How To: Bantu Knots

by Nichole Dawkins | Feb 03 2017

Hey natural girl! If you’re new to the natural hair game, you may or may not have heard of this cute and flirty hairstyle. But Bantu Knots are probably the easiest and quickest protective style you can do to your natural hair! If you're bored with your protective styling options, the Bantu Knot is  great way to switch things up. Plus, you are technically going to get two hairstyles in one - the Bantu Knot and the Bantu Knot-Out ;-)


Here’s what you need:

Rattail comb
Spray bottle mixed with water and leave-in conditioner
Your favorite styling cream or curl cream
Hair clips, bobby pins or bands (for sectioning)
Styling oil (I love using Argan Oil)

Got everything? Ok let’s get started:

 

Prep your hair


You always want to start this style with clean hair and scalp. Especially scalp! The Bantu Knot style will leave a lot of your scalp exposed, so you want to make sure it looks clean and flake free. Plus too much build up with cause it to itch and totally ruin the work you put in. There is no need to get a special product, just wash your hair gently with your favorite shampoo and then follow up with a deep conditioner. If you choose to use a leave in conditioner, just make sure it doesn’t leave behind any flakes when it dries.


Detangle and partially dry


After your wash, you will want to detangle your hair in preparation for the Bantu Knots. Do not fully dry your hair, instead towel-dry it until it is damp to the touch, but not wet enough to wring water out of. This will save you a lot of drying time, plus keep your knots from being over-saturated and limp. If you're hair is already dry, just wet lightly using the leave-in conditioner and water mix from your spray bottle.


Section the hair


Having straight sectioned hair is key to a good-looking bantu knot style. The best tool to use for this is a rattail comb, which gives you super precise parts. Using the end of the comb to divide your hair into even, clearly divided sections. Now if you have short hair, I recommend that you use use smaller sections because you will want to bantu-knot out to have tighter curls. For longer hair, you can use either small or large sections. I have found that the bigger the section the bigger the curls, so it really just depends on what you are going for!

Create the knots


Once your hair is section off, you can start to create the Bantu Knots. Start by applying your favorite styling or curl cream. Make sure you use a cream that has light to medium hold and won’t leave your hair stiff.


To create the knots, start by rubbing a small amount the styling product onto your fingers and twist the hair in between your fingers, starting from the roots. This allows you to apply the product while forming a beginning "rope" of hair to build upon for your knot. To maintain the shape, keep the tension of the twist fairly high.


Twist each section of hair for a few turns in between your fingertips, like you are screwing in a screw. Wind the the hair just enough to create a short spring-like coil against your scalp. Then, gradually wind the remaining hair in the section around the base coil. The end of each section should be as close to your head as possible in order to hold the knot in place more effectively - bobby pins work great for this! At the end, I like to give my knots a quick spritz with the spray bottle mix.


Wait patiently and dry


Once your knots are complete, you can either sit under the dryer for a couple of hours, or you can let your knots air dry for 24-48 hours. Keep in mind, your hair will be tightly knotted up, so air will take longer to get in to actually dry your hair.

 

Congrats, you’ve now got Bantu Knots!

Now after you’ve rocked the Bantu Knots for few days, you can create a second curly girl look called Bantu Knot-Out. To get this look, carefully untwist your knots and add some Argan Oil for shine. Ta-da!


****Quick tip - If you plan to rock the Bantu Knot-Out style after you’ve rocked your knots, then consider the final texture of the curls you will create when determining the width of your sections. If you are aiming for wavy hair, trying using medium to large knots about 1 1/2 to 3 inches or so. For more defined curls, make sure you use small knots that are closer to 1 to 2 inches wide.


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