Photo by Stephanie (@beautybylee)
Perfecting and Maintaining the Bantu Knot Out – 14 Fantastic Tips
By Jacqueline Samaroo
An abundance of springy, shiny curls that beautifully frame your face. That’s the picture-perfect ideal you’re after when you do a Bantu knot out.
It doesn’t often come out that way, though. Instead, you get limp, frizzy half-curls with different sections of your hair seeming to do their own crazy thing. What’s up with that?! What are you doing wrong?
Don’t worry – we’ve got your back with these tips for getting an IG selfie-worthy Bantu knot out. We’ve also included some ways to keep your Bantu knot out hairstyle looking awesome for more than just a few hours. Read on!
1. Start with clean, detangled hair.
Hair that is clean and fully detangled will produce better-looking, more defined curls.
2. Dry (or slightly damp) hair works best.
Because of how a Bantu knot is coiled around itself, it can be difficult to dry completely. This is definitely a problem! Undoing the knots while your hair is still damp is what often causes knot out curls to look limp and end up frizzy.
3. Divide your hair into sections
It will give you control over how much product you use on your hair. Less is best since you want your hair to dry without too much fuss.
4. Add a little butter or oil for moisture.
Products that contain shea butter or argan oil are popular choices. They also give sufficient hold without making your hair too stiff or weighing it down.
5. Twirl (or twist) then wrap.
Do two-strand twists give better Bantu knot outs than twirls? The debate rages on! It probably all comes down to the kind of curls you want. Twisted Bantu knots will definitely give you curlier hair but may also make your hair look shorter than you expected once you undo them.
6. Get help keeping them in place, if necessary.
Once wrapped, the knots will usually stay in place on their own. If your knots keep unraveling, you can use hairpins or hair ties to hold them in place.
7. Remember: size matters.
How many knots you make out of each section will depend on the length of your hair and the kind of curls you want. As a general rule, shorter hair is done in smaller knots and longer hair in larger knots. Whatever the length of your hair, do small knots for plenty of tighter curls and do larger knots for fewer loose and wavy curls.
8. Leave them in as long as possible.
Give the curls of your Bantu knots time to take shape, especially if you are doing your Bantu knot out as a completely heat-free hairstyle. Overnight should be sufficient. You can help your curls to set by sleeping in a shower cap. When you remove the cap in the morning, allow your hair to dry before styling.
9. Oil your hands!
When it comes time to undo your Bantu knots, add a little oil to your hands first. Dry hands will lead to frizzy hair. Olive oil, coconut oil, or argan oil are good to use here. They also add shine to the curls as you unravel them.
10. Take your time undoing the Bantu knots.
Carefully undo each knot by unscrewing it in the opposite direction to which you made it. If you did your Bantu knots using strand twists, carefully undo the twists, too.
11. Don’t over-separate.
If you do, you are more likely to lose the definition of your curls AND end up with unsightly fizziness.
12. Fluff (but don’t over-fluff) the roots.
Use your fingers, an afro pick, or a wide-tooth comb to gently fluff your hair at the roots. This will add some volume and, at the same time, hide any visible sections of your scalp.
13. Protect your style.
You put a lot of effort into getting a picture-perfect Bantu knot out. Making it last even a couple of days is a wonderful bonus. Here are some ways to protect your curls at night.
- Put your hair up in a pineapple style.
- Make loose ponytails with large sections of your hair.
- Wrap a scarf around your edges and push your curls up a bit.
- Sleep in a silk or satin bonnet.
- Ditch your cotton pillowcase for a silk or satin one.
14. Add a little shine.
Spruce up your curls with a nourishing oil sheen spray. It’s a great way to add shine to curls that are beginning to lose their luster.
Did we miss anything? Share your own Bantu knot out tips with us!