Unravelling the timeless elegance of Bantu knots

I had spent hours scrolling through Instagram, searching for hair inspiration, when I stumbled upon a reel of our super stylish March cover star, Mo Abudu, rocking an iridescent navy jumpsuit and sporting the ever-chic and timeless Bantu knots hairdo. Of course, I had an “Aha!” moment seeing those spiral knots crown her head. I could happily log off my mindless scroll and schedule my next hair appointment to make Bantu knots.

With its asymmetric sectioning and twisted braids, Bantu knots have cherished roots in the Zulu people of Southern Africa. While their origins may be ancient, their appeal remains fresh and vibrant today. These elegantly twisted knots have become a global fashion statement, adorning women’s heads worldwide, offering a chic look and cultural significance that spans centuries.

From everyday wear to red carpet glam, Bantu knots have made their mark, adorning the heads of celebrities like Genoveva Umeh, Lupita Nyong’o and Mo Abudu, bringing this traditional African hairstyle to the forefront of fashion.

Genoveva Umeh via  Instagram

Benefits of rocking this hairdo

 The Bantu style epitomises versatility and ease of styling, making it a go-to option. Its appeal lies not only in its aesthetic but also in its functionality. So, while making an effortless statement with your hair, Bantu knots are highly sought after as a protective hairstyle that locks in moisture and promotes hair health—a win-win for any hair type or texture, whether natural, relaxed, braided, or loc’d.


Linda Osifo via Instagram

Bantu knots offer indispensable benefits beyond their aesthetic charm. They serve as a year-round solution, keeping hair off the shoulders during scorching summers for much-needed relief from the heat and as a shield against breakage in the chilly harmattan season. As someone who grappled with traction alopecia, I turned to Bantu knots for their protective qualities and timeless appeal.

A step-by-step guide on recreating the perfect Bantu knots

Image via Brown Beauty Talk

Creating Bantu knots is a simple yet rewarding process that begins with clean and moisturised hair that ensures a healthy foundation, moisturised with coconut oil and a trusted conditioner. Once your hair is moisturised, detangled, and combed, you’re set to begin by following our step-by-step instructions below:

  • Start with a clean scalp to ensure a healthy foundation, then apply a leave-in conditioner to moisturise and detangle the hair.
  • Section the hair into small sections, using a fine-toothed comb to create a grid-like pattern on the scalp.
  • Twirl each section of hair around itself, forming tight coils or loose curls, depending on personal preference.
  • Secure each knot with a rubber band or bobby pin, ensuring they are comfortable.
  • Once all knots are in place, allow them to set overnight with a satin bonnet. This bonnet can be worn until you’re ready to reveal your newly and beautifully defined knots.

Style inspirations

For all your Bantu styling inspirations, look no further than some of our faves rocking this unique and stylish up-do.

Temi Otedola via Instagram

Temi Otedola in the classic Bantu Knots style with asymmetric sectioning


Image via Pinterest

Coi Leroy’s Bantu style gives a messy, effortless charm in loosely twisted Bantu Knots.


Marsai via Pinterest

 Marsai Martin transformed her braids into jumbo-sized Bantu Knots.


Image via Pinterest

Ciara styled hers into braided knots.

Image via Pinterest

Dess Dior inserted plaits into the sectioning of her Bantu knots with braided tendrils.

Image via Pinterest

Teaira Walker added hair extensions and rolled them into beautiful Bantu knots featuring asymmetric parting.

Keke. J via Instagram

Influencer Keke J styled her dreadlocks into Bantu knots.

Actress, Yara Shahidi rocking spikes Bantu Knots, wearing pin striped pink and white blazer
Image via Pinterest

Yara Shahidi styles her knots with a twist by adding some spikes

This style’s most unique and enduring attribute is that one million women could style bantu knots without ever looking the same. Much like the distinctive pattern of every single snowflake, Bantu knots emerge uniquely on each person without ever feeling contrived.

While it remains a symbol of heritage, style, and individuality, gaining global popularity, Bantu knots continue to inspire and empower individuals to embrace their natural hair and beauty with confidence and pride. As a bold statement or a subtle accent, Bantu knots always stay in style.


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