Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sisterlocks - Study & Know Thy Self

There's been a recent Lock-It-Up thread with people complaining about their Sisterlocks installs and/or consultants. It serves as a good learning tool for newbies and those contemplating locking. Of course, I shared my opinion, expanded here along with photos for my readers.

"I've only had my locs for about 5 days. My hair was 3-4 inches in length. I had a trainee do my hair and it took her apprx 30 hours (not including the breaks) and I don't think that's normal.

The average from what I've seen is 15-20 hours. I think it took her so long because she made them so tiny, I don'tknow how many I have, I got tired of counting at 200 from just the sides and a portion of the top. If I can guess I probably have between 600-800 in my head but they are super thin.

As for price, I paid what I considered to be the average around here, but I thought trainees charged less, obviously not in my case.

As for me liking my hair, honestly after the 2nd day I started freaking out not liking the loose ends and there were holes in my locks where they were not installed tightly I guess. Just being hypercritical and over analyzing. But after talking with a couple of SL ladies... I've calmed down and learned to accept my hair. If I had it to do over again, I would have researched better than what I did by getting references from actual clients other than just looking at pics and demanded she use the correct tools in doing my hair."

Blaq's Response
Try not to fret too much. I've been reading all of the threads on Lock-It-Up about misrepresented locks. But give them a chance AND your consultant. It's only been five days. Your hair is going to change so much and so quickly...Take that energy and educate yourself. Read blogs, look at photos. Go to my blog and click on the 2005 link on the left and view my early photos. You'll see how rapidly your locks will change.
BlaqKofi Sisterocked 2 days/2 weeks

And don't micro examine every lock - cause I can assure you, not everyone of mine is 100% perfect and my consultant has over 15 years in the business. When hair locks it begins to intertwine around itself. The hair that used to come out in our combs and brushes begins to encircle itself in a cylinder form - thus locking. It's not a perfect cylinder - how could it be? It's a bunch of individual hairs - thus individual locks.

Regarding discounts, Trainees MAY offer an introductory price for new clients, but it's NOT a requirement. I offer an introductory price for my first three clients, for entrusting me and my skills and for helping me to become certified. I explain thoroughly during my consultations that they in return will get a quality product, but it's going to take a time commitment.

My first installation took 24+ hours, she had 6 inches of hair and we only stopped for a 30 minute lunch. I was really questioning myself - comparing myself to others who had done this many years more than me. I spoke to several consultants who reassured me that my install time was not very different and even less in some cases than others and my speed would increase given time.
(I'm currently averaging about 18 hours depending on hair length, density, etc.)  I'm proud when I see the work I produced and my client's happy face. Besides, she's my walking, talking advertisement. Accuracy and a quality product were more important than speed. My speed, I can work on; but you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Her Sisterlocks had to be correct.

1st Client day 1/3 wks later
Taking breaks is important for a quality product. Your consultant is usually standing on her feet the entire time. If she's tired, you'll get a tired looking product. That's why I always schedule my clients over a two-day period.

I looked at your photos and your grids and the number of locks appear to be in line with what is taught in the Consultant's class. Your locks well swell to 100% of their current size, so naturally they are small. That's a primary Sisterlocks characteristic which allows you more styling flexibility.

Finally, the ends of your locks are not suppossed to be locked during installation. They'll turn into cute curly ques initially, then evolve into little balls which will eventually drop off and the ends will seal. That's all part of the locking process which takes time and patience. Four years later, I still have some unlocked ends.

I say be observant, be informed, be educated about your hair and Sisterlocks. Don't be hesitant to discuss your concerns with your Consultant. Perhaps she can alleviate your anxiety and repair any locks you have concerns with. This also lets her know that you're educated about the process and she may up her game, if that's the case.

Until then sit back and chill. Remember why you chose to lock in the first place. And relish how good your head of natural hair feels.
I like the response Tonita posted on LockItUp to someone complaining about their locks not "being perfect."
"I have been SL'd for over 2 years. My locks are not perfect nor did I think they would be since my hair isn't perfect. Like most with locks they have bumps, knots, thin and thick spots, etc., etc. Overall, you can't tell, the imperfections are hidden.

Your locks will swell and settle and you may wonder why was I so distraught? Locks aren't perms or weaves or wigs that look "perfect" out of the chair. Locks mature over time. The first change is convenience, the second is settling, the third is growth and more change.

If you decide to get locks, do your research. What will my new locks look like? What is the locking and retightening process? Can I love my nappy hair? Do I have the PATIENCE to lock?

Don't get caught up in lock envy. Love your locks at every stage. They will grow into the head of beautiful locks that initially caught your attention."

Dont' get it twisted. Sisterlocks aren't perfect, they're not supposed to be. Do your part - study and know thy self then watch your locks grow charactistically and uniquely into you. Natural Awakenings...
(Click photos for greater detail).


Felicia said...

I am a newbie. I've had my sisterlocks for two months. One of the ways that I stay encouraged is that I continue to go to your blog and I specifically go to the current month of my locks and look at the the success that you have had and reaffirm myself to stay the course. Thank you for such a detailed account of your journey. For such a time as this, you are able not only to answer questions about sisterlocks, but also show the proof of them. I am encouraged.

BlaqKofi said...

How nice Felicia. It takes a great deal of time to take photos, write and update my blog. Knowing that it's a helpful resource, for you and others makes it all worthwhile

Cashana said...

I love your response. I have a draft on my blog I need to finish because I saw quite a few folks having issues with their newly installed locks. I keep saying, "My imperfections make my locks perfect." I learned real early in the journey that patience was going to be my best friend and my hair is like no one else's.

Anonymous said...

Hi Blaq,
Well said, thanks for sharing, after two years of having sisterlocks, I still read your blog at least once a week. I love your new color! Can you share what color it is?


Sherrie said...

This is so great!!! I love your blog and so glad you are a consultant in trainee. I am doing my research and preparing myself for the next step of being natural. I love the statement from Tonia-"can you love your nappy hair?" That is what I am doing and look forward to my ongoing journey to Sisterlocks.

NappTown said...

Very good post! I can relate. I went through a stage of over analyzing my locks.(very short lived stage) I felt they were bumpy and bunchy. Then I would go some where and get a compliment on my hair because people don't see the small imperfections that we do when we over analyze. Every lock is different.(not perfect) I learned quickly to let my locks do their thing and enjoy the process! I love my SL's

Natasha Dyer said...

Well said, Blaq! Spoken like the true "big sister" you are to us newbies! Natural hair is such a mental transition, and just like NappTown I went through my over-analyzing stage too. Yet I still love my SLs, with every bump, curly Q and all!

Avartsy said...

I love your true. I've had mine 9mths now and I don't fret over it..fuzzies, the balls on the end of not, it's only hair and it's all part of the locking process. Still loving ur hair!

Anonymous said...

As a consultant, which do you suggest -shampooing before or after a retightening? Did you sleep with a satin cap in the begining stages of your locks? I appreciate your opinion concerning this. Thanks Blaq!!!

BlaqKofi said...

I prefer that my newly locked clients wash b/4 a retightening. The likelihood of slippage is greater right after a wash. If they've washed b/4 coming I can make any necessary repairs. No, I have never slept in a satin cap or on a satin pillow case. I'm sure there's some value to it, I just never did. Once I obtained some length I simply pulled my locks up n/2 a high pony. I still do that every night to this day. Nothing more. If you have more questions, email me at and I can respond in greater detail. Thanks for dropping by my blog. I truly appreciate it.

BlaqKofi said...

Thanks Cashana, Anonymous, Sherrie, Napptown, QueenNat & Avartsy for the feedback and support. I don't always have the time to reply to each of you individually. But I read each and every comment. Know that I appreciate you stopping by and your continual support. I don't take it lightly. Thanks for the blessings!

Bajan Lily said...

Thank you. I've had SLs for only 2 days and was starting to question my judgement especially since my consultant advised that my hair would give 'trouble' to lock because of its 'soft/fine' texture... I was also advised that they will probably have a lot of matting and bunching and look frizzy as opposed to the smooth and fairly uniform locks that sisters with 'coarser/tighter coils' have... this was incredibly disheartening and the current spacey/scanty look was getting me down even though I have about 8 inches in length.
Thanks for reassuring me and encouraging me to love every stage as is.

brunsli said...

I missed the thread on LIU, but it sounds like the poster didn't do her research and her expectations were unrealistic.

On an unrelated note, your hair looks FANTASTIC!

Anonymous said...

Just knowing that I can wake up in the morning, shake or finger comb my hair, and be on my way is reason enough to not worry about losing a lock or two or scalp showing or shrinkage or just about anything else....hehe!

Spicylocks said...

Thank you sooo much for visiting my blog. I am honored. Your blog has inspired my and I appreciate all the time that you have taken to document your journey. You have helped so many people by imparting you knowledge and wisdom to everyone who follow your blog : )

KnottyAuthor said...

ur hair is crazy long/all over the place! amazing! good wisdom. keep sharing-there's not enough nappy ambassadors towards the effort. congrats on your certification!

Nika said...


Anonymous said...

i had consultant cut my ends after 1 year and hair still frizzy and unraveling at ends.looks more like locks instead of natural.any thoughts on this?

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