Though Sisterlocks share a similar backstory to dreadlocks, the Sisterlocks technique was created by Dr. JoAnne Cornwell in 1993. After researching African cultures, Dr. Cornwell was compelled to create a natural hair care system marketed towards empowering African American Women. It was from this idea that the Sisterlocks hairstyle was formed.

Sisterlocks are derived from the dreadlock hairstyle, and in many ways, they are very similar. Dreadlocks have a history dating back to several ancient civilizations. Dreadlocks are traced to Egyptian civilizations, where their mummies are seen sporting Dreadlocks in their artistic interpretations.

Promotes hair growth; Versatility; Lightweight; Low maintenance
Expensive; Long installation time; Permanent; Stigma against style
Armpit length
Bra strap length
Classic length
Collarbone length
Ear length
Mid back length
Neck length
Shoulder length
Waist length
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Avg. Price:
$ 600
Lasts on average:
Avg. Time:
24 hours

Sisterlocks journey | Kim's installation day

What are sisterlocks?

Sisterlocks are a hair-locking style like Dreadlocks. Although despite their similarities, the forming of them is very different. Dreadlocks are formed mainly through a rolling and matting process to lock the hair. Unlike traditional Dreadlocks, Sisterlocks are smaller locs created by using smaller sections of hair and a special Sisterlocks tool.

The Sisterlocks technique is trademarked, and it can only be properly installed by certified consultants. These certified consultants must go through a 4-day training process, and once trained, are added to a national registry. This registry verifies they are trained to complete the style and allows them access to further training opportunities for building a clientele.

Sisterlocks vs. Dreadlocks

Other than size, there are several other differences between traditional Dreadlocks and Sisterlocks. One difference is the starting process of the locs. Traditional Dreadlocks created in a salon can take approximately 3 hours. It ranges from $50-$100 for starting the Dreadlock process and retouching.

Sisterlocks take considerably longer and are significantly more expensive. The first treatment for Sisterlocks can cost up to $800 to start the initial process and $100 for retouches. Beginning the process can take over 24 hours to complete.

Many consultants will split the first treatment session into two sessions because of the long installation time.


Another difference between the two styles is the weight of the hair. Dreadlocks are a beautiful style, but their weight and size can often make styling them tedious.

Because Sisterlocks are thinner than traditional Dreadlocks, they are less heavy. Also, the small size of the Sisterlocks allows them to be styled more easily and in a variety of ways.

How long do sisterlocks last?

Sisterlock Installation

Sisterlocks are a lifelong hairstyle. Ideally, women will receive this style, intending to keep them forever. To keep your Sisterlocks looking their best, as with Dreadlocks, Sisterlocks require regular maintenance even after the locking process is complete. They aren't like your average protective style, where you can just cut out the extensions and brush out your hair.

Sisterlocks use 100% of your hair, making them completely natural. This is a permanent hairstyle, so you'll want to think about it thoroughly before deciding on it. Although this is a permanent style, it is possible to take them out. However, the procedure is tedious, so that it won't be easy.

Many people who get rid of the style opt for cutting them out instead. The hope is that you'll love the locs so much that you won't need to undergo this process.

Who is Sisterlocks Suitable For?

Sisterlocks can be done on relaxed or natural hair. They can also be installed with as short as an inch and a half of hair. This is another difference from Dreadlocks which must be done only on natural hair.

Sisterlocks thrive the best when done on coarser hair textures. All Type 4 hair types will look great with Sisterlocks. This hair type will make installation easier, and their locs will have a lot of body and fullness to them.

Sisterlocks installation should not hurt; however, for women with a more sensitive scalp, you may experience some discomfort. The movements used in installing them can be a lot for anyone that is tender-headed.

When to Wear the Style?

Considering this style is a lifelong hairstyle, it can be worn year-round.

Pros and Cons of sisterlocks

Sisterlocks pros and cons


  • Sisterlocks save you time. They are great for anyone that doesn't enjoy putting hours of work into making their hair look nice and feel healthy. They are a style by themselves, so you don't have to do much of anything to them.
  • It is a graceful way to embrace your natural hair. Some women want to embrace their natural hair but lack the knowledge, the time, and the patience to help it thrive. Sisterlocks take away that issue with the ease that is required to maintain them.
  • Sisterlocks are a versatile form of dreadlocks. This style of loc, unlike others, is smaller. This makes putting them into unique styles and hairdos very easy.
  • Thrive with minimal organic products. Sisterlocks will thrive the most when not overly saturated in heavy moisturizers. You want them to keep their lightness and movability. Keeping your hair product light will help with that. This means you'll probably save more money on buying hair products than before the locs.
  • Sisterlocks will do well with more organic products, which means fewer unnecessary toxic ingredients. A good lightweight moisturizing spray for all locs is Locsanity Rosewater & Peppermint Daily Moisturizing Spray.


  • Sisterlocks are costly. This style is not cheap. The installation can cost up to $800, and after that, the touch-ups can cost up to $100.
  • Finding a consultant can be difficult. Certified consultants are the only licensed people allowed to install Sisterlocks. Finding these consultants may be a lot more time-consuming than finding someone able to do Dreadlocks. You can search on Ebena for sisterlocks specialists.
  • If done incorrectly, sisterlocks can cause hair breakage. If the consultant installing the Sisterlocks does the installation wrong, this can lead to breakage. Also, if you go too long between re-tightening, this can cause breakage. You must keep up with your retouches to keep the locs healthy.
  • They have a lengthy installation time. Sisterlocks can take over 24 hours to complete. It is not a quick style to install, but the lifelong wear you get out of them is a fair trade.
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