Monday, October 30, 2006

A Road Map to Sisterlocks

There's been several post on LockItUp lately about poorly installed Sisterlocks by trainees or "step-sisterlocks" being installed. After a potential locker wrote that she was "now getting nervous about locking after the negative posts and horror stories" that I felt compelled to address the concerns. Here's what I wrote:

I apologize in advance because this is long. But, I feel compelled to address the Sisterlocks installation concerns that have been posted of late.

I strongly recommend Sisterlocks to anyone thinking of locking. I am so committed to natural hair and Sisterlocks that I am-a-walkin'-talkin-', bloggin' Sisterlocks advertisement. At a family gathering this weekend, my niece walked up to where I had several female family members engaged and said, "let me guess...she's tellin' y'all about her Sisterlocks, how-many-ways- she-can-wear-them, how-she-can-curl-them-or-leave-them-alone, how-she-can-walk-in-the-rain, wash-them-when-she-wants-to, how-they- have-body-and-bounce, yada, yada, yada"....LOL.

I have been locked for 16 months and my experience has been nothing but beautiful. But just like any other investment, it takes some work on your part. Before deciding to lock I read everything possible and available about Sisterlocks over a two year period. I participated in this forum (LockItUp) and asked lots of questions. Here are some basic recommendations:

1. Visit the Sisterlocks official web site and read or download the "Online Information Packet." This will tell you exactly what to expect during your consultation and after.

2. Read websites and blogs of those who have been locked for awhile. I highly recommend Sandy's (the host of this forum) web site. It was the first SL website I discovered and I used it as my bible. I read every page and every experience countless times so I fully knew what to expect along each stage of my journey and still refer to it often when I'm going through another new phase.

3. You get what you pay for. Everyone has to start somewhere, but if you are seriously concerned about your SL installation, then you'll want to use a certified consultant listed on the SL web site (nothing against trainees).

4. Interview consultants. You are making a financial and lifestyle investment. It deserves serious time and study. Besides, you are going to spend anywhere from 14-20+ hours with this person during the initial locking session and 2-4+ hours for your retightenings. You should be comfortable in their shop/home and there should be good chemistry.

I interviewed five consultants in my area. Looked at photos of their work, found out how long they had been certified, if they styled and cut or only locked, if they retightened and their retightening fee and basically tried to feel their "vibe."

5. Know your natural hair before you lock. SL isn't a hairstyle, it's a lifestyle. Before you PERMANENTLY lock your hair, be sure that you understand your natural hair and how to care for it and keep it healthy. Healthy hair = healthy locks.
Sandy recommended two wonderful resources to me. I purchased them, read them, highlighted them and now pass them on to others who want to transition to natural hair.

Please read: No Lye! by Tulani Kinnard and Let's Talk Hair by Pamela Ferrell.

Locking is a journey - arm yourself with a good road map of knowledge. You wouldn't go on a trip without doing some research about where you were going would you?

If you follow these basic steps before and your consultant's advice afterwards, you too will find yourself in love with your Sisterlocks.

.Afterall, I always say, "it's natural to be natural."



WandaWoman said...

Hi, no issues with what you posted. Those are all valid points. Just wanted to let you know when linking to your blog, it should be, not as that is not correct. Hope that helped.

Cluizel said...

Good post! I didn't want to say anything (people get very defensive)...but I was wondering how much research people were doing before they committed to a consultant.

Since I was spending hundreds...I was all over everyone's blog, I only used a consultant with a website or samples of their work, I found some of her clients on blogger and contacted them, lol...

BlaqKofi said...

Thanks, Wanda.

BlaqKofi said... are correct, people can get pretty defensive on LockItUp. I guess we're just all passionate about our hair - which is a good thing. LockItUp is a great forum for these types of dialogues.

Anonymous said...


This is wonderful, very thorough and informative. I am going to refer people I know considering locks to your blog. I have people that I have given this information to previously but to have it laid out like this is AWESOME!!! I have a friend that just had a bad experience with her installation, but she did not do all of the things on this list and I think she realizes now that she has to take some responsibility in why her situation turned out the way it did. I am hoping that there is grace for her and that it all works out. When I decided to get locks I researched for atleast a year, doing everything you have on this list and some....and I believe if all women/men do that they will be very happy with their hair.

Thank you for taking the time to do this.


Natural Kinks said...

OMG this is great!! I have a tip sheet like this that I give my clients but I'm missing a few pionts like knowing your natural hair, that's so important. A lot of clients don't know a thing about thier hair in its natural state. Of course I can't blame them to much but it's still a great point. Hope you don't mind if I add some of your point to my list.
I think we got a new consultant trainee in the HOUSE lol!

Blessings always

BlaqKofi said...

Vee, by all means use whatever information you may find helpful. I'm flattered and grateful. It's the whole purpose of my blog, although, some make think it's just a venue for me to post my pics...LOL. No need to worry about me being a consultant trainee - gurl, I don't even enjoy retightening my own hair - and I took the class! :-)

Quietspirit said...

Blaqkofi you are truly a good role model for anyone considering sisterlocks. When I had my locks installed there was not that much information out there about sisterlocks. I just happened to hook up with a really good consultant and worked with her for several months before getting my sisterlocks. I had been natural for most of my adult life so I knew a lot about dealing with my natural hair. I also knew I really wanted locks and sisterlocks was the option that appealed the most to me. Keep up the good work with the great information.

Anonymous said...


I'm so glad you addressed this issue! I recently took the sisterlocks course and now am a fledging trainee. However, I had a bad experience when my sisterlocks were installed. The consultant had been doing sisterlocks for several years, but had let her certification lapse. I was the first customer she had locked in a year. Although she had a portfolio which looked very good, and one of her clients strongly recommended her, when she locked my hair she made several major mistakes. She started from the back of my head, and by the time she got to the front, she was tired; so my locks in the front were way too big. And she didn't part correctly in the front, so it made it difficult to style my hair. Luckily about 2 months after my initial locking session, I went to another consultant who confirmed my suspicion that there was something wrong with my locks. Thankfully, my locks weren't settled yet, so my new consultant took down the front sections of my hair and re-did them correctly. A year later, she is still spliting some of my locks in the back of my head; however my locks look so much better now.
Bottom line to avoiding bad experiences in my humble opinion, is to go only to a currently certified sisterlock consultant (of course in addition to doing all of your other wonderful suggestions).
Now as I am a trainee, I do have to address using a trainee to install sisterlocks. The sisterlock training is very specific in how to part & also a lock size grid is given to all trainees. So I think that one can feel somewhat confident in going to a trainee, especially those who have stayed connected to a mentoring certified sisterlock consultant. However, I think it's a good idea when considering using a trainee to ask for a recommendation from her mentoring consultant.

Thanks again for your post!

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