african american woman dreadlocks

Deciding to lock your hair is a huge decision, not to mention permanent one. But did you know that there are two different types of locking techniques that you can choose from should you decide to rock the locs?

In additional to the traditional locking method, many naturals opt for Sisterlocks. To give you the quick rundown: the traditional locking method has a rich history dating centuries back to the Rastafarian culture. Sisterlocks, on the other hand, were created a little over 20 years ago by Dr. JoAnne Cornwell and are a smaller, modern twist on the traditional style.

Here's a quick breakdown so that you can figure out which style is best for your hair (and wallet).  

 

What is the primary difference between traditional locs and Sisterlocks?

Traditional locs are most commonly created through palm rolling (or matting) medium to large amounts of hair, using a balm or wax.

Sisterlocs are installed using a special tool and much smaller portions of your hair.


What is the difference in starting and maintaining traditional and Sisterlocks?
Traditional locks are fairly easy to begin and maintain. The re-twisting process (which helps preserve the style) isn’t too complicated and can be self-taught as well. Starting the traditional locking process can take anywhere from 2-3 hours, depending on the pace of your stylist and the size of your locs.

Sisterlocks are a trademarked style and only trained certified associates can give you official Sisterlocs (find one here.) Your first treatment can take anywhere from 24 hours or more.

 

Are traditional locks cheaper to maintain than Sisterlocks?

Costs of traditional locks can range anywhere from $50-$100 for starting and maintenance appointments, depending on the stylist.

Sisterlocks are higher in price, ranging anywhere from $500-$800 for installation and $100 for re-twists and maintenance.

 

Which method is easiest to style?
Styling traditional locks can be a little challenging. Of course they look beautiful hanging down, but practice definitely makes perfect when it comes to up-dos and other styles. Another thing to remember is that the longer they get, the heavier they become and this can and will affect your ability to style your locs.

Sisterlocks have been said to be a lot easier to style because of their lighter weight and flatter root texture. Sisterlocks are also thinner, which makes it easier to create difficult or intricate styles.


 

What texture of hair does each method require?

Traditional locs requires completely natural hair. Hair can be as short as an inch when starting them, as long as it’s long enough to twist.

When beginning the Sisterlock process, your hair can be either natural or relaxed.  The length to start them can be as short at an inch and a half or longer.

 

-LaParis Hawkins