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Image Source: @curlycandi

Rihanna. Janet Jackson. Yara Shahidi. Jada Pinkett Smith. Marsai Martin. Tracee Ellis Ross. Ciara. Erykah Badu. Lauryn Hill. SZA. These are just a handful of Black celebrities who’ve proudly sported a headful of bantu knots. And you know what? The one thing that all of them had in common is, no matter what their hair texture may be, they all looked absolutely fabulous in them! While I’ll be the first to say that it takes a lot of self-confidence—and a dash of boldness—to pull this particular style off, as you’re about to see in just a moment, there is something that’s truly beautiful—majestic even—about this hip-yet-always-classic hairstyle.

What Are Bantu Knots?

Let’s start with what bantu knots actually are. They are simply knots that are created with your hair and/or the assistance of extensions to create knots all over your hair. Sometimes your hair is simply twisted into a knot and secured with hair bands or bobby pins or sometimes your hair is put into single braids and then twisted up. How many knots you end up with is totally up to you, but if it’s more than two knots, that technically qualifies as a bantu knot hairstyle.

Where Does the Name “Bantu” Come From?

If you’re on the fence about getting bantu knots, this point right here may be all of the confirmation that you need to give bantu knots a try. The reason why I say that is because another name for bantu knots is Zulu knots. Zulu is a tribe in Africa that loosely translates into “from the heavens”. So, you know what that means, right? If you do decide to rock a head full of bantu knots, you are also wearing a hairstyle that is from the heavens. How amazing is that?

How to Make Your Bantu Knots Last

Keep some oil sheen on hand. Your hairstyle is automatically “from the heavens”, right? Make sure your bantu knots keep their glow by having a little oil sheen on tap. Oil sheen is dope because you can get the shine that you want without having to put your hands all up in your head in the process. As a bonus, oil sheen is a great way to soothe the parts in your scalp as well.

Secure them at night with bobby pins and a scarf. I won’t lie to you, figuring out how to sleep comfortably with a head full of bantu knots requires some finessing that’s on a whole ‘nother level (a naturalista totally has your back on how to do it on this video here). Two things that can help you to sleep more comfortably, all the while knowing that your knots will remain intact, is if you secure your knots a little more with the help of some bobby pins (or additional bobby pins); make sure the tiny balls on the bottom of the pins are secure. Otherwise, you could end up snagging and pulling on your hair which could lead to damage. Also, make sure to tie your hair up on a silk or satin scarf (or that you put on a silk or satin bonnet). Then, when you wake up, you can remove the extra pins and use a little hair mousse or edge control gel to lay down the fly-aways. You’ll be all set.

Use extensions as needed. While some people only use their natural hair in order to create their bantu knots, if your tresses are currently on the shorter side or you want to create a more dramatic height effect while also protecting your natural hair and insuring that your knots will last a bit longer, you can always add extensions. The key is to make sure that the hair is quality. A website called My Hair Care Couch has a feature article entitled, “Top 13 Best Hair for Box Braids” that can also be used for bantu knots as well. Check it out when you get a chance.

Refresh knots as needed too. One of my favorite things about bantu knots, hands down, is the fact that the maintenance and upkeep of them tends to be easier than a lot of other hairstyles. For instance, if you happen to notice that one of the knots is frizzy or messier than you would like, you can always take the knot down and redo it. With the help of some gel, pomade or setting lotion, you can smooth down your hair and then create two-strand twists or you can braid your hair and then put it back up into a knot. If you’re more of a visual learner, this video here will show you how to do it (if you’ve got shorter hair, click here).

Turn them into a bantu knot-out once they get old.



Once your knots have been in for a week or so and either they’re looking old or you’re ready to do something new, how about turning your knots into a knot-out? That’s basically when you take your hair down so that you can rock out the ringlets that the knots created. When it comes to what a knot-out looks like (and how to maintain it), I can show you better than I can tell you. Check out the videos here, here and here for tips on how to smoothly transition out of one gorgeous hairstyle to another with very little drama or even effort on your point.

Here’s to a heavenly hair look, sis. Enjoy, and share your Bantu knot tips and tricks with us in the comments!