any tangles now and prep your hair for the next step.

When creating bantu knots, it’s important to keep your tresses hydrated, so generously mist hair with the TRESemmé Botanique Nourish & Replenish Hydrating Mist.

Tip: Know that you can create your bantu knots hairstyle with wet or dry hair, but generally damp hair is more manageable and easier to work with. Okay, now for the fun part…

3. Part Your Hair

Bantu knots - brown curly haired model sectioning hair using comb
Part your hair. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

You may often ask ‘how to part hair for bantu knots’ but there is no one answer. What it comes down to is how big your want your knots to be, so think about your finished look before you start.

If you want slightly smaller bantu knots, then you’ll need to create more sections; less knots and you’ll opt for bigger sections. Remember the more knots you have, the tighter the finished bantu curls will be, and the bigger the knots, the looser the waves once unravelled.

4. Twist Hair

Bantu knots - model with brown curly hair twisting section for bantu knot
Twist hair. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

Now let’s create bantu knots! Start at the front and begin to create equal sections, choosing between box or triangle shaped sections if you’re feeling more confident.

TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Shine Oil Front

We suggest smoothing a few drops of an oil, like the TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Shine Oil through your ends to give your locks a shimmering shine!

5. Secure Hair

Bantu knots - model with brown curly hair tying elastic around single bantu knot
Secure hair. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

You can choose to secure each section with a hairband or go straight into twisting your hair.

Once you begin twisting from the root down towards the tips, the hair will begin to curl into itself. When the hair is twisted into a ‘knot’, secure with a hairband or tucks the ends under your hair to hold the shape.

6. Repeat

Bantu knots - model twisting final bantu knot at back of head
Repeat. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

Repeat the process all over, keeping each section equal – et voila, you have a stunning bantu knots hairstyle!

7. Final Look

Bantu knots - close up of model with brown hair and bantu knots in final look for tutorial
Final look. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

Now you know how to do a bantu knot, you can play around with the finish. Add hair cuffs to your twists, or spray them a fun colour, and you’ll instantly update your look and make it your own.

8 Inspiring Bantu Knots: Our Insta-Favourites

As a hair tribute to this versatile ‘do, we’ve taken the liberty of pulling together our favourite styles from Instagram. So, regardless of whether you’re a bantu newbie or a knotting pro, you can find plenty of #hairspiration down below. Enjoy!

’90s Hairspiration

bantu knots with 90s baby hair
Bantu knots with ’90s baby hair. Credit:

Since nostalgia has hit an all-time high when it comes to hair, why not relive the ’90s by styling your baby hair? Just make sure you create little, subtle designs around your hairline, as opting for really big, bold patterns may distract from the main attraction – your bantu knots, of course! Credit: @real.saje

Playful Partings

triangle parted bantu knots
Bantu knots with triangle partings. Credit:

Who said that your partings had to be square (pun intended)? If you’re looking for a subtle way to spice up your bantus, playing around with your partings is a super simple way to add interest to this traditional hairstyle. So, you better start brushing up on your geometry, because you’re going to want to work with all the pretty geos for your next ‘do! Credit: @mbgittens

Small Bantu Knots

Woman with small bantu knots hairstyle with tortoiseshell earrings
Small bantu knots. Credit:

One of the main reasons we love bantu knots is because it works well on both long and short hair (yes, we’re not kidding). Believe it or not, with just a few inches of hair you can still achieve beautiful bantus. The secret? Just make your partings smaller – it might take longer, but trust us, little knots are perfect for short manes. Credit: @uneaveclanature

Bantu Knots With Locs

coloured dreadlocks bantu knots
Dreadlock bantu knots. Credit:

If you thought that bantu knots were a hairstyle just for those with natural hair, then you might want to rethink that notion. Just take a good long look at this variation created with dreadlocks – it just goes to prove how this versatile this updo really is!

Tip: Follow this Instagrammer’s innovative styling prowess and experiment with colour. Not only will this give masses of extra interest to your look, but you’ll look so insanely cool, people will be stopping you on the streets!  Credit: @yaya.marley

Braid Bantu Knots

Bantu knots: pretty plaited hairstyle
Plaited bantu knots. Credit:

If you’re already a bantu knot veteran and are looking to switch up the look a little, why not start by braiding your tresses before you create your knots? It’s a great way to take your ‘basic’ bantus up a level and add a textural dimension to your hairstyle. Trust us, no one will be able to look away from these beautiful knots when you’re rocking them! Credit: @beatsbyberry

Formal Inspiration

wedding style bantu knots
Bantu knots: Wedding inspiration. Credit:

Bantu knots are casual, right? Well, we wouldn’t blame you for thinking that – but contrary to popular to belief, you can rock this look for sophisticated soirees, prom or even weddings (yes, really!). Just dress your hair up with pretty hair accessories, like flowers (or a tiara) and it’s wedding bells all around. Easy peasy! Credit: @xaylibarclay

Chunky Knots

Bantu knots: chunky bantu knots
Chunky bantu knots. Credit:

Remember what we said earlier about bantu knots working a treat for all hair length? Well, you’ll be pleased to hear that they’re also the ideal hairstyle for those with thick textured hair! By making bigger (and in our opinion, better) knots, you can speed up the styling process, while still gaining a bold and beautiful look! After all, creating small knots can become rather tiring. Credit: @sl_photostudio

Bantu Puffs

Bantu knots: bantu puffs
Bantu knots: Bantu puffs. Credit:

Okay, we know that technically, these aren’t actually bantu knots, but we just love the bantu influence of these little puffs. It’s definitely a great option if you have thicker, type 4 hair or a short ‘fro. Credit: @chiandebs


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