Whether it’s because you’ve got pool party plans or are anticipating harsh winter air, protective hairstyles are a good idea year-round — especially for coily hair types, which tend to be naturally drier. Arguably the most dazzling category of protective styles is Bantu knots, the artsy bun-like twists that date back to the Zulu Kingdom of South Africa. Whenever a celebrity graces the red carpet in a Bantu knots hairstyle, it feels like a particularly special nod to Black culture and African ancestry, whether it’s Rihanna in a sleek version or Yara Shahidi in a dreadlocked look.
Bantu knots belong to an exclusive group of protective styles because they’re actually a two-in-one situation. You can wear them as a style all their own, or use them to create bouncy, heat-free curls. Perhaps most appealing is that the hairstyle is a beauty DIYers dream. Full disclosure: It’s not quite as simple as a high ponytail. So it may take a few (or more) times to get the hang of Bantu knots, but with patience, the right products, and a good YouTube tutorial, you can nail the look sans salon.
For inspiration, keep scrolling for the most memorable times your fave celebrities rocked eye-catching Bantu knots, each look more swoon-worthy than the next.