What is sisterlocks?
Sisterlocks is a “natural hair management system that allows women with tightly textured hair to take advantage of a wide range of today’s hairstyles without having to alter the natural texture of their hair” (source: The Official Sisterlocks website).
What is Sisterlocks to me?
It’s not a hairstyle. It’s much more of a commitment than that. For me, sisterlocks offers “manageability, versatility, and freedom” that I couldn’t actualize with my ‘fro or relaxed hair.
Getting relaxers can be considered a hair care management system as well. However, I was discouraged by the amount of money I spent relaxing my hair, just for it to revert into a puff at the first sign of rain or sweat. Why spend money doing something that my hair continued to resist?
And with a ‘fro… it just became too much work trying to manipulate it into styles I adored.
So why sisterlocks instead of traditional locs or other microlocs? Traditional locs wouldn’t have been versatile enough. I feel comforted by the fact that sisterlocks is trademarked– that there is an actual, written down method of locking; whereas for other micrlocs, there is much left to user interpretation.
How much does sisterlocks cost?
Cost varies by location, loctician, hair length and density, etc.
For the installation package, you’ll probably pay $500+. The installation package includes consultation, the locking session, and the 1st re-tightening.
The cost for re-tightenings is also highly variable. I pay $35/hour. It does not include washing my hair.
Year One (2011): I paid $1,325 for the sisterlocks installation ($550) and 8 re-tightenings (avg. $97/each) in 2011. For 2012 (year two), I don’t expect to pay more than $1,050 for re-tightenings and hair care purchases in general. (See: Sisterlocks vs. Relaxers in Terms of $$ and $$ in 2012)
You can learn to re-tighten your own hair by taking a $250 re-tightening training course and save money.
Understanding the Locking Process
This is critical. So, you’ve looked at pics online of women with bouncy, long sisterlocks. And, you think– wow! I want my hair to look like that! Well, I love your enthusiasm but pump your brakes. Chances are it may take years for your hair to reach that stage.
Most of us start off with exposed fuzzy ends to our sisterlocks, which eventually mat/lock/bud overtime (see pics from my install day). Depending on your hair texture and your maintenance regimen (what products you use), it may take you more or less time for your hair to actually lock. Also, if you start off with short, short hair like I did… your styling options may be further limited in the beginning.
I don’t mean to discourage you. I just want to keep it real. Though I never regretted my decision to sisterlock, there have been many moments during my first year with sisterlocks where I:
- just didn’t feel like my hair was pretty enough,
- was discouraged that my hair was unraveling a bit/not locking at the speed I wanted,
- regretted my decision to cut my hair so short before locking