What are Sisterlocks? Are Sisterlocks the Right Choice for your Hair?

What are Sisterlocks? Are Sisterlocks the Right Choice for your Hair?

A Comprehensive Guide: Getting Started with Sisterlocks


Are you thinking about changing up your hairstyle and exploring the natural beauty of Sisterlocks? We've been there too, captivated by the versatility and uniqueness of this technique first developed in 1993 by JoAnne Cornwell.

This comprehensive guide will help you understand every aspect of getting started with Sisterlocks, from installation to proper care routine and everything in between. Ready to embark on your delightful hair journey? Let's dive right in!

Key Takeaways

  • Sisterlocks are a type of locs that are weaved into natural hair, offering a unique and versatile hairstyle for black women.
  • Sisterlocks differ from regular locs in creation method, size, installation time, cost, maintenance, and the undoing process.
  • Proper care for Sisterlocks includes regular re - tightening appointments to maintain neatness and cleanliness through washing, scalp care, avoiding heat tools, and using satin hair socks.
  • The different stages of Sisterlocks include the pre - locking stage when hair is prepared, budding stage as locks start forming, shooting stage with increased length and definition, and contracting stage where locks become tighter and more established.


What are Sisterlocks?

Sisterlocks are a type of locs that are weaved into natural hair, unlike regular locs created through palm-rolling or strand twisting.


Origin of Sisterlocks

Sisterlocks are a revolutionary natural hair locking technique that emerged back in 1993. They were created by Dr. JoAnne Cornwell, with an aim to offer a healthy and versatile style option for black women across the globe.

The key intention was to celebrate the beauty of afro-textured hair while reducing the dependency on harsh chemical treatments or heat stylings that can potentially damage our precious curls.

Sisterlocks provide us with the freedom to embrace and flaunt our natural, beautiful tresses!

Differences between Sisterlocks and Regular Locs

Sisterlocks and regular locs may seem similar, but they are quite different in a number of ways. As black women, it's important that we understand these differences to make an informed choice about our hair.


Sisterlocks Regular Locs
Creation Method Sisterlocks are created by weaving strands of hair together. This requires specialized training and expertise. Regular locs are created by palm-rolling or strand twisting, which can be done without formal training.
Size Our Sisterlocks are smaller compared to traditional locs, which gives us a fuller and more versatile style. Regular locs are larger and give a more distinct, noticeable appearance.
Installation Time The installation process for Sisterlocks can be quite long due to their small size. Installing regular locs is typically quicker because of their larger size.
Cost Starting Sisterlocks is generally more expensive because it requires a trained professional. Prices can start at $850 for short hair, with an extra $100 for longer hair. Regular locs are cheaper and can be done at home or in a salon.
Maintenance Sisterlocks require regular maintenance to keep them looking their best. The cost can range from $400 and higher. Regular locs also need maintenance, but it is less frequent and less expensive.
Undoing Process Sisterlocks can be undone, but it is a time-consuming process and may require the help of a professional. Regular locs can also be undone, but the process is easier and generally less time-consuming.


When it comes to styling, Sisterlocks offer a unique and versatile hairstyle. They can be styled in various ways to match our personal preferences.

How to Care for Sisterlocks

To care for Sisterlocks, regular re-tightening appointments are necessary to maintain the integrity and neatness of the locks.



Maintaining the tightness and neatness of your Sisterlocks is essential to keep them looking fresh and well-groomed. Re-tightening your Sisterlocks involves carefully reweaving the locs as they grow out from the scalp, ensuring that they stay secure and intact.

This process helps to maintain the uniformity and structure of your locks. Regular re-tightening sessions are typically recommended every 4-6 weeks, although this can vary depending on individual hair growth rates.

It's important to find a skilled Sisterlock consultant who has been trained specifically in this technique, as their expertise will ensure that your locks are properly cared for during re-tightening sessions.


Maintaining clean and healthy Sisterlocks is essential for their longevity and overall appearance. Washing your Sisterlocks should be done regularly, typically every two weeks or as needed.

To wash your Sisterlocks, start by diluting a sulfate-free shampoo with water in a spray bottle. Gently spray the mixture onto your scalp and locks, being careful not to saturate them completely.

Massage your scalp with your fingertips to loosen any dirt or product buildup, then rinse thoroughly with warm water. After washing, use a light conditioner or oil-based moisturizer to hydrate your hair and prevent dryness.

Scalp care

Taking care of your scalp is crucial when it comes to maintaining healthy and vibrant Sisterlocks. A clean and well-nourished scalp promotes hair growth and prevents any potential issues like dryness, dandruff, or itchiness.

To keep your scalp in top condition, regularly cleanse it with a gentle shampoo specifically formulated for Sisterlocks. This will ensure that any build-up or residue is removed without stripping away essential oils.

Additionally, massaging your scalp with natural oils like coconut or jojoba oil can help moisturize and soothe any irritations. Remember to avoid scratching or picking at your scalp as this can damage the delicate roots of your Sisterlocks.

Avoiding heat tools

Using heat tools on Sisterlocks can be damaging to the hair and may lead to breakage or weakened locs. It's important to avoid excessive heat from flat irons, curling wands, or blow dryers as they can strip moisture from the hair and cause it to become brittle.

Instead, opt for air drying or using a diffuser on low heat settings when necessary. This will help preserve the strength and integrity of your Sisterlocks, allowing them to thrive and maintain their beautiful texture for years to come.

Using satin hair socks

To keep your Sisterlocks looking their best, it's important to protect them while you sleep. One way to do this is by using satin hair socks. Satin is a smooth material that reduces friction on your hair, preventing breakage and frizz.

Hair socks made from satin are a great investment for maintaining the health and longevity of your Sisterlocks. Simply slip one on before bed, and you'll wake up with your locks still looking fresh and neat.

This small addition to your bedtime routine can make a big difference in preserving the beauty of your Sisterlocks for years to come!

The Different Stages of Sisterlocks

In the different stages of sisterlocks, your hair will go through various transformations: from the pre-locking stage where your hair is sectioned and prepared, to the budding stage where tiny locks begin to form, then progressing to the shooting stage as your locks become more defined and lengthen over time, finally reaching the contracting stage where your sisterlocks continue to mature and strengthen.


Pre-locking stage

During the pre-locking stage of Sisterlocks, it's important to ensure that your hair is healthy and in its best condition. This means taking care of any damage or split ends before beginning the locking process.

You should also consult with a professional stylist who specializes in Sisterlocks to determine if your hair is suitable for this type of loc style. It's important to note that starting Sisterlocks can be costly, with prices ranging from $850 for shorter hair to potentially much higher for longer lengths.

However, many women find that the investment is well worth it for the confidence and versatility that comes with having Sisterlocks as their chosen hairstyle.

Budding stage

During the budding stage of Sisterlocks, your hair will begin to form small cylindrical sections that resemble tiny buds. This is an exciting and crucial stage as it marks the initial formation of your Sisterlocks.

The budding process starts when your natural hair begins to mesh together, creating strong bonds that will ultimately become the foundation for each lock. It's important to be patient during this stage as it can take several months for your locks to fully mature.

Regular maintenance and retightening sessions are necessary at this stage to ensure that your locks continue to develop properly and maintain their integrity. Embrace this budding phase as it signifies the start of a beautiful journey towards maintaining healthy and stylish Sisterlocks!

Shooting stage

During the shooting stage of your Sisterlocks journey, your locks will begin to mature and take shape. This is when you'll notice more definition and length in your locks as they continue to grow.

The roots will become tighter, creating a solid foundation for your locks. It's important to stick with your regular maintenance routine during this stage, including re-tightening appointments and proper scalp care.

You may also start experimenting with different hairstyles as your locks become more versatile. With patience and consistency, you'll soon achieve the beautiful Sisterlocks hairstyle that you've been working towards.

Contracting stage

During the contracting stage of your Sisterlocks journey, you will start to notice your locks becoming tighter and more established. This is an exciting phase as it signifies progress in the locking process.

Your hair will shrink slightly during this stage, but don't worry, that's completely normal! To maintain healthy and beautiful Sisterlocks at this stage, regular re-tightening appointments are essential.

These appointments help keep your locks in their proper shape and prevent them from unraveling or matting. It's important to find a trusted professional who specializes in Sisterlocks maintenance for best results.

Step-by-step Guide to Installing Sisterlocks

Installing Sisterlocks is a meticulous process that requires time and patience to achieve the desired results. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started with your Sisterlocks journey:


  1. Consultation: Schedule a consultation with a certified Sisterlocks consultant to discuss your hair goals and assess if Sisterlocks are the right fit for you. They will also determine the length of your locks and provide an estimate for the installation cost.
  2. Preparing the Hair: Before the installation, it's important to have clean, detangled hair. Wash your hair thoroughly using a clarifying shampoo to remove any product buildup or residue. Make sure your hair is completely dry before proceeding.
  3. Sectioning: The consultant will carefully divide your hair into small, uniform sections using precise partings. These sections will be used as the base for creating each individual lock.
  4. Locking Process: Using a specialized tool called a "lock hook," the consultant will gently twist and weave each section of hair into its own separate, self-contained lock. This process can take several hours or even days, depending on the length and thickness of your hair.
  5. Palm-Rolling: After all the locks are created, they may require palm-rolling to further tighten and shape them. This involves rolling each lock between your palms in a clockwise motion to smooth out any bumps or irregularities.
  6. Final Touches: Once all the locks are installed and palm-rolled, you may choose to style them by adding accessories or leaving them as is. The consultant will provide guidance on how to care for your new Sisterlocks and recommend products that promote healthy lock growth.



In conclusion, if you're considering the Sisterlocks hairstyle, this guide has provided you with a comprehensive overview of what to expect. From understanding the differences between Sisterlocks and regular locs to learning about the installation process and necessary maintenance, we hope this guide has equipped you with the knowledge needed to embark on your Sisterlocks journey confidently.

Remember that although it may require time and investment, Sisterlocks offer unique styling options and allow for beautiful self-expression through your natural hair.


1. What are Sisterlocks?

Sisterlocks are a natural hair locking system that creates uniform and versatile locks without the use of extensions or chemicals. It is a method designed specifically for those with tightly coiled or textured hair.

2. How long does it take to install Sisterlocks?

The time required to install Sisterlocks varies depending on factors such as the length and density of your hair. On average, it can take anywhere from 15 to 30 hours or more to complete the installation process.

3. Can I wash my hair after getting Sisterlocks installed?

After getting Sisterlocks installed, it is recommended to wait at least one week before washing your hair. This allows time for the locks to settle and secure properly. Additionally, using a residue-free shampoo and following proper maintenance techniques is key for preserving the integrity of your locks.

4. Are there any maintenance requirements for maintaining Sisterlocks?

Yes, maintaining Sisterlocks requires regular retightening sessions every 4-6 weeks in order to keep your locks neat and well-maintained. It is important to follow proper care instructions provided by your certified Sisterlock consultant in order to ensure longevity and healthy growth of your locks.


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