By Terez Howard

What are Sisterlocks?

Sisterlocks are an interlocking method used to create uniform micro-sized locs. Sisterlocks are installed by creating a precision parting grid and are maintained with a specific tool.

How are Sisterlocks different from traditional locs?

First, Sisterlocks are similar to traditional locs because they are both locking methods which allow natural hair to mat and form locs. Sisterlocks differ from traditional locs because a precision parting grid and specific tool are used on natural hair. You do not use any waxes, creams, butters or extensions with Sisterlocks.

Isn’t that small size bad for fragile natural hair?

No. Fragile, thin natural hair has flourished in Sisterlocks. If the hair is not cared for properly, it will break, regardless if you have Sisterlocks, traditional locs or loose hair. With Sisterlocks, you have no chemicals or damaging abrasion to your scalp or strands, making it ideal for a thin hair texture.

How can Sisterlocks be styled?

Sisterlocks also allow for a variety of styling options. Basically, you can do everything to Sisterlocks that you can do to loose natural hair, except for wear a huge fro. You can twist them, braid them, cornrow them, curl them and more. The tiny size of the locs allows for more intricate styling than can be done with larger, traditional locs.

How many locs do women with Sisterlocks have?

The number of Sisterlocks varies from head to head. Hair density and thickness determine the number of locs on one head. Your own personal preferences also come in to play. You can get small, medium or large sized Sisterlocks, which all are still a smaller size than traditional locs. But typically, a woman with Sisterlocks has anywhere from 250 locs to more than 800.

How do I get Sisterlocks?

Visit the official Sisterlocks website to find a consultant or trainee near you. Only a registered consultant or trainee is qualified to install Sisterlocks.

Some stylists will say that they can install Sisterlocks in natural hair, but these stylists did not take the courses necessary to become a consultant or trainee. They have instead created their own locking system based on the Sisterlocks method. This is what my consultant called “step Sisterlocks,” and she said these locs never look like official Sisterlocks and oftentimes are damaging to natural hair.

What information will my consultant or trainee give me?

First, you will have an initial consultation, which will go over information about Sisterlocks. You will see pictures of ladies with Sisterlocks and determine what size you would like for your Sisterlocks to be. (No two heads of Sisterlocks are identical). This is when your test locs will be installed.

Second, you will have your locking day. This is when all of your natural hair will be locked. Your consultant or trainee will give you an idea of when your Sisterlocks will mature and the changes you can expect during your journey.

Third, you will have your first follow-up visit. Your consultant or trainee will check on the progress of Sisterlocks and should wash them. This follow-up visit might also include your first retightening.

What does my hair length have to be to get Sisterlocks?

You need at least 1 1/2 inches of natural hair to start Sisterlocks. You do not need to cut out your permed ends to get Sisterlocks. Your relaxed hair can be Sisterlocked as well. Once your hair gets to a point where it will not unravel, your consultant or trainee will cut off the relaxed ends.

How long does it take to install Sisterlocks?

This time depends on the length of your natural hair and the density. Short natural hair will not take as long to Sisterlock. You can expect to be sitting for a minimum of 8 hours. For some, it takes parts of 3 days, or as long as 30 hours or more to install Sisterlocks.

The good news is you will never have to sit like that again. The initial install takes the longest amount of time.

How much does it cost to have Sisterlocks?

Sisterlocks are probably one of the most expensive ways to loc natural hair. Prices range according to the length of your hair and density. The more hair you have, the more you can expect to pay. The lowest price I have seen to start Sisterlocks is $350 and includes those first three sessions. Retightenings usually average about $25 to $30 per hour.

Shop around to find the best deal. But also know that, like everything else, you get what you pay for. No two consultants are alike, and some will be better for you than others. This might come at a higher price.

When I had my Sisterlocks installed, I decided to get a haircut so that my locs would look neater from the beginning and grow more evenly. This saved me $100.

Can Sisterlocks be taken out?

Yes. But it is very tedious, and it can take longer to remove them than to install them, meaning it can also cost more money. If you want your Sisterlocks removed, it’s quicker to cut them out.

Sisterlocks are permanent, just like traditional locs. If you’re unduly worried about removing Sisterlocks, then they are not for you.

How do I care for Sisterlocks in the early stages?

During the baby and teenage stages of Sisterlocks, you must get your new growth retightened every 4 to 6 weeks. In between time, you shampoo your Sisterlocks by braiding and banding or just banding, and you finger comb your locs. That’s it!

What can I expect during retightening visits?

Of course, you will get your Sisterlocks retightened. This will last a few hours. Your consultant or trainee also should make you aware of any potential problems with your locs and inform you of how these will be rectified. Oftentimes, potential problems, such as unraveling and bunching, are just part of a Sisterlocks journey. But if these issues are not addressed, you could end up with various sized locs, weak locs or lost locs.

When can I start styling my new Sisterlocks?

Generally speaking, you should not start styling new Sisterlocks until they have reached a level of maturity (when they are locked and will not unravel from shampooing). Minimal styling or just freestyling allows your Sisterlocks to mature properly. However, all hair types are different, and some can withstand styling soon without greatly lengthening the time it takes to mature. Check with your consultant or trainee to see what’s right for your hair texture.

Can I retighten my own Sisterlocks?

Yes and no. In the beginning, you should be under the watchful care of a consultant or trainee. After your locs mature, you can take a retightening class to learn how to properly retighten your own Sisterlocks. The class usually costs $250.  At this point, you can maintain your Sisterlocks all by yourself.

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