Kyla Bynum
Updated on December 14, 2022

Tired of spending hours washing, drying, and styling your hair? Do you love traditional locs but don’t feel like they are versatile enough? Then Sisterlocks might be for you!

Sisterlocks are a specific type of micro sized locs, also known as microlocs, that provide hair freedom for all its wearers – freedom from hair products, freedom from combs and brushes, freedom to style your hair as you see fit, and freedom to embrace your natural hair.

According to Sisterlocks originator and company founder, Dr. JoAnne Cornwell, “Sisterlocks is not about a hairstyle, it’s about a lifestyle. Sisterlocks invites women who are interested in self-empowerment and cultural self-expression, to embrace their natural hair with a care system that is self-affirming and truly gorgeous.”

Let’s have look at the difference between traditional locs, microlocks and Sisterlocks and have all your questions about the cost, installation and maintenance answered.

Curled Center Part Sisterlocks Hairstyle

Instagram / @imanitaylorgood

Hair Texture

One of the largest differences between the three types of locs are the hair textures that are best suited for each locking style. For microlocks and Sisterlocks, textured hair – coily and kinky hair, work best. But you can start these locs with relaxed hair, too. You can start it on short hair or when transitioning from relaxed to natural hair.

With traditional locs, any hair texture will do because there are so many ways to start these locs.

Installation and Cost

Sisterlocks can only be installed by an official Sisterlocks practitioner, all of whom are listed on their website. To minimize tension, these micro-sized locs are interlocked from tip to root and require a patented interlocking tool. Sisterlocks establishment can take anywhere from a couple of hours to multiple days to complete depending on your hair length, density, loc size, location, and your consultant’s experience level.

Here, in New York, for example, establishments can start at $300 and go upwards of $2,000. There is usually a base rate and an extra fee for every inch over the base length. My Sisterlocks, for example, cost me over $1700 in Brooklyn, New York. I had 10”-12” of hair from back to front. You will also most likely want to tip your stylist for a good job.

Long Sisterlocks with Brown Highlights

Instagram / @lea_goldsmith

Traditional locs can be established by anyone. You can do them yourself, have someone else start them for you, or enlist the help of a professional stylist. These locs can be started with the traditional palm roll technique, two-strand twists, braids, crochet, free form, or any combination of these methods. They are typically established from root to tip, resulting in more tension than Sisterlocks. Traditional locs can be started at home for free, or at $80 to a few hundred depending, again, on the length of hair and its density, etc.

Microlocks can be started in all the same ways as traditional locs and they can also be started by finger coils and interlocking. Because they can be started in all these ways, the amount of tension varies. Typically, microlocks cost less than Sisterlocks, anywhere from $400 to over $1,500 but can also be started at home, for free.

Number of Locs

There are no average numbers of locs for traditional locs or microlocks, because there are no rules dictating the final number. The average number of locs the Sisterlock method yields is 400. This number varies based on the size of your head, the size of your locs, and the density of your hair. The large number of thin locs changes it all in term of styling intricate wedding hairstyles for natural hair brides.

Sisterlocks Updo for a Black Wedding

Instagram / @iambriannakay

Parting Methods

With traditional locs and microlocks, parting can be done in any way – square, rectangle, triangle, circle, diamond, free form, etc. Sisterlocks, however, can only be parted according to the system taught in the Sisterlocks training course.

Sisterlocks Bob Half Updo

Instagram / @therealkylab

Size and Weight

Sisterlocks and microlocks are established on very small sections of hair. Because of this, they are thin and lightweight. Traditional locs typically start around the size of a pencil. They are larger, denser, and weigh more than Sisterlocks and microlocks.


Sisterlocks can only be started with your natural hair. Once extensions are involved, they are no longer considered Sisterlocks. Microlocks and traditional locs, contrarily, can be established with extensions.

Chic Black Woman with Middle Length Sisterlocks

Instagram / @alexuslaboo


Traditional locs require gel, pomades, or mousse to be started, and you can use oils, moisturizing hair spray, etc. to maintain them. There are no restrictions on products with both traditional locs and microlocks.

With Sisterlocks however, products cannot be used until your hair has matured. The only product that can be used during the early stages is the Sisterlock Starter shampoo – a clarifying shampoo that helps the hair lock. While your scalp transitions to going product free, you may experience some itching. Rose water and Sea Breeze astringent can ease this discomfort until your scalp adjusts.

Long Microlocks Hairstyle

Instagram / @abidemikomolafe


Shampooing your hair will look slightly different with Sisterlocks. In the early stages, you will have to braid and band your locs to keep them from unraveling while being washed. Your scalp is also your primary focus since there should not be any products in your hair. The scalp is cleaned first, and then the rest of the hair is washed second.

Traditional locs do not have to be braided and banded to be washed. Depending on the method used to start microlocks, the shampooing process will be the same as Sisterlocks or be similar to the traditional locs way.


No matter what type of locs you choose, they will need to be maintained on a schedule. Sisterlocks need to be retightened every 4-6 weeks (and are usually charged by the hour). Traditional locs should be retwisted at least once a month, and microlocks should also be redone every 4-6 weeks.

For you to retighten your own Sisterlocks, you need to have them for at least 6 months before you can sign up for the class and learn to maintain your hair yourself. Both traditional locs and microlocks can be maintained by anyone.

Microlocks Several Months after Installation

Instagram / @monyce_slo_moe


Traditional locs can be worn in a number of styles. They can be worn up or down, in simple bun or ponytails. But they can also be worn in intricate designs.

Microlocks and Sisterlocks do offer a greater variety since they can be styled just like loose natural hair. You can do rod sets, braid outs, updos, whatever you can think of.

Twist Updo on Sisterlocks

Instagram / @drknlvely

The Sisterlocks Package

Sisterlocks establishments are offered in 3 parts: the consultation, the establishment, and a follow up re-tightening.

Before you can start your Sisterlocks journey, you must begin with a consultation. Your consultant will look at the characteristics of your hair and determine the best method for locking it. If you are a good candidate for Sisterlocks, then you will be given a number of sample locs and a date to return for your establishment.

Before your establishment, you should be sure to wash your hair thoroughly and arrive with your sample locs still intact.

The final part of your Sisterlocks package is your follow up appointment. This appointment is a few weeks after your establishment and should take place after 2 shampooing’s. At this appointment, you will have your first retightening, and your consultant will discuss your maintenance schedule with you and they may even be able to gauge how long those retightening may take.

Short Sisterlocks Hairstyle with Bangs

Instagram / @godsgft2man

Note! All 3 components – consultation, establishment, and follow up retightening, are considered a package and should be one price. Your consultation cost is deducted from the establishment price if you decide to continue to with that consultant, and your follow-up appointment should not be a separate price. Also, your Sisterlocks starter package includes a starter shampoo, rubber bands, and a Sisterlocks certificate at the completion of your establishment.

For more information on the Sisterlocks journey, hairstyling, and loc maintenance tips visit my YouTube channel or find me on Instagram. For both accounts search for @therealkylab.

Curled Center Part Sisterlocks HairstyleSisterlocks on Very Short Natural HairLong Sisterlocks with Brown HighlightsSisterlocks Updo for a Black WeddingSisterlocks Bob Half UpdoChic Black Woman with Middle Length SisterlocksLong Microlocks HairstyleMicrolocks Several Months after InstallationTwist Updo on SisterlocksShort Sisterlocks Hairstyle with Bangs