How to Bantu Knot Out: Natural Hair Basics

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 multiple
day hair to change up your look mid-week. To do this style, follow these
step-by-step instructions:

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Setting the Style – Creating the 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.
  • Detangle or smooth out your hair. 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! Here are some styler suggestions. Smooth the product down
    from root to tip.
  • 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 Bantu Knot Out: Natural Hair Basics

Do You Blow Dry or Air Dry? 

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

The Take Down – The Bantu Knot Out

  • 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.
  • Gently 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!

For those who need visuals:

What’s your Bantu Knot or Knot-Out routine? 

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