Sisterlocks: Differences, Pros & Cons, and More

Last update:

Do you desire a trendy protective hairstyle? Do you hate the blunt looks of traditional locs? Alright, the sister locks might be the most perfect choice for you. 

That said, this trendy and gorgeous hairstyle has its own disadvantages as well. It doesn’t suit everyone. 

So to help you understand whether it’s right for you, we’re here to explain everything you need to know about sisterlocks. It mainly includes the origin, differences with locs, pros & cons, maintenance, cost and so on. Let’s check it out one by one!

What-are- sisterlocks

What are Sisterlocks?


First of all, starting from its origin is the best way to know the hairstyle.

“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”, says Dr.JoAnne Cornwell, the founder of sisterlocks.

Sisterlocks were created and established in 1993 and got popularized quickly. Black women worldwide have successfully achieved the mission mentioned by the founder and lived in a more satisfying way.

To be simple, sisterlocks look like the thinner pattern of traditional locs with specific installation technique. So you should visit a certified sisterlocks consultant to help you finish this hard task.

What are the Differences Between Sisterlocks and Regular Locs?


Sisterlocks differ with normal locs in many aspects. We will mainly discuss the sizes, installation methods, time commitments, costs and so on.


Sisterlocks are much finer and thinner than regular locs. As we know, the general width of faux locs can measure from 10 inches to 20 inches; yet, the width of sisterlocks only ranges from 1/8 inches to 3/8 inches. Obviously, sisterlocks consist of tiny-sized dreadlocks. It leads to different looks when finishing.


you will obtain a sisterlocks hairstyle by a certified stylist with a specific tool. We usually get traditional locs with the palm-rolling, braiding, or comb-coiling technique. Yet, on the other hand, your professional stylist would install sisterlocks with a latch hook tool. Thanks to the tiny size of sisterlocks, we also don’t use any styling products as we would for normal locs. 

In addition, a sisterlocks stylist will start forming at the ends of hair and move upward to your scalp. This is a complete reversal of the top-down installation method when forming regular locs.

Time commitment

creating sisterlocks takes much longer than creating regular locs does. Generally speaking, you may spend 2-3 hours finishing the faux locs hairstyle; yet, for sisterlocks, you may be prepared to take at least 20 hours on it. 

As we mentioned above, the process of creating sisterlocks is very delicate and tedious, so you can imagine how time consuming it is. Based on that, extra time it takes varies depending on the length and density of your natural hair and the styling you desire.


sisterlocks cost much more than normal locs. For regular locs, like faux locs, it usually takes you $100 to $300. Yet, the sisterlocks are not so budget-friendly compared with locs. 

Due to the precise and time-consuming installation process, your first sisterlocks session usually starts at about $500. Each retightening session might cost another $100 at least.

Stages of Sisterlocks


Finishing installation on your head is not the end of the story. This delicate hairstyle goes through 4 main stages before it is fully mature and firm.

Pre-locking Stage

The first stage is the pre-locking stage. During this period, your locs are tightly coiled and neat. So we call them baby locks or the newbie stage.

Meanwhile, locs in the pre-locking stage are very vulnerable. You should take extra care in case of unraveling. Be gentle and patient when washing and totally avoid any vigorous scratching.

Budding Stage

In this phase, a small bud is formed. It means the locs begin to loosely lock. The hairstyle is called “teen locks”, because the lock is trying to rebel against the tight structure it was in.

In fact, washings make your hair expand and contract. At this stage, you will find your hair thickening and swell.

Shooting Stage

At this stage, the entire lock is becoming more matted. With the bud at the center, your hair intertwines towards the ends and becomes dense.

That said, the area nearing your hair roots will not be locked. That’s the place for new growth. The length of the shooting stage varies depending on how long your hair is when initially installed. Most of the time, this stage is perhaps the longest of the four. 

Contracting Stage

The last one is the contracting stage. In this phase, your locs look firmer and mature. The ends of hair are fully sealed. The finished look is uniform and 

It’s also known as “elder locs”. Sister locks achieve fully settle or mature within 2 years. The timing varies from one person to another based on different hair texture.

How to Install Sisterlocks?

To see more directly how to install sisterlocks, I have picked up this video below.  And you can combine it with my simple version of the video summary (step by step).

Step 1: Stretch out the hair in advance. One thing before obtaining locs is to stretch out your hair with African threading. This will be conducive to lock your hair tomorrow. 

Keep them till the next day, take out the threads and comb your hair out. By the way, you should not use any hair product on it.

Step 2: Part your hair into several sections. For the middle section, line between your ears and part your hair; for the front, part them into four sections equally; for the back, part your hair into six areas. Then, use several hair clips to ensure each section is in place.

Step 3: Measure these sections and twist them. For the front section, measure 0.5 inch to section each of your lines. Then you need to flat twist. Make sure the lines in the middle section are horizontal; on the other hand, the lines in front and the back are vertical.

Step 4: further part and rotate your hair. Unlock a line of flat twists. Then, part those lines into smaller lines of 0.5 inch. Choose one line and continue to divide it equally. Then, twist the hair around the tips. It can avoid your hair from unraveling at the end when you loc. 

After doing that, apply the four-point rotation method with your fingers. It means you need to cross your fingers through the hair in four different directions. It’s time to stop doing this when you arrive at the roots. 

Then you can use a locking tool to pass the hair through till the place is not so tight. And then, simply repeat the method for all the other lines.

Through these establishment steps, you can learn how the entire process works. You can self-learn retightening sessions six months after installation. But for starters, you must enlist help of a certified sisterlocks consultant for initial installation. 


Pros of Sisterlocks

 There are some benefits provided by sisterlocks. Follow me and see why most people choose this hairstyle.

Uniform appearance

The first advantage I have to mention is the gorgeous appearance of sisterlocks. Compared with normal locs, its finished look is super neat and uniform. Besides, the fine grid on the scalp also looks very beautiful and meticulous. 

Versatile Styling Options

Apart from their beauty, Sisterlocks are unbelievably versatile. You can choose to roller set, color or braid them wild and free. Based on sisterlocks, there are many different variations to show your personality. For example, it’s recommended to choose a high ponytail, two strand twists, half bun, space bun and so on.

Wash-and-go convenience

Sisterlocks is also a typical wash-n- go hairstyle! It provides hair freedom for all its wearers. You do not need to use any hair products when installing. In follow-up maintanence, you are free from carrying combs and brushes anytime. It also allows you to style your hair as freely as you can. 

Easy Washing

As we all know, sisterlocks are defined by their thin and fine hair.  The unique point not only enhances the images of wearers, but also makes it easier to wash your scalp. Neat grids and fine braids make the scalp more bare. This makes it easier for wearers to clean the scalp in detail.


Cons of Sisterlocks

In spite of those great merits, the special hairstyle may be a headache for other locs lovers. So it’s necessary for eager starters to know all shortcomings before you try it.

Tedious Installation

As mentioned before, installing sisterlocks is not only time-intensive but very expensive. Unfortunately, the tedious installation process has pushed lots of people away from salon doors. The time and money spent on installation varies with your hair length, density, stylist skill level, and your location. In general, the initial installation takes 1-3 days and $300- $2000. 

Once you choose to embark on the sisterlocks journey, please make sure to set aside enough time and budget. Be aware that spendings for subsequent retightening sessions should also be taken into account!


Sisterlocks are more fine and fragile than other regular locs; therefore, it requires a higher maintenance in daily life. To keep your locs firm, you need to take retightening sessions regularly within at least 6 months. 

In addition, gentle washing once a week is safe for these cute braids. Avoid any irritating contact like hot tools and dying. As for follow-up hair care, we will explain it to you in detail in the following content.

Long-term commitment

 If you haven’t tried temporary protective locs yet, don’t do it yet; If you’re not sure of the best locs choice, patiently visit a certified consultant. They will help you with installation tests and give you appropriate advice. You should know that establishing sisterlocks requires long-term commitment.

Compared with traditional temporary locs, sisterlocks is a long-term or permanent hairstyle. With regular retightening sessions and proper care, the small-sized hairstyle can last even for years. 

Potential hair damage

Since the locs are very thin and vulnerable, proper care is necessary. If you vigorously scratching your hair when washing, it may loosen and unravel with the time passes; if you don’t part them correctly after washing, your locs may become frizzy and damaged; or, if you give too little care to night maintenance, Rubbing and squeezing can also damage hair and even scalp. These factors will potentially cause hair damage and suffer traction alopecia! 

Maintenance and Care of Sisterlocks 


Sisterlocks require much more follow-up care than traditional dreadlocks. Here, we mainly introduce the precautions from 3 aspects:


Taking retightening sessions is essential for you. Following installation, you should appoint your consultant to check and retighten the locs, and give some maintenance tips. After that, you need to schedule a retightening session every 4–6 weeks. 

Though the self-tightening class is available, we still recommend you to visit a professional for retightening during the first 6 months.


Wash your hair with extra care. You should wash your fragile hair every 1 to 2 weeks with a gentle shampoo with oil. Do not wash your hair too frequently or roughly! Otherwise, you may unravel your locs and cause damage to it. After washing, you can separate your locs carefully.

Daily Care

Daily maintenance also plays a significant role on your hair texture and health. Avoid heat tools. They are vulnerable and can’t afford the torture! Avoid coloring your locs within 1 year of installation. To be safe, wait until your tiny locs are mature before dyeing them. 

One thing in common with regular locs is that sisterlocks also require using a silk pillowcase or satin cap at night. Following these tips will help your locs retain moisture and keep them from friction and damage.

FAQs about Sisterlocks

How much do Sisterlocks cost?

The process of beginning and maintaining Sisterlocks is not such budget-friendly. Due to the precise and time-consuming installation process, your first sisterlocks session usually starts at about $500. Each retightening session might cost another $100 at least.

How long do Sisterlocks last?

Sisterlocks are a long-term or permanent protective hairstyle. With regular retightening sessions and proper care, the cute hairstyle can last for years.

Can anyone get Sisterlocks regardless of hair type or texture?

Yes. To be honest, for thin or fine hair, sisterlocks are a better fit for you. A sisterlocks stylist usually creates them from the ends of your hair to the scalp. So it can greatly reduce the tension and damage on hair roots.

Can you swim with Sisterlocks?

Regular swimming is not recommended. Chlorine in water strips the natural oils from your hair. Swimming in the saltwater ocean is even less advisable. Remember wearing a swimming cap if you try it once in a while.

Final talk

Ok, till now we have discussed so much for sisterlocks, including the differences between sisterlocks and regular locs, pros & cons, the follow-up maintenance and so on. You must have got further understanding of the tiny-sized locs. 

As a unique protective hairstyle, sisterlocks are not only a celebration of our unique brand of beauty, but convey an open and optimistic lifestyle. Yet, pleasure make sure you have enough time and budget to start your sisterlocks journey.

Hope the article helps you! If you have any questions or additions, just leave your comment below!

Author: Charity Nasike


Charity Nasike is a passionate wig wearer and basically has diverse knowledge related to wigs' care and maintenance. When she's not writing, she's either in the kitchen trying out new recipes or on social media advising fellow ladies tricks to apply on their wigs.

Save 80% on your next human hair order!

We have partnered with to offer the best deal on high-quality virgin human hair to our readers. If you click on the button below, we will take you to their exclusive discount page.

Quality Human Hairs

Leave a Comment