Thinking About Getting Sisterlocks? This Is What You Should Know Before You Start.
Beauty & Fashion

Thinking About Getting Sisterlocks? This Is What You Should Know Before You Start.

The second coming of the natural hair movement has ushered in a no-rules and no-limits approach to styling curly hair. From experimental colors to braided styles that defy geometry, the creativity and versatility of textured hair continue to be reimagined and redefined on our own terms. Of these is an enduring protective style that takes a spin on traditional loc’d hairstyles, known as Sisterlocks.

What Are Sisterlocks?

Sisterlocks are a micro-sized, slimmer spin-off of traditional dreadlocks. Using a patented hooking tool and interlocking weaving method, the hair is intricately woven into itself to create a thin, uniform appearance.

In 1993, Dr. JoAnne Cornwell pioneered Sisterlocks with the goal of offering Black women of color a natural, chemical-free, and extension-free hairstyle that promotes hair health and growth. With its minimal upkeep demands and versatile nature, Sisterlocks has remained a popular natural hairstyle even 30 years later.

Because of their slim nature, each lock can range from one-eighth inch to three-eighths inches in width, with most individuals having between 250 to 400 Sisterlocks in their hair.

According to Dr. Cornwell’s aim in creating this style, “Sisterlocks is not about a hairstyle. It's about a lifestyle. Sisterlocks invites women who are interested in self-empowerment and cultural self-expression to embrace a natural hair care system that is self-affirming and truly gorgeous."

What Is the Difference Between Sisterlocks and Traditional Dreadlocks?

When it comes to starting one’s Sisterlock journey, it’s important to note that dreadlocks and Sisterlocks are similar but require vastly different techniques to achieve. Since Sisterlocks are a trademarked style, a trained and certified Sisterlock consultant is required in order to install them, whereas dreadlocks can be started at home or by a loctician at a salon.

Installing Sisterlocks is a time-consuming process, with a process that can take 24-36 hours to complete due to the sectioning, parting, and small strands of hair needed for each loc. Dreadlocks on the other hand are a hairstyle that can be achieved through techniques like braiding, coiling, twisting, or palm-rolling thicker sections of hair.

How Are Sisterlocks Installed? 

With a Sisterlock consultant, the installation process is broken up into three key steps:

Consultation: The process typically begins with a consultation with a certified Sisterlocks consultant where you discuss your hair type, expectations, and the desired size and number of locks. Consultants may also use this time to install five and 10 Sisterlocks in your hair to determine the most suitable pattern for the complete installation.

Installation session: Your consultant will use a special tool, often called a "Sisterlocks Key," to divide your hair into small sections where the full installation begins. These sections are typically square or rectangular and are much smaller than traditional dreadlocks and are essential for creating consistent and even-sized locks. This process can take several hours or even multiple sessions, depending on your hair's length and density.

Follow-Up Appointment: With your new Sisterlocks complete, maintenance is key. This follow-up appointment is a time for you and your consultant to go over tips for upkeep and any concerns or questions you might have following the installation. Because Sisterlocks require regular maintenance to keep them neat and uniform, you will need to visit your consultant every 4-6 weeks for retightening to ensure that your locs stay in top shape.

How Much Do Sisterlocks Cost? 

Let’s just say, installing and upkeeping Sisterlocks will be a considerable investment. Typically, the cost of Sisterlocks installation can range from $450 to over $1000 depending desired thickness, length of hair, stylist, and the city you’re in.

For the ongoing cost of maintenance, you'll find each session costing approximately $100 to $250 every 4-6 weeks.

Are Sisterlocks Permanent and Can They Damage the Hair?

Sisterlocks are designed to be a permanent hairstyle. However, they can be removed by a trained Sisterlocks consultant through a time-consuming process that may result in cutting the locs if they are well-established. Reserving your Sisterlocks between one to six months after installation can ensure a better chance of hair retention, but if you decide you no longer want Sisterlocks, it's possible to transition to a different hairstyle, but it may take some time and effort.

With proper care, regular washing, consistent retightening, and limited tension in styling, your Sisterlocks will not only stand the test of time but will continue to showcase the natural beauty and versatility of textured or kinky hair, allowing you to flaunt this unique look for years to come.

Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.

Featured image by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for EBONY MEDIA GROUP

Smile, Sis! These Five Improvements Can Upgrade Your Oral Hygiene Instantly

This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.

Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.

Could The 'O Method' Be Just What You Need To Have The Sex You Want?

An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”

If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.