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, February 23, 2015

Two years and 7 months Wet Sisterlocks Length Check-in

 Two years and seven months Sisterlocks anniversary is in full effect! This is my wet length check-in.  I still maintain my own locs by hand interlocking.

 I have some great length on my non-relaxed hair.  I still have some relaxed ends in the front.

 Some men love longer hair.  Let's see how the next few years go. Laughing out loud.

 I have a short torso so focus away from the mirror reflection please. Laughing out loud. Back of my hair is below shoulder length.
I was enjoying the one side whip of the hair.  I will have to go into my hair accessories stash and see what new accessories I can play with.

This picture above was my locs before I shampooed my hair.  I took my updo down to show you that the Tropical Roots foam that I brought back from California holds really well.  I only shampooed to get a clean head.  My locs were still able to hold a style.  Not too soft; not too dry.

Any salon or any hairstylist interested in meeting with me as a loc consultant should contact Applebaum Salon in North Carolina.  If you come to me with your client, then I can offer a $25 flat rate for up to 30 minutes.  Otherwise, take care of my travel accommodations, and I can fly to you!  Additional terms may include food, group consultation rate, etc.

I do suggest taking the Sisterlocks course in conjunction with my consultation.  The Sisterlocks course is separate and is through Sisterlocks headquarters.

Cleaning Conventional Marcel Irons

 I had some leftover relaxer from a relaxer service so I decided to put it to good use.  I heated up one of my marcel irons that seemed to be "chipping away."  Pictured above is the marcel iron after the first pass of relaxer on the iron while it was hot.

 There was definitely residue on the iron.  Some could be from it being tempered.

 I used a craft stick to scrape the iron plates while the relaxer was sizzling on the hot marcel iron.

The melted relaxer dripped off the iron into the shampoo bowl.  I was using a Paul Mitchell relaxer to clean the hot iron.

The marcel iron was much smoother after the second cleaning.  I did rinse the iron quite a bit, and I had to heat the iron to get excess water out of it.  It seems to have some tiny holes near the handles that I think water got into.  

The approach I used worked well enough.  I can also ship the iron back to Golden Supreme for them to clean it as well for under $20 + shipping.

To each his own - I may try this procedure again down the road if the plates begin feeling rough again.  I did not re-temper the iron.  I may do so.  It works fine as is, but it may work even better if I re-temper the iron.  I have a separate article on this blog about tempering.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Loc Rejection is Real

I was told that I looked better with the Mardi Gras mask on because "it covered up my locs."  That statement came from a Black woman.

I had a different Black woman to share with me that she witnessed her manager put all applications in a "reject" pile if the applicant had locs.  This occurrence happened some years back, but who is to say that it can not still happen?

Thank God that locs are becoming more accepted in society.  Natural hair over the last year has finally become more mainstream.  Many print ads and commercials showcase women of color with "textured" hair more than ever before.

We have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go.  We need our little girls to really appreciate their God given hair versus being brainwashed that long, wavy, Remy hair is better.

Caution: Disposable Gloves

Because quite a few people have latex allergies, hairstylists often prefer vinyl gloves over latex gloves.  Hair glue and certain condoms often are made of latex; so people with latex allergies should tell their hairstylist during the first consultation and at every visit. Of course, the condoms have nothing to do with hairstyling, but the hair glue and the disposable gloves can be a medical threat.

According to California Proposition 65 Warning as seen on the Diane by Fromm box pictured above, some vinyl gloves are made of vinyl chloride which has been shown to be cancer causing and harmful to one's health. However, before we get too un-nerved, I was told unless you are heating up the vinyl gloves or eating the vinyl glove, you should be safe.  Of course, food service handlers who pick up hot foods such as sandwiches could be introducing vinyl chloride into the food if the gloves contain a "vinyl chloride." 

I do not handle anything hot with my disposable gloves so I do not worry, but this information was good to know.  I picked up these pink disposable gloves for Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Soooo cute!

The color is called Radiant Orchid. The brand is ColorTrak.  I did not see the cancer causing warning on this ColorTrak box, but I definitely will be cautious with all disposable gloves.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Down and Dirty Truth about Starting Locs

I recently was trying to explain "dreadlocks" to a Latina or Latin American lady.  The picture above is a long Hair Latina picture from .  Women with this naturally wavy hair will only need to go into a hair salon for a  hair trim or some fashion highlights.  Some women with this type of low maintenance hair may never ever step into a hair salon.  They may experiment with hair color at home or even trim their own hair ends.  On the flip side, you would agree that some Black women have hair that is ten times curlier and 100 times more resistant to control.  So here's the task:  Explain to a Latina woman with the hair type pictured above that you . . .

  1. spent 20+ hours in the salon chair getting your hair "knotted" up in the name of "Sisterlocking" only to feel the need to dramatize your cosmetic makeup application so that you will look more feminine and still realize that you may need a "wig"as a backup plan for important meetings.
  2. spent $750 paying someone to "knot" your hair up who did not have a state issued hair license but was registered with Sisterlocks as certified to provide Sisterlock services.
So 20+ hours and a $750 bill and the goal is NOT to have an actual "hairstyle" when you leave out of the locking session.  Your primary goal is to keep your new "knots" from unravelling.

Well, readers, a Latina is going to be staring at you like you have "lost your mind" and when you honestly listen to yourself- you will even be second guessing your own self.

This is the raw reality of "Black hair" that some Sistahs are facing.  What if you have NO Support System to even think about beginning your "Sisterlock" journey?  What if your family is not familiar with dreadlocks?  What if your job does not employ a lot of Sistahs?   What if you want the freedom of Sisterlocks despite all the negativity around you?  

Here's how to prepare:

Weight Gain
Be cautious of weight gain.  Many times, women will use "eating food" for comfort.  After reflecting on my own Sisterlock journey, I realized that I probably gained at least an extra 15 pounds trying to cope with "starter Sisterlocks."  So I encourage women to watch out for their eating habits or any other vices that they abuse to get through the awkward starter phase of locs.

Dramatic Makeup and Wigs
Many Sisterlocks technicians are often scared that wigs will cause clients to sweat out their newly formed Sisterlocks.  So for those who have "hard to lock" hair, too much moisture from sweating, showers, etc. may find their hair unravelling after such a heavy investment in time and money to get the Sisterlocks framework put in.

At the end of the day, if your job requires a more European image, then plan to use a wig or more cosmetic makeup to compensate for the masculine look that starter locs can sometimes display.  Smart employers are not going to tell you that you were laid off because administration did not like your starter locs.  

I was laid off from my corporate workplace in under two weeks of having Sisterlocks started in my head.  Administration said that they just changed their business model- that's all.  Of course, I was one of the first employees at the workplace to get Sisterlocks so there was a lot of ignorance floating around.  Do not expect administration to understand your hair journey.  Be true to thine self.  If you need the job, then grab the wig if you feel more confident wearing a wig.  

On the flip side, there will be some Sisterlocks technicians who will not back their work if you wear a wig.  Actually, some Sisterlocks technicians will find every excuse that they can think of to not warranty their work.  You should have these discussions before the Sisterlocks are started.  If the Sisterlocks technician is very strict on rules, and you have a job that is very conservative - then this situation is a recipe for disaster.  I would find a Sisterlocks technician who you feel confident that you can partner with.  You may not have a lot of choices in your area.  This is where referrals become very important.  If you can not find a good match for Sisterlock services, I suggest waiting until you can find a loctician that will partner with you.  Locking one's whole head of hair should not be entered into lightly.

Immediate Satisfaction
I have had a lot of loc consultations with new prospective clients, and many ultimately want the five year look on day one.  They want my look, but even my locs are two years and six months old. Sisterlocks headquarters do not approve of loc extensions. I feel that people should consider micro braids extensions and then possibly start locking the roots as the braid extensions grow out.  There are no exact answers for everyone across the Board, but just know, that without a support system for your loc journey, it will be a cold, long, hard road, but only you know how to maintain focus on your prize at the end of the journey.

My loc journey has been very painful, but it has made me stronger.  If knowledge of my journey can make anyone else's journey just a little easier, then I will feel that I have done a good deed.  Wishing you the best as your begin your journey!