For all the praise Bantu knots receive, they might still be underrated as far as curly protective styles go. The historic style (originally conceptualized and worn by the Zulu people of South Africa) manages to be elegant, artistic, edgy—easily fitting into almost any context or occasion, while also being a two in one style. If styled a certain way, taking down Bantu knots after a day or two will usually reveal springy, heat-free curls. And because Bantu knots involve twisting and wrapping the hair onto itself and keeping the ends tucked away, it can truly be considered among the elite of protective styles.  

In short, this style deserves its flowers, and then some! If you’ve been thinking about switching to Bantu knots this season—or if we’ve just convinced you—keep reading for 15 style ideas to get your creativity flowing. 


1. Curly Bantu Knots 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Mia Moore (@themiaamoore)


The main idea for this Bantu knot style is to keep them looking free and curly. Follow along with @themiaamoore to achieve cute, care-free looking knots with the ends left out. Use a product with hold on the ends where necessary to get more defined curls. 


2. Jumbo Braided Bantu Knots 



Pictured: @milkayemima

Looking for a bit more boldness? Grab some braiding hair and braid the Bantu knots before wrapping and securing them. The more hair added, the bigger the knots. 


3. Bantu Knots and Braided Pony 

Pictured: @kaykayx__


Add a bit of extra spice to the classic braided ponytail. Style half your hair in Bantu knots and slick the back half into a long braided pony. 


4. Bantu Knots and Headband Wig 

Pictured: @pie.face8


The wig game has evolved tremendously over the last few years. If you haven’t had the opportunity to try a headband wig, here’s the perfect chance. The 22” Kollistic Headband from @kinkistry is pictured here. 


5. Heart-Parted Bantu Knots 

Like @ashley_masse, you should start this one by mapping out your parts—it’ll definitely simplify the process. The heart shape may eat up more time, but it’s totally worth it in the end.

Read next: 15 Cornrow Styles to Show Your Braider For Your Next Look

6. 2 For 1 Bantu Knots and Bantu Knot Out 

Pictured: @thenotoriouskia


Show off bouncy ringlets and curls like @thenotoriouskia after taking down the style. The  volume of a properly executed Bantu knot-out is unmatched. 


7. Bantu Knots and Braids 

Pictured: @rahelbrhane_ 


Two braids at the nape of the neck really add another layer of elegance to this look. Feel free to get creative with baby hair formation. 


8. “Messy” Bantu Knots 

Pictured: @aixajahara


This is the Bantu knot equivalent of the “messy bun.” No need to perfect each knot. In fact, you can leave out tendrils of hair to add to the whole “I woke up like this” aesthetic.


9. Micro Loc Bantu Knots 

Pictured: @keke.j_


There’s no style that you can’t pull off with micro locs. @keke.j_’s Bantu knots look full without any added hair. 


10. Artsy Bantu Knots 

Pictured: @melissa_nerovique


A futuristic/modern take on the look. Extensions reign supreme with this style, and the two braided knots are accented by strategically placed pieces of hair.


11. Bantu Knots with Accessories 

Pictured: @curly.strands


Even the most subtle accessories can elevate a hairstyle. @curly.strands chose some minimal hair pins and clips to match a glam look. 


12. Bantu Knots with Extensions

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by 👑 "Kee" (@sosheargenius)


Stylist @sosheargenius used some individual faux locs to add more texture and volume to each knot. You can get the same ones she uses from @superstarhairandwigs.


13. Bantu Knots with Braided Sides 

Two cornrows running towards the face at the side of the head is a popular accent for protective styles, and are reminiscent of Fulani-style cornrows. Pop some beads on the ends of the braids for added movement and flair.


14. Bantu Knots and Twist-Out

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Natural hair (@_harrisjanae_)

Beat the boredom of the everyday twist-out by adding a few super chunky Bantu knots at the crown of your head. @_harrisjanae_ has a short tutorial on the look. 


15. Bantu Knots on Long Curls 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Caché Bisasor (@cachebisasor)

For those who want to showcase their natural length, keep it simple. Add a few Bantu knots in a crown formation at the top of the head, and fluff them out to the desired thickness. The looser the knot, the bigger it will appear, and vice versa. 


Where do Bantu knots rank among your favorite protective styles? Drop a comment about your upcoming protective style plans for the fall and winter months below. 

Looking for more inspo? Here are 21 Braided Hairstyles You Need to Try