Bantu knots — which originated in Africa — have long been a go-to hairstyle for women of color who desire a way to control coarse/curly hair, or to loosen a tight curl pattern. Although Bantu knots themselves may not be a style that appeals to all women, women of all ages and races can use Bantu knots to create waves and curls in all textures of hair.
Step 1 – Wash, condition and detangle your hair. Don’t bother drying your hair, this style works better if your hair is damp.
Step 2 – Part your hair into several sections. The size of the sections depend largely on the length of your hair and the desired effect. If your hair is long, or you want wavy hair: create large sections that are about 2 or 3 inches wide. If your hair is short, or you want curly hair: create small sections that are about a ½-inch to 2 inches wide.
Step 3 – Working in sections: apply a generous amount of styling gel or pomade to your hair. Once the hair is slick and there are no flyaways, start twisting a section of hair in one direction until it begins to collapse. Continue twisting the hair around itself until there is no hair left and a knot is formed. Note: As you twist, every layer should fall below the previous layer so that the ends of the hair rest against your scalp.
Step 4 – Secure the Bantu knot to your head using a hair pin or small elastic band.
Step 5 – Repeat steps 3 and 4 until all sections of hair are completed.
Step 6 – Wrap your hair in a bonnet or scarf and allow it to dry overnight. You’ll get better wave/curl definition if you allow your hair to dry naturally, so avoid using a hair dryer or blow dryer. If you prefer, allow your hair to air-dry before covering it with the bonnet/scarf.
Step 7 – Unwrap each Bantu knot and unravel them carefully with your fingers.
Step 8 – Mist your hair with spritz or hairspray, then finger-comb your hair as desired. Your waves/curls will fall and loosen throughout the day, so consider that when deciding how much to finger-comb your hair.
Wrapping your hair at night will preserve your waves/curls for about two or three days. For a more defined look, redo the Bantu knots each night.