Bantu knots are one of the most gorgeous looks around, and you’ve likely seen some of your favorite celebrities, including Rihanna, sporting them. There is a lot to love about this protective style, which is versatile and can be worn with various hair textures and lengths. The origin of Bantu knots is also important. They can be traced back to the Zulu tribes in South Africa and can be worn with pride because of their cultural and ancestral association. They are also sometimes referred to as Zulu knots. Keep reading to find out more about all the different Bantu knot hairstyles you can try out and their origin.
What are Bantu Knots?
Bantu knots can be traced back hundreds of years, and the look is attributed to the Zulu people and is sometimes called Zulu knots. The term Bantu refers to hundreds of ethnic groups within South Africa that spoke the Bantu language. There is a sense of pride for many individuals that comes with wearing these knots as they have cultural and ancestral significance. The original style is created by sectioning off hair, twisting, and wrapping it to make mini knots. Bantu knots have also inspired various hairstyles, with women getting creative and experimenting with updos and options that work with various hair textures and lengths.
Bantu Knots Hairstyles
1. Bantu Knots on Short Hair
If you want to grow out your natural hair or you’re looking for a great protective style, then look no further than Bantu knots. Bantu knots with short hair are just one of the options with this versatile style. Although you won’t have much length with these mini knots and will need to twist tighter, the result is just as impressive. It is a fantastic way to protect your hair and take a break from heat styling, resulting in stronger locks. It is a basic look, but that is also appealing as you are sticking to the more traditional route. Be sure to apply a setting lotion for maximum effect.
2. Bantu Knots with Long Hair
Among the many benefits of Bantu knots is that it lends itself well to various styles and can be created on both long and short hair. The great thing about Bantu knots with long hair is that you can get a bit more experimental with your look. You can opt to put all of your hair into the knots, creating large knots that make a statement. Or go for a more relaxed and glam half up and half down style. Long hair also lets you get creative with accessories, including gold beads or cuffs.
3. Bantu Knots and Braids
Among the many benefits of Bantu knots is that they help retain hair growth and give you a break from heat styling. They are also incredibly versatile and can be created using various hair textures and lengths. Plus, you can get super creative with your appearance, for example, combining Bantu knots with braids. You want to section the hair, but instead of twisting as you would for Bantu knots, you only need one extra step; braid the hair into a French braid. You then twist it up and wrap it. This look creates a stunning, textured finish with more definition. Plus, when you do unravel your hair, you can expect lovely curls.
4. Bantu Knots on Natural Hair
Bantu knots can be traced back to the Zulu tribes in South Africa and can be worn with pride because of their cultural and ancestral association. They are sometimes also referred to as Zulu knots for this reason. It is a technique in which the hair is sectioned off, twisted, and wrapped to create a knot. Bantu knots look great with natural hair. Create your Bantu knots with freshly washed and well-moisturized hair to lock in the moisture and prevent frizziness. That said, you do need to allow some time for your hair to dry to prevent breakage caused by the twisting process. Embrace your natural locks with these cool and symbolic knots!
5. Bantu Knots on Straight Hair
When it comes to styling Bantu knots, it is not just one option for all. Bantu knots on straight hair can give you more length; it can also make styling easier and prevent frizziness. Combining Bantu knots with straight hair creates an interesting contrast if you opt to do a half-up, half-down, or ponytail look. Keep in mind that with longer hair, you need fewer sections; this will determine the size of your curl and the number of curls you will get.
6. Bantu Knots on 4C Hair
One of the best things about Bantu knots is how versatile the look is, and it lends itself well to a variety of hair textures and styles. 4C hair tends to experience more shrinkage than others, but Bantu knots is a style that is not restrictive and can absolutely be worn by those with 4C hair. Another benefit is that this look is low maintenance and easy to achieve and will lock in moisture, facilitate growth, and require little manipulation. You may want to straighten or stretch your hair beforehand for extra length, but this is not a requirement.
7. Bantu Knots Dreads
Bantu knots are so adaptable and can also be worn with other hairstyles, including dreadlocks. This is a great way to keep your hair away from your face and off your neck in the warmer months, leaving you cool and looking great. It is a wonderful protective style for dreadlocks, but no matter how you choose to wear your Bantu knots, there are some definite pros. Plus, it doesn’t require heat or chemicals and therefore won’t cause damage. They are also easy to achieve and inexpensive.
8. Bantu Knots With Weave
If you are looking for a way to get waves or tight, springy curls without heat, then Bantu knots are the alternative you have been looking for. The style can be created using natural hair, but you can achieve this by using a weave if you want more length. A weave can help you get big Bantu knots; it is also a way to update your weave and can be done using curly or sleek textures. When creating your hairstyle, remember that the more knots you have, the more curls. With this in mind, you can opt for only a few knots, leaving the rest of your hair loose, or go big and bold.
9. Bantu Knot Twist Out
Bantu knots can be stunning for any occasion and can be dressed up or down. If you are looking for a glamorous option, then Bantu knot twists out could be it. A twist out refers to the process of installing twists and then unraveling them the next morning, resulting in a stunning curly pattern. If you love definition, this is the look for you. This is a cool and fashion-forward combination, creating interesting textures, framing your face, and enhancing your features.
10. Big Bantu Knots
If you’re looking for a style that makes a statement, then look no further than big Bantu knots. Large knots will definitely get you noticed and is a great option for someone with long or thick hair. There are so many ways to rock this look; whether you want to braid them first, pair the knots with another hairstyle, such as a half up and down hairdo, or you can add a bit of color to make them even more eye-catching. The larger sections you use to part your hair will also result in bigger curls when you unravel them.
11. Bantu Knot Out
Bantu knots look great, but you also get a gorgeous head of curls when you let them unravel. What is not to love about this? You basically get two looks in one. This process is called a knot out because, as the name suggests, you are taking the knots out — the smaller the knot, the tighter the curl. The result is a tight curl with a lot of spring. When doing this, unravel the knots carefully and separate the coils. This can be done every day if you love the effect; knot your hair before bed and unravel them in the morning.
12. Bantu Knot Mohawk
If you love interesting updos but want something that oozes attitude, then you need a Bantu knot mohawk. It is a really fun look that is also relatively easy to achieve and maintain. Get creative by either styling your hair with Bantu knots in the shape of a mohawk at the top of your head or keeping them only at the base, leaving your curls loose at the top. Get ready to grab everyone’s attention and make a statement! You can create this look with hair extensions, a weave, or your natural hair, depending on its length.
13. Bantu Knots Half Up Half Down
Women have taken inspiration from the traditional style and adapted it to suit their preferences, resulting in a wide variety of different looks that are perfect on all hair lengths and textures. Undoubtedly one of the most stunning styles to try is the Bantu knots half up half down hairstyle. There is something glamorous about this approach; it is excellent for more formal occasions or simply wanting to express yourself and your feminine side. The process will keep your hair away from your face and is a fantastic alternative to a headband or hair clips. The contrast between leaving your hair loose and opting to get Bantu knots at the top of your hairline is spectacular. Plus, it is a great way to show off your facial features.
13. Adele Bantu Knots
Adele created controversy when she shared a photo of her with Bantu knots and wore a Jamaican flag bikini. Some accused her of cultural appropriation, others applauded her. She opted for several dark blonde Bantu knots, sectioning the hair, twisting it, and wrapping it to make medium-sized knots. Bantu knots are a protective style that can be traced back to the Zulu people of South Africa, but the look has been adapted to suit various hair textures and lengths.
14. Rihanna Bantu Knots
Rihanna is one of the most stylish women in the world, so when she tries out a look, the world takes notice. Among her many hairstyles, she has also rocked Bantu knots. The appeal of Bantu knots is that they are a protective style that can aid natural hair growth and give the hair a break from heat and chemical styling. Rihanna opted for large Bantu knots and a middle parting, which drew attention to her face and highlighted her features. She also styled her baby hair to be front and center, which adds a softness to the look.
15. Bantu Knots on Locs
You can style your locs into Bantu knots and it will create a brilliant, textured finish. The Bantu knots will last around two weeks in your locs and you can style them in various ways. For example, working all the hair into Bantu knots or focusing the knots on only the top half of the hair for an edgy and effortlessly cool half and half finish. The appeal of Bantu knots is they are incredibly easy to create and be done in various thicknesses and lengths.
16. Jumbo Bantu Knots
If you have long or thick hair you can create jumbo Bantu knots. Jumbo refers to the thickness of the knots, and these are large and oversized. The look is less subtle than smaller knots and demands attention, making for an eye-catching hairstyle. Bantu knots are an excellent option for giving the hair a break from heat and chemical styling. It can be done with hair of various thicknesses and lengths is can have a youthful finish.
17. Bantu Knots Curls
Bantu knots can be created on curls and can also make styling your curls easier as you do not have to worry about tangles. Wearing the hair up in knots and away from your face can also be incredibly flattering and can highlight your facial features. When the knots unravel your hair will also be curled and this style can help define your natural curls even more. This is referred to as a Bantu knot out.
18. Bantu Knots on Relaxed Hair
Bantu knots are appealing because of their versatility and they can be created on all hair textures. Relaxed hair is the term given to hair that has undergone a chemical process to straighten and remove the curls. It can be easier to style and is less prone to tangles. You can create Bantu knots on straight hair, and this can be appealing because the texture is less prone to frizz. Relaxing the hair will also give you more length than springy curls and this will give you versatility with how you style your Bantu knots.
19. Bantu Knots for Kids
Bantu knots can be easily adapted to suit your hair texture and length. They are an excellent hairstyle for children and will give you a break from heat styling and chemicals. It is also a way to aid natural hair growth and will percentage breakage and friction. Bantu knots will last around for around two weeks. You can also let your little one express themselves by adding accessories around the knots or experimenting with colors.
20. Bantu Knots on Short Thin Hair
Bantu knots can be created on thin, fine hair. Your knots will be smaller in size because of the thickness of your hair, but this is an excellent option because it is a protective style. This will aid your natural hair growth by preventing friction and breakage and giving you a break from the heat and chemical styling. You will have less versatility with how you style the hair, but it will still look gorgeous and last for around two weeks.
21. Bantu Knots White Girl
Bantu knots can be traced to the Zulu people of South Africa and have great cultural significance. They are a symbol of Blackness, self-love, and power, and are worn with pride. This is why it is controversial for caucasian women to try out the style and you can be accused of cultural misappropriation. The knots are a versatile hairstyle and can be adapted to suit all hair types and textures.
22. Cornrow Bantu Knots with Braids
The result of Bantu knots is similar as the hair is sectioned, twisted, and wrapped to create knots of various sizes and thicknesses; depending on your natural hair thickness and texture. However, you can adapt the hairstyle to suit your preference and personalize it with the way you style it. This includes adding a cornrow foundation to the hair and then working it into Bantu knots. Cornrows are braided close to the scalp using the underhand braiding technique which gives them their raised appearance. You can style the hair with different colors and accessories to make it unique and to best suit your preference.
23. Bantu Knots Wig
Bantu knots are incredibly versatile and can be created on the hair of various textures and thicknesses. However, you can also use a wig if this is something that you prefer. A wig will let you use your desired length and texture and can be gentle on the scalp. However, you will have to take more care when creating the Bantu knots to make them look as natural as possible as this is a style that draws attention to the scalp.
24. 90s Bantu Knot
Bantu knots are a hairstyle that has been around for a lot longer than the 90s and has been worn by the Zulu people for decorative and symbolic purposes. However, the hairstyle did enjoy popularity in the 90s because it is easy to style and can look incredibly stylish and youthful. Celebrities like Gwen Stefani were seen rocking twists and to give your Bantu knots a 90s feel you can experiment with different accessories and colors.
How to Sleep with Bantu Knots
Bantu knots are a fantastic and versatile style, but they are not meant to be worn for too many days before unraveling. You also need to take care to preserve the style, and one of the best ways to do this is when you’re sleeping. You want to prevent frizziness and avoid your knots unraveling too early. This can be done by using a silk bonnet or a satin or silk scarf wrapped around your head.
How long do Bantu Knots Last?
Bantu knots will not last longer than around a week; that’s OK because they are quick and easy to recreate. Bantu knots are one of the easiest protective styles to do and require little maintenance. To get the most from them and prevent them from looking frizzy, it is important to ensure that the hair is completely detangled and well moisturized before you start creating them. It is also advisable to take care when sleeping to help preserve the style for as long as possible. The best thing about Bantu knots is that you essentially get two styles in one; when you unravel them, you are left with gorgeous curls.
How to do Bantu Knots
Bantu knots are a fantastic and gorgeous protective style. They can be used on natural and relaxed hair and work well with various hair textures and lengths. It is also a way to achieve curls without heat or chemicals, which is an incredibly appealing option. To find out how to create the perfect knots in the comfort of your own home, see this YouTube video tutorial below. It is filled with tips and tricks for your next look.
Bantu Knots FAQs
Are Bantu knots bad for your hair?
Bantu knots are considered a protective style and are therefore not bad for your hair. That said, some care should be taken when twisting the hair, as twisting too tightly could result in damage. It is also essential to start with well-moisturized hair.
Can anyone wear Bantu knots?
Although Bantu knots can work with various hair textures from 4C to straight and can be created using various lengths, meaning anyone can wear them, that doesn't mean that everyone should wear them. There is a debate about who can and cannot wear Bantu knots, with many people feeling like they should not be worn outside of the black community. This is because of the cultural and ancestral association with this style. Before opting to try out any protective styles, you should do your research.
What is the origin of Bantu knots?
Bantu knots can be traced back hundreds of years to the Zulu tribes of South Africa. They have a strong cultural association, and many women wear them now with a sense of pride. They are created by sectioning off hair, twisting and wrapping it, to create mini knots. In recent years, women have taken inspiration from the traditional style to develop a wide range of looks to suit their preferences, from various updos to experimenting with different hair textures.
Is Bantu Knots the same as Zulu knots?
Bantu knots and Zulu knots refer to the same hairstyle. Bantu is a general term to describe several hundred ethnic groups. The style's origin can be traced back hundreds of years to the Zulu tribes of South Africa.
Why are Bantu knots offensive?
Bantu knots themselves are not offensive, although some people dislike the term. It can be offensive for women outside of the black community to wear Bantu knots as it is an issue of cultural misappropriation. Celebrities such as Khloe Kardashian and Adele have previously created a debate about who can and cannot wear Bantu knots. Bantu knots have a cultural and ancestral association, and for just anyone to opt for this look ignores their significance.
How Long do Bantu Knots Last?
Bantu knots last around two weeks. After you unravel them you will get Bantu knot-outs or twists which is a gorgeous, curly texture.
Can African Americans wear Bantu knots?
Yes, Bantu knots can be worn as a symbol of Blackness, pride, and self-love. They are great for all hair textures and can be created in various thicknesses. You can also experiment with the style, adding accessories and color, or trying out different looks like a half-up half-down hairstyle or a Bantu knot mohawk.
Cailyn Cox holds a degree in journalism and has been working with The Trend Spotter as a writer for over ten years. She has worked with some of the most prestigious women’s and men's lifestyle publications. For her, writing is not just a job; it’s a passion, which is why each article she writes is approached with such enthusiasm and dedication. She has extensive knowledge of hairstyles, tattoos, and beauty and has made a career out of creating informative articles that appeal to women and men of all ages.
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