Common Problems and Solutions for Sisterlocks

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Common Problems and Solutions for Sisterlocks

Sisterlocks have become a popular choice among clients who desire a versatile and natural hairstyle that highlights their beautiful, tightly textured hair. As salon professionals, understanding the unique challenges and solutions associated with Sisterlocks can help you better serve your clients and ensure their satisfaction. This comprehensive guide covers common problems faced by Sisterlocs wearers and offers practical solutions to keep their locks looking fabulous.

What Are Sisterlocks?

Understanding Sisterlocks

Before we dive into the details, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page. Sisterlocks are a natural hair management system that allows women with tightly textured hair to enjoy a wide range of styling options without altering their natural hair texture.

The Origin of Sisterlocks

Sisterlocks were created in 1993 by Dr. JoAnne Cornwell. Unlike traditional dreadlocks, Sisterlocs are much smaller and require a special tool for installation. This intricate technique creates a unique pattern, allowing for greater versatility and styling options.

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Common Problems with Sisterlocks

Dryness and Breakage

1.Why Do Sisterlocks Get Dry?

One of the most common issues with Sisterlocs is dryness. Since Sisterlocs are tightly coiled, natural oils from the scalp have a harder time traveling down the length of the hair, resulting in dry, brittle locks.

2.Solutions for Dryness

  • Hydration is Key

Hydration is essential for maintaining healthy Sisterlocks. Encourage clients to moisturize their locks regularly with lightweight oils like jojoba or grapeseed oil. Avoid heavy oils that can cause buildup.

  • Deep Conditioning Treatments

Incorporate deep conditioning treatments into your salon services. Use conditioners specifically designed for locs or natural hair, and recommend clients use them once a week to keep their Sisterlocks hydrated and healthy.


1.What Causes Buildup?

Buildup can be a nightmare for Sisterlocks wearers. It can be caused by heavy creams, oils, and certain shampoos, as well as environmental factors like dust and pollution.

2.Solutions for Buildup

  • Clarifying Shampoos

Use a clarifying shampoo once a month to remove buildup. These shampoos are designed to deep clean the hair and scalp, eliminating any residue left behind by products.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

An apple cider vinegar rinse can work wonders. Mix one part apple cider vinegar with two parts water and rinse your client’s Sisterlocks with this solution. It helps to break down buildup and leaves the hair feeling fresh and clean.

Common Problems and Solutions for Sisterlocks

Itchy Scalp

1.Why Is Your Client’s Scalp Itchy?

An itchy scalp can be a real annoyance and is often caused by dryness, buildup, or the new growth tightening phase that occurs with Sisterlocks.

2.Solutions for Itchy Scalp

  • Scalp Massages

Recommend regular scalp massages to stimulate blood flow and help distribute natural oils. Use fingertips to gently massage the scalp for a few minutes each day.

  • Essential Oils

Essential oils like tea tree, peppermint, and lavender have soothing properties. Add a few drops to shampoo or dilute with a carrier oil and apply directly to the scalp.

Thinning at the Roots

1.Why Are Your Client’s Roots Thinning?

Thinning roots can be caused by a variety of factors, including tension from styling, genetics, and improper maintenance.

2.Solutions for Thinning Roots

  • Reduce Tension

Advise clients to avoid styles that pull too tightly on their roots. Protective styles are great, but they should not cause tension. Encourage clients to loosen up ponytails and buns.

  • Regular Maintenance

Regular retightening is essential for maintaining the integrity of Sisterlocks. Ensure clients follow the recommended schedule for their hair type and growth pattern.

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Unraveling and Slippage

1.Why Do Sisterlocks Unravel?

Unraveling or slippage can occur, especially in the early stages of locking. This can happen due to improper installation, hair texture, or certain activities like swimming.

2.Solutions for Unraveling

  • Proper Installation

Ensure your salon staff are trained and certified to install Sisterlocs correctly. Proper installation techniques tailored to the client’s hair type are crucial.

  • Retightening Schedule

Encourage clients to stick to their retightening schedule, particularly during the first year. This helps reinforce the locks and reduces the chances of slippage.

Frizz and Flyaways

1.Why Is There Frizz?

Frizz and flyaways are common as new growth appears and the hair starts to lock. This is a natural part of the locking process but can be frustrating.

2.Solutions for Frizz

  • Scalp Oil

Using a light scalp oil can help manage frizz. Apply it sparingly to avoid buildup and keep the locks smooth.

  • Satin or Silk Scarves

Recommend clients sleep with a satin or silk scarf to reduce frizz. These materials are gentler on the hair compared to cotton and help retain moisture.

Maintenance Tips for Healthy Sisterlocks

1.Regular Washing

How Often Should You Wash?

Washing Sisterlocks regularly is crucial, but over-washing can lead to dryness. Advise clients to wash every 1-2 weeks, but to listen to their hair and scalp’s needs.

Best Shampoos for Sisterlocks

Use residue-free shampoos to prevent buildup. There are many shampoos on the market specifically designed for locs and natural hair that cleanse without stripping away essential oils.

2.Proper Retightening

The Importance of Retightening

Retightening is a critical part of Sisterlocs maintenance. It keeps the locks looking neat and prevents them from combining at the roots.

3.DIY or Professional Retightening?

While some clients may choose to retighten their Sisterlocks themselves, it’s often best to recommend seeing a certified Sisterlocs consultant, especially in the early stages. This ensures the locks are being properly maintained.

4.Maintaining Length and Strength

Trimming Split Ends

Regularly trimming split ends can help maintain the strength and health of the locks. Split ends can travel up the hair shaft, causing more damage, so trimming is essential.

Diet and Hydration

What clients put into their bodies affects their hair. Encourage them to eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, and to stay hydrated to promote healthy hair growth.

5.Avoiding Heat Damage

Minimizing Heat Styling

While it’s best to avoid frequent heat styling, occasional use of low heat tools can help achieve different looks. Always use a heat protectant to minimize damage.

Air Drying

Whenever possible, recommend air drying Sisterlocks instead of using a blow dryer. This helps reduce heat damage and keeps the locks healthier.

Styling Sisterlocks

Versatile Styling Options

  • Protective Styles

Protective styles are not just for loose natural hair; they can also be great for Sisterlocks. Try braids, twists, or even buns to give the hair a break and protect the locks.

  • Heat Styling

While it’s best to avoid frequent heat styling, occasional use of low heat tools can help clients achieve different looks. Always use a heat protectant to minimize damage.

  • Accessories and Adornments

Encourage clients to jazz up their Sisterlocs with accessories. Hair cuffs, beads, and wraps can add a unique touch to their style.

Sisterlocks and Lifestyle

Exercise and Active Lifestyles

Keeping Locks Fresh While Active

For clients into fitness, keeping Sisterlocs fresh can be a challenge. Recommend moisture-wicking headbands and cleansing the scalp after heavy workouts to avoid sweat buildup.

Swimming with Sisterlocks

Swimming is a great workout, but chlorine and saltwater can be harsh on the locks. Advise clients to rinse their hair immediately after swimming and consider wearing a swim cap to minimize exposure.

Traveling with Sisterlocs

Travel-Friendly Products

When traveling, it’s important to keep the hair care routine simple yet effective. Recommend travel-sized products and protective styles to make managing Sisterlocks on the go much easier.

Finding a Consultant on the Go

If clients need a retightening while traveling, suggest researching and finding a certified Sisterlocks consultant in their destination beforehand. This ensures their locks remain well-maintained even when they’re away from home.

Embracing the Sisterlocks Journey

Patience is Key

The journey with Sisterlocks is unique for everyone. Encourage clients to trust the process and remember that it takes time for their locks to mature and look their best.

Connect with the Community

There’s a vibrant Sisterlocs community out there. Suggest clients join online forums, attend meetups, and share their journey. The support and advice from others can be invaluable.

Self-Expression Personalizing Style

Sisterlocs offer an incredible opportunity for self-expression. Encourage clients not to be afraid to experiment with different styles, colors, and accessories. Make the locks their own.


Sisterlocks are a beautiful, versatile hairstyle that can enhance the natural beauty of tightly textured hair. By understanding the common problems associated with Sisterlocs and offering practical solutions, you can provide exceptional service to your clients and help them maintain healthy, gorgeous locks. Remember, every client’s hair journey is unique, and your expertise can make all the difference.


Q1: How often should Sisterlocks be retightened?

A1: Sisterlocks should be retightened every 4-6 weeks, depending on hair growth and the client’s individual needs.

Q2: Can I color my Sisterlocks?

A2: Yes, you can color Sisterlocks, but it’s best to consult with a professional to ensure the health and integrity of the locks are maintained.

Q3: What products should I avoid with Sisterlocks?

A3: Avoid heavy creams, oils, and products that can cause buildup. Stick to lightweight, residue-free products designed for locs.

Q4: How do I prevent my Sisterlocs from thinning?

A4: Avoid tight hairstyles, follow a proper retightening schedule, and maintain a healthy diet and hydration routine to prevent thinning.

Q5: Are Sisterlocks suitable for all hair types?

A5: Sisterlocks work best on tightly coiled, textured hair. A consultation with a certified Sisterlocks consultant can determine if they are suitable for your hair type.

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