So, you saw someone with beautiful and stylish Sisterlocks the other day, and now this natural hairstyle is on your radar. You’re probably wondering what they’re all about and if you should get them. Installing Sisterlocks is a big time money commitment, so it is wise to seek as much information as you can.
Sisterlocks are like no other natural hairstyle, and it might even be hard to identify them. Some say they look like microlocs, and others say they resemble microbraids. If you want to know about Sisterlocks, keep reading.
By the time you finish this post, you’ll know all about Sisterlocks and whether you want to make them your next natural hairstyle.
Who Invented Sisterlocks?
The woman who developed Sisterlocks is an African American Studies professor named Dr. JoAnne Cornwell. She wanted to provide a way for black women to do their hair in a way that didn’t involve the use of chemicals or extensions. Wondering how to do Sisterlocks yourself? You can’t.
The brand is trademarked and protected under a patent, so you need to book an appointment with a certified Sisterlocks consultant if you want these particular locks.
Dr. Cornwell invented the hair styling method in 1993, and it remains popular today among naturals. She created a system for males too, called Brotherlocks. What are the differences between Sisterlocks vs. Brotherlocks? Brotherlocks are slightly larger but are still smaller than traditional dreads.
What are Sisterlocks?
Sisterlocks are tiny, stylable locks that are formed using an interlocking method. Interlocking is where you use a tool to create the locks instead of using a palm roll or a two-strand twisting technique. Sisterlock technicians, or “Sister Lockticians,” make the lock from the ends to the roots, so there is very little pulling at the root or damage to the hair follicle.
There are so many Sisterlocks hairstyles you can do because the locks are tiny and versatile. Sisterlocks on short hair look amazing, and you can even do Sisterlocks on twa (teeny weeny afro). If you’re dying for some length, you could opt for Sisterlocks extensions until you’re able to grow your hair to get the real deal.
Here are some hairstyle ideas:
- Sisterlocks Hairstyles for Long Hair: Long and flowing, messy top bun, braided bun.
- Sisterlocks Hairstyles for Short Hair: Mohawk, side sweep, ombre with a flower to the side.
- Sisterlocks Hairstyles for Wedding: Beehive, half-up/half-down top bun, French braid.
- Sisterlocks Hairstyles for Work: Any updo, with several curling-ironed locks at the front.
Thinking about doing Sisterlocks on low-density hair? You’ll be pleased to know that not having a lot of hair means you have less time in the chair. It could even mean your price is lower than denser-haired Naturals. You probably won’t have a problem doing Sisterlocks on thin hair, but you’ll see a grid in the first few months until it fills out.
Sisterlocks vs. Dreadlocks
If you’re wondering about the difference between Sisterlocks and dreadlocks, it has to do with the technique and the size. An interlocking Sisterlocks tool is necessary to get tiny locks, whereas dreads are formed with the hands. Dreadlocks also tend to be thicker, and are built from the root. Technicians form Sisterlocks from the ends of your hair.
You might be curious about whether you can do Sisterlocks on relaxed ends or how Sisterlocks on straight hair would look. It’s hard to lock straight hair because it does not hold well.
You can try Sisterlocks on transitioning hair, but you’ll probably see a line of where the relaxed hair begins, also known as the line of demarcation.
How to Start Sisterlocks?
You’ll need to go to a certified Sisterlocks technician to start Sisterlocks. There’s no way around it because the Sisterlocks brand is patented and trademarked. Stylists cannot install this brand of locks without taking the four-day class.
The Sisterlocks website has an exclusive list of certified Sisterlocks technicians from the U.S. and international locations. The hairstyle comes with a hefty price tag, but you can justify some of the cost by considering how much you’d save on product. Sisterlocks cost $500-$800, so they’re not cheap.
But you may be able to find a trainee Sisterlock technician who can do the style for $300-$400.
However, once you’ve made the initial investment, you’ll probably find them easier to maintain on a daily basis.
Can Sisterlocks be Undone?
Yes, you can undo your Sisterlocks, but it is a very time-consuming, tedious process, so you should do your research and be confident if you want to install Sisterlocks beforehand. You can watch YouTube videos on how to remove them yourself, or you can book a visit with a professional unbraider who may have experience removing Sisterlocks. There won’t be much of a problem if you want to remove short Sisterlocks, but installing and removing Sisterlocks with long hair would require more time and patience.
Best Products for Sisterlocks
Sisterlocks requires one primary product: The Sisterlocks Shampoo. This shampoo provides nourishment and moisture to the locks. It also encourages the locks to bind to the locking process.
Besides the shampoo, products include green tea shampoo, a light essential oil mist, a setting lotion (which the website says to use sparingly), and a strong-hold styling spray.
The regular maintenance for this type of lock is straightforward, and this is one of the best parts about having this kind of style. You can wake up and have effortless ways to wear your hair.
One of the major differences between Sisterlocks and other natural hairstyles is that Sisterlock wearers use much less oil in their hair, and many say they use no oil at all.
How to Color Sisterlocks
Adding color to your Sisterlocks will give an interesting effect and a different look to your style. Using a semi-permanent dye will be less harsh and will leave your locks less frizzy. Excellent hair color brands for Sisterlocks include Herbatint and Naturtint.
Most types of hair color will cause dryness, so you should either color your hair before you begin Sisterlocks or be prepared to wait one full year after installation. Applying a good moisturizing conditioner, like Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow, and Restore Conditioner is a good idea too. It’s best to do coloring a few days before your retightening to make sure the hair dye product and process does not unravel your locks.
You’ll also want to make sure your hair is clean by using a clarifying or moisturizing shampoo such as Kinky curly come clean.
Your salon visits don’t stop with the initial installation. You’ll need to schedule retightening sessions every six to eight weeks, at $75-$100 per session. However, there are YouTube videos you can watch to learn how to do it yourself, using a Nappyloc tool.
Here is a good retightening video:
If you’ve watched the video, you’re probably wondering about Sisterlocks vs. Nappylocs. Nappylocs is another way to lock your hair using the interlock method. The main differences between these two are price, the tool used, and the grid pattern.
Nappylocs is much more affordable, and you have the possibility to do it yourself as opposed to having to go to a certified technician. It is the same for Sisterlocks vs. interlocks. Installing interlocks means you’re using a tool as opposed to twisting with your fingers.
Sisterlocks are a type of interlocking system with a different pattern than other styles.
It is the same for micro locs vs. Sisterlocks. It’s all about the tool, technique, and price. Both microlocs and Nappylocs are much cheaper to install.
Once you’ve begun using an interlocking method, you can stick to either the same approach or choose another interlocking method. For instance, you could start with a Sisterlock grid, and continue retightening yourself with a Nappyloc tool. However, if you try to use the twisting method on your interlocks, they could break.
So, if you start with the interlocking method, you should stick to it and not try to switch to traditional dreads.
Sisterlocks is a beautiful natural hairstyle that you can install if you have the money, time and dedication it takes for the installation and re-tightening processes. The hairstyle is versatile and could be the end of all bad hair days.
Now it’s your turn to discuss. Have you tried Sisterlocks, and if so, do you like them?
Hey Curl Friend, I’m Patrina Haupt the creator and author of Natural Hair Queen. I hope you find my healthy hair care tips helpful in your hair journey. Healthy hair care practices are definitely, what helped me to achieve waist length hair.