How to Start Sisterlocks with Long Hair: A Step-by-Step Guide with Pictures

LovingkinkycurlsHair Care, Locs2 Comments

How to Start Sisterlocks

Imagine the thrill of embarking on a transformative hair journey after nurturing your natural hair for over 5 years. That was me. I started my sisterlocks in November of 2021.

After countless hours of research and multiple consultations, I took the plunge and embarked on a very rewarding journey of sisterlocks.

In this article I will share with you a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to start sisterlocks with long hair so you don’t have to make the mistakes others do.

What To Do Before Installing Sisterlocks

Before starting your sisterlocks journey, there are several factors to consider:

Evaluate your commitment

Sisterlocks require long-term dedication. Unlike traditional locks, sisterlocks are smaller and take longer to mature. Patience is key, as it may take anywhere from six months to a year for your sisterlocks to fully form.

Assess your lifestyle

Consider your lifestyle and how sisterlocks will fit into it. Sisterlocks require regular maintenance, which includes retightening sessions every 4-6 weeks. If you have a busy schedule, ensure you can allocate the necessary time and resources to maintain your sisterlocks properly.

Research and consult

 It is highly recommended to consult with a certified sisterlocks consultant before starting the process. A professional can assess your hair type, texture, and length, providing personalized guidance to ensure a successful sisterlocks journey.

Prepare yourself mentally

Starting sisterlocks is a significant change. Embrace the idea of a new hairstyle and the natural beauty it represents. Be ready to let go of the expectations of societal norms and fully embrace the versatility and uniqueness of sisterlocks.

How to start Sisterlocks on Long hair

In this section I will share a step-by-step guide on how to start sisterlocks based on my experience. As I mentioned earlier, I started my sisterlocks in 2021 after taking the time to fully understand what I was getting myself into.

Step 1: Prepare the Hair

About 2-3 months before you do the installation, you need to start preparing your hair. Think of it as setting your hair up for success.

If your hair is damage, consider trimming the ends and start a treatment regimen using a Keratin treatment.

I started preparing my hair my cleansing and deep conditioning on a weekly basis. I also trimmed of dead ends in the process.

When installing begin by washing your hair with a clarifying shampoo to remove any product buildup or residue. Gently detangle your hair using a wide-tooth comb, starting from the ends and working your way up to the roots. Dry your hair thoroughly before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Grid pattern

how to start sisterlocks, grid pattern

Create a grid pattern on the scalp using small, precise partings. This grid helps to guide the placement of the Sisterlocks and ensures a uniform look throughout the hair.

Do the partings with a rat-tail comb, and create the grid in a diamond or brick-like pattern

Step 3: Start Locking

how to start sisterlocks with long hair

Starting with one section, separate a small subsection of hair at the root.

Keep in mind that smaller sub-sections will result in more sisterlocks and a longer installation process.

Using a locking tool or a sisterlocks tool, insert the tool close to the scalp, about 1/8 of an inch away, and rotate it clockwise. This action creates a tiny coil, forming the foundation of your sisterlocks. Repeat this process on each subsection until the entire section is locked.

Repeat step 3 on each section of your hair, ensuring consistency in size and tightness. Take your time and pay attention to detail, as precision is essential for achieving uniform and well-formed sisterlocks.

Here is a video by on how to start sisterlocks with long hair:

Step 4: Finishing touches

Once all the sections have been locked, you may decide to trim off excess hair if you want a neat finish.  

Some people opt for a locking gel or spray to help set the locks and provide additional hold and definition but this is highly debatable given the argument that sisterlocks should be as natural as possible (if there is such a thing)

I did not use any gel and loved results.

Tension and sizing of Sisterlocks

As the locks are created, pay attention to the tension applied to the hair. It’s important to maintain consistent tension to ensure the locks are secure but not too tight. The size of the locks can be adjusted based on personal preference, with smaller locks creating a denser look and larger locks resulting in a more open and airy appearance.

I went for medium-sized locks and ended up with just under 450 locs. This was a comfortable number for me to manage. I spend about 2 -3 hours doing reties. I also love how my locks looks and they hardly break!

I have friends who have had to join two or more locs because they did super small locs.

Retightening Sisterlocks

You will need to retighten your sisterlocks regularly. This process involves using a tool to re-tighten the new growth at the roots.

Retightening sessions should be scheduled every 4-6 weeks to maintain the integrity of your sisterlocks.


Starting sisterlocks is not just a hair journey; it’s a spiritual experience that connects each loc to the very essence of who I am. My locs have bestowed upon me a sense of freedom and versatility that I never knew existed.

With sisterlocks, I am liberated from the constant worry of redoing my hair every so often. It’s a transformative path that has allowed me to embrace my natural beauty and celebrate my unique self-expression.

I hope this guide has been useful in providing you guidance on how to start sisterlocks on your hair. As always if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below.

2 Comments on “How to Start Sisterlocks with Long Hair: A Step-by-Step Guide with Pictures”

  1. Thank you the helpful comments about setting your hair up for success. I will start weekly keratin treatments to build strength. Using a clarifying shampoo before installation is a brilliant idea! Your Sisterlocks journey is inspiring, and the results are gorgeous!

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