What Are Bantu Knots

What are Bantu knots? Bantu knots are tiny knots that you can make by sectioning your hair first. Then twist or wrap the strand of your hair around until it forms a knot and attaches it with bobby pins. It’s a great protective style if you want to take a break from heating styles. 

These knots, which have existed since the 2nd millennium BCE and were popular until about 1500 CE, possibly originated with the Bantu who migrated from Southern West Africa to Central, Eastern, and Southern Africa.

Moreover, this hairstyle is very versatile, and if you want, you can explore the varieties of your hair. In this article, we’ll talk about all the aspects of Bantu knots. So let’s get started.

What Are Bantu Knots?

known as Zulu knots

Bantu knots, also known as Zulu knots and Nubian knots, are a type of protective hairstyle in which two strands of hair are twisted and then wrapped around each other to form distinct small buns. The installation of Bantu knots takes less than an hour. This style will go with your natural hair as well as extensions.

Many people are proud to show off these knots because of the prestige they signify in their social circles. The traditional approach involves twisting and wrapping together tiny strands of hair. However, the size of the knots depends on your hair size and length.

In general, they last for 7 to 10 days. Even after removing the knot, it creates a beautiful curl on your natural hair, which can last for another 2-3 days. But if you want your knots to stay intact, you can use a setting spray. Lastly, you’ll definitely need the confidence to wear Bantu knots due to their distinctive look.

Types Of Bantu Knots 

There’s a wide range of Bantu knots you’ll find. However, some of the most common Bantu knots are given below:

1. Neat Bantu Updo

Neat Bantu Updo

For a basic Bantu knots look, you can try this style out. To make the look even sleeker, use some drops of oil before making the twist.

2. Ornamental Bantu

Ornamental Bantu

Basically, accessorizing your knots is called ornamental Bantu knots. Though it looks great the way you create them, however, you can just add small gold wire to add more fun to the look.

3. Bantu Knots With Braid + Beads

Bantu Knots With Braid

For blow-dried hair, it’s one of the subtle and royal looks. Braids and beads typical of the ’90s serve to frame the face, while a crown of Bantu knots and a thick, twisted ponytail complete the look. 

4. Braided Bantu Knots

This is a perfect look for long hair. You just have to braid your hair and then twist it around to create a bun. However, use a light oil to settle your baby hair.

5. Bantu Knots With Fulani Side-Braids Vibe

Bantu Knots With Fulani Side-Braids Vibe

Basically, you have to make Fulani braids first and then twist your hair to create a bun. You can make a bun with half of your hair and leave the other half if your hair is long. It’ll give you a different look.

6. Reverse Braided Bantu Knots

Reverse Braided Bantu Knots

The first step is to divide your hair in half and tie the front section into two Bantu knots. After that, do two braids going downwards and upwards, and wrap the tails around the Bantu knots. Amazingly, modern-day Africans still adhere to many of the ancient continent’s customs.

7. Jumbo Bantu Knots Hairstyle

Jumbo Bantu Knots Hairstyle

In general, Bantu knots consist of tiny knots. But it doesn’t have to be like that. You can make the knots in big sizes and spray setting oil for baby hair for easy and quick style, and you’re good to go. Specifically, if you have long and thick hair, it’s just for you.

8. Bantu Styles For Kids

Like adults, Bantu knots are great for kids as well. It also works as a break from heat and friction. Eventually, it’ll leave your hair to grow naturally.

9. Bantu Braid Crown Style

It’s one of the classic looks for long hair that can be made with Bantu knots and braids. To give some extra level to the look, you can use beads on the braids and that’s all.

10. Micro Size Bantu Hairstyle

Bantu knots are usually small in size. But if you create them even smaller than the usual size, then they’ll be called micro-size Bantu knots.

Why Are They Called Bantu Knots? 

carry a little piece of history

Even though Bantu knots have become popular nowadays but they carry a little piece of history, celebrating heritage and legacy. However, from the knots, it’s visible that the design has come from the southern African region; believe it or not, it’s been around for 100 years.

Basically, it comes from a traditional group that speaks in “Bantu” languages. However, there are millions of people who talk in this language. Bantu is generally acknowledged as the Zulu name for people everywhere in these areas. Moreover, it carries an ancestral meaning that protects the black heritage of the Zulu tribes.

Hair is revered for its strength and special spiritual energy thought to come from its closeness to the skies in Africa. It’s why Bantu knots and other elevated patterns are considered religiously significant. More than 300+ ethnic groups in Africa wear this hairstyle.

Who Can Wear Bantu Knots?

bantu knots worn by any person

So far, it’s visible that Bantu knots are versatile, meaning they can be worn by any person with any hair texture, from curly to straight hair. But for this specific look creating a small section is recommended for short hair.

There are no such rules that only this particular group can wear these knots. However, there is some regional belief that these hairstyles are only for black people or African people.  

In that regard, it’s totally up to you whether you want to wear the Bantu knots are not.

Why Should You Consider Bantu Knots? 

bantu knots most effective preventive hairstyles

Bantu knots, long thought to be among the most effective preventive hairstyles, are now again the must-have look for making a fashion statement. This hairstyle is ideal for anyone looking for a protective style that works for their hair type and still makes them seem stylish.

Furthermore, Bantu knots are highly cost-efficient and work well with natural, relaxed, and transitioning hair types. Also, if you have curly and kinky short hair, this is one of the suitable looks you can follow. 

Lastly, the reason why most women prefer this style is that it provides wonderful heatless knots when they are left overnight and uncoiled the next day.

Bantu Knots On Short Hair 

Bantu Knots On Short Hair

Bantu knots are a great protective style; no wonder. So, in that case, if you want your natural hair to grow stronger, then look no further because Bantu knots can be the right decision. But Bantu knots for short hair can be a bit tricky because one to two-inch hair makes Bantu knots nearly impossible.

One more thing, as your hair will be short, you have to do knots tighter for better results. Short hair requires more parting and dividing the hair into small sections and it’ll last longer when it is three to four inches long. The installation will take 30 to 45 minutes.

Hair should be dried overnight and under a hooded dryer for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the length. Also, it’ll give you a break from all the heating styles. As a result, you’ll achieve more beautiful locs and thicker hair.

Bantu Knots Hairstyles For Relaxed Hair 

Bantu Knots Hairstyles For Relaxed Hair

In the fashion world, relaxed hair is referred to as hair undergoing some chemical processes to straighten or make your hair curl-free. This type of hair is perfect for Bantu knots if it’s 4 to 6 inches long because you can give yourself a versatile look with these knots.

Moreover, relaxed hair is less prone to frizz and split, so you can create different Bantu knots, as mentioned earlier. Before doing the knots, make sure it’s fully dry and it’ll last three to five days. But to maintain the style, put coconut or olive oil and tie your knots with a scarf for better results.

Items Required For Bantu Knot Hair Styling 

Here are some of the important pieces of equipment that you’ll need while making Bantu knots.

  • Leave-in moisturized to keep your scalp hydrated.
  • Comb to brush your hair.
  • Styling glue to guide hair as required.
  • A spray bottle
  • Bobby pins
  • Elastic bands


Well, that was all regarding what are Bantu knots. Bantu knots are easy to make. However, for better results, ensure you protect your hair properly and don’t tie it too tight because it might increase breakage.

Also, taking care of your knots before going to bed is more important. Make sure you use a scarf to prevent further friction. Lastly, keep your scalp moisturized enough.

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  • What Are Cornrows
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  • What Are Goddess Braids
  • Are Weaves Bad For Your Hair

By Cindy Mahlangu

Hey there! I'm Cindy Mahlangu, a pro hairstylist with a serious passion for natural hair care. My mission? To inspire and educate others on the beauty and benefits of protective hairstyles. Through my creative writing, aim to empower individuals to embrace their unique hair texture and confidently care for their locks. So, whether you're rocking locs, braids, or twists, join me on this hair journey and let's achieve healthy, fabulous tresses together!

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