Sister Locks: Pros, Cons & Everything in Between

Updated on March 10, 2016

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 Began

The journey in sister locks is different for all and beautiful for everyone. My own journey in sister locks 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 sister locks are not just a change in hairstyle. It changes the way you think and the way you feel about yourself and life in general. Sister locks 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 so worth it, 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. SN: If you’re considering locks and are two good sites to follow or read up on if you have questions or concerns. You can also call up a local consultant which you can find at And of course, 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).

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Retightening & Early Maintenance

Retightening is every 4 to 6 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 in 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.

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.

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        Angela 4 months ago

        They're simply gorgeous!!

      • profile image

        geraldine wilson 10 months ago

        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.

      • profile image

        Lovinmylocs 3 years ago

        Your Loc's are lovely...

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

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