4 Stages of Sisterlocks: Caring Tips

stages of sisterlocks

Are you obsessed with sisterlocks and want to try out this protective hairstyle? Sisterlocks are tiny-sized locks that can be styled in different ways. This natural hair styling technique promotes healthy hair growth and is easy to maintain and style. From bun to ponytail and braid to updo, you can wear them in different ways as per your preference and hair length.

You should only get this hairstyle from a certified sisterlock consultant to get the best results, as it requires great intricacy and specialized tools. Installing sisterlocks can take up to 36 hours, depending on your hair length, so go for this hairstyle only if you have the patience to wait for so long to get the final look.

Unlike other protective hairstyles, sisterlocks require regular maintenance appointments every seven to eight weeks to maintain and retighten the locks. So if you’re certain about such a long-term commitment, then only go for the locking process.

There are also different stages of sisterlocks, including pre-locking, budding, sprouting, and contraction phases.

Because of this, they take three months to two years to mature after installation fully.

Important Things to Know Before Getting Sisterlocks

We bring to you the most important things about sisterlocks that will help you in deciding whether it is right for you or not.

Sisterlocks are Permanent

If you love trying out new hairstyles, then sisterlocks can be an ideal choice for you. But you won’t be able to change it like other hairstyles after a few months. If you don’t like sisterlocks or want to try something else, you can get your sisterlocks undone within six months of installation. Undoing sisterlocks after this period can be a very tedious process. Taking down each sisterlock can be a very time-consuming and mind-numbing process.

Most people would get their hair cut rather than spend time combing out each loc. You’ll also experience hair breakage and damage if you try to get sisterlocks undone after six months.

Sisterlocks are long-term hairstyles installed by a sisterlock professional using a special interlinking tool. While they are convenient, you won’t be able to get rid of them easily. So, if you’re ready for a long-term commitment, then only go for this hairstyle.

Stages of Sisterlocks

Stages of Sisterlocks

Before embarking on your sisterlocks journey, you must know that this hairstyle takes three months to two years to fully mature. It also has five different stages, including pre-locking, budding, sprouting, and contraction phases. Let’s take a look at each of these stages in detail.

1. Pre-Locking Phase

Pre-Locking Phase

This is the first stage after your sisterlocks have been installed. This stage is also known as baby lock, newbie, or starter stage, as your locks are still vulnerable and can get unlocked easily. At this stage, the locks look like ringlets or tightly coiled curls, and the parting line is very neat. If your locks are not handled carefully at this stage, they may get unlocked. When managing and washing your locks, you need to take extra care at this stage. Take care not to rub your scalp vigorously and follow all the other instructions of your sisterlock consultant.

The length of this stage will depend on how fast your hair grows and your hair type, but you can expect about four to six months. During this stage, your locs will look very neat and uniform.

2. Budding Phase

Budding Phase

The budding phase marks the beginning of the matting or locking process. During this phase, you will see a small bud emerging about three-quarters down your lock. This typically happens after several washes as hair strands experience contraction and expansion as they expel and absorb water.

Over time, the buds will expand like a bubble, and you’ll see knots of hair forming along your loc’s shaft. During this stage, you will become stronger and don’t need to worry about them getting unraveled. Your locks also begin to thicken and swell during this phase. This stage is also known as the teenage stage, as your locks are rebellious, and they are discovering their own way to grow and expand.

Your locks may look frizzy at this stage, but you can tame the frizz by shampooing and rinsing your hair in a downward direction and braiding and twisting the locks immediately after every hair wash. It is also recommended to wrap your locks before you go to sleep. Head wraps will protect your locks from any friction caused by the rubbing of your locks against the sheets and pillows.

3. Shooting Phase

Shooting Phase

This is one of the most important stages of sisterlocks, wherein the buds formed during the budding stage start the interlocking process. During this stage, matting takes place, and buds act as a foundation around which interlocking happens. This interlocking will only happen when your hair starts matting from shaft to tips and back.

But during this phase, your hair roots won’t matt, and you will get new growth. Your locs become more noticeable during this phase. The density of your hair will also increase during this stage, and you’ll feel comfortable with your locs by now. From the hair bud toward the end of your bottom, your hair will become more dense.

By this stage, you will become long enough to hang down or lie flat. Your hair remains for the longest time in this phase, and it slowly and gradually turns into adult locs. The shooting phase will be longer if your hair is longer at installation because longer hair matting stems need more time to work through.

4. Contracting Phase

Contracting Phase

This is the last stage in which your hair will turn into mature adult locks. Your locs will feel more slender and heavier during this stage. You’ll have to wait for years for this stage, depending on your hair length, texture, and the installation technique used by the expert. At this stage, you will look uniform and neat, and their ends will be fully sealed. Your hair will be very long by this stage, and once the spiral form has been established, it will grow extraordinarily.

After this stage, your hair will keep growing as long as you want. You will have to take care of the locs to ensure they look neat and uniform. You may have to visit your sisterlock consultant every five to six weeks for maintenance.

How to Maintain Sisterlocks

How to Maintain Sisterlocks

If you want your sisterlocks to stay in place and keep looking their best, you must follow the maintenance tips provided by your sisterlock consultant.

  • After your Sisterlock appointment, you will be given a “starter kit,” comprising small rubber bands, a specialty shampoo, and a tip sheet about shampooing and grooming. Follow these instructions properly to keep your locks secure and tight.
  • Don’t wash your hair immediately after the appointment. It’s better to give your locs some time to mature and regain their strength before washing them. Use a silk sleeping cap or silk pillowcase to prevent your locs from getting damaged due to friction.
  • Before washing your hair, bundle it into different sections. You can section your hair in half using your finger and then separate the bundled hair into two sections each. You can even use each bundle of hair for extra protection. After braiding the bundle of your hair tuck the ends and secure them with a rubber band. If your hair is short, you will have to make more bundles.
  • While washing your hair, you only need to use the sisterlock shampoo that has been provided with the starter kit. You’ll have to wet your hair thoroughly and work the specifically formulated sisterlock shampoo through your hair. Never use your nails to wash your hair.
  • After applying the shampoo you must rinse it completely with plain water. Use a microfiber towel to dry out your hair. You can even wrap the microfiber towel around your head to ensure that your locks dry completely. Don’t use a blow dryer or any other heating tool to dry your hair.
  • Once your hair is dry, undo all the bundles and remove the rubber bands. If you have made braids, you’ll have to first release the bundles and then undo the braided sections. Now, you can separate each lock individually with the help of your fingers.
  • Don’t use any kind of hair product until your sisterlocks are six months old. If you use any product in your hair before your locs mature, you can mess up the shape of the coils.

Installation Cost of Sisterlocks

Installation Cost of Sisterlocks

Installing sisterlocks is a time-consuming process and requires lots of experience. The installation cost of sisterlocks will vary depending on your hair texture, hair condition, and your consultant’s skill level.

Generally, the sisterlocks installation cost is anywhere from $550 to $800. You must check with your consultant about what they will charge for the sisterlocks package. Some consultants may even try to entice the customers by offering a trim with the sisterlock package. Sisterlock packages typically include installation, consultation, and follow-up charges.

Maintenance cost is another important factor you need to consider before going for sisterlocks. After the installation process, you will have to get your locks re-tightened several times a year. Each re-tightening session can cost from $150-$250. So you will have to spend an additional $600-$1500 for maintenance every year.

Sisterlocks Installation

Installation Cost of Sisterlocks

Sisterlock installation requires expertise, so you must see a certified sisterlock professional if you’re considering this hairstyle. The consultation will first check the quality and texture of your locks. If you have straight hair, you may not be advised to go for this hairstyle, as little curl is required to get the best results. People with extremely thin or damaged hair may also be advised not to go for this hairstyle. The consultant will install tester sisterlocks in your hair to find out the best pattern for your hair texture.

The installation session will be divided into two parts as it is a very time-consuming process. When you go for sisterlock installation, ensure that you have washed your hair properly and there is no oily residue in your hair. During the installation, the sisterlock professional will part your hair precisely to form a grid pattern and interlock each section of your hair using an interlocking tool.

Ask your sisterlock consultant about the cost of the installation and maintenance so that you can have an estimate in mind while you commit to this hairstyle.


Sisterlocks are mini versions of dreadlocks that look spectacular and can level up your personality. You can style them in different ways such as high bun, half bun, side part, ponytail, Bantu knots, and flat twists. However, installing sisterlocks is a time-intensive process as over 400 locs are created to achieve the desired look.

There are also different stages of sisterlocks, and you may have to wait for years to get the final hairstyle. Once you commit to sisterlock, you may not be able to try any other hairstyle as it is permanent.

So think carefully before opting for this hairstyle, as you won’t be able to get it undone easily if you’re confused about whether to go for sisterlocks or not; check out the five crucial factors mentioned above about this hairstyle.

These factors will help you in deciding whether you should embark on a sisterlock journey or not.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Difference Between Locs and Sisterlocks?

If you’re going for locs, it will take anywhere between two to three hours to achieve the final results. Sisterlocks are very time intensive as over 400 locs are created to get the final look. While creating locs, wax is needed to twist larger hair sections, but sisterlocks are installed without any hair product.

Who Should Not Go for Sisterlocks?

If you have straight hair, you should not go for sisterlocks, as a little curl is required for this hairstyle. People with damaged and dry hair should also not go for sisterlocks as the interlocking is done very tightly during this process, which may damage your hair even more.

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