If you’re a protective styles enthusiast, you’ve probably seen sisterlocks hairstyles floating all over your IG feed. And while they aren’t the best option for the faint of heart – they’re time-consuming and slightly expensive to install – these locks leave you with a permanent style that you can roller set, braid, color, or rock wild and free.
But before you schedule your next appointment or start bugging your cousin to work their sisterlock magic, here’s everything you need to know about this protective hairstyle and check out 15 drop-dead gorgeous ways to wear them.
What Are Sisterlocks?
Simply put, sisterlocks or microlocs are the finer but thinner sister to dreadlocks.
They were created and trademarked by Dr. JoAnne Cornwell (a Professor Emerita of Africana Studies and beauty specialist) in 1993. She also has a site where she vividly describes sisterlocks as a lifestyle inviting women interested in cultural self-expression to embrace a natural, self-affirming, gorgeous natural haircare system.
These fine locs (almost half the size of traditional locks) are formed using a locking technique that only uses a patented tool that builds the locs from the ends to the roots (in a rope-like appearance) and involves small portions of hair, so no hair product is required.
What Are The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Sisterlocs?
Here are some of the reasons you need to install sisterlocks:
- They allow for maximum styling versatility
- They are neat and barely look like locks
- Sisterlocs are a medium-maintenance hairstyle
- They don’t require you to purchase a lot of products – only require the sisterlocks shampoo
- The locks are a designer style and are customized for your hair pattern and texture
Some problems that might arise with installing sisterlocks include:
- You can’t use any moisturizing products in your locks when they’re settling
- Some people experience excessive lock breakage
- You have to follow an extremely structured lifestyle and regimen
What Should You Know Before Installing Sisterlocks?
Before you hop on the sisterlocks bandwagon, there are some factors you need to consider:
• They Can Be Costly: Long-lasting sisterlocks have to be installed by a certified, trained consultant. Finding one in your area can be challenging; if you do, installation can cost you an arm and a leg. You could spend anywhere from $400 to $1200 on installation alone and almost $300 on retightening. So, if you’re not ready to make an investment, this look might not be your ideal choice.
• Installation Takes A Minute: While sisterlocks are a jaw-dropping and trendy hairstyle, they aren’t for the faint of heart. They are time-consuming to install. Most people take 2-3 days at the salon or about 20-24 hours. After that, retightening (if you don’t have your own tool) can take 3-5 hours of time every 4-6 weeks to keep them looking fresh and flawless.
• You Should Avoid Moisture: Unlike natural curls and coils, sisterlocks need some time before being slathered with moisture products. The interlocking technique that creates the locks is prone to coming undone if they’re overly moisturized while the hair is new. If you struggle with dry skin, this might be an issue.
How Should You Clean and Care For Sisterlocks?
It’s easy. Apply your sisterlocks shampoo directly to the scalp, work it through your locs moving from the roots to the tips (using your fingertips), use your favorite deep conditioner, and then wrap a cotton towel around your head so your hair can mostly dry. Remember to separate the locs when they’re completely dry.
As for how many times you need to clean your hair, make sure to do so every 1 to 2 weeks. To protect them, use a silk pillowcase or silk scarf when sleeping.
Babes with sisterlocs should avoid:
- Coloring your locks within a year of installation
- Hot styling tools
- Excessive shampooing – it can cause damage to your hair
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Locs Do You Need For Sisterlocks?
According to experts, the average sisterlocks client leaves a session with 400-500 locks and a badass attitude!
Are They Better Than Traditional Locs?
Yes? Maybe? Sisterlocks are lightweight and thinner, making them easier to create complex and intricate loc styles.
How Long Do Sisterlocks Last?
Like every other protective style, how you care for and maintain your locs affects how long they’ll last. Generally speaking, the hair requires retightening every 6 to 8 weeks.
What Oil Should You Use On Your Locs?
When your microlocs are settled (after 8-10 weeks), apply peppermint essential oil to your roots. This can help with thinning hair issues. Peppermint infused with jojoba oil will leave your scalp feeling lively and refreshed.
Do Sisterlocks Get Thicker?
The initial look of your locs will change. And based on your lock type, this might take anywhere from 2 weeks to 12 months for your sisterlocs to settle in. The hair will also increase in thickness after a few washes by about 100% – the ends will appear thicker than the roots.
How To Rock Sisterlocks In 2023
Here are some of the coolest, Pinterest-approved sisterlocs styles for spring, summer, and every other season: