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Tips for Perfecting a Bantu Knot Out


Posted December 27, 2011 by

I tried several bantu knot outs over the first two years of my healthy hair journey without any success.  This style is formed when your hair is twisted around itself until it forms a knot that resembles a stack of tires.  When you remove the knots your hair will resemble a corkscrew rope. The “rope” may then be separated with your fingers and, if necessary, finger combed to loosen the curl and shape it into the style you desire.  The finished result is a head full of springy, bouncy curls that may be as tight or loose, as defined or tousled as you desire.  It is an awesome way to style your hair without using heat and does not require much manipulation.  Early on, I made a lot of beginner mistakes but now am able to get a gorgeous bantu knot out that lasts for several days by following these simple tips:

Tips for Perfecting a Bantu Knot Out

  • Start with detangled, well moisturized hair.  You want your hair to be smooth when creating the knots – tangled, dry or rough hair will not achieve the look you desire.
  • Always do bantu knots on DRY hair!  This was my #1 mistake.  I did the knots on wet hair, on damp hair, on lightly spritzed hair – all with the same result.  My hair never dried while in the knots and the next morning, I removed the knots to reveal hair that was still damp with only light definition in some areas.  Dry hair that is well moisturized produces the best results.
  • Create sections according to the final look you want.  If you want to show your length, or have loose waves rather than defined curls make between two and four sections.  If you want large curls create 6-8 sections and for tight, springy curls do 10+ sections.
  • Do not over twist your hair.  Twisting the hair too tightly can stress your hair and cause breakage, but also it will not result in nice curls/waves either.  Instead twist the hair about two to three times then wrap it on itself and continue until all the hair is twisted and wrapped into the knot.
  •  Use a moisturizing product with a light hold rather than gel or mousse.  If the product creates too much hold, the hair will not “fall” into a natural style.  Also gels and mousses can be drying and therefore damaging to the hair, instead opt for butters and pomades.  Bee Mine Curly Butter is my personal favorite.
  • Use the greenhouse effect method at night if your curls do not usually last all day.  Many ladies complain that their knotted curls quickly fall once they leave home.  If this happens to you, use the greenhouse effect (cover with a shower cap) to create steam that helps “set” the style.  In the morning after you remove the shower cap, your hair will be damp but do not disturb the knots until your hair is completely dry.  It usually takes about 15 minutes.  By doing this it gives the same lasting power as a bantu knot out that has been done on wet hair, minus the damp hair in the middle.
  • Unscrew the knot as if you are unscrewing a cap.  Do not pull the knot apart; instead unscrew your hair to keep the form of the curl.  After the hair is loose the curl will still be intact and you can separate it gently using your fingers.
  • Pineapple at night to preserve the curls.  After a full day of sporting your curly look, pin the hair up on the top of your head (or use a large ponytail holder) and wrap the sides with a scarf.  I also sleep on a satin pillowcase to ensure my hair does not suffer.  In the morning, pull the hair down with your fingers and style, your curls will be just as cute as the previous day, if not cuter!


EbonyCPrincess, a self proclaimed hair care enthusiast who began her quest for long healthy hair in 2009. Her hair is relaxed and type 4b (kinky, very tightly coiled). You can find more information about Ebony and her journey on her personal blog, or her YouTube channel (



    I just tried this style last night after watching a YouTube Video, and I’m thankful that what I did aligns with what was suggested in the video. You had some additional tips that I needed, and I will apply those the next time. Thank you!


    id have to disagree! you do not have to do bantu knots only on dry hair! i do bantu knots on my daughters hair only whn its wet and i use jamaican castor oil. her hair is the best ive ever seen even better than professionals or any pics ive seen on sites! they are shiney, moist and when im tired of them i simply comb them out; its a piece of cake! i would never do them on dry hair simply because it looks better and easy to do when wet and only takes an hour to style; no blowdrying or flatironing!!


    How many time a week or month should these knots be done? so far this week, I’ve done them twice but I’m thinking it may be too many times because of not only the shortness but also fragileness of my hair.


    is there a certain direction to twist the knots? Sometimes I notice one side of my hair being way more defined than the other.


    Hi! I just wana say thank yu so much 4 this explanation. 1 q? Tho:
    if i do it on my natural short hair will the curls come out just as defined etc? Ima 4b tight and kinky zigzag curls. I just recently did the big chop and am now rocking my teeny weeny afro but hav a weave in atm but when i take it out id really wana try this.


    Beautiful!!! I have short relaxed hair and I get bored with it easy and I have finally found something new thank you!!! Now I have a bouncy curly fro just like I wanted. You guys should try the “straw set” it gives beautiful results as well :D


    I love this hairstyle, but it seems that on cold foggy days my curls fall almost immediately- same thing on hot humid days. Should I use a holding spray in the morning to keep my curls from falling? Is it because my hair is relaxed?


    I wish I had seen this sooner. I washed my hair earlier and did bantu knots. Everything you’ve listed that’s wrong, I’ve did it lol. I’ll get it right next time!


    Great – thank you!

    Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty

    This is by far the best explanation I’ve read thus far for doing bantu knots. I’ve done them on we hair and yuck, I hated it. Today I’m going to try them following your tips. I have weird hair that is more straight in the back (a different curl pattern) and the one time I tried to do the bantu knots on dry hair, I didn’t get definition but I think that’s because I didn’t set them properly.


    what kind of weave is good for doing bantu knot outs? pleaseee helpp !


    Is this method for natural hair only?


    Is this for natural hair only???


      No ma’am, I’m relaxed! Check out my blog for pics of different bantu knots that I’ve done.


    How do you dry your hair? Do you use a blow dryer or air dry? And if you air dry what do you put on it to keep it from being frizzy?


      Currently, I have been rollersetting my hair for smoothness. When I “air” dry I sit under my professional hooded dryer and use indirect heat to dry, which is faster and gives me a smoother finish.

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