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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Monday, July 6, 2015

Soapbox Talk: The Beauty Industry 2015

Beauty Supply Stores
Most of the Beauty Supply stores sell hair, wigs, accessories, makeup, clothes, caps and more.  There are only a few aisles now that are actually stocked with hair products or Hair tools.  That means that people are either going natural where "less is best" or they are wearing a lot of protective styling (i.e. weaves or wigs)  This is amazing to me.

Print Ads
From Whole Foods groceries to Marshalls fashions to banking ads, almost every women of color has a short curly afro or a "braid out" or "wash and go" curls.  I have not seen a print ad with relaxed hair on a woman of color lately. This is amazing to me.

Day to Day Public Appearances
As I attend gatherings or go shopping,  I am simply amazed that by looking at people's hair all around me that I can tell that going to the beautician seems to not be a priority any more. Natural hair is everywhere. The afro with the headband or the pineapple top are the most popular natural hairstyling that I see.  There does not seem to be a glamour competition in my area except with the younger ladies with the vixen weaves.

People's opinion on Locking their Hair
"African Venus" 1851 sculpture by Charles Henri Joseph Cordier

Forming dreadlocks apparently has been a natural instinct for Africans from the 1800's and beyond.  I have even seem some mummy pictures floating on the Internet with dreadlocks.  However, 9 out of 10 times if I offer locs as a long term natural hair solution, Black women immediately have a brain freeze thinking "forever" locked.  Their excuse is that they want more styling options; yet, 9 out of 10 times that I see them, their hair is in the exact same headband or  afro puff on top of their head.  Well, you get the idea.  Dreadlocks are no more permanent than any other chemical service, but women are so scared of them.  I do not think that locs are for everyone's lifestyle, but I know for a fact that I can get  20 times the styling options as my locs continue to gain length than many of the natural loose hair sistahs walking around. Each to his own, but I am simply at a loss for words for the cosmetology industry.  Between the barbers and the braiders, cosmetologists are losing out on clientele.

I am personally going to stick with relaxers, smoothing treatments, and locs. Let's see what changes 2016 brings.

Color Alert Neutralizing Shampoo Competition

In my search for neutralizing shampoos with Color Alerts built-in, I discovered that Hawaiian Silky had  two different neutralizing shampoos.  One is for "No Lye" relaxers and the other is for a "Lye"relaxers.  Wow!!!  I was impressed.

So I used Fiberguard Affirm Normal "Lye" relaxer as my test relaxer.  I also picked up Maxi Professional Hair Repair Neutralizing Shampoo, Elasta QP Stop Action conditioning neutralizing shampoo, and African Essence Neutralizing Shampoo Plus to test for the color alert functionality.

I figured the Hawaiian Silky "No Lye" neutralizing shampoo was not going to work because I was testing with a "lye" relaxer, but to my surprise, neither of the Hawaiian Silky neutralizing shampoos worked compared to the rest of the other brands that I was testing. 

The Maxi Professional brand and the Elasta QP brand both showed immediate color alerts.

The African Essence brand worked quickly as well, but the color alert was not as bright and plentiful as the Elasta QP, but it worked significantly better than the Hawaiian Silky brand.

I decided to test the Isoplus Neutralizing Shampoo and Conditioner brand as well.  The color alert worked immediately.  This Isoplus neutralizing shampoo is one of the top recommendations for the price, and it is sold almost everywhere including Sally's Beauty Supply.

So first place is a tie!  The winners are Isoplus and Maxi Professional (listed in alphabetical order).  Both have thicker consistency.  African Essence and Elasta QP are both in second place because of their thinner product consistency.  All four brands really do the job.  

Note:  I initially had Elasta QP in the first place position, but because I probably dispensed more product out due to its thinner nature - I think that second place is more fair and in line with the African Essence consistency.  The Isoplus and Maxi professional could easily be used with an applicator nozzle because of their thickness.  It is all about customizing and personal preference.

On the other hand, Hawaiian Silky may need to go back to the lab.  I will have to test the No-Lye neutralizing shampoo on a "no lye" relaxer at a later date, but for now, I will keep my color alert winners on hand.

As you may recall, I had been using the NuExpressions 10 in 1 Conditioner as a color alert, but I got tired of importing it in because there are no distributors in the metro Charlotte, NC area.  So from a convenience standpoint, I wanted other color alert options.  So now, I have them!

A Quick Squeeze Nozzle Test showed that the NuExpressions 10 in 1 Conditioner was the superior color alert option, Isoplus was second, and with Maxi Professional showing only a slight pink (center color on stick).  Tests like these give me a clearer perspective to how products compare.

Bee Mine Products Increases Shelf Life Again!

Thank you Bee Mine Products for sending me a complimentary replacement of the 
Coconut Cream Curly Butter!

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that my Curly Butter had turned chocolate in color, and I read that the shelf life was only 3 to 4 months on the company website.  So I called the company to inquire, and they wrote to inform me that they had changed the scent which affected the shelf life.  

So now, they have gone back to the previous scent, and the shelf life is now back at 9 to 12 months for the Bee Mine curly butter.

I'm excited about this news because most people rotate through products and hairstyles, and "3 to 4 months" was just not long enough time to even stock the product.  I am so grateful that the company sent me a replacement with a batch code printed on the jar.  That's Great customer service!!!!  I am indeed appreciative, and I will gladly order from them in the future!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

35 months Along and Open to the Future

 So I have had a couple of people ask me about motherhood . . .  apparently, the whole "get married and then have children" has been an outdated tradition with the amount of "blended familes" these days.  So my answer was "I do not know."  I would love to mother more than one child because I believe in siblings, but I do assume that my biological clock is ticking as well.  We will have to see where my journey takes me.  The road ahead is according to God's plan.
I love it when I am wind blown.  Maybe God will send a husband to sweep me off my feet.  In the meantime, I have my hair "on lockdown."  LOL!

Loc Statement: Dustin Brown Tennis

German citizen born in Jamaica: Dustin Brown, age 29.

@DreddyTennis is his twitter name.   He embraces his Locs.
Wimbledon, sponsored by UnderArmour  GER/AT

Wishing Dustin continued success in tennis, modeling, and more!