How to Do Bantu Knots in 6 Easy Steps + Style Ideas

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

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 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

Woman with natural curly brown hair.
Credit: Verity Jane Smith

Wash your hair with a cleansing shampoo like the TRESemmé Nourish Coconut Shampoo to remove any product build-up on the scalp and hair and to condition and detangle your strands.

TRESemmé Nourish Coconut Shampoo Front

2. Detangle Your Hair

Woman with natural curly hair spraying some hair product into her hands.
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.

Editor’s Tip: You can create your Bantu knots hairstyle with wet or dry hair, but damp hair is generally more manageable and easier to work with. Okay, now for the fun part…

3. Part Your Hair

Woman with natural curly hair using the end of a brush to section her 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 you 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; for fewer knots, 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

Woman with natural curly hair twisting it to make Bantu knots.
Credit: Verity Jane Smith

Now let’s create Bantu knots! Start at the front and create equal sections, choosing between box or triangle-shaped sections if you’re feeling fancy.

TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Shine Oil Front

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

5. Secure Hair

Woman with natural hair making a Bantu knot on top of her head and securing it with a hair tie.
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 it with a hairband or tuck the ends under your hair to hold the shape.

6. Repeat

Woman with natural curls twisting her hair into a Bantu knot to match the 7 she already has.
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

Woman smiling now her Bantu knots are complete.
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 to instantly update your look and make it your own.

10 Must-Try Bantu Knots Styles

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

Woman with pretty coiled Bantu knots with curly hair edges framing the style.

Since nostalgia has hit an all-time high when it comes to hair, why not relive the ’90s by styling your baby hair, aka. your hair edges? 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!

TRESemmé Freeze Hold Hairspray Front

Editor’s tip: Don’t let your baby hair fly away! Use some of the TRESemmé Freeze Hold Hairspray to finish your styling for a long-lasting hold!

Playful Partings

Woman with Bantu knot hairstyle with playful partings.

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!

Small Bantu Knots

Woman with small Bantu knot hairstyle.

One of the main reasons we love Bantu knots is because they work 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.

Bantu Knots With Locs

Woman wearing Bantu knot hairstyles with locs.
Credit: Instagram.combonittastudio

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 versatile this updo really is!

Braid Bantu Knots

Woman with braided Bantu knots.

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!

Formal Inspiration

Woman wearing formal Bantu knot hairstyle.

Bantu knots are casual, right? Well, we wouldn’t blame you for thinking that – but contrary to popular 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!

Chunky Knots

Woman with chunky Bantu knots hairstyle.

Remember what we said earlier about Bantu knots working as a treat for all hair lengths? 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! We’re also not going to blame you if you add a touch of gold like in the picture!

Bantu Puffs

Two women wearing cute Bantu knot puff hairstyles.

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.

Blonde Bantu with Beaded Braids

Woman with blonde Bantu knot hairstyle.

Ok, we’re obsessed with this Bantu knots hairstyle. This caramel-blonde tone adds the perfect contrast to the dark roots, and the finishing touch of the beaded braids is simply lush.

Bantu Knots & Natural Hair

Woman with a mix of Bantu knots and natural hair.

If you want to try Bantu knots and still rock your natural hair, try this look. Use the front and top of your hair to create the Bantu whilst leaving the back of your hair natural. The perfect 2-in-1 look!

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