If you had natural hair and were on YouTube in the mid-2000s, then you know that Bantu knots were that girl. Honestly, they were (and still are, let’s be real) a wonderful protective hairstyle as well as a two-in-one deal. You can wear your Bantu knots for a while and then you can take them out, and voilà—you have effortless, heat-free curls. It’s truly an iconic hairstyle.
The style might have been popularized through the natural hair community, but Bantu knots have been around for more than 100 years. They are believed to have originated with the Zulu tribes of Southern and West Africa, and they have remained a popular hairstyle for Black people throughout the world ever since. And the best part? They’re super easy to do.
Looking for Bantu knot inspiration? Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. Keep scrolling for 25 gorgeous Bantu knot hairstyles to try today.
Classic Bantu Knots
These classic Bantu knots are the perfect low-key style to add to your natural hair repertoire. For a super smooth look, add a few drops of pure marula oil to your hair and smooth through your strands before you twist each bun.
Tall and Braided
If your hair is long, you can opt for this braided look. Instead of twisting your hair into buns, first, braid your hair, and then twist. This will result in a tall, sculptural look. For the finishing touch, slick down your baby hair using Pattern Beauty's Edge Tool ($12) and Edge Control ($12).
Here, Tracee Ellis Ross takes a more laid-back approach to Bantu knots. Her loosely twisted Bantu knots are paired with minimal makeup, a bold lip, and classic gold jewelry to create a timeless look.
Even though Bantu knots are practically art in and of themselves, there’s always room to add to the fun. For this look, all you need are thin pieces of gold or silver wire. Take the wire and gently wrap it around your knots, then tuck the ends into the top of each knot.
Neat, geometric parts take this simple style up a few notches. To get your parts really neat, use the tip of a rat tail comb.
Blonde Highlights and Beads
Balayage blonde highlights get the Bantu treatment in this look. You can use some temporary hair dye (like Curlsmith’s Hair Makeup in Copper, $20), or if you want to go permanent, consult with a stylist who can help you choose a shade that’ll keep your curls healthy and intact.
Zigzags and Braids
Instead of normal parts, take it up a notch by adding in some zigzags. You can even cornrow small braids into your parts as well, and then wrap the loose ends around your knots.
Rhinestone Hair Pins
Big Bantu knots and oversized rhinestone bobby pins are *chef’s kiss.* If you want to make your own statement look, check out the Drippin’ Rhinestone Bobby Pin from Kitsch ($29).
This showstopping look is achieved by neatly braiding the ends of your knots into the scalp.
Five-Point Star Part
To recreate this look, make seven triangle parts in the back of your head. (You might need to use a mirror or an extra helping hand.) Then, use a brush for baby hair and some edge control to slick down your hair for a neat look.
You don’t always have to have a ton of knots to create a look—just take a tip from Gabrielle Union. Blow out your hair, make six parts, twist your hair, and then form those twists into big knots. Easy and breezy.
If your hair is on the shorter side, opt for these tiny knots instead. To keep your mini knots in place, use Proclaim's Black Super Stretch Braiding Rubber Bands ($2) around your twists.
South African actress Natasha Thahane gives Bantu knots a vacation-ready vibe by cornrowing the sides. Just tuck the ends of the braids into the Bantu knots in the back, and you’re ready to hit the pool in style.
Swooped Baby Hairs
Swooped and laid edges paired with super sleek Bantu knots will always be a vibe.
Loc'd and Twisted
Bantu knots and locs are a match made in heaven. You can serve a little '90s inspo and frame your face by leaving out two locs from the front two Bantu knots.
One Big Bun
Create symmetry with your Bantu knots by placing one big bun in the middle, offset by minis alongside your temples.
Tiny, Tall Twists
If you want a two-in-one hairstyle, get your hair into really neat twists and place them into tall knots. After a few days, you’ll be able to take the twists out and have gorgeous, effortless curls.
Braided Bantu Knot Crown
Feed-in braids + Bantu knots = a match made in heaven. For a real showstopping look, add in some gold beads and of course, lay down the baby hair.
Big Bantu Knot Crown
Actress Kiki Layne channeled her inner goddess by wearing a big Bantu knot crown to the Spirit Awards. Instead of straight parts, she placed her knots on the diagonal to create a really dynamic look.
Green Braided Bantu Knots
These green box braid knots have us clapping our hands in glee. Color always adds to any look, and if you want a low commitment way to get vibrant locs, add in some synthetic crochet twist hair to your braids. Don’t forget to add in a little braid jewelry, too.
In the words of stylist Law Roach on HBO’s "Legendary"—these triangle parts are doing what needs to be done (IYKYK). Triangle parts add visual dynamism to the look without much effort. It’s like making art with your hair, and honestly, we live for that.
Braids With Baby Hairs
Beauty influencer Jackie Aina’s freshly braided Bantu knots are super easy to recreate. Instead of twisting your hair, braid down the entire length, wrap, and secure with a bobby pin. At night, you can sleep with a silk scarf to prevent frizz.
Copper Knots With a Curly Fro
Channel some Scary Spice energy into your life by doing a few Bantu knots at the front and letting your natural hair go free in the back. For really defined curls, apply a hair gel like the Adwoa Baomint Curl Defining Gel ($32) to freshly washed (and most importantly, soaking wet) hair. Scrunch, diffuse, or even air dry for perfect, frizz-free curls without the crunch.
Who says a princess needs a gold crown? These Bantu knots, formed into a gorgeous circle framing the head, are 100 percent fit for royalty. To keep your knots looking fresh, opt to sleep on a silk pillowcase.
Braids and Beads
This look is giving it all. Nineties-style braids and beads frame the face, Bantu knots form a crown, and the thick twisted ponytail is giving us regal. This is a great look to try on blow-dried hair. If you want a super sleek blow-dry, you can use the Amika Blow Dryer Brush ($100), paired with Briogeo's Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection and Heat Protectant Créme ($24).