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Sister Locs: Pros, Cons, and Everything In-Between

I love giving advice to others that are considering getting sisterlocks.


In the Beginning, There Were Locks

Sisterlocks were developed by Dr. JoAnne Cornwell in 1993 when she invented a special crochet hook designed to create micro-sized “traditional locks” for easy styling and management. Since then they have taken off. You can simply type in sisterlocks in most any search engine and watch the hundreds of photos pop up on your screen. They are indeed a beautiful sight to behold; highly recognizable in all of its lengths and stages, yet so unique among each individual adorning them.

Let the Journey Begin

The journey in sisterlocks is different for all and beautiful for everyone. My own journey in sisterlocks began on August 9th, 2013. This decision had been seven years in the making. Ahhhh, seven, the number of completion. By now I’d gone through several stages and changes in my life including death, divorce, and a bought with depression. Yes, it was indeed time for that one physical change that would spark the most profound mental transformation of my life. It is certainly true that sisterlocks are not just a change in hairstyle. It changes the way you think and the way you feel about yourself and life in general. Sisterlocks uplift your spirit. You are sure to notice the rise in your confidence level from the many compliments you receive from strangers.

The look and style of sisterlocks will ultimately depend on the texture of your hair.

Before I finally took the leap of faith that would turn out to be one of the best decisions I’d made so far ever, I’d done a ton (literally years worth) of research. I knew that once I went there, for the hefty price of 600 dollars, there would be no turning back. The first and only person I knew with sisterlocks was a girlfriend I had in college, and I loved, loved, loved her locks. If you’re considering locks, you can always leave questions in the comments for me to answer.

Initial Contact: The Consultation

When I went for my initial consultation for sisterlocks, I’d already decided that it was a done deal. I arrived at my consultation with a down payment in hand. This is not required, however $600 was too much for me to pay in one sitting (and I’m not embarrassed to say that) but it is something I definitely knew I wanted; money I was very willing to pay. I was extremely excited about this journey.

I’d requested a mixture of small to medium-sized locks as I’d like this type much better and my hair is considerably thick. It took about 12 hours for complete installation. At the time of installation my hair was about two (plus) inches long, which brings me to a “just a part of the process” con. At this length, you can expect that some will come undone, particularly if you keep your hand in your hair as much as I did. So, first rule of installation, refrain from running your fingers through your newly crocheted locks (no matter how tempting it may be).

Retightening and Early Maintenance

Retightening is every four to six weeks at a cost of about $60 to $80 dollars per session. That may be a con for you so I just thought I might mention it. I highly recommend not going longer than two months without retightening as that leaves you vulnerable to thinning of the locks which may then need to be reattached and healed for damage that could actually end up costing you way more. So far, I’ve not experienced any of this, and I’m one year in. I’ve heard the horror stories though.

As far as maintenance goes, I don’t do a thing to my hair. I let my loctician wash it during my appointment for retightening and I use the shampoo designated for sisterlocks. I don’t use any moisturizers, conditioners, or any products for that matter. I’ve not experienced any issues even up until now besides the occasional lock that comes undone. When this would happen during the very early stages, I would just tie a rubber band around the ones that came undone to keep them from intertwining with other locks. My loctician did not advise me to do this. It just made sense, and she told me that was smart to do on my part. She did leave more loosed ends than I preferred which partly contributed to unraveling.

Example of thinning locks.

Example of thinning locks.

Satin a Day Keeps the Lint at Bay

In the beginning stages I also wore a satin bonnet that helped keep the locks from unraveling. At around the eighth month I stopped wearing them and instead I slept on a satin pillow. I didn’t like the way the satin bonnet left my locks packed down and stiff. The satin pillow keeps the bits of lint away although I’ve found that lint is not such a big deal as I thought it would be as I was doing my pre-lock research. So catching lint in your hair would definitely be a con, however not one of significant concern.

How long it takes your hair to lock will depend on the texture of your hair. For me, it took about 6 months for my hair to lock in the back and sides for two reasons as I see it: one, the difference in texture (versus the texture at the crown of my head) and two, the friction from rubbing when you lie down. The locks at the crown of my head haven’t locked as yet for the most part.

A Personal Summary: Recap

The greatest thing about having locks is that it saves me a ton of time being that I don’t have to do a thing to it. I get to wake up every morning looking fabulous and I can honestly say, “I woke up like this.” It’s so true.

Many naturals that I come in contact with almost seem deathly afraid of locks despite the fact that they love my hair. Those who have witnessed it at various stages are rightfully impressed with it. I am very proud of my locks and I have never felt this way about my hair before.

So just to recap:

Sisterlock Pros

Low maintenance, boosted confidence, lots of compliments, a positive change in the way you think and feel.

Sisterlock Cons

Cost of maintenance, early stage unravelling, thinning and breaking of locks if you go too long between retightening (also called re-tie), and lint.

Read More From Bellatory

My Locks Today

My locks today are gorgeous and healthy. I love, love, love them.

My locks today are gorgeous and healthy. I love, love, love them.


It has been 7 years since I started this journey and it is overdue for an update. You can keep up with where I am on this journey by subscribing to my YouTube channel, The Qu33n Coven, for recent updates.

You can also follow me on Instagram @locsonlush for some day to day things.

I have enjoyed my locs so much. Incredible companionship on an incredible journey of self-healing. Locs are not for everyone and still, I'd recommend you try them.

Vlog: 4 Reasons I'm Transitions from Sisterlocks

© 2014 Victoria Wray


Victoria Wray (author) from Houston on September 13, 2020:

I would first recommend looking for a sisterlock consultant that offers free consultations. Come prepared with a list of important questions in regards to your hair texture, strength, behavior, resilience, etc.

Whether your hair is porous or not and what that means for your locs?

I'm creating a list of questions to ask for a blog post. If you live in an area that has lots of locticians, I recommend going to more than one consult...basically shop around and look out for things like personality, attitude, presentation, professionalism, convenience and a few other things.

This should really help you make a decision.

RACHELLE on June 24, 2020:

My hair is finally healthy. My problem is i have MS I was taking chemo. It change my hair texture. My hair became more coily and dry. I so badly want to do sisters locks. Whats your recommendations for to start the journey?

Rasheedah on March 21, 2020:

Hi Victoria,

I live in Houston, can you advise on a place to go for the sister locks?

Joy on September 06, 2019:

I've been locked 16 years. Best 300 investment. My hair has grown to below my butt. Not having to comb and detangle are HUGE!!!!. Over the last 5 years, I have cut it twice into a short pixie and now it is a shoulder length bob.

You can curl, twist, braid or do an updo or do nothing at all and my hair always looks good. I encourage sleeping with a satin bonnet because of potential lint or dryness.

Best decision I ever made. Sometimes I have hair envy when I see all the loose natural styles. Then I have a reality check of what that would take to achieve and maintain....

Anita on September 01, 2019:

Hello, your sister locks are gorgeous. I’ve been natural for 7 years now and I’ve tried every natural style except locks. I’ve been curious lately for a change and locks in general have struck my interest. Questions: what is the original sister locks website and do you know a lock stlyist Brooklyn New York, Bed-Stuy or surrounding area for referral? Thank you in advance.

Victoria Wray (author) from Houston on August 08, 2019:

I'm not sure, Kim. Have you visited the official sisterlock website?

Kim on August 02, 2019:

Hello, can someone please tell me why sister locs are called “sister”? I have been looking but have been unable to find the reason. Thank you.

Victoria Wray (author) from Houston on May 22, 2019:

I don't know exactly how many I have but I have over 700 locs. I will add an update soon.

Tanya on May 12, 2019:

I wish you would add an updated photo. Your profile picture looks lovely but it’s too small to make out details. I’d love to see your hair growth. How many locs do you have? I just got Sisterlocs and I’m concerned that I might not have enough to get full yet manageable hair.

Sherece Collier on January 06, 2019:

I really liked your infor it was concise and real, I love your Locks, your hair seems thick so I think your size choice was a good call. I will check out the other sites as well

Lisa on December 11, 2018:

I love them and the article. I’m going to have my daughter read as we are thinking of getting sisterlocks installed next summer. I think she will absolutely love them!!! I’m so glad you wrote about the boost in confidence!!

Dede on June 23, 2018:

Your locks are gorgeous!

Been contemplating on this for years. I still dont know if im ready.

Angela on December 05, 2017:

They're simply gorgeous!!

geraldine wilson on June 21, 2017:

Good reading, I am going in for my sisterlocks tomorrow. Please wish me luck as my children are very skeptical.

I hope it turns out well.

Lovinmylocs on October 11, 2014:

Your Loc's are lovely...

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on August 31, 2014:

Your locks are beautiful. Thanks for the history and explanations. "Boosted confidence . . . positive change" may be well worth it.

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