Micro locs vs Sisterlocks: Installation, Costs, Pros and Cons

Microlocs vs sisterlocks, which should you choose? 

I am often asked by my clients, which is better between micro locs vs sisterlocks. My answer is never the same. For it all depends on the clients’ needs and preferences. Both may look almost identical but they are different in many ways. 

In this article, I will differentiate micro locs vs sisterlocks for you. I will discuss how they are unique in terms of size, installation, maintenance and cost. Also, I will share their pros and cons to help you figure which is suitable for you. If you are ready, let us begin with microlocs. 

You may like to read: 

Best Tools for Microlocs

What are Microlocs?

Micro locs vs sisterlocks
Instagram/apryl_mayy

Generally speaking, microlocs are like your traditional dreadlocks, except they are smaller.  The size of the regular dreads are usually 10 mm or more in diameter while the microlocs range from 6 to 9 mm. 

Microlocs are ropelike strands that are formed through hair locking, twisting, braiding or with the aid of interlocking tools. Since microlocs are relatively smaller and less bulky than dreads, they are more flexible when it comes to styling. You can cut them one-length, layered or bob. They are also great for cornrows, updos, roller sets, and braids. Microlocs can also be dyed. 

How to get microlocs?

When it comes to installation, microlocs are easier to do compared to sisterlocks. You do not need an expert or loctician, for anyone can do it. Although the process is simple and straightforward, it can still be time-consuming. It can take about 6 to 20 hours for a professional to complete the microlocs and around a week for non-professionals. 

To create microlocs, begin with parting the hair into sections. Then choose a grid pattern (square, diamond, moon-shaped) and size. After, decide the kind of tool you will use and the rotation pattern. Like we said earlier, microlocs can be done by locking, twisting, braiding or with the aid of interlocking tools. The method depends on hair type and hair length. 

How much does microlocs cost?

Microlocs are less expensive compared to sisterlocks. If you will employ the service of a loctician, microlocs can cost you around $150 to $400. While the maintenance can cost about $50 to $90. The prices vary depending on your hair length, hair volume, and location. 

How to maintain microlocs?

Microlocs undergo 5 different stages of maturity and each requires specific kind of care. For an in-depth discussion, you can read my article Microlocs 101: 5 Stages and Micro Locs Maintenance. But in general, you need to regularly wash, moisturize, and retwist your locs. 

Microlocs Pros 

  • Easier to install compared to sisterlocks
  • Anyone can learn and do it
  • Optional to hire professional loctician
  • Cost less compared to sisterlocks
  • Less time consuming compared to sisterlocks
  • You can style and color microlocs

Microlocs Cons

  • DIY microlocs are more prone to error and breakage
  • The lack of standard grid patterns may lead to asymmetrical sections
  • The longer the microlocs, the heavier they get and the harder it is for them to style

Now that we know the basics of microlocs, let us now proceed to sisterlocks. I haven’t written anything about this subject, that is why I will go a little more detailed. Let’s start! 

What are Sisterlocks?

Micro locs vs sisterlocks
Instagram/queeneleem2

Sisterlocks are tiny locks that are made through interlocking technique. Compared to both the traditional dreads and microlocs, it is smaller and it is not done through palm rolling or strand twisting technique. Instead, it uses a specific interlocking tool. While the process is facilitated by a certified and experienced loctician. 

Since sisterlocks are professionally done using a styling tool, they cause minimal hair damage due to pulling. In terms of appearance, sisterlocks almost look like loose hair strands. Like microlocs, sisterlocks are also versatile when it comes to styling. They can also be cut one-length, layered, or bob. You can also make updos, buns, side-swept, and faux hairstyles. Of course, dyeing is also an option. 

In 1993, Dr. JoAnne Cornwell created sisterlocks. She wanted to introduce hairstyles for black people that do not use chemicals and extensions. The aim is to encourage women to wear a hairstyle that allows for self-empowerment and cultural expression. It remains to be one of the most sought-after and trendy hairstyles to this day.

How to get Sisterlocks?

Micro locs vs Sisterlocks Installation
Instagram/johnnie_the_loctician

Unlike the traditional dreads and microlocs, you cannot do your own sisterlocks and you won’t be needing oils, balms or waxes. The installation of sisterlocks requires a certified sister loctician. Depending on your hair type the associate will create the sisterlocks with the aid of a special tool. The installation can take as much as 36 hours because of the intricacy of the process. This hairstyle also needs to be maintained every 4-8 weeks. 

To sum it up, the process can be divided into three steps: consultation, sisterlock session and follow-up session.

Can sisterlocks be undone?

Like the traditional dreads and microlocs, sisterlocks can also be reversed. Again, you will need to go to your certified sister loctician for this process. It is safe to undo the sisterlocks within the first 6 months of installation. After this time frame, it can be quite difficult. That is why it is important to make up your mind before getting this hairstyle. 

What hair type is suitable for a sisterlocks hairstyle?

Sisterlocks can be done on all hair types. Whether your hair is straight, relaxed, wavy, curly, coily, short, medium-length or long, this hairstyle suits you. Since sisterlocks are also fine and lightweight, the possibilities for styling are endless.  You can play with the look however you want!

How much does sisterlocks cost?

When it comes micro locs vs sisterlocks price battle, the sisterlocks is far more expensive. Sisterlocks price ranges from $400 to $1000. While the maintenance cost can go as high as $100 to $200. 

How to maintain your sisterlocks?

Aside from the fact that sisterlocks are pricey, it is basic hygiene to properly care for your scalp and hair. When it comes to this type of hairstyle, it is best to ask your loctician how to properly care your your sisterlocks as they mature. But for starters, here are some general care tips: 

Wash

Washing your scalp and hair can be a different process with sisterlocks. You need to section, bundle and braid your sisterlocks into 4 or more parts. Apply your shampoo directly to the scalp. Make sure to massage it in one direction to avoid loosening. Rinse well. 

Air-dry

After washing, it is best to air-dry your sisterlocks. Do not use blow dryer or other styling equipment to protect your sisterlocks. 

Wrap

You can wrap your hair with a cloth before you sleep to keep the sisterlocks in place. Especially during the first six months.  

Retighten

Make sure to go on your follow-up retightening sessions every 4 to 8 weeks.

Sisterlocks Pros

  • Customized according to your hair type
  • Professionally done
  • Small and lightweight
  • Less damage to hair
  • Suitable for all hair types
  • Endless styling possibilities

Sisterlocks Cons

  • Requires a professional loctician
  • Cost more compared to microlocs
  • Takes more time to install compared to microlocs
  • Requires frequent retightening by a professional
  • Prone to thinning and breaking if not properly and regularly maintained

Sisterlock Hairstyles

Sisterlocks are fun to play with. There are endless possibilities when it comes to styling. Take your sisterlocks to the next level with some of the recommended hairstyles below.

Sisterlock High Bun

Sisterlock High Bun
Instagram/tammyluvslyfe

Go for a classic and clean look with the sisterlock high bun. To do this, gather your sisterlocks at the center of your head. Then coil and secure with safety pins or a scrunchy. This hairstyle allows focus on your face. It also is perfect for all occasions.

Sisterlocks Ponytail

Sisterlocks Ponytail
Instagram/keshia1390

For clean and casual hairstyle, go for a sisterlock ponytail. To do this, gather your sisterlocks at the center of the back of your head and secure it with elastic band or scrunchy. This is perfect for everyday outdoor activities.

Top-side Sisterlock Pony

Top-side Sisterlock Pony
Instagram/thatfroislocd

If you want to keep your locks away from your face but you also want to flaunt in a playful way then go for a top-side sisterlock pony. To do this, gather the top section of your sisterlocks together at one side of your head and secure with with elastic band or scrunchy.

Sisterlocks Curls

Curly Sisterlocks
Instagram/uniquecurls2013

Go for a fun and spontaneous look with the sisterlocks curls. You can use rollers sets for natural hair to get those playful curls. 

Side-Swept Sisterlocks

Side-Swept Sisterlocks
Instagram/georgiazarita

If you prefer a feminine and chic look, then the side-swept sisterlocks is your hairstyle. Part you hair into one side and let it naturally down.

Sisterlocks with Hair Accessories

Sisterlocks with Hair Accessories
Instagram/miesh_b

There are many different ways to accessorize your locs, whether you’re looking for a way to add a little flair or you want to completely change up your look. One popular option is to use headwraps and ribbons. Headwraps come in a variety of colors and patterns, so you can find one that matches your personal style. If you want to add a pop of color, try using brightly colored ribbon as an accent. You can also use ribbon to create interesting patterns and designs in your braids. Experiment with different techniques to find what works best for you.

Best Hair Accessories for Microlocs

Micro locs vs Sisterlocks: Final Verdict

When it comes to microlocs vs sisterlocks, I would say that both are great hairstyles that requires consistent attention and commitment. If you are wondering which one is better suited for you, below is my final verdict based on size, flexibility, affordability and installation. 

Micro locs vs Sisterlocks: Size

When it comes to size, the sisterlocks are smaller compared to microlocs. Those with fine and wavy hair types are more suitable to get sisterlocks.

Micro locs vs Sisterlocks: Flexibility

Both microlocs and sisterlocks are small and lightweight. When it comes to flexibility in styling, I would say they are equal.

Micro locs vs Sisterlocs: Affordability

If you are tight on the budget and you are after affordability, then choose microlocs. You do not even have to pay for an experienced loctician. You can learn the process and do your own microlocs. 

Micro locs vs Sisterlocks: Installation

If you hate DIY and you would like to employ the services of a professional loctician, then go for sisterlocks. You are guaranteed to get high quality results. Sisterlocks are also less prone to damage and error. 

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