Deeply rooted in African culture, Bantu knots were originally an African-American hairstyle that eventually trickled down to the punk scene in the ’90s, and have now been experiencing quite the mainstream renaissance. Everyone from fashion V.I.P.s to street style stars have taken to appropriating this hairstyle renowned not only for its rich history, but for its place in the resurfacing grunge movement.
Bantu knots are not only fierce, they’re also quite practical and a perfect protective hairstyle for natural hair. Add to that its hot-weather-friendly characteristic? Instant #FestBest! Read on to see how to make this fun natural hairstyle in minutes.
What are Bantu Knots?
Bantu knots are traditionally an African style worn by African women of certain cultural groups, but, today they’re worn by woman of all backgrounds with different hair types. Despite the word ‘knot’ being in the style name, it’s actually not a knot at all! Bantu knots are coiled buns pinned to your head. To create these buns, all you have to do is coil each section of hair and then wrap it around into a bun form. There’s a lot of personal choice that can be put into these styles as the knot size and amount is totally up to you! Bantu knots are particularly great for natural hair because it serves as a great protective style, it’s trendy and doesn’t require heat styling or the use of a ton of products.
Your Bantu knots will last you up to two weeks and when you’re ready to take them out, you can create a curled style! Release each knot carefully and separate them with your fingers to keep the curls they’ve created in place! This will last you another few days if you preserve the curls properly.
How to Do Bantu Knots
Step 1: Start with a Clean Scalp
Bantu knots create a grid on your head that exposes your scalp, so make sure it’s healthy-looking and definitely grease-free. Try Dove Dermacare Scalp Invigorating Mint Anti-Dandruff 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner.
Step 2: Start on Dry, Well-Moisturized, Detangled Hair
Although wet hair makes your knots more compact, they won’t hold a ringlet’s shape in the event you want to remove your knots for a curly Bantu knot out. A light coating of leave-in conditioner like Suave Cream Detangler Spray is great in keeping hair, especially natural textures, in optimum knotting condition.
Step 3: Section Your Hair
You can vary the number of sections depending on how tight you want your eventual Bantu hair knots to be. Some women prefer creating around four mini-buns all throughout; some prefer a lot more (and smaller) bulbs. Using a fine-toothed or rat-tail comb, create a grid on your hair starting with bigger horizontal sections, then further dividing them vertically.
Step 4: Twirl
Working section by section, begin twirling the hair strands by first using your finger (to make a shiny, rope-like string), and then coiling this now-twirled section around itself, creating a knot that resembles a spring. Longer hair can result in snake-like coils or funky figure-eights, which can also produce a more interesting curl when removed. Shorter hair needs a bobby pin to secure itself; longer/thicker Bantu hair knots can be secured by tucking the ends around their own base. If all else fails, there’s always a hair tie! Note: Don’t knot your hair too tight! Best to start twirling and coiling around ½” to 1” away from your scalp for less tension and more slack, in case you end up sleeping on your knots.
Step 5: Unfurl or Let Sit
If you’re looking to create knot-out curls, unfurl the knots the next day and loosely shake them out. Otherwise, spritz with a light, humidity-fighting hairspray like TRESemmé Climate Protection Finishing Spray (knotted hairstyles can be prone to cowlicks and frizzies), and you’re done.
Easy Bantu Knot Styles
1. Jumbo Bantu Braids
Going for a jumbo style will make the styling process faster and when you finally take them out, you’ll have a larger curl style to play with.
2. Side Bantu Knots
Not feeling committed to a whole head of Bantu knots? Go for just a few on the side of your style for a fun look.
3. Braided Bantu Knots
How chic and trendy is this braided look? Braid your own hair for the style or add some colored hair extensions for a two-toned style.
4. Half Updo Bantu Knots
Half up, half down, the best of both worlds!
5. Bantu Knot Out
One of the best parts about Bantu knots is the style they leave you with once you take them out! Remove the knots to reveal a beautiful curl style you can make last a few mores days!
6. Flat Twist Bantu Knot Out
Instead of waiting to take out your Bantu knots to reveal curls, you can create Bantu knots for just a few hours to create quick curls. While making your knots, start with a flat twist to make sure every section of your hair gets wrapped so it can uncoil into a curl in less time.
7. Add Some Accessories!
Create some extra drama by adding in a few accessories–we love beads or rings to step this look up.
8. Small Bantu Knots
Small knots make for a clean and sophisticated style that will stand out in any crowd.
9. Dreadlock Bantu Knots
If you have dreadlocks you can still pull off this look! Your locs will add a ton of drama to your style.
10. Simple Bantu Knots
A simple knotted style is one of our favorites.