How to Do Bantu Knots on Locs

Bantu knots can be worn as a hairstyle, or they can be released to produce delicious curls.
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Locs (short for dreadlocks) already form a type of hairstyle, yet there are a few ways to style dreadlocks in order to achieve a wavy, curly look. Bantu knots -- a type of hairstyle that involves twisting the hair until it forms a ball or a "knot" -- give you curls that will last at least a couple of days. Doing bantu knots on dreadlocked hair is almost identical to doing them on loose strands. The end look is also just as stunning!

  • Dread shampoo
  • Hair clips
  • Preferred holding product, such as hair gel or hair jam
  • Bobby pins
  • 8-ounce spray bottle
  • Water
  • Preferred hair moisturizing product
  • Hair dryer (optional)
  • Hat or scarf (optional)

1 Time to Twist

2 Washing your scalp

After washing your scalp with dread shampoo and using a towel to squeeze all excess moisture out of your dreadlocks, divide your damp hair into two sections -- the top half and bottom half. Use as many hair clips as you need to hold the top half up and away from the lower half.

3 Take two to four dreadlocks

Take two to four dreadlocks from the bottom half of your head and place them to the side, using a hair clip to section the rest away.

4 Apply a small amount

Apply a small amount of your favorite hair-holding product (such as hair gel or hair jam) to those two to four strands, gently rubbing the product throughout the length of the locs using your fingers.

Twist the same two to four dreadlocks into a two-strand twist all the way from the roots to the ends. Do not let go of the twist.

Tighten the twist by twisting the entire section in the same direction that you twisted the dreadlocks.

Place a finger at the root of the twist and hold it down firmly. Starting from the root, begin to wrap your twist around itself until it forms a ball or knot. If the twist is tight enough, it should naturally wrap around itself, making this step easier.

Tuck your ends underneath the newly formed bantu knot so that it’s secure and doesn’t unravel. Use bobby pins to secure the knot if you have trouble keeping the ends tucked away. Bobby pins are easier to use than hair elastics, as they are more secure, and they won't get tangled in your hair or break it.

Repeat the bantu-knot making process throughout the remainder of your hair. If your hair starts to get dry, spritz it with spray from a spray bottle filled with 7 ounces of water and five drops of your favorite moisturizing product. Shake the bottle well before spraying.

5 The Big Reveal

Dry your bantu knots by sitting under a hairdryer or by letting your hair air-dry. Many people wear the knots as a hairstyle for a few days; others let the knots dry hidden under a hat or scarf.

Unravel your bantu knots by removing any bobby pins, loosening the ends away from the roots and slowly pulling the twist down.

Separate your dreadlocks, and use your hand or head to shake them out for full, curly locs!

  • Make sure your hair is completely dry before unraveling your bantu knots. If your hair is still wet when you take them down, your curls may not be fully formed and will not last as long. Do not twist the knots so tightly that your scalp is uncomfortable.
  • Make sure your hair remains damp as you are twisting; however, it should not be dripping wet.
  • If you want tighter curls after unraveling the bantu knots, twist only two strands of dreadlocks at a time.
  • For bigger waves, twist more dreadlocks into each knot. The size of your bantu knots and curls also depends on the thickness of your individual locs. If they are very thick, you should make your twists tighter in order for a curl to properly form. If they are thin, twisting too tightly might give you springier curls than you want, so use multiple locs to get your desired look.

Atembe Giles has written for multiple publications over the past six years, including digital publications such as College Fashionista and publications such as Campus Fashion Today, Kaleidoscope Magazine and Black Ink.