Because Sisterlocks are created using a patented technique, the only way to create genuine Sisterlocks is to either see a trained and certified consultant or to become one yourself. Sisterlocks are created using a Sisterlocking Tool that makes small locks. The Sisterlock consultant examines each candidate's hair and determines if the hair is capable of holding up to the technique. Weak or damaged hair does not hold up to the technique and results in tension alopecia or balding.
Sisterlocks are a low maitenance hairstyle but take a long time to install, with some installations taking between 10 and 36 hours. Because the process is time consuming, installation costs run between several hundred and several thousand dollars.
These locks act like non-locked hair and are styled in all the same ways as straight hair including straight ironing, roller setting and coloring. The technique only requires three inches of hair growth to be effective. The locks must be maintained every six to ten weeks with the growth of new hair. This maintenance can take place at home or in a salon with a certified consultant.
Dr. JoAnne Cornwell founded her company in 1993 and patented the Sisterlocking technique. Her technique is different than other locking techniques because her tool creates a grid for the locks. Other dreadlocking techniques are done by hand and usually involve a two-strand twist or palm roll.