I’ve had sisterlocks for a few weeks now and am officially obsessed! I was getting so many questions about them that I decided to dust off the blog’s cobwebs 😂 and put together a quick Q&A to house all the questions in one place. I’ll keep this updated as more and more questions come up!
Sisterlocks vs. Loose Natural Hair
Wait, what are sisterlocks?!
Sisterlocks are a form of microlocs — very small locs (smaller than the width of a pencil) in comparison to regular dreadlocks. Sisterlocks are a trademarked technique of installing locs with a special grid parting pattern using a special tool to interlock the hair.
If you’re confused about the difference between sisterlocks vs. microlocs — all sisterlocks are microlocs, but all microlocs aren’t sisterlocks.
Did you know that you’d always want sisterlocks?
I did not always know that I wanted sisterlocks, but I was open to the idea because my mom has had sisterlocks for about 8 years, and they look great on her! I always knew that I wouldn’t relax my hair ever again, so I figured whenever I got tired of my loose natural hair, I would loc it.
How long did you wait before finally getting them?
When I was in grad school I began thinking about sisterlocks as a thing I would do after I turned 40, which is when I imagined I would be done playing with my hair.
But after I got pregnant and had my son, I began to think more seriously about them. I no longer had the energy or interest in taking care of my hair by myself, and began to dread washing, detangling, and styling it by myself. I started to rely almost entirely on hair salon visits for my hair maintenance, which is fine, but I still felt like I was wasting precious moments of my mornings and nights doing my hair or feeling guilty that I was neglecting it when two weeks would go by without a drop of moisture hitting my strands.
I made the final decision to get them in May 2022, after my 12 year natural hair anniversary, and booked my appointment for the end of June!
Why did you choose sisterlocks over another size (i.e. microlocks or a traditional size)?
I knew that I wanted a smaller loc vs a traditional loc because I still wanted to be able to — at some point — so things like curls and updos with my hair. I also like that your scalp is harder to see with fully formed sisterlocks, compared to regular locs. I wasn’t that particular between sisterlocks and micro locs, because again, the difference between them is not the size but the installation technique, so essentially made my choice based on who I trusted to do my hair.
Will you miss the versatility of styling your natural fro?
No. I did every style I wanted to do with my loose natural hair in the 12 years since I went natural — seriously, check the receipts! I had SO much fun with my hair and don’t feel like I’m missing out on any styles. And if the spirit moves me (which honestly, I doubt it will… my hair is no longer a priority in my life), I can still style my sisterlocks in updos, braidouts, and curly styles.
Are sisterlocks permanent? What will you do if you decide that you don’t want them anymore?
Sisterlocks are technically not permanent — you can comb them out. But it would take AGES to do so. Most people who no longer want their sisterlocks cut them off rather than trying to comb them out. If I get bored of them I’ll just cut my hair and start over! I never did a technical big chop, I transitioned for over a year, so it might be cool to experiment with a super short hairstyle. Clearly I don’t feel like my options are limited!
Installation & Maintenance
I’ve heard that starting sisterlocks are EXPENSIVE! How much did it cost to start your sisterlocks in Kenya? Was it comparable to US prices?
Sisterlocks are definitely an investment, but one of the reasons I decided to get them done in Kenya was to save some money! I never got a quote from a Sisterlocks consultant in the US, but I’ve seen prices online starting around $700-800, and that’s for 4 inches of hair. I had 9 inches of hair when I locked and I have VERY dense hair, so I think it would have been closer to $1000 in the U.S.
The salon I went to in Kenya charged me 70,000 KES for my installation (which included the consultation, install, and first retie), which converted to $630.
How did you find a qualified loctician to install them?
The Sisterlocks website has a list of certified consultants and trainees! That’s where I started my search — but I actually found the salon a year ago when my mom was visiting us in Kenya and wanted to get her hair done. Studio28, where my mom and I both got our hair done, is listed on the Sisterlocks site as the salon of a certified Sisterlocks consultant who has locations in both Nairobi and Maryland.
Why did you get them in Kenya instead of the US?
I knew they would be cheaper to get in Kenya and I assumed that I would be able to get them installed by two people, which would make the process faster (I was correct, but it still took SO long!). I live in the middle of nowhere in Indiana, so the closest Sisterlocks consultants are over an hour away — a two hour commute for the consultation, another two hours on each install day (which probably would have been 3 days with one person), and additional cost of the install did not add up to a sensible choice for me.
How long was the installation process? Did you get them done in one sitting or across several days?
My Sisterlocks install took 26 hours . We did it two sittings and spent 13 hours each day. And that’s with two people working on my head! So pro tip: if you’re considering getting sisterlocks, don’t wait until your hair is longer to get them — your behind and wallet will NOT be happy with you 😂
I was actually surprised by how long the initial parting process took. Since Sisterlocks requires a very particular grid parting style, a good hour was spent just laying the foundation of the grid with meticulous parts. My appointment on Day 1 started at 7:30 am and they didn’t start the first loc until 10:00am.
How will you find someone to maintain your sisterlocks once you return to the US?
The same Sisterlocks consultant directory! I looked up Sisterlocks consultants in Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois (South Bend is within 30 minutes of both states) and had to search each city listed to find the closest ones to me. After making a short list, I called a few spots and booked an appointment for a retie two months away!
What type of commitment does it take to maintain sisterlocks? How often will you need to get them retightened?
I consider Sisterlocks to be a low to medium commitment hairstyle, similar to protective styles like braids or wigs. Sisterlocks require retightening every 4-6 weeks at the beginning, and then every 6-8 weeks once they are fully formed. You can go longer between retightenings, technically as long as you want, but people often charge more for retightenings after a certain time since it’s more work.
What is the daily maintenance?
This is where Sisterlocks shine — the daily maintenance is SUPER minimal! I use a mist bottle to hydrate my hair a few times a week, and since my scalp is on the dry side, I use an avocado oil blend once or twice a week to soothe my itchy scalp. Long gone are the days of twisting my hair before bed and unraveling a twistout in the morning 🙌🏾
They are so beautiful, but so tiny! Are you worried about hair damage or breakage?
Not at all! Because sisterlocks are started from the ends of the hair and not the scalp, there is absolutely no tension on my edges or the root of my hair. My mom’s hair is finer than mine, and she hasn’t had breakage at the root, so I’m not worried about breakage at all — at least no more so than when I got braids.
My mom HAS had mid loc breakage (like halfway down the loc), which she credits to over-processed hair coloring, and not to the locs themselves or the size of them.
Some of us are tender headed! Based on your experience, were the installation and relocking appointments painful?
So I’m not tender headed AT ALL (I was that child who wouldn’t say that her hair was burning while getting a relaxer), so take this with a grain of salt — but I found the installation & retie process virtually painless. The locs are started at the ends of your hair so the roots of your hair are twisted not tightly. My assumption is that Sisterlocks is actually probably better for tender headed people than regular locs started with interlocking or palm rolling.
The only thing that I could feel was the locs at the nape of my neck that were created during the retie. They weren’t tight, but because I don’t usually twist the tiny hairs back in the kitchen, my brain was temporarily confused that they were being manipulated.
The color of your sisterlocks are EVERYTHING! Will you be able to get your hair color touched up with your sisterlocks?
Thank you! Sisterlocks can be colored, but they have to fully loc first, which can take up to a year. That’s why I colored my hair before my install, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to color it for another year. The color looked SO GOOD, I was *this* close to chickening out on my loc installation appointment because this might be my favorite hair color I’ve done (and I’ve done a lot of different hair colors!)
If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to ask — just send me an email or DM! If you’re ever missing my loose natural hair, you can get tons of styling and maintenance advice in the hair archives or on my YouTube channel.