182 Bantu Knots Ideas for Natural Hair That’s Hard to Tame

Do you know what Bantu knots are and how they are made? If your answer is negative, don’t worry! We will tell you everything you need to know about Bantu knots. Since they are relatively quick and easy to do, you can try them yourself. In this regard, we will help your initiative by providing step by step instructions on how to make Bantu knots.

The 90’s return to our lives in a quiet manner. They gain ground slowly and take us back to exotic looks inspired from the African style. We are talking about hairstyles that made celebrities like Bjork and Gwen Stefani fashionable. Now they are booming again, so it is almost impossible to miss them if you watch fashion shows or follow any influencers.

Bantu knots are also perfect for creating curls without heat. You can turn your straight hair into curly overnight by using these hair knots. Or, you can simply define the curls you already have. This versatile style has a lot to offer, so read on! We will tell you what items are necessary, as well as how to prepare your hair for this hairstyle. In addition, no less than 182 Bantu knots hairstyle photos are waiting for you to reveal them!

Bantu Knots – General Considerations

Bantu Knots are a cute, flirty hairstyle traditionally used by African American women. However, these hair knots look good on all types of hair. Even so, we are not talking about knots, literally. We are rather referring to small buns of hair, located all over the head. Moreover, if you get tired of this hairstyle, you will be able to immediately enjoy a curly hairstyle that results from undoing the knots. You will find out more about this amazing technique if you read further.

Bantu knots have been traditionally used in case of Afro hair as a way to stretch it and make it more manageable. In addition, they were almost always made with thread. Moreover, these hair knots are considered a natural hair trend. Depending on how you match them with your outfit, you can wear them at different types of occasions. Also, you should hurry if you want to be original and feel practical at the same time.

What are Bantu Knots?

Bantu knots are actually buns made of twisted hair. They are nothing but hair shaped like a knot, which is not actually a knot. Moreover, they are curled up or wrapped around themselves in order to form the shape of a bun or a ball. The hair must be secured very close to the roots. This can be done with elastic bands, hair pins or other inventive ways that you might find.

The African hair knots can be of different sizes and thicknesses. These are choices that you will have to make, depending on how you want to look and how thick your natural hair is. You can make short Bantu knots, tall hair knots, thick and thin as well. The way your hair is divided is totally up to you.

Prepare Your Hair for African Hair Knots

In order to make your work much easier, we have prepared step by step instructions for you to prepare your natural hair before putting it up into knots.

Essential Steps Before Knotting Hair

  1. Wash your hair. Your scalp should be very clean. This is mainly because the knots leave most of your scalp open. Moreover, in case you have hair extensions, such hairstyle may cause itching. In addition, it might loose its charm. As for the choice in shampoo, you can use the one you normally prefer.
  2. Use conditioner if necessary. If you have curly or fluffy hair, then conditioner can help remove these effects a little. You can choose either leave in conditioner or the type you rinse off. In case your hair is slightly dry and curly, then we recommend the rinse off conditioner. Or, in case your hair is very dry and hard to work with, then we recommend the leave in type. Regardless of your choice, you must know that the conditioner helps prevent hair breakage when knotting it.
    Untangle your hair as needed. If your hair gets tangled easily, comb it with a special comb or brush. You can also use a special untangling mousse. However, there is no need to take any steps if your hair is straight and not tangled. This process is meant to make the knots appear shiny and smooth.
  3. Partially dry your hair. There are conflicting opinions about which type of hair is easier to work with, namely wet or dry. Even so, we agreed on wet hair to be better for making hair knots. The explanation is simple. Dry hair is difficult to curl and the knots might not hold very well. However, completely wet hair will not get dry while your’re knotting the hair. So, the Bantu knots may lose their shape sooner. The best option you have is to towel-dry your hair.

Building the Bantu Knots

  1. Divide your hair into multiple sections. The exact width may vary depending on how short or long your hair is and what kind of knots you’d like to make. In short, if you have short hair, there will be fewer sections, while women with long hair will need more sections. Use a comb to separate your hair into the right strands. With the tip of the comb, divide your hair into distinct sections, as it follows:
    If you have short hair, divide it into sections of approximately 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick or smaller;
    If you have long hair, your sections can be approximately 3-4 inches (7.6-10 cm) wide;
    For wavy hair, use medium to large knots, ranging from 1 1/2 to 3 inches (3.8-7.6 cm) wide. As for curly hair, more curled, use small knots that are approximately 1-2 inches (2.5-4 cm) wide.
  2. Use a curling cream or a similar product. The main idea here is to create hair knots that hold and do not become stiff due to using too much hair spray or other similar products. Rub the product into each section of hair. Pour some product on the tip of your fingers and twist each section of hair between them, starting from the roots to the ends of your hair. Don’t be afraid to put in some muscle when twisting the hair in order to fold it into the perfect knot.
  3. Twist each section of your hair. The movement you need to make in order to obtain Bantu knots is similar to screwing a bolt or turning a door handle. Moreover, your hair shouldn’t be twisted in one way only.

Twist Your Hair Further

Next, you should wrap the remaining hair around each section. Gradually wind the hair around the main coil, bringing it closer to the scalp with each turn.

When working with long hair, the knots can be folded into a pyramid or in the shape of a funnel. Conversely, when working with short hair, the knots will look more like buds or baguettes. The end of each section should be as close as possible to the scalp in order to effectively fasten the knot.

If the coil is difficult to fasten, you can tuck the ends under the coil to hold them together. Or, if the coils are held too loose, you can use hairpins or elastic bands to better fix the ends.

If your hair is naturally curly or not typical, you can twist the ends without using any aids. If you have straight hair, you probably have to rely on hair clips and elastic bands.


Follow the Final Steps

Each section of hair should be twisted into a small coil. Wrap the end of each section and tuck or fasten the ends. Furthermore, if your hair starts to get dry during the operation, moisten it with water using a spray bottle. Next, you should wear your Bantu knots proudly. After you get bored or decide to remove them, don’t forget that you can enjoy naturally curled hair before washing.

Undoing the Bantu Knots Results in a Curly Hairstyle

In this section, we have prepared various advice on how to keep the African hair knots in best shape or how to restyle them.

  • Put a shower cap on your head during the night. If you plan on transforming the knots into a curly hairstyle, then it is recommended to let your hair dry naturally. In this regard, wearing a shower cap on the knots will create a moist environment for your help, which will help with the curling. In fact, the shower cap creates a greenhouse effect that allows your hair to get dry naturally while maintaining enough moisture to prevent shape loss. So, after removing the shower cap, we recommend to wait 15 minutes before undoing the knots.
  • Do not use the hairdryer. Using the hairdryer is not advisable. This is because your hair will look disheveled after you undo the knots.
  • Carefully undo each knot. Remove the hairpins or elastic bands and unravel each knot. As you do this, apply oil or anti-moist mousse on your hands. In this way, you prevent your hair from becoming disheveled and keep the curls in shape.
  • Gently separate each curl with your fingers. You can arrange the curls with soft finger movements, applying a little hair spray to the hair if the curl breaks up. Or, instead of your fingers, you can use a comb with wide teeth. However, try not to play with the curls for too long.
  • Keep the curls overnight. In order to get through the night, use a satin scarf or a satin pillowcase. In this case, you avoid damaging your curls.

Must Have Items for Bantu Knots

  • Shampoo;
  • Conditioner;
  • Wide comb;
  • Tail comb;
  • Curling cream, mousse and hair spray;
  • Hairpins;
  • Elastic bands;
  • Shower cap;
  • Satin scarf;
  • Satin pillowcase;

All Natural Hair Mask Recommended for African Hair Knots

The following natural hair mask is recommended to apply before making the knots. Here are the needed ingredients: ripe banana, coconut oil and honey.

What you need to do is take a bowl in which you must make a paste from the ripe banana using a fork or whatever comes to hand. Next, add 2 teaspoons of coconut oil and two teaspoons of honey. Mix them together really well. Then, apply this mixture on your hair, as even as you can. Leave it on for half an hour and then rinse it off. If you want, you can cover your hair with a shower cap while the mask is on. Let your hair dry partially and then begin the twisting!

Marc Jacobs Brought Bantu Knots Back

When Marc Jacobs’ models wore Bantu knots on the catwalk, everyone went crazy. This is because the designer claimed that he had invented this hairstyle. However, they are actually originated in the African American culture. Even so, his presentation was encouraging for numerous celebrities. They tried this striking look and they loved it. Here is a list of celebrities to chose to wear hair knots:

  • After appearing in the Kanye West video clip, Fade, Teyana Taylor became a star overnight. The contrast between the tone of her hair and her skin make her a very stylish woman.
  • If there is something that characterizes the Kardashian clan, it is their passion for fashion. Kloe loves to take risks with various hair trends and try different hairstyles such as boxer braids. We personally love her version of Bantu knots!
  • In the 90s, this hairstyle became a reference in the urban fashion and celebrities such as Gwen Stefani, Bjork and Mel B, the Spice Girls group, paraded with Bantu knots. Rihanna also tried this hairstyle in 2014.

Who Can Wear Bantu Knots?

Everyone. However, the result is more visible and durable in case of curly hair. “They are more porous and therefore adhere better,” explains Barbara Moura, from Raízes Salao Afro, Rio de Janeiro (RJ). Curly hair has thinner cuticles (the outer layer of the hair) and even open at some points, which leaves them unevenly lined with small grooves.

Possible Hairstyle Ideas With Hair Knots

Although the most common way to wear Bantu Knots is a full head of them, you still have other styling options. Starting with the size of the knots, you can combine small ones with bigger ones. In addition, you can also combine the knots with various types of braids. Also, there are charming hairstyles with half up and half down hair that consist of hair knots and loose hair.

In order to make your hairstyle more interesting, you can divide your hair in circles, triangles and squares. The standard division is done in squares. However, depending on your hair’s thickness, you can create circles, as well as triangles. Or, you can combine both patterns depending on your hair’s texture.

In case you are wearing box braids, you can make knots with them. Of course, this won’t make your braids curly after you undo the knots, but that’s probably not your purpose anyway.

Add colored threads for a playful look. If you add colored threads to your hair knots, your look will be transformed. From classic knots, to colorful ones, the difference will be more than noticeable. Do whatever comes to mind with your knots in order to look original, and as unique as possible.

Don’t forget about accessories! You can wear flashy or tribal accessories on your head while sporting these knots. Or, you can decorate the braids intertwined with the knots. Various beads and head accessories are recommended.

More Bantu Knots Hairstyles

Bantu knots are typically made all over the head, conferring a clean and modern look. Regardless of your hair length and texture, you can try hair knots. However, since they are originally from the Zulu tribes, they work best on curly and kinky hair. In fact, back then, people were wearing them in order to protect their hair from the weather and to shape and confer texture to their hair.

Bantu knots have been heavily exploited in the 1990’s by various hairstylists and celebrities. One or more stars show up wearing this hairstyle from time to time since then. However, they are not welcome in the same manner. In fact, some people are really critical about them. Even so, this is a somehow exotic hairstyle that needs a daring person to wear it. So, make sure you are prepared for both positive and negative reactions from the people around you. Or, if you like it, ignore what others think!

As it follows, we will leave you with even more photos showing diversified hairstyles that you can create with the help of small, medium or large Bantu knots. We hope they serve as inspiration for your future hairstyles. If you found the perfect way to wear hair knots, do not hesitate to share it with us! Leave us a comment in the section below and let us know which Bantu knots hairstyle you prefer and which ones are on your list for the future!


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