Bantu knots are traced back to hundreds of years ago to the Zulu tribes of Africa. The term 'Bantu' describes the over 300 ethnic groups found in parts of southern and central Africa.
The style has recently gained controversy over its use by Caucasian women, despite its origins.
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What Are Bantu Knots?
Bantu knots are sections of hair that are tightly twisted to form a coil -- also known as the “knot”.Bantu knots have long been a popular hairstyle for Black women that has recently gained more traction among all women looking for cute, yet simple hairstyles.
Despite the name, Bantu knots are not considered knots at all. If done properly, Bantu knots should resemble mini hair buns strategically placed across your scalp allowing for creative updos.
Bantu knots are traditionally done on your real hair, but some women add extension hair.
How to do Bantu Knots?
Creating traditional Bantu knots is a simple process. The length of time varies depending on the number of Bantu knots being created, as well as the length of the hair itself.
- Begin by properly prepping your hair for the knots. You want your hair to be moisturized and detangled. You can choose to do the style on stretched or unstretched hair, however, many choose to stretch their hair beforehand.
- Once your hair is ready, part off a section of hair to do your knot on. You can get creative with your parts by creating a design or just doing simple box partings. You can also now add any gel or pomade to the root of the section if you would like a sleeker design. If you are wanting to do a Bantu Knot out, skip out on this as it isn’t necessary.
- To create the Bantu knots, you want to take your section of hair and tightly and firmly begin to twist it starting at the root. As you twist your hair it will begin to create the knot as it coils to your hair.
- Keep twisting until your hair is completely twisted and coiled up. You can take the ends and tuck them into the base of the knot. If you’ve done the knot firm enough it should stay put, but if you’d like extra support you can consider concealing a rubber band around the very base of the knot. The knot by itself is usually enough.
There is another way of creating the Bantu knot style which requires you to first braid or twist your hair. You will follow the same steps for a regular Bantu knot but instead, you will braid or twist your hair prior to forming your hair into the knots.
This can be done with extension hair for added volume. Attach the extension hair as you would a normal extended braid or twist and then proceed with the twirling method to apply your Bantu knots. This option can last longer than normal Bantu knots as it can easily prolong the style for at least a week or two more than normal Bantu knots, which will only last you a week.
As with all-natural hairstyles, taking proper care of your hair in between styling is the key to upkeep. Oiling your scalp in between your parts will help keep in the moisture. You can even spice up the look by smoothing your edges into your desired design with edge control.
The Style Factor Edge Booster comes in many scents and keeps your edges laid down. The style takes 1 to 2 hours to complete, and most women choose to wear Bantu knots for up to a week. Unraveling Bantu knots creates curls known as a Bantu knot-out.
Are Bantu Knots Versatile?
Creativity is key when creating Bantu knots. Although, while the knots are in you can’t change them, many women will create shapes such as diamonds, triangles, and hearts into the scalp of their hair. The ‘knots’ may even resemble shapes as well.
For a cute curl, women can choose to take their Bantu knots out creating a bouncy curl. This way you can create updos, or just wear your hair down as is.
How Long Do Bantu Knots Last?
Bantu knots are a quick style, but they won’t last long. They can be kept up for 1 week at the most. Covering them with a satin scarf or bonnet can help prolong the style. Many women will choose to take out the style after a few days, however, to create a Bantu knot out.
If you would like for your Bantu knots to last longer, consider going the route of the braided or twisted base. By having your hair braided or twisted first, it can easily prolong the style for at least a week longer.
Who Are Bantu Knots Suitable For?
Bantu knots are a popular choice for protective styling because it can be done on both short and long hair. Hair types such as natural, transitioning, and relaxed all do well with the style.
While Bantu knots take to kinky and curly hair the best, such as 3C to 4A hair, women of any type of hair can and have created the style.
There has been controversy over the style as women of non-African descent have been seen wearing the style. High fashion runway shows and non-black celebrities have taken the style and even attempted to claim and rename the style.
Although the style can be worn by anyone, it is important to educate ourselves on the origin of any Black-based hairstyle and pay homage to that.
When to Wear Bantu Knots?
Bantu Knots are a style that is worn year-round. It is extremely trendy and can be worn at any time of the year and be fine.
Pros and Cons of Bantu Knots
- The style can give you two styles. Bantu Knots are a 2 for 1 special. This is great because you can get a lot of versatile wear out of the style. The Bantu knots themselves are one style that can be worn for a few days. When you’re ready to take them down, you’ll notice your hair will have a beautiful bouncy curl. This can be worn down or in any updo hairstyle of your choice.
- The style is easy to do yourself. Sometimes running to a salon for every style can be a lot. Bantu knots are great because they can easily be done by yourself if you’re feeling up to the task.
- The style is inexpensive. If you feel more comfortable seeing a stylist for the hairstyle, you don’t have to stress over the price. Bantu Knots are on the lower price end for protective styling installs. They cost an average of $65 to be installed.
- The style is not long-lasting. If you are going for traditional Bantu knots, it is not a style that should be used for a long-term protective style. It is a cute style that can be worn for a week at most. Any longer than this and they will frizz and possibly become tangled. For a longer-lasting option try the braided or twisted base option.
- The style is hard to sleep in. Based on the look of the style, sleeping in them is going to be just as difficult as it may appear. The knots being so lifted from your head will make it a bit difficult to reach a comfortable sleeping position.
- The style can cause tangling. Prepping and applying your Bantu knots with care is imperative for the health of your hair. Neglecting to detangle your hair before applying the knots will make taking them down difficult. You might experience a lot of tangling that will lead to actual knots in your hair. The last thing you want is unnecessary breakage because your Bantu Knots were tangled.