Dr. JoAnn Cornwell created the Sisterlocks hairstyle for people who want a natural, fuss-free option for their hair. They are a smaller type of locs.

The hairstyle requires loc installation from a Sisterlocks professional as well as routine tightening appointments.

While they are a convenient, easy natural style, they are a long-term option. If a person wants to take out their locs, it can be difficult and possibly damaging.

People who are curious about Sisterlocks can learn if the style is suitable for their hair type, styling preferences, and lifestyle. Read more to learn about what to expect during installation, how to care for Sisterloks, and styling options.

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In 1993, Dr. JoAnn Cornwell created the Sisterlocks hair care system. She wanted to create a natural loc hairstyle without the use of chemicals or extensions.

To install Sisterlocks, a certified consultant uses a patented interlocking tool. This resembles a crochet hook and helps the consultant create neat, uniform locs.

They use various interlocking patterns to create intricate woven locs.

Requiring minimal maintenance, Sisterlocks are a long-term protective hairstyle that gives hair a break from heat and pulling. The hair retains its natural texture, helping the locs to stay small, flexible, and easy to style.

Sisterlocks are a small type of locs, which are thinner, rope-like strands of hair.

Locs are a common protective hairstyle. People create them using methods like interlocking, palm rolling, or braiding. They can also matt, twist, or coil the hair.

The Sisterlocks technique uses a grid pattern and an interlocking tool to create uniform locs. When forming the locs, a stylist will start at the ends and move upward to the scalp. This helps reduce pulling and tension at the roots.

Compared to traditional locs, Sisterlocks use smaller sections of hair. This makes them lighter and thinner. In general, Sisterlocks have more structure, flexibility, and styling options.

Traditional loc installation is much quicker than Sisterlocks. It typically involves using a balm or wax to matte, twist, or palm roll the hair, starting at the roots. People can do it on their own or with a professional’s help. Locs come in various sizes, and they are generally larger and heavier than Sisterlocks.

The only product locs require is shampoo. However, they tend to unravel more easily than Sisterlocks. They require regular washing and moisturizing, but maintenance appointments are not necessary.

Popular products include gel, beeswax, and shea butter.

Sisterlocks installation is a collaborative process and involves a consultation appointment. People can search their area to find a certified consultant. They may want to research a few options to decide who is the best fit. The stylist should be professional, capable, and trustworthy.

When preparing for their appointment, people may find it helpful to create a digital photo album to show their stylist. Before starting the installation, a person can have a consultation with a stylist. During the consultation, they can discuss their lifestyle and hair care habits.

This gives people a chance to meet with their consultant to ask questions, address concerns, and discuss their size and style preferences. The consultant can provide information about Sisterlocks maintenance, which includes daily upkeep and regular tightening sessions.

Usually, the consultant will install a few tester Sisterlocks in the client’s hair to see which pattern best suits their hair texture.

Then they can outline the installation process, duration, and cost. These usually depend on the hair length and density, size of a person’s head, and size of the locs.

Typically, the stylist will divide the sessions into at least two appointments since installation takes between 12 to 36 hours.

A person must wash their hair ahead of time and arrive at the installation appointment with their hair free of products. During the installation, the consultant will precisely part the hair to form a grid pattern and use a tool to interlock each section of hair.

Sisterlocks are a long-term or permanent hairstyle that requires proper care.

At first, when they are tightest, Sisterlocks resemble braids and the scalp is more visible. Over time, the locs will mature and have a more uniform, matted appearance.

Following installation, a person should have a follow-up appointment within 1 month. The consultant will check and retighten the locs, provide maintenance tips, and suggest changes.

After the initial follow-up visit, a person must schedule a retightening session every 4–6 weeks.

The Sisterlocks company advises people to visit a professional for retightening, especially during the first 6 months. However, they also offer a self-tightening class that trains people to do it at home.

Between retightening appointments, a person should wash their hair every 1 to 2 weeks with a gentle shampoo. Afterward, they should separate the locs.

To protect the locs, some people prefer to use a silk pillowcase or wear a silk head cover while sleeping.

People with Sisterlocks should avoid:

  • hot styling tools
  • overshampooing, which can cause damage
  • coloring their hair within a year of installation

Sisterlocks are lightweight, flexible, and easy to manipulate in a range of styles.

Options to style Sisterlocks include:

  • deep side part
  • high ponytail
  • two strand twist
  • high bun
  • flat twists
  • half bun
  • space buns
  • Bantu knots

Sisterlocks are a natural hairstyle that can last years. While they offer plenty of benefits, they are not right for everyone.

People should carefully weigh the pros and cons before they decide to install Sisterlocks.


Benefits of Sisterlocks include:

  • convenient wash-and-go hairstyle
  • versatile styling options
  • no need for hair products
  • neat, uniform appearance
  • small loc size makes it easier to wash the scalp
  • retightening classes are available


Drawbacks of Sisterlocks include:

  • expensive and lengthy installation
  • regular retightening sessions needed
  • long-term commitment is necessary
  • tedious and possibly damaging to unlock the hair
  • too-tight sisterlocks can cause traction alopecia

Sisterlocks are ideal for natural or relaxed Afro-textured hair that is healthy and in good condition.

People need to unlock existing locs or cut them before having Sisterlocks installed.

Sisterlocks are a long-term or permanent hair care system that offers African diaspora populations a convenient way to wear natural locs. They require a commitment due to the cost, long installation process, and routine retightening appointments.

People can also consider factors such as their lifestyle and styling options to decide if Sisterlocks are the best option for their needs.