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:
• 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!
You can also follow this tutorial by Michelle B on a perfect Bantu knot out: