I installed my Sisterlocks in October, 2015. Since then I have struggled to explain what exactly they are. I opted for mine to be thicker than the average Sisterlocks, therefore I can see why people confuse them for regular dreadlocks. A few Sundays ago, I was at Studio 28, on Peponi Road just before you get to ISK, buying my regular stash of pure Moringa Oil for my face (a story for another day). As we got chatting with Wariko Waita, I asked her if they would be willing to answer some questions on Sisterlocks; and she was game.

So I asked women in different natural hair groups and on my personal timeline  to ask any and all questions that they might have in regards to Sisterlocks. The questions were compiled and shared with the Studio 28 team; and Kirigo Kabuga graciously took up the challenge to answer them all! Kirigo is a natural hair coach, a ‘R’ Certified Sisterlocks Consultant and Sisterlocks product distributor. She and her sister Wariko, run Studio 28.

Check out the questions you had and her answers to them. If something still remains unanswered or unclear ask in the comments section and we’ll request the expert team from Studio 28 to answer them for you. Here is what you had to say/ask:

What are Sisterlocks? (Patricia Wangui, TN)

A Sisterlock is a small encasement of our natural hair in which over time grows to a small lock

Are they real dread locks? (Grace Mwakio, TN)

Actually, I do not support using words like “dread” to refer to our natural beauty and our hair, I prefer the words “traditional locks”.  They behave similar to traditional locks once they are mature and settling. However the care and maintenance for Sisterlocks differs because we use a tool to retighten them.

Are they permanent? (Diana Hellen, NK)

They can be permanent if you so choose that is why it is important to be clear on the type of commitment that is required before starting your journey. They can be removed however it is a tedious, time consuming and costly process.

Image Courtesy of Studio 28 Nairobi

Can anyone install them? (Mdawida Tiki, NK)

No not just anyone, its is important to make sure they are installed by someone who has been through some level of training, because there is science to what qualifies the locks to be Sisterlocks. Trained individuals only are able to adhere to the specifics that qualify Sisterlocks as authentic.

Would you recommend them to someone with a weak hairline? (Mumbi Kimwe, TN)

Great question. Yes I would but I would need to first have a consultation with the client to find out what may be causing thinning on the hairline. Once that is determined then we can develop a hair care regiment that is customised to address this for each individual.

Can Sisterlocks be installed on a 3-year-old who hates salon visits but loves being girly? Someone discouraged me that her hair edges will fall off badly. (Jo Lubanga, NK)

More and more we are seeing mothers making this choice for their little girls. The biggest challenge is to have the little ones sit for the many hours during the installation, but once this process is complete and recommended to be done over a number of days, there is a new sense of freedom for both the mother and child.

Image Courtesy of Studio 28 Nairobi

How much is installation? (Meli Solloh, KD)

Sisterlocks installations vary depending on length and density of the hair, that is why we insist on having a consultation. Generally it may run from KES 55,000/- and up, this usually covers the consultation, day or days of installation, a starter kit which has instructions on hair care, a small shampoo, and your first retightening after 4 weeks.

Why are they so expensive? My worry has been the cost to do it is high. (Karimi Kagwe, NK)

They seem expensive, but when you take into consideration the cost of stylist certification, which also requires number professional submissions for “R” Certification, which could take years, the cost, is within the market range.  Additionally, over time limited or no products are used and retightening appointments are on average every 4 to 6 weeks.  This also brings savings over time.  Finally, where products are used as in the case of shampoos and such, we ensure nothing but the best quality products.

Has it been worth the investment? (Shirley Bee, TN)

If you believe you are worth it then it will be worth it. I have had Sisterlocks for the last 6 years. The level of freedom it provides is incredible.  Additionally the extra time on my hands saved from frequent salon visits and daily styling has been an asset.  As mentioned in the long run with limited product purchases you realise a break-even and the rest is money and time saved.

Image Courtesy of Studio 28 Nairobi

Do they cut?? They are very thin, that’s my biggest worry. (Mensah Ogutu)

They may cut if they are not handled the correct way, but the technique of encasing the Sisterlocks was created to avoid them from cutting. If they are installed too small and the curl pattern is not taken into consideration the results may not be successful. That is why it is important to make sure the person providing the service is well trained.

How much maintenance goes into it? (Kiki Mwobobia Njuguna, KD)

Freedom is the day-to-day care. Most times a spray of water mist is the daily moisturizing regime and you are good to go.

How long before retouching the roots is needed? (Wayua Muli, TN)

4-8 weeks depending on the curl pattern and speed of growth.

How long does it take for them to have body? (Nyasuba L, NK)

Generally for those with less body before the installation density will emerge over time.   For different curl patterns the time frame will range from a few weeks or it may take up to six months or even longer. This is important to cover at the consultation appointment before the installation.

When can you start using anything other than water in the spritz bottle for maintenance after installation? (Marie Koinange, NK)

Depending on the curl pattern this can be determined during the first re-tight, which is generally four weeks after installation.

Image Courtesy of Studio 28 Nairobi

Do they start breaking and falling off like normal locs? (Namboka Belinda M, NK)

My main concern is breakage. I had dreadlocks and they started breaking when they were smaller/thinner. My stylist at the time recommended twisting two locks together (of the ones that were breaking) to make thicker locks. We did and they stopped breaking. Given that sister locks are much thinner, I’m concerned that they’ll break. (Mona Manani, NK)

When the locks at the base were sectioned too small for the future weight of the lock, breakage always happens when gravity is pulling the weight of the locks down. As a professional and only with training can one factor this component in when creating locks. For example, I always keep in mind that my client may keep the locks for 5 years plus and I can project the length and weight then that informs what foundation I need to put in place to accommodate those conditions in the future.

What is Retightening?      

Retightening is the process of incorporating the new growth of hair at the roots, into the preexisting Sisterlock. This is required every 4-8 weeks depending on the speed of the growth of the hair, as well as the curl pattern of the shaft.

 

How much for the Retightening Class?

How many sessions are required to learn how to retightening for oneself? It costs 25,000/- for a 3 hour class, which includes all the materials, products and tools, you will need for the class The class covers locking patterns, grids and sectioning and a perfect formula to empower the Sisterlocks or Brotherlocks wearer to groom their own hair. The theory runs for about 40 mins and we get straight to work. This is not an easy class by far but like anything else with time you become a winner. This skill takes empowerment to the next level.

 

Image Courtesy of Studio 28 Nairobi

Can you talk about Sisterlocks certification? Once I got my locks I was told I can apply for a Sisterlocks certificate. (Wambui JL, Hairpolitan)  

The thing I love most is that by the time you are qualified to be a Sisterlock Consultant and receive your Sisterlocks certification, one has had to really prove themselves through the qualification process. Not only that, the Sisterlocks head office must speak to some of the individuals that you installed the Sisterlocks to ensure you followed the Sisterlocks formula, that’s only received if they took the training. To verify one has  been certified just look for their name on the Sisterlocks website www.sisterlocks.com. That is the greatest proof. Having the skills to create Sisterlocks has helped many women of different backgrounds become entrepreneurs. Lately in the US I have seen even blue collar workers opt to train for Sisterlocks to increase their income. What a Gift! Its no longer an just attracting hair stylist its caught the interest of the cooperate world.

 

 

Tell us a little about Sisterlocks Patenting

It took a long time for Sisterlocks to be patented, although it was well thought out. Some say that the founder of Sisterlocks Dr. Cornwell borrowed African hair care ideas, but I would like to say that I know her personally and I work for the head office  at the Sisterlocks Homecoming every year in July and she is a force to be reckoned with, She is brilliant and is a great mentor of mine, and I admire how she crafted the entire Sisterlocks system to empower so many across the globe. Thank you Dr. C for your vision and thank you to Sisterlocks I now have my own ministry.

Image Courtesy of Studio 28 Nairobi

During installation do you teach someone how to repair and give them tools? (Okinda Andal Martha, KD)

I usually teach a Retightening class to my clients once I know the Sisterlocks have matured and settled. Yes class is available and necessary to empower the Sisterlocks wearer; the training includes a personal tool.

Does it give ‘hair freedom’ as most people allude? i.e. in terms of styling, more versatile compared to regular locks? (Eve Serro, NK)

Yes. Sisterlocks offer the largest range of styling options much more than any other lock system and certainly much less care required when compared to the natural afro.

Are they high maintenance? I am allergic to the salon (Njeri Kinyanjui, TN)

Except for the early process of the locks, Sisterlocks = Total Freedom

Image Courtesy of Studio 28 Nairobi

The ladies at Studio 28 are currently planning a Sisterlocks Meet-up slated for 4th-5th March 2017. Kirigo Kabuga will be on hand to answer questions and talk all things Sisterlocks. Pencil those dates into your calendar and we’ll keep you posted on more details here. 

STUDIO 28 / NATURAL HAIR JOURNEY CONTACTS: 
Call: +254 708 253 853
Email: naturalhairjourney@gmail.com
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KD – Kurlly Diaries, NK – Nurtured Knotts & TN – Tricia’s Naturals

 

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