Bantu knots, also known as Zulu knots, are indigenous to South Africa and symbolize pride and heritage. They are a beloved and versatile protective style for black hair. A Bantu knot is a twisted or braided section of hair coiled around itself to form a bun. To create Bantu knots, section the hair into parts then twist or braid each section. Coil the twisted hair into a bun shape and secure with pins or bands. The mini buns resemble beautiful knots dotted across the head.
Bantu knots work with all hair types and lengths. They are ideal for medium to long hair, but short hair can also be styled into mini Bantu knots using shorter braids. Hair extensions can add fullness and length for those with short hair who want larger knots.
It typically takes 1 hour or more to install Bantu knots, depending on your desired style and hair length. When done properly, Bantu knots can last 3-5 weeks. Simply re-wrap any knots that come undone.
To achieve Bantu knots, you’ll need a tail comb for sectioning, pins and bands to secure the knots, and moisturizing products for soft, frizz-free hair. Once sectioned, twist each piece clockwise towards the ends then coil into a bun shape. Light oils or creams keep the braids moisturized between wash days. Silk bonnets and pillowcases also help maintain the style. Unravel the knots gently in the opposite direction when taking them down to avoid tangles.
Bantu knots can be tricky for beginners. The tight styling can feel heavy, especially on thick or long hair, and may cause discomfort or breakage if too much tension is applied when gripping, twisting, or securing the knots to the scalp and strands.
Feel free to accessorize the knots with colorful pins, beads, or shells. You can also experiment with different colors and sizes for a unique look.
Now that you know the basics, let’s explore creative ways to style Bantu knots. Discover 25 beautiful Bantu knot hairstyles and tips for flawless knots every time.
1. Bantu Knots on Braids
Bantu knots on braids are a stylish way to wear your box, knotless, or twist braids. To get this look, section your braids and secure each with elastic bands. How many sections depends on your preference and braid thickness. Twist each section clockwise until you reach the ends. Then, coil the braid around itself to form a knot, securing with a pin or elastic. Repeat for each section and add clips or other hair accessories to enhance your style.
2. Bantu Knots on Locs
Bantu knots are a fun way to style your existing dreadlocks. Start by sectioning your locs into parts and securing each one with elastic bands. How many sections you do depends on your preference and loc thickness. Take each secured section and twist it clockwise until you reach the ends. Then, coil the twisted loc around itself into a knot, securing with a pin or elastic. Repeat this for each loc. Cowrie shells make great accessories for this style.
3. Bantu Knots for Men
Men can totally rock Bantu knots too! Part your locs, cornrows, or single braids into sections based on hair length and thickness. Secure each section then twist it tightly clockwise. Coil the twist around the base and secure the knot with a pin or elastic. Alternatively, tuck the ends under the knots to keep them in place. Bantu knots add awesome texture and style to men’s braided hairstyles.
4. Bantu Knots on Natural Hair
Instead of wearing your natural hair down or in a boring bun, get creative with Bantu knots! Section your hair based on length and thickness. Then twist each section and coil it around the base to form your knot. You can also wear this style in a half-up pattern or a full Bantu knot updo for a fun look.
5. Braided Ponytail with Bantu Knots
The braided ponytail with Bantu knots is a creative and unconventional way of wearing braided ponytails. To get this style, cornrow your hair from the edges towards the center of your head to create the braided ponytail. Now, instead of wrapping each braid around its ends, twist and coil each one into a Bantu knot as shown in the picture. This style combines the cultural look of Bantu knots and the chic look of braided ponytails. It can be worn elegantly for any occasion.
6. Fulani Braids with Bantu Knots
Fulani braids with Bantu knots combine two unique cultural hairstyles – the Fulani braids from West Africa and the Bantu knots from southern Africa. This results in a striking, culturally inspired look.
Start by putting your hair into Fulani braids. Fulani braids typically have half-up intricate cornrows with the lower section in single braids. Secure the half-up part into 2 to 5 sections, depending on your braid length and thickness, using elastic bands. Twist each section clockwise and coil it around the base. Voila! You’re ready to go with this head-turning cultural style.
7. Half-Up Bantu Knots
Half-up bantu knots allow you to get creative with this style. For this look, only create bantu knots in the top section to about mid-head, leaving the bottom half of hair down. The top knots can be accessorized with fun hair pins, jewels, or beads. The bottom loose hair can be worn straight, wavy, curly, or in a big afro. This versatile half-up, half-down style works for various occasions from everyday wear to weddings. It’s a great option that keeps some hair free while still allowing you to show off beautiful bantu knots. The combination of styled knots on top and loose-flowing hair bottom makes for an eye-catching style.
8. Bantu Knots with Weave
Bantu knots with weave blends hair bundles or extensions into the style. Choose high quality weave that matches your desired length, color, and texture to complement your natural hair. This style is typically worn half-up.
Part your hair horizontally from ear to ear into two sections. Put the lower section into cornrows, then sew or crochet the weave into the braids. Put the top section into Bantu knots, add accessories if you want, and you’re ready.
For this look, pick a weave that mixes well with your natural hair. The cornrows anchor the faux hair, while Bantu knots on top give body and texture. With the right weave, you can easily pull off this fun protective style.
9. Twisted Bantu Knots
The process of making twisted Bantu knots is quite similar to regular Bantu knots. However, in this case, the hair sections are twisted and coiled so they stack upon each other, creating a visible spiraled knot.
This hairstyle offers a unique, textured way to wear your natural hair or weave. The stacked, spiral shape gives Bantu knots extra body and definition. It’s a fun twist on the classic Bantu knot look.
10. Bantu Knot Wig
A Bantu knot wig replicates the look of Bantu knots without having to create them on your actual hair. These wigs offer a convenient, stylish way to wear the knots, especially for short cuts or tender scalps.
If you’re without hair or have a short cut, position the wig properly on your head and adjust any clips for a comfortable, snug fit. If you have longer hair, cornrow it or use a bald cap before putting on the wig.
Bantu knot wigs provide effortless cultural style. The pre-formed knots give you a ready-to-wear protective look that flatters natural textures. With minimal styling needed, they make achieving this beauty easy breezy.
11. Bantu Knots Mohawk
The mohawk bantu knots hairstyle has several twisted, coiled bantu knots aligned along the center of the head. This style is great if you already have a mohawk or want a look while giving your edges a break. It combines the edginess of a mohawk with the distinctive cultural look of bantu knots.
If you already have a mohawk, simply section it and twist each part clockwise, coiling it into a knot at the base. If you have a full head of hair, section it horizontally and gather each part into a ponytail at the center. Then twist each secured ponytail clockwise, coiling it into a knot.
12. Mini Bantu Knots
Mini Bantu knots are a smaller, more intricate version of the Bantu knot hairstyle. Section your hair into small parts based on the number of mini knots desired and your hair thickness. Twist each section tightly clockwise and coil it around the base to form a knot.
This style is especially great for short or thin hair. The mini knots shift the focus from your hair to your face and outfit. They’re perfect when you want to highlight other features beside your hair. Mini Bantu knots add effortless detail for an understated style!
13. Cornrows with Bantu Knots
Pairing cornrows with Bantu knots delivers a hairstyle that’s bound to turn heads. To achieve this look, section off your hair and cornrow each part, following the example in the picture. Then, twist and wrap each braid around its base, moving in a clockwise direction to create a knot. This hairstyle is perfect when you’re aiming for an effortlessly elegant, formal vibe.
14. Bantu Knots with Side Braids
Combining Bantu knots and side braids? That gives you a unique and eye-catching style perfect for all kinds of events. Start by sectioning off two small pieces near your ears and get those into individual braids, just like you see in the picture. Next, shape the rest of your hair into Bantu knots, going for the size and number that feel right for you. How about a level up? Consider adding beads to those side braids.
15. Bantu Knot Updo
The Bantu knot updo? Elegant and chic, hands down. Perfect for stealing the spotlight, especially when you throw on some bicycle wheel earrings. For this style, start by pulling your hair into a high ponytail. Next, give that ponytail a tight, clockwise twist and wrap it around itself to create that stunning Bantu knot updo. To complete the look, go ahead and add some personality to it by adding hairpins, flowers, or even just a simple headband.
16. Jumbo Bantu Knots
Jumbo Bantu knots are like regular Bantu knots, just bigger. Divide your hair into large sections based on how thick your hair is and how many big knots you want. Bigger sections mean bigger knots. Twist each one clockwise and coil it at the base to form the knot. Use hairpins or elastics to make sure they stay put.
17. Bantu Knots with Bangs
Bantu knots with bangs offer a stylish blend of cultural richness and a contemporary edge. If you already have bangs, go ahead and section them off to keep them separate. If you don’t, consider having a professional hairstylist cut a front section just above your eyes to create bangs. Once that’s done, you can focus on the rest of your hair, turning it into medium or jumbo Bantu knots as you prefer. For an extra touch, think about going for a braided bang, just like in the picture, and finish it off with some beads for added sparkle.
18. Bantu Knots with Curly Hair
Creating Bantu knots on curly hair can give you a truly unique and eye-catching style. Start by dividing your hair into sections, considering both your hair’s thickness and how many Bantu knots you want. You might opt to place your knots just on the sides of your head, as shown in the picture, or go for a half-up style to let those curls flow freely. Either way, this look is a winner, whether you’re planning a chill picnic or a beachside weekend getaway.
19. Flat Twists with Bantu Knots
Combining flat twists with Bantu knots gives you a look that’s both striking and intricate. Flat twists are like cornrows but with a twist, literally—instead of the standard braid, you intertwine two strands of hair into a rope-like pattern. To create this look, divide your hair horizontally into two sections. You can either put the top in flat twists and the bottom in Bantu knots, or flip it—Bantu knots on top and upward flat twists on the bottom for an ‘updo’ vibe.
20. Bantu Knots with Cornrowed Sections
Combining Bantu knots with sectioned cornrows offers a layered, visually appealing result. If intricate patterns aren’t your thing—or you just can’t sit that long—you can opt for simpler cornrows. Start by dividing your hair into rounded sections. From there, cornrow each section into a braided ponytail. Then, twist and coil each braid around its base, going clockwise, to form your Bantu knots.
21. Bantu Knots Crown
The Bantu knots crown is an elegant, regal style where the knots encircle your head like a crown. To get this look, start by sectioning your hair outward from the center of your head. Secure each section near the edges and twist them into Bantu knots. For added texture, consider cornrowing the sections first before coiling them into knots.
22. Bantu Knots with Cornrowed Parts
The Bantu knots with cornrowed parts style adds a bit of edge with cornrows situated between the knots. To pull this off, divide your hair into various shapes—rounded, triangular, square, or even star-shaped sections. Create cornrows that divide these sections. Once that’s done, secure each section into a ponytail and twist it tightly around the base in a clockwise direction to form your Bantu knots.
23. Stitch Braids with Bantu Knots
The stitch braids with Bantu knots style combines the sleek vibe of stitch braids with the cultural charm of Bantu knots. To get this look, part your hair into sections and create cornrows using the stitch braid technique, just like in the picture. Next, twist and coil each braid tightly around its base in a clockwise direction to form a knot. This hairstyle is great for those who want to add a little more detail to their cornrowed bantu knots.
24. Triangular Part Bantu Knots
Triangular part Bantu knots bring an artistic touch to the classic Bantu knots look. Those unique triangular sections elevate your style, making it a go-to for folks who want something a little different. To nail this style, divide your hair into triangular sections, twist them tightly, and then coil ’em up into Bantu knots. Feel free to add some beads or hairpins to spice things up.
25. Tall Bantu Knots
Tall Bantu knots, also known as elongated or high Bantu knots, create a striking and bold look that’s a true head-turner. To achieve this style, devide your hair into sections and twist tightly in a clockwise direction. From here, instead of coiling the flat twists against your scalp, begin coiling from your desired height, stacking the twists as you work your way downwards to your scalp. Make sure you secure them tight so they don’t come undone. A dab of hair mousse or wax will keep those knots on point.
This style is a top pick for long hair and works wonders for photoshoots, red-carpet events, or wedding parties.