Sisterlocks Fact or Fiction?
"Since Sisterlocks comprise of so many tiny locs, maintenance (retightening) sessions can take a whole day (8-10 hours) "
Some of you may have heard some variation of this statement at one point or the other during your research into Sisterlocks. In fact, perhaps you've come across this article having heard or read about it and wondered whether it was true. I am here to tell you that it is not.
When Dr Joanne Cornwell, first conceived the Sisterlocks idea, her dream was to create a natural hair-management system that would enable women of colour to wear their textured tresses in a natural form without using relaxing products or binding agents to create styles of choice.
During my training it was further explained that Sisterlocks was never intended to be a form of bondage or financial burden to anyone.
Every woman should know how to maintain their own hair: this includes the washing, nourishing and reforming (retightening) of one's locs. I personally, encourage all of my clients with mature locs, to learn how to maintain their own hair because if your circumstances change (e.g. Redundancy, Pay cut, Bereavement, Moving House etc) or I became ill (God forbid) you would not have to completely write off the investment you've made over the years, but instead could enjoy the beauty and versatility of your locs for many years to come.
I don't do micro-sized Sisterlocks (yes, there is such a thing, usually instances of 600-1000+ locs) unless specifically requested because
1) Your Retightening sessions will take longer and cost more, this may be fine for some income brackets, but not so much for others e.g. women with family commitments, lower incomes etc.
2) When you become a DIYer, it will feel like quite an onerous task. I have clients who groan at the thought of retightening their 480 locs- how much more so those who have 650? I've seen more women with micro Sisterlocks cut their locs off due to their inability to maintain their hair after changes in their circumstances (new baby, job loss) than those with standard sized or large Sisterlocks.
Let me repeat here so you don't get me wrong: if you want micro sized sisterlocks and are happy to pay for their maintenance /spend the time maintaining it yourself that's cool. I will hook you up. BUT by default, you will not sit in my chair and leave with >600 locs (unless we've agreed this during your consultation).
The interviewee in the following article mentions that her retightenings take 8 hours every 6 weeks and cost up to $100.
Now I understand that this is listed in USD but generally speaking, retightenings and installation prices in the USA are a like for like translation. E.g. In 2008, I was quoted £750 GBP for my Sisterlocks installation in the Uk, and a US consultant quoted me the same amount: $750 USD. This was because the pricing structure at the time was 400 for the first 4 inches and 50(£/$) an inch after that.
So again, I understand that there will be something 'lost in translation' between countries but I've noticed that in the US, prices seem to range from $70 to $150 for a retightening session, and in the UK the range is from £45 (with a trainee) to £90 (well established consultant).
It has also been my experience that UK consultants/trainees tend to charge flat rate fees, or flat rate for a minimum number of hours and variable thereafter; whilst Consultants/Trainees stateside tend to charge by the hour. (Not all of them, in either case, but many of them)
What I say next may ruffle a few feathers but I am going to say this : if you do NOT have micro sisterlocks, you should not be sitting for 8-10 hours for a retightening.
There are of course exceptions to this rule:
- if you've gone a long time between appointments and you've got tons of regrowth
- if you've experienced loads of slippage or unravelling and require extensive repair work
- if it's your first time with a new consultant AND you have loads of new growth or matted roots
- if your consultant is a trainee and building up his/her skills ie still refining their technique and building speed.
The thought of a Sisterlocked sister sitting every 6 weeks for 8 hours makes me unhappy. That's like a day's work for a teacher. You shouldn't be sitting for a day to get your hair done. Isn't that why you quit perming or braiding at the salon in the first place?
Your time is valuable, my goal as a loctician is to complete your maintenance competently and professionally and quickly - so you can get back to doing you.
Choose your consultants wisely.
Sisterlocks maintenance should not be painful, arduous, time consuming or burdensome.