Sisterlocks first made their appearance in 1993 and have gained immense popularity through the years. They are a great way to celebrate textured hair in the natural hair community.
One thing is for sure, sisterlocks are a big commitment. There are also many varieties of what you can ask for. With so many hairstyle options available today, how can you know if sisterlocks are the right choice for you?
Here is a comprehensive guide on all things you could ever wonder about sisterlocks. We hope to make you an expert on your hair care journey so you can make the best choice for your hair.
What Are Sister Locks?
First things first, what are sisterlocks?
Sisterlocks are basically very small dreadlocks. They are made by a specialist using a small tool that helps lock the hair together. The professional will start locking hair at the end and work their way up to the root.
How Are SIsterlocks Installed?
Installing sisterlocks should be done by a certified professional, as it involves a very specific process. The official SIsterlocks company actually provides training and certification to stylists who want to learn the coveted technique.
- The first step involves a consultation. You and the stylist will be able to talk about loc size, grid pattern, and agree on a price you are both comfortable with. You can also discuss any questions or concerns you may have.
- The stylist will begin the actual process by sectioning out your hair. There are certain systems and patterns that they have been trained to use.
- After sectioning out the hair, the stylist will go back through and part each section into rows. This helps guide them as to where to part the hair to each sisterlock. Each row will likely be flat twisted so it stays out of the way during the installation process.
- Now it is time to actually install each sisterlock. The stylist will use a special locking tool to carefully start locking each tiny section of hair from the tip to the root. This could potentially take several days to complete.
- The stylist may recommend a follow-up appointment a few weeks after the locs are installed. They will want to take a look at your locs and make any needed adjustments. They can also make some recommendations to you as to the care of your locs, and you both will be able to come up with a program for retightening the sisterlocks.
How Long Does The Sisterlock Installation Process Take?
One of the biggest concerns of getting sisterlocks is how long and tedious the installation process is.
Much of the timing depends on how long your hair is. Shorter hairstyles can take around 8 hours to complete. Longer hair could take over 24 hours. Usually, your stylist will break up the installation process over several days.
Make sure you plan ahead for your appointment. Bring food, water, and something to stay entertained while the stylist works. Many people bring a neck pillow as well to prevent neck pain.
Do Sisterlocks Damage Hair?
Many people have seen thinning sisterlocks and assume the installation process may be to blame. Are sisterlocks damaging to your hair? In fact, the opposite may be true!
If you are working with an expert sisterlock stylist, the locking technique is actually very gentle to the hair and scalp. They can even help keep your hair safe and promote hair growth.
However, to keep your sisterlocks healthy and decrease breakage, you will need to keep up with maintaining them. Locs that aren’t tightened regularly can begin to thin and break off.
Are Sisterlocks Permanent?
Sisterlocks are actually fairly easy to remove for the first six months after installing them. This gives you a bit of time to make sure you want to commit to them.
After those first initial months, the hair tightens and they are much more difficult to uninstall.
How Can You Remove Sisterlocks?
Just like normal dreadlocks, sisterlocks can be removed in one of two ways.
It is possible, with a lot of patience, to comb out sisterlocks. You will need to cut of the bottom tips off, wash and condition your hair, and then begin carefully combing out each loc. You’ll need to use a metal comb and start from the bottom, working your way up.
Make sure you are up for this process, as it is very tedious. Some people say it can take up to one hour just to comb out one loc.
Because this is such a long process, many people opt to cut off their sisterlocks when they are ready for removal. It’s fairly easy to take one loc at a time and cut it off right at the root. Use hair clippers with a guard to clean up and even out your hair without shaving it completely off.
Are Sisterlocks Good For Thin Hair?
Just because you’ve noticed your hair thinning, doesn’t mean sisterlocks are not an option for you. In fact, they may be a healthy option for your hair.
If your hair is thin or low-density, make sure you find a certified sisterlock professional. They will be able to work with you to find a technique and grid pattern that you are comfortable with. They will also be able to suggest a good retightening program for you, as tightening too frequently may damage thinner hair.
The good news is that within 6-18 months (sometimes even as soon as 3 weeks!), your locs will swell and appear thicker. This is great news for those who are wanting a more full look for their hair. Following the instructions, your sisterlock expert gives you will help the swelling process.
Do Sisterlocks Come In Different Sizes?
The good thing about sisterlocks is that you can adjust them to fit your style. It is easy to consult with your sisterlock professional before agreeing on a specific size you would like the locs to be. Some prefer bigger locs, while some prefer very tiny ones.
These locs can range from ⅛ of an inch to ⅜ of an inch, depending on your style. If you have less hair and prefer larger locs you could end up with around 250 individual locs. If you have a bigger head with more hair and want the look of smaller locs, you could end up with closer to 400 tiny locs!
As mentioned before, sisterlocks are very thing when first installed. Don’t assume this is how they will always look, however, because with time they will begin to swell!
How Much Does It Cost To Get Sisterlcoks?
Unfortunately committing to sisterlocks is not a cheap choice!
The installation process can range from $450 to $2,000 dollars. Stylists will also charge for a consultation before the appointment.
Remember that sisterlocks can take a few days to install, so you are paying for quite a few hours of work from your stylist. If you are looking for a cheaper option, consider getting larger size locs. The fewer the locs the lower the price.
Another option to lower the price is to cut your hair. A shorter hairstyle will mean less hair to work with, fewer hours spent locking hair and a cheaper price for you! Some stylists increase their prices for every inch of hair length you have.
You will also need to make an appointment every 4-8 weeks to tighten the locks as your hair grows. These appointments can cost anywhere from $150-$200 depending on the stylist. Make sure to keep this in mind as you budget for your hair.
Sisterlocks vs Dreadlocks vs Microlocks- What’s The Difference?
There are so many options available now for natural hair. Sisterlcoks, dreadlocks, and microlocks all sound very similar, so how do you know which one is right for you? Lets take a look at the difference between all three.
As mentioned before, sisterlocks are very tiny dreads. They are formed by a certified professional using a special tool that begins locking the hair at the end and works its way up to the root. No styling products are needed to form the sisterlocks. They are also very versatile, making them a popular choice.
Dreadlocks are much thicker dreads and are formed usually at home using a variety of techniques. Dreads can be installed by braiding, rolling, coiling, or twisting the hair using waxes or gels. Dreads are also formed at the root of the hair and work their way down to the root.
Microlocks can look very similar to sisterlocks, but there are some key differences between the two. Microlocks are a much more economical option, as they can be installed at home fairly easily and only take a few hours to complete. To limit the risks of poorly installing them at home, you could also go to a microlock professional for a much cheaper installation price than other locs.
Many people prefer the look of the slightly thicker microlocks, which usually are around the width of a pencil. However, microlocks can be heavier on the scalp. Also because there is no defined grid pattern like a professional would plan out, microlocks can tend to look asymmetrical and irregular.
Pros and Cons of Sisterlocks
Sisterlocks can be a great option but could be a big investment. It is best to weigh the pros and cons to make the best decision for your hair.
- Sisterlocks are extremely versatile. Because they are so small, they can be manipulated into almost any hairstyle you would like
- They are customized for each person’s preferences, so you can design the exact size and grid pattern you would like
- These locs are very low maintenance once they are installed. The only additional help they need is the retightening appointment around every 6 weeks.
- All you need to do is wash them and they are ready to go. Sisterlocks require no styling products.
- The installation process is not too hard on the roots of your hair, as they are installed from the bottom, up.
- Initially, sisterlocks are quite expensive to install. The first year of having sisterlocks could cost you around $1000 or more, depending on your hair.
- Sisterlocks start off looking very thin, and it can be hard to be patient and wait for them to swell to a size you prefer.
- If you don’t keep up with regular maintenance, sisterlocks can begin to break or thin out in sections.
- The installation process is very tedious and can take 8-24 hours, spread out over many days
Are Sisterlocks The Right Choice For You?
Each individual’s hair journey is unique to them. For some, sisterlocks have been a great option for their natural hair. What’s not to like about an aesthetically pleasing style that keeps your hair healthy? However, sisterlocks are a huge time and monetary investment.
We hope this article has given you all the information you need to make the best choice in your loc journey. Good luck!