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How To Do Bantu Knots On Natural Hair: Step-by-Step Guides!

Previously used primarily as a protective hairstyle worn at night away from the eyes of the public, Bantu knots are no longer hidden but instead worn with pride!

This 90s look is making a comeback, and it’s been seen everywhere, from your favorite celebrities to your neighbor’s 5-year-old.

Although this bold look may seem daunting to wear, it definitely pushes the wearer’s confidence to astronomical levels. It may look intimidating, but creating a Bantu knots hairstyle is not as difficult as it looks.


Scroll down to discover what Bantu knots are and also how to prepare and actually to do them. We’ve got step-by-step guides on how to do Bantu knots for several types of hair!


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What Are Bantu Knots?

woman with bantu knots

Bantu knots are a hairstyle that originated among African women. It is worn as a protective style for women with curly hair.

It’s also a way for them to style their hair with little manipulation. As a bonus, once you have gotten your wear out of the knots, they can be undone to create a beautiful curly hair look, often called a Bantu knot out.

So really, it’s two hairstyles in one! Sorta.

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How To Prep The Hair for Bantu Knots

Tools Needed:

  • Shampoo
  • Deep conditioning hair mask
  • Conditioner
  • Coconut, jojoba, or virgin olive oil (a hair oil of your choice)
  • Leave-in conditioner
  • Mousse, setting lotion, or curl defining cream
  • Edge control
  • A wide-tooth comb
  • A rat-tail comb
  • A wooden boar bristle brush
  • Hairpins/Bobby pins
  • Ouchless hair ties

Step 1:

Wash and condition your hair thoroughly. You will not need any special hair care products.

Step 2:

  • After washing your hair, detangle it! To do this, saturate your hair with leave-in conditioner.
  • This gives your hair slip and will prevent any hair breakage while you are detangling your hair, which also makes it easier to style.
  • Separate your hair into small sections to make the detangling process easier and prevent tangles and breakage.
  • Then take a detangling brush or a wide-tooth comb and gently brush through your hair, starting at the bottom and working your way up.
  • Do this to all of your hair.
  • After detangling, apply whatever hair products you normally apply to your hair.

Step 3:

Allow your hair to air dry to about an 80% dryness factor.

  • You don’t want soaking wet hair because it will take the hair forever to dry after styling.
  • You also do not want to do this on dry hair because this is more prone to breakage and it may not hold the style well.

Letting your hair be slightly damp also helps with the Bantu knot out style, because if the hair dries in the Bantu knots style, it will hold the curly shape when it is taken down.

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How To Do Bantu Knots: The Guides

I. On Natural Hair

Natural Hair

Step 1

Use a rattail comb to separate your hair into sections. The width of these sections depends on the length of your hair and the look you are aiming for.

Step 2

Apply hair cream to the section you are working on. This helps create the knots and also holds their shape.

Pro Tip!

Only use a small amount of hair cream, though, because this also adds moisture to the hair and can cause it to take longer to dry or cause unnecessary product buildup.

Step 3

Take the section of hair that you are working on and hold it as close to the roots as you can. Twist the hair moving up the length as you go.

Step 4

Continue twisting the section. Once it begins to feel like a tight coil, you can then begin wrapping it around itself or keep twisting it, and the hair will coil around itself on its own.

Step 5

Once the small coiled bun has begun to form, keep going until you come to the ends of the tresses.

Step 6

Wrap the ends of your hair around the base of the Bantu knot to hold it in place.

If you find that the knot is too loose or your hair will not stay, use a bobby pin and push it through the base of the Bantu knot to hold it in place.

If you don’t like bobby pins, you can use ouchless hair ties to hold them.

Step​​​​​ 7

Repeat Steps 2 through 6 on all of the sections of your hair.

Step 8

Use oil to keep the exposed parts of your scalp moisturized.

Step 9

Put edge control or hair gel on your edges and use the boar bristle brush to smooth down and style your edges.

II. For Short Hair

Short Hair

Step 1

Start with a clean head of hair and spray leave-in conditioner.

Step 2

Next, comb your hair with a wide-tooth comb.

Step 3

Your hair should be damp, not soaked, with either leave-in conditioner or water.

Step 4

Part your short hair in small sections with the rat-tail comb.

Step 5

Use the rat-tail comb to create designer or simple parts.

Step 6

Apply mousse or setting lotion to the hair.

Step 7

Roll or twist your hair with your fingers and form a circle.

Step 8

At the end of the rolled section, apply more product then tuck your rolled hair and hold tightly.

Step 9

Place a bobby pin directly in the middle of the knot.

Step 10

Repeat for all hair sections until you’ve created all the small Bantu knots you want.

III. On Naturally Straight Or Wavy Hair

Naturally Straight or Wavy Hair

Step 1

Your hair should be clean, to begin with.

Step 2

Apply leave-in conditioner.

Step 3

Comb through your hair to remove any tangles and smooth it out.

Step 4

Section your hair using a rat-tail comb.

Step 5

Slowly put your hair in large Bantu knots. The larger size will prevent tangling, and the style will last longer.

Step 6

Apply mousse to your hair to help the Bantu stay in place. Your hair should feel soft and smooth to the touch.

Step 7

Section off and repeat this process with the rest of your hair.

Step 8

Use a bobby pin or rubber bands to keep the hair secured.

Step 9

Sit under a hooded dryer to dry your hair in place. You can also try air drying, but because straighter hair might find it more difficult to hold this style, it is better to dry your hair.

IV. For Transitioning Hair

Transitioning Hair

Step 1

Because transitioning hair has two different textures, instead of allowing your hair to dry to 80%, only let it get to about 60%-70% dry.

This is because the straighter, relaxed ends will dry faster than your natural curly roots and you don’t want to twist hair that is dry halfway down.

This can cause breakage at the stress point (the area where your hair transitions from curly to straight).

Step 2

Part and create designer or simple parts. Then section your hair into medium to large pieces.

Step 3

Use curl defining cream or setting lotion on each section of hair to help set the Bantu knots.

Step 4

Take one section of hair and twist it with your fingers.

Step 5

Twist each section of hair with your fingers until it coils on itself and a Bantu knot forms.

Step 6

Instead of wrapping the ends around the base of the knot, use a hairpin or bobby pin because the hair is curly at the root.

You do not want to wrap the ends around the base in this case because the ends are relaxed and fragile.

The tension of wrapping them around the base of the Bantu knot can cause them to break off.

Step 7

Air dry your hair or use a hooded dryer to finish.

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Do the Bantu Knot Out

Step 1

Make sure your hair is completely dry. Natural hair might require a longer time to dry, and twisting them into the knots can make it take longer.

This is part of the reason your hair should be mostly dry before you do this style.

So you’ll want to check each knot individually before taking them out to ensure they are completely dry.

If you feel that some of the knots are not fully dry, you can keep the hairstyle in until it is, or sit under a hooded dryer to dry them faster.

Step 2

Once the hair is dry, you’ll want to remove any hairpins or hair ties you used to keep the knots together.

Step 3

Lightly coat your hands with hair oil or serum of your choice. This will help protect and moisturize the hair and prevent frizziness as you take it down.

Step 4

Lightly grab a knot in the middle and gently twist in the opposite direction of the hair. Think of this action as unscrewing the top of a jar.

Step 5

The hair will loosen and form a small tight curl as you undo the knot. Do this for all the Bantu knots on your head.

Step 6

If there is no more oil on your hands, then apply another light layer.

Also, now that your hair is out of the twists, gently separate each curl with your fingertips to prevent frizziness. Do this for your whole head.

Step 7

Finish by doing your baby hairs.

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Conclusion

Bantu knots are a trendy hairstyle that protects your hair and which will help it look good even when you take them down!

Although they look intimidating and difficult to do, following the steps above will make you a Bantu knot master in no time, no matter the length or type of your hair!

Do YOU know any other cool and useful ways on how to do Bantu knots on your own? Then share them with us and others in a comment!

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