How-To: The Technique That Every Curly Client Needs

May 10, 2019 | 1:51 AM
As an alternative to the iconic Zulu Knots, Paula Peralta and LaDonna Dryer (shown) have perfected their Bantu Knot technique to create stunningly perfect curl formations.
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Before—a natural curl pattern in need of refinement.
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The size of each Bantu Knot section will dictate the size of the finished curl.
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After the Bantu Knot technique—consistent, frizz-free curl.
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“Always set yourself up for curl success with the proper prep,” advise Paula and LaDonna. Curly hair loves moisture and Lavender Mint Moisturizing Shampoo, Conditioner and new CoWash quench hair’s thirst.
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Lavender Mint Nourishing Oil absorbs quickly to fight frizz. Lavender Mint Defining Gel hydrates as it provides crunch-free hold for curls.
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Wondering how to help make your client’s beautiful curls even more beautiful? Bantu Knots is a setting technique that creates consistent, frizz-free curl patterns on your naturally curly clients. Paul Mitchell Ambassador Paula Peralta, @hairbypaulaperalta, and LaDonna Dryer, John Paul Mitchell Systems Business Development Manager and Textured Hair Expert, share their Bantu Knot how-tos.

Watch LaDonna Dryer and Paula Peralta perform the Bantu Knot technique.

All your texture questions answered here! 


  1. Shampoo with Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Lavender Mint Moisturizing Shampoo.
  2. Treat hair with Lavender Mint Deep Conditioning Mineral Hair Mask to restore moisture. “Work the formula through every curl,” says Paula. “You want every curl to be touched.” Process with steam for 20 minutes.
  3. Perform the LOC technique to maximize moisture retention.
     - Leave-In: Apply Lavender Mint Conditioning Leave-In Spray.
     - Oil: Work Lavender Mint Nourishing Oil into each curl.
     - Cream: Complete the moisture layering with Lavender Mint Taming Cream.
  4. Apply Lavender Mint Defining Gel to support the knots.
  5. With the blow dryer set on “low,” rough dry the hair to 60-70% dry.
  6. Divide the hair into quadrants.
  7. Mist the hair with Lavender Mint Conditioning Leave-In Spray to reactivate the gel.
  8. Subdivide each quadrant into 2-3 subsections. The size of these sections will determine the ultimate size of the curls.
  9. Lift each subsection and twist in a tornado-like fashion, creating a standing “stem.” Use the stem as the base and as the hair begins to buckle or collapse above the stem, twist it around and down the stem until you reach the base. Twist until you can’t twist the hair any more. This will provide a consistent outcome with every curl.
  10. Open a bobby pin and secure each twist at the base until the hair is dry. Place the client under the dryer.
  11. For the take-down, apply more oil between your hands and work it into the hair. This will add shine as you untwist each knot and prevent frizz.
  12. Untwist the hair in the reverse motion used to form the knots. Release each section and use your fingertips to separate the hair. Separate each subsection into two or four smaller sections. The more you separate, the more expansion of volume you will create.

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