Gerilyn Bantu Knot 1

Photo by Brio Photography

Bantu knots and the resulting bantu knot out are my favorite hairstyle! Any hair type or texture can do bantu knots – for some, it’ll create looser waves, and for others it will have a cute “curly q” effect with a head of tight, springy curls. Since it totally changes the look and curl of your hair, it’s perfect to do on day 3 hair to change up your look mid-week. To do this style, follow these step-by-step instructions:

How to Set Bantu Knots

Divide into manageable sections

Those with longer hair need fewer sections. Also, the curlier you want the bantu knot out to be, the more sections you want. It’ll take some trial and error, but to start, use the same number of sections you usually use to apply gels or do twist outs.

Moisturize

Whether it’s a simple spritz of water and yummy oils or a complete co-wash, hydrate your coils! It makes it more pliable and it will hold the shape of the bantu knot better.

This is optional, as some naturally curlies don’t use hair tools, or your hair may simple be very stretched or tangle-free already. This step is just to ensure you get a smooth, shiny curl and that your ends look neat. Hair should just be damp, not sopping wet. Otherwise, it will take forever to dry!

Apply a styler or curl cream

I suggest something with medium hold, because crunchy bantu knots are a pain to fluff out the next day! Smooth the product down from root to tip.

Here are some styler suggestions:

Roll-twist each section of hair and wind it on top of itself

The goal is to create tiny buns (they’re not really “knots”) on top of your head a la Lauryn Hill or Scary Spice from the Spice Girls. Once you get to the end of the rolled section, you can tuck it under the bantu knot and the pressure should keep it in place. If not, use a bobby pin or hair pin to keep it from unraveling.

How to Style Bantu Knots

Gerilyn Bantu Knot 2

Photo by Brio Photography

At this point, you have a choice. You can wear the bantu knots as a style themselves or you can blowdry or sit under a dryer to set the style immediately. I usually do this style at night, and by morning it’s air-dried.

The Take Down

Lightly lubricate your hands with your favorite oil or anti-humidity serum. This will prevent frizz if you’re a bit rough taking down the bantu knots.

Gently unravel each bantu knot.

Separate each section and fluff. Try not to cause frizz by constantly pulling apart each section, but manipulate the hair enough to cover the parts in your hair. Some people use an afro pick to lift the roots and hide the parts. If you have a looser texture, just run your hands through your roots and stop when you get to the curl formation.

You’re done! Enjoy your new ‘do!

Read More:

Our Favorite Bantu Knot Outs

Forget-Me-Not: Bantu Knots

This article was originally published in 2012 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.