Phenomenal . . .

Phenomenal . . .
Life, Growth, and Connection (This sunflower was nourished by my hands.) 2010; Photography by Benita Blocker. Please become a follower of this blog.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Crochet Braids: Braiding Tips!

Crochet Braids by Benita Blocker using Caribbean Corkscrew Curl.

Caribbean Corkscrew Curl hair is easy to separate and grab.  However, it can be quick to frizz.

Two of these packs go a long way. 

I try to custom braid based on the desired final crochet braid style.

Crochet Braids by Benita Blocker using Freetress Water Wave hair. (full 4 packs)

I recommend highly textured braiding hair for those with silky natural hair or relaxed hair.  I recommend silky braiding hair for those who have coarser natural hair.  The coarser natural hair can have thick cornrows as a base and interlock silky braiding hair through both halves of the thick cornrows.

Silky braiding hair may match relaxed hair but it may slip out.  That is why I recommend opposite textures of what you are working with. Thinner hair need more cornrows and some circular braiding patterns as a foundation.

If the braiding hair frizzes, then you can double strand twist in the areas that need taming. 2 to 5 packs should be plenty of braiding hair for one head.

The final cut of the crochet braids make it look most natural.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Down and Dirty Truth about Interlocking Locs

Do you see the "H" bar on the thumb?

When using the interlocking method on locs versus palm roll/coiling, accidentally connecting adjacent locs is a common occurrence.  Many times hair buckles as it grows out making it a "quick grab" as much as you try to avoid connecting locs.  Also, some people's hair is so fine that you do NOT even see that you are catching hair from an adjacent loc.  Obviously, for those who keep a WELL manicured head of locs, the less new growth means less connecting.

So for those who find they have connected two locs in an "H"- it is BEST to leave the "H" connector in place, but interlock the new growth of each loc individually. By the time you tighten both locs, no one will know that they are still connected.  After a few times of doing this the "H" connector will have grow further up the loc strand.  At this point, cutting the "H" connector is safe and recommended.

You ask why wait to cut?  It depends on the hair type.  Some resistant hair will bunch up at the roots if cut too soon.  By waiting, you build a foundation where the hair connected to the "H" connector is already looped at the base allowing the loose end to wrap around the loc versus shrink back to the roots.

It also helps when the loc is large enough to support cutting "H" connectors without weakening any of the locs.  Unfortunately, micro small locs that get "H" connectors can be dangerous because the base of the loc is not but so wide to begin with. You can start losing locs by weakening the base.  Also, doubling the loc is going to cause styling limitations if too many locs are doubled up.

Sometime the "H" connection can be undone, but often times another eye that understands interlocking is needed to undo it.

Palm rolling and coiling usually don't create "H" connections, but those methods don't keep the loc well manicured unless palm rolled on a regular basis.

Some resistant hair types do not like the "unwinding" of the hair when interlocked.  For those who have various different hair types on their one head, you may have to use two different methods depending on the hair type that presents itself.

I do have a small patch of hair that I now keep coiled because it was my tempermental area whether relaxed or natural.  It is the smallest diameter curl pattern that I have ever seen.  95% of my locs, I keep interlocked.  The other 5%, I just keep finger twirled and let it naturally wind on its own. 

Each loc is a child with its own journey.  I encourage loc wearers to learn their own locs even if someone else maintains them.  This does not mean give the loctician a hard time.  It means partnering with the loctician to make sure you are coming in on time for tightenings or if the loc styling is causing any thinning.

There is an advanced way that some locticians hold their tools at an angle that prevent catching hair from an adjacent loc.  Many that know the secret will not share because they can charge $50 to $60 per hour.  Maybe the Sisterlocks organization will teach an advanced class separate from their refresher classes. The loc industry as a whole could benefit when everyone gets it right!

Some Professional Black Women Prefer Relaxers in 2017

Vitale Pro High Comfort Regular Relaxer service by Benita Blocker.

Paul Mitchell Regular Relaxer Service by Benita Blocker.


Fiberguard Affirm Mild relaxer service by Benita Blocker.

All Black women are NOT going natural.  More than half of my clientele receive relaxer services.  If it is not broke, why try to fix it?  For the Black women who love their natural hair and have discovered a routine, more power to you. For those who are ready to give up, my business was built on chemicals.  The "creamy crack" has been around for as long as the "pressing comb" - you can have healthy, long, relaxed hair.  

The most frequent relaxer touch-up service is at a 7 week period.  Some clients get a virgin relaxer once a year. Relaxers are more weather resistant.  Overall, they save my clients time and money.

Loc Removal Discussion

So you or a client want locs removed?  Step one:  Cut the locs to be removed down to a couple of inches.

Step Two:  Use an Awl to start detangling the ends all the way to the root.

It took me about 2.5 hours to remove about 16 locs using the awl.  That covered about two full rows in the nape area.

My client can now play with her LOOSE natural hair in the nape and still enjoy her locs until she decides to do something else with her hair.  Loc Haircut by Benita Blocker.

For those who shave and cut off locs without trying to save some of the loose natural length, you do your clients a disservice.  I charged $20 per hour to remove.

Clients who want to save their locs to sell or to make a wig or to extend other locs should tell the loctician prior to loc removal commencement.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Documenting Hair Relaxer Bubbling

Do you see the bubble?

Most of my clients still receive relaxer services, but I have to be cautious on the brands that I don't use as often.  Like this relaxer tub, bubbles started forming without me even disturbing the contents inside.

According to the batch code, it is not expired.

Bubbling relaxer did not sit well with me so I decided that the relaxer is unsafe to use.  It is probably not stable anymore. I may call the manufacturer and see what they think.