I wrote a story back in May about the cultural appropriation of the mislabeled "twisted mini-buns
," which are better known as Bantu knots. "Bantu" is a word that describes the Zulu people — which is why they're also referred to as Zulu knots. The traditional style was used to identify African people who spoke the Bantu dialects. Nowadays, the term mostly refers to a large group of languages that are spoken by millions of people living in Africa.
While the hairstyle has roots that reach back thousands of years, it most recently gained popularity due to the natural hair movement (in addition to a brief stint in the '90s — lest we forget Scary Spice's epic knots
). It's commonly used as a protective 'do for those with curly or tightly coiled hair. You create it by sectioning off hair of any texture and twisting it into tiny knots. This helps to elongate your curl pattern, or add waves or curls to straight hair.
History aside, I think anyone who's attempted a knot-out (including myself) knows that it's notoriously hard to master. The phrase "practice makes perfect" may as well have been invented for this hairstyle — but it's a struggle we endure because of the flawless results. Click through to check out all the stages of getting Bantu knots right.