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Bantu knots are deeply rooted in African culture and are believed to have originated within Zulu tribes more than a century ago. More than just a hairstyle, Bantu knots carry a little piece of history, celebrating heritage and legacy.

A long heritage of Bantu knots

Did you know that this style can be traced back as far as 1898? In South Africa, Bantu knots have been worn throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, but it was in the 1990s that it gained major popularity among the US’s African-American communities. In recent years we’ve also seen some of our favorite international celebrities rock this style: Mel B (aka Scary Spice), Beyoncé, Rihanna, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Blac Chyna have all been spotted wearing Bantu knots.

Not Knots

Despite the word “knots”, Bantu knots are not knots at all. Instead, it is a hairstyle where the hair is sectioned off, twisted, and wrapped in such a way that the hair stacks upon itself to form a spiraled knot/bun. Each person can decide on the knot size based on their personal style, hair length and hair density. Some women like to wear their full head of hair in Bantu knots, while others may choose to create only a few knots on one of their sides.

Bantu Knots

Styling it

If you’re a naturalista. Or if you may be looking to change up your style without damaging your hair or committing to a long-term look, Bantu knots are a great option. But other than paying homage to one’s heritage, and the style is visually beautiful,

Here are some pros of wearing your hair in Bantu knots.


If well taken care of, Bantu knots can last up to a week. Once taken out, you can preserve the gorgeous curls they leave behind for another few days, before you opt for your next style. Having said this, you certainly don’t need to leave them in for that long: you can take them down after a day or two and you will still be left with beautiful curls.

They’re protective

Bantu knots help protect the ends of the hair from potential damage. What’s more, is they don’t require heat or chemicals, meaning you can wear this style without causing any damage to your hair.

They’re practical and low maintenance

Once Bantu knots are set, they require simple care and very little maintenance. They are practical for natural hair, and particularly for busy women who are constantly on-the-go, and want a great style that doesn’t require hours of attention.

They’re inexpensive

Some hairstyles are known to cost an arm and a leg, but Bantu knots are inexpensive, both to achieve, and to maintain.

The Perfect Hair’s founder Taryn Gill, shares her tips on how to perfect your Bantu knots:

  1. Section damp, clean hair into four quarters.
  2. Apply and massage The Perfect Hair’s Grow on the Go Oil Spray (R149.99) directly into scalp and hair tips. This oil intensely nourishes the scalp, helps stimulate hair growth and nourishes the hair.
  3. Apply The Perfect Hair Grow on the Go Creamy Conditioner (R99.99) to each section and rake through from root to tip for an intense moisture boost.
  4. Take small sections of hair from each quarter and apply The Perfect Hair Grow on the Go Edge Tamer Gel. It tames the edges while adding shine and moisture (but don’t worry, it’s non-greasy!).
  5. Using a twist and tuck method, create your knots and allow them to set.

When twisting your hair to create the Bantu knot, start twisting a couple of centimeters away from your roots. This will prevent you from twisting the hair too tight and will give you the best coil. If you twist too tight you may damage your hair at the roots.

Cover your head with a silk scarf and a bonnet overnight to protect your Bantu knots.

How to take down your Bantu knots

  1. Remove the pin used to secure your knot.
  2. Gently twist the knot in the opposite direction it was knotted in, taking care not to be too rough.
  3. Repeat until all knots have been removed.
  4. You will be left with gorgeous curls, which you can style any way you want to.

We recommend applying a leave-in hair treatment for moisture, or a curl definer if you want some added definition.

Product choices for Bantu knots

Try Cantu Shea Butter For Natural Hair Coconut Curling Cream Formulated for curly hair, as it helps to define, moisturize and strengthen every lock. Made with no mineral oil, sulfates, parabens or silicone.

Bantu KnotsIf you want to preserve a tight curl, you can apply a little styling gel to each coil. Try Cantu Shea Butter Moisture Retention Styling Gel (R139.99). It helps the hair retain moisture while giving it maximum hold.

Product for Bantu knots

Seal in strength and Exotic Shine with Crème of Nature’s Leave-In Conditioner  which is a unique two-phase formula that combines Argan Oil liquid shine and a strengthening protein complex that untangles hair, improves hair strength, protects hair against damage and heat styling, and moisturizes one’s tresses.

Crème of Nature’s Argan Oil Perfect 7™  is a 7-in-1 miracle leave-in treatment mask for beautiful, healthy hair with shine. This product is perfect for all hair textures, giving hair instant health and beauty, while reducing the need for multiple hair care products.

Read more about hair care

Want to read more about how to care for your curly coils. 

Guest Writer

Guest Writer

This post has been curated by a Longevity Live editor for the website.


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