Although we're a day late with styling, I'm happy to report that our Bantu knots that were removed from last week's style have been resurrected this week. Boo is very happy with the results. It's been well over a year since she's worn them and I was pleased with how much easier they were to do now that her hair has filled in more.
As always, we start with freshly washed and detangled hair. I didn't get a chance to part and plait the hair last night because we did bath time and detangling after nap today. We had company visiting from Switzerland yesterday (Hi Lori!) and everyone in the family would agree that hanging out with friends is way more fun that detangling hair. So we did it all today instead.
I parted the hair in a style that I've often done with Boo; it's mostly a bunch of triangles, but they form various pentagons around her head (or "stars" if you're just looking at the parts). It's pretty easy for me to do since I've done them so often. What I wasn't sure about was whether or not the size of the Bantu knots were going to be okay given the fact that we haven't done them for so long. But they turned out great, so I'm pleased.
Now, down to the Bantu knots (also known as Zulu knots amongst other names). There are lots of different ways to do these. The traditional way is with thread and to wrap the hair with thread to plait it and then wrap the hair down on itself to form the knot. I don't have any thread right now (I was going to order some today but didn't feel like spending $5 on shipping for $0.79 worth of thread) so I created my Bantu knots with two-strand twists.
I started with a completed twist. I put a rubber band at the base of my knots because I wasn't sure they were going to hold otherwise. After the twist is done, I loosen up on the hold and let the hair sort of drop into a natural position (it has a tendency to want to twist into a loop on it's own). Rather than work my knots by forcing them into a shape, I like to let the hair tell me how it wants to go.
Once I have a loop, as seen above, I then start wrapping the hair around the base of the loop. Again, I really like to let the hair tell me where it wants to go so if it moves up onto the loop and then back down to the base again I let it go ahead and do that. My reasoning is that if the hair goes where it wants to it will be more likely to stay there.
When I get to the end of the twist, this is when I really make sure that the hair is at the bottom of the knot. I continue to wrap it around the base of the knot and, voila, it stays! Now, if you're trying this for the first time, your knots may not stay. There are lots of contributing factors as to whether or not the Bantu knot will hold its shape, not the least of which is how much hair you have to work with, what products you are using, the texture of the hair, and the curl pattern.
If your knots do not what to stay on their own, this is absolutely no problem. You can always add ponytail holders to them to keep them in place. In addition to helping stabilize the Bantu knots, they also add quite a bit of colour. You can do the knots all in one colour, as shown above, or use lots of different colours. I will probably add some later this week, depending on what Boo is wearing, just to soften the look of the knots a bit and to add some colour.
This is what a finished Bantu knot (formed from a two-stranded rope twist) looks like up close. The key for me is to use a good styling cream with lots of hold and making sure that the whole knot does not sit two far away from the base.
If these are the first time you've seen Bantu knots you might be thinking, "wow, these look really uncomfortable to sleep in." They're not. They bend really easily; remember, they're hair. I think Boo has a much harder time sleeping with beads in her hair because those are, well, plastic and don't have any give. These at least "smoosh" when you lay on them.
Which brings me to my last point. These probably won't stay as nice and clean as they are right now all week. They will require a few to be redone (especially after all the sleeping/naptimes), but they are so simple to do they really don't require any more maintenance than any other hairstyle that she wears.