How to Do Bantu Knots

March 10, 2021 4 min read

How to Do Bantu Knots

By Toia Barry

From long hair to short curly hair, the Bantu knot style is a great natural hairstyle. So, what are Bantu knots? The Bantu Knot hairstyle originated from Africa more than 100 years ago and continues to be reinvented by Black women worldwide on red carpets and fashion runways. Celebs like Rihanna, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Teyana Taylor have pulled off some of the most iconic looks wearing the super cute Bantu knots hairstyle. They’re styled by sectioning your hair and twisting those sections around themselves, forming small knots all around your head. Bantu knots are worn commonly as protective styles and also worn overnight to create a more defined curly style. For a longer look, start your Bantu knots on hair that has been stretched and/or blow-dried. 

Bantu knots are the perfect style for all hair types, lengths, and textures. If you're wondering how to do Bantu knots, we've got you covered! Find our complete guide to achieving the gorgeous style here with our step-by-step Bantu knots tutorial.

Clean Your Hair 

Just as you would attempt the wash and go or air dry curly hair, clean hair is a must for Bantu knots. Before you shampoo your hair, try Mielle’s  Rice Water Split End Therapy. Apply a dime-size amount to the ends of your hair, put on a plastic cap and leave the cap on for about 10 minutes and rinse. This product will ensure your ends are nice and healthy. Next, make sure your hair is clean and free of any buildup by shampooing or co-washing your hair using a detangler for natural hairThis step is critical to achieve the perfect Bantu knot style since your scalp will be exposed. Freshly washed hair for the win!

Detangle Your Hair 

Thoroughly condition or deep condition your hair to ensure it is properly moisturized and prevents breakage. Make sure your hair is in between being dry and soaking wet before setting your Bantu knots style for the best results. Dry hair may not hold the style long, and wet hair will be too saturated and may become limp. A happy medium would be towel-dry hair that is still damp enough to lock in moisture. 

Section Your Hair 

First, you need to split your hair into sections. The length of your hair will determine the width and how many sections you need. Naturalistas with longer hair will need fewer sections. If you want a more defined look, part your hair into more sections. When parting your hair, try using a rattail comb to section it evenly. If you’re wearing this style as is, parting your hair evenly will be more critical. If you’re wearing it overnight to create a defined look for the next day, it's okay for your parting to be a little uneven— don’t put too much pressure on yourself!

Moisturize Your Hair

Conditioner and moisturizing curl cream is a must for the Bantu knot hairstyle. Hydration should be your number one priority. When applying natural hair products for this style, try something light, like the Mielle Rice Water Moisturizing Milk. After a water-based product, like a leave-in or hair milk, is applied, use oil, then cream and or gel. Make sure the product is evenly coated throughout your hair. When choosing the right products for Bantu knots, pick something with a light to medium hold. Avoid applying any heavy oils or a lot of gel, as these can create stiff hair. You want your hair to be bouncy and light. Use a little bit of our Pomegranate & Honey Edge Gel for flawless Bantu knots and edges!

Twist Your Hair 

Similar to twist out hairstyles, twist each section into a coil between your fingers, starting from your scalp down to your ends. Twisting it tightly will ensure definition, but be sure not to twist it too tightly. Twisting and knotting too tight may cause breakage and tension in your scalp. As you reach the very end of your hair, wrap it around the base of the knot (at the root). After the hair is wrapped, tuck the end into the knot using your fingertip or a rattail comb. Make sure each section is close to your scalp to hold the knot in place. This will create an even better definition. Do not use rubber bands to secure the knot, as these can cause breakage. Instead, secure the knot by using bobby pins. This will be especially useful before wrapping your hair when heading off to bed. If your hair is longer, the knots may start to look like the shape of a pyramid, and if you have shorter hair, they’ll look like rosebuds. 


Continue the process for each section remaining. Be sure to apply the same amount of product to each section of your head before you twist. If your hair begins to dry out as you’re styling, keep a spray bottle nearby to rewet your hair.

Nobody ever gets flawless Bantu knots on their first try. It will take multiple tries, so don’t give up if it’s not perfect in the beginning. This style is a perfect way to achieve heatless waves or defined curls. If you’re going for a super defined look, remember, the smaller the knot, the tighter your curl. Soon, your Bantu knots will be giving us everything and more!


  1. A Visual History of Iconic Black Hairstyles
  2. These Black Bantu Knot-Rocking Celebrities Are Showing Everyone How It's Done.

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