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.

Total Pageviews

Monday, December 27, 2010

Teena Marie Celebrity Hair Look

You can achieve Teena Marie's look two ways. 1)You or your stylist should use the 1 inch barrel curling iron overdirecting hair around the hairline, curling hair towards the back of the head. Use clips or bobby pins to hold each curl until they all cool down. Spray a moveable holding spray such as "Brocato Movable Hold" onto the curls before taking out your clips or pins. Once you have curled, clipped, and sprayed, then remove the clips/pins. Bend your head down. Run your fingers through your hair from nape area to the front. Lift up your head. Spray with movable/flexible hairspray again. Use your hands to get your final finishing look around the hairline. Spray one more final burst of moveable/flexible hairspray and you have it! Or 2) you or your stylist should use either hot roller/dry (1.25" diameter and hope you have enough hot rollers :-) or wet set with the "red size" magnetic rollers. Ask that the front hairline be overdirected facing toward the back. All rollers should face toward back allowing the hair on the center roller to naturally part after drying and removing rollers. Use hairspray if you choose to dry/set with hot rollers. Final styling tips are the same as option one as previously stated in this article. Have Fun!

On a separate note, I wish the family comfort in the passing of Teena Marie. God has taken her home . .

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Is your Flat Iron Burning your Hair Test

This is a Babyliss Tourmaline Ionic, Ceramic Flat iron with adjustable temperature. I turned it on to the highest setting and let it sit still for 10 minutes until I felt it heated up and was "piping hot."
I clamped this flat iron onto some toilet paper. Smooth paper versus "quilted" is better. After holding my grip for about a minute. I let go.
The discoloration of the toilet paper shows that this flat iron could burn the hair. I placed a black mark on the toilet paper in order to show that it was the same test piece of paper. I know that most people would not hold their flat iron in one place on the hair for a whole minute, but you can try this test with different flat irons to see if you get varied results. Remember this was a Tourmaline, Ionic flat iron. A good flat iron should "silken" the paper without obvious discoloration. Babyliss has come out with their Titanium plated flat irons. They may eliminate this potential damage. Titanium plates are scratch resistant and may help eliminate static electricity. Metal is suppose to have the ability to reduce static electricity in clothes. Ex. Running a metal hanger down your clothes is a static electricity reducer.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Styling with the 1.25 inch flat iron

Sometimes the 1 inch irons give the client too much curl. And the 2 inch flat irons do not hold curl long enough. So the one and a quarter inch flat iron is a great option for a sexy tousled look that will hold! Hair by Benita Blocker (sorry about the picture's backdrop; they are quick snapshots while I am in my element!)
Using some the Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil plus Joico Leave-in Conditioner and some of the "It's a 10" during some of the wet phase, positions you with a nice blow-dry. Then Moccocan Oil before flat ironing seals the deal! Hair by Benita Blocker.
Incredible shine and brillance! Hair by Benita Blocker.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Understanding the "Hair" Practice

Good cosmetologists are hair "doctors." We "write prescriptions" as it relates to beauty products and beauty regimens. We hope that it works for you (the loyal client) and then if it does not then we have to give you another "beauty prescription" to try.

Unfortunately, there is no "hair insurance" policy, no "Hair co-pays," and no exact science in a hair practice.

Many people are prone to hop from salon to salon . . . from hairstylist to hairstylist. They forget that hairstylists are just as human as a medical physician.

If something is not working, then you have to partner to find the best routine and best products for you.

Many times because the economy is so bad, people only go to the salon when they need a professionally styled "hairdo" that will hold as long as possible. Wow! That means the hairstylist is expected to give you the most beautiful, healthy head of hair in one visit. May I also add . . . at an affordable price . . . NOT!

Consider a tube of lipstick. If everyone gets their own tube of the same color of lipstick, would everyone have the same color of lips?

The answer is NO. The products look and react different with everyone. The higher end products usually have higher quality ingredients that should work with all hair types, but the average consumer does not want to pay much for a hair service.

The funny thing about the hair business is that hair is the most fragile thing on our body and it takes "time" to grow. It is like cooking vegetables . . . once it is cooked/overcooked it is gone! Then the "start over" or the waiting period goes into effect again.

Why not trust only cosmetologists that are always taking classes and staying current on research and trends? I personally am licensed in three states, and I keep my licensing up. I am constantly looking for the next best product to make my job easier. I am constantly networking with other professionals to stay on top of "what is working" and "what is not." All I do is "hair" for a living. It is my profession. It is how I pay my bills. It is my passion. It is my joy.

Cosmetologists have an awesome responsibility, and the dedicated, professional ones are often underpaid. Professional cosmetologists should be paid as much as medical physicians especially when we are expected to get everything right on the first visit.

Some high-end salons have their "penthouse" view and aromatheraphy built into their prices. Clients really should look at the certifications that a stylist has more than the price of the hair do. Whether you go to someone who has worked part-time for twenty years in the beauty industry versus someone who has worked full-time for five years in the industry, every stylist is not going to be right for everyone.

Happy searching for a professional cosmetologist that sees you for more than a number!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mannequin Mania

Hair by Benita Blocker.
Haircut, Round brush styling, and a flat iron finish. Hair by Benita Blocker
Hair cut by Benita Blocker
Hair color by Benita Blocker (done in phases . . .)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Using the Round Brush for Hair styling

Round Brushes usually fall in the categories of "boar bristle," metal, or a "Cricket." When using any type of brush, you need to make sure the hair can pass through it without tangling before using a blow-dryer. This overview is just an introduction to round brushes. Choosing the right brush for you will require a consultation. Oily scalp versus dry scalp; thin hair versus thick hair; curly hair versus straighter hair are all factors to consider. If you have straight roots when the hair is wet, then a rough dry with your hands to get 80% of the water out and to add volume at the roots may be necessary before any round brushing begins. Curly roots need to be less dry to avoid setting the curls. Paddle brushes or Denman brushes may be needed for curlier hair versus the round brush. I will discuss other brushes in a future article. Stay tuned.
The metal round brush acts like a "curling iron." The metal heats up from the blow dryer heat. The metal brushes deliver the sleekest looks. Look for metal round brushes with short bristles versus long. I was taught longer bristle brushes can get caught in the hair.
Boar bristle brushes are known for both "cleansing the hair" and "distributing the natural oils from the scalp." Boar bristle brushes do not have to be round, but always look for "first cut" boar bristle brushes. The "Marilyn" and the "Monroe" brands of round brushes are the leading brands for boar bristle brushes. The "first cut" boar bristles should have a rounder tip (taken from the bulb) and should feel softer.
The "Cricket" brush is considered static-free and great for areas that you want to hold taut (tight) while blowdrying straight such as your hairline. These brushes have rounded tips and lengthy bristles so carefully not to get the brush caught in the hair.

Again, this is an overview on round brushes. I will be discussing blow dryers, leave-in conditioners, etc in a separate upcoming article. There is enough information in this article to get you started on the right track with your own research for your own hair type.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Shampooing Ethnic Hair Everyday

If you take a shower everyday and you clean the rest of your body everyday, then why not shampoo your hair everyday?

In some cultural groups, the idea that hair can not be shampooed everyday has been passed on for decades. In reality, with the right products and techniques, everyone (Black people included)can shampoo as often as you need to!

Key things to remember:
1) If shampooing everyday, you do NOT need to exfoliate the scalp. In other words, do not vigorously cleanse the scalp. Lightly massage the scalp and just concentrate on cleansing the hair strands of sweat, product buildup, and/or hairspray.
2) Use the proper shampoos to cleans what you need to get out of the hair. Ex. If you are using a lot of silicone products, consider a mild sulfate based shampoo like Paul Mitchell Shampoo one as a quick first lather. Rinse. Then use a luxury shampoo like Pureology Nanoworks as a quick second shampoo. Remember: Cleanse the hair not the scalp if shampooing daily. You do not want to irritate the scalp.
3) Use the appropriate conditioner. Ethnic hair or curlier hair may need a thicker conditioner such as Rusk Deepshine Keratin Care Deep Penetrating Treatment. There are also "daily conditioners" for those who have finer hair.
4) Use the right leave-in conditioners and/or styling aids. Pictured is a Sebastian Whipped Creme that is great on wet hair for blow-drying the hairline straight. Also, Moccocan oil is great on dry hair for flat ironing. Everyone must find a good combination for their own hair type and the style they want to wear.

Please note: That your hair should be free of tangles before you start the blow-dry process. If the hair is tangled then either you need a conditioning treatment and/or different leave-in conditioners.

As far as added time in the morning: I have been able to shower, shampoo, condition, apply leave-in conditioners, comb-through, and blow-dry within 30 minutes for my shorter hair look. I can be dressed, makeup applied, hair curled and ready to go within another 40 minutes. So it can be done pretty quickly . . .

In the past, I spent more time trying to get "soiled hair" curled to look good than it would have taken me to just "start over" with the shampoo process. Allow an extra hour in the morning to try this out . . .

If you have long, thick hair . . . just ponytail it if you are having a bad hair day. You will need more time than a shorter, edgy hairstyle.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Removal of Gluefree Quick Weave (Partial head)

The Gluefree Quickweave method involves the Gro Protect Solution by Morning Glory Products and "bonding glue."
This is an example of a partial head of gluefree quick weave. Only the back length is hair extensions to blend in with the front hair for a new look.
Removal involves using bonding glue removal lotion around the perimeter of the quick weave section to be removed as well as anywhere you feel you may have put extra glue for superior hold. (i.e. closure areas) Then just run water over the section for about three minutes to start to dissolve the growth serum. As it loosens up, massage the extension hair/quick weave out. The removal can be messy depending on how well you protected the hair with the serum as well as how much glue was used. Also, fully relaxed hair makes removal easier than natural or texturized hair. Before shampooing, comb and detangle glue balls and trapped hair that may have shedded while resting in the quick weave style. If you are planning to relax the hair after quick weave removal, then avoid the shampoo. Just go under the platform dryer after the comb out and detangle process. After hair dries, base the scalp, let the scalp rest for about 10 minutes then begin your relaxer touch-up. Every person should evaluate their own personal situation to ensure safety and healthy application of chemicals. A mild shampoo with limited scalp manipulation may be needed prior to a relaxer touchup if there is still a lot of build up in the hair from the quick weave removal. A licensed cosmetologist is recommended when applying permanent relaxers or chemicals.

After gluefree removal, the hair can be shampooed, conditioned, and styled back into your usual look! Haircut by Vickie Byrum. Final Styling by Benita Blocker.

Gluefree Quick Weave - Gro Protect Solutions (GPS)

Gro Protect Solutions is a growth serum that crystallizes on already smoothed down hair to form a shield against bonding glue application.
The hair should be molded down with some combination of setting agents and styling gels. My hair is texturized in this picture, and I used some of Paul Mitchell's sculpting lotion as well as leave-in conditioners. I am demonstrating a partial head of this process. (the back of my head only) I wanted styling freedom in the front/top of my head. The whole head can be molded if you want a full head of quick weave. Just leave as much hair or as little hair as you want out. I put a plastic cap over the top of my head to keep the moisture in my front hair that has to be blow-dried out after everything is crystallized.
The Gro Protect Solution (GPS) is then applied and dried onto the already molded hair. In my opinion, this method works best with fully relaxed hair that is very smooth. (i.e. tightly closed cuticle) Natural and Texturized hair has so many "curves" in it that the crystallization of the product is not always even. Therefore, the removal can be messier or a little more difficult. So I tried to put as much of the GPS on my hair as possible to try to coat every curve. After the solution is dried, you can layer again if you have time, in order to make sure texturized hair is fully protected. Again, the plastic cap is to prevent my hair that is left out of the process from drying. I plan to blow-dry the front and curl it for the final styling.

This is my finished style with the gluefree quick weave method in the back for a quick change in length and style. Hair by Benita Blocker.
The gluefree quick weave method does involve "glue" but adds a protective growth solution and shield around the hair for easier removal. As the hair grows out, the crystallized shield raises up still allowing air to get to the scalp on a windy day. Allowing the scalp to breath is important to increasing hair density. This method is great for about three weeks at a time. It is like a cap, but the wind will not lift it off! Please check out my removal article as well.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Self Gripping Curlers for rolling Commercial Hair

As you may know, commercial hair (i.e. human hair extensions and human hair wigs) take longer to dry during roller set services. These self-gripping curlers allow more air to penetrate through the roller resulting in quicker drying time. I do not suggest these curlers on porous ethnic hair nor fine hair. It does not seem to set properly.

Just use the rollers that you are accustomed to using on your own hair, and use these curlers on the extension hair only. It is okay if some of your hair overlaps with the extension hair on the curlers. Be careful not to pull too much.

To test if you are going to run into difficulty with these type of curlers. Use the rollers/curlers like a comb and run through the wet hair to be rolled. If it feels like it is going to tangle or catch, then do NOT use. If the wet hair slips through the roller, then roll to your heart's content!

Don't forget to consume your biotin every morning!

For years, women of all races with beautiful, vibrant hair would tell me that they always take their biotin every morning. After reading the benefits of this "vitamin," every woman should be adding this dietary supplement into their daily routine. Apparently, if you are eating restaurant foods alot or eating a lot of packaged foods, then you may be deficient. Biotin helps to maintain healthy hair and skin!

I found a good article at this website:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tousled Hairstyling with two inch Flat Iron

After curling the entire head from nape to front with a 2 inch Chi Turbo Flat Iron, you can condense the curls by finger spiraling to see the definition. If the roots are not flat enough which happens with clients with some ethnicity, then take a half inch flat iron and smooth the roots out where needed. Focus on partings only when straightening roots. This client has not had a relaxer touchup in about three months. The extra texture gives more body to the rest of the style. Hair by Benita Blocker.
The client can then pull all of the hair toward the front to frame her face. There are no hair extensions in this style. Client does relaxer touchups about every 4 to 5 months, and no heat styling at home. Hair by Benita Blocker.
The client also has the option of separating the spiral curls to achieve the "sexy tousled" look! Hair by Benita Blocker.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sprinkle Powder for Thinning Hair

This sprinkle powder is made of keratin fibers. You color match and shake into any thin areas of your head. You then set the powder with a styling spray. It is a cosmetic enhancement that will rinse away with water.
Many people experience thinning. Whether you are on the road to thickening up or just trying to slow down the thinning process, image is tied into self-confidence. Using a cosmetic cover-up such as this powder sometimes requires some length for the fibers to fall on to the strands. The powder stacks or towers onto the strands and builds a thicker look. In this before picture, you can see some scalp peeking through.
After sprinkling, just mist with styling spray to keep the fibers from blowing away in the wind. These little cosmetic enhancements really help with image building as you are growing your own thickness back. This method allows the scalp to breath and hair to grow without being self-conscious in regards to image. In this after picture, you see more fullness. The powder can be used everyday.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Flip Roller Set and Wrap

We used the purple magnetic rollers flipped upwards all over. This method delivers flatter roots and still a lot of body in the hair. I used all leave-in conditioners to set the hair. I was anticipating some flat ironing of the roots if I saw any "ripples" at the roots. Hair by Benita Blocker
Flipped Roller Set and Wrapped. Hair by Benita Blocker

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Paul Mitchell Relaxer Testimony

This is the newest re-packaging of the Paul Mitchell relaxer/retexturizing system. I never tried his relaxers in the old packaging. However, I wanted to share some of the clients' feedback on this relaxer system. 1)Client "A" shared with me that she had a history of flaking, abnormally itchy scalp, and psoriasis flare ups with receiving relaxers in the past. She was willing to try the Paul Mitchell relaxer with my expertise in application. Last report: Three weeks after receiving the Paul Mitchell relaxer Super strength, she still had NO scalp disorders and NO scalp irritations. So we agreed that we were headed in the right direction. The styling is still a little harder because some hair was underprocessed due to the fact that she had a full head of "virgin" overcurly hair. The term "underprocessed" means that hair is more texturized than it is relaxed. (i.e. 50% curl reduction versus 85% curl reduction) Any underprocessed hair can overlapped in the next visit with a touch-up service if desired.

2) Client "B" was easy to burn within a few minutes with the application of most ethnic lye relaxer applications. She was also experiencing some hair density changes with the "sensitive scalp" relaxer applications. (i.e. thinning) So she trusted me to start with the Paul Mitchel "lye" relaxers and it worked! Over the last six months, she now has a healthier scalp, increase in hair density, and "NO BURNING" even with the Paul Mitchell "Super" strength application.

Most people are scared of the Super strength relaxer and rightfully so. I have found that the regular strength Design Essential relaxer is STRONGER than the super strength Paul Mitchell relaxer. Example: "Client C" usually received regular strength Design Essentials relaxer that she received every 3 months. However, the Paul Mitchell super strength relaxer that she received only held her for two months. She decided to return to the Design Essentials relaxer for her next touch-up service. She wanted "more bang for the buck."

It is safe to start out with Mild or Regular Strength Paul Mitchell relaxer system if you are not kinky-curly in curl pattern and you are not concerned with straightness. Typically, I start everyone out with regular strength Paul Mitchell relaxers and move up to super strength on future visits if hair appears underprocessed with the regular strength.

Hair that is underprocessed can cause styling challenges and "popping" from the tangles. So finding the right strength is important. I do not offer "Super" in any of the ethnic relaxer lines. This should give you a good perspective of my thoughts on relaxer comparisons as far as strength is concerned. I actually feel that Paul Mitchell has more conditioners built into his Super strength relaxer than the regular strength. I feel that sensitive scalp clients may experience more sensation with the regular strength Paul Mitchell relaxer than they do with the super strength. It sounds weird, but my experiences are leading me to that conclusion.

Fine, overcurly hair should stick with Regular strength Paul Mitchell relaxer. I also suggest adding the Mizani Butter Blend Microfusion Penetrating Treatment spray to use after the neutralizing shampooing phase in order to infuse the oils back into ethnic hair.

The neutralizing shampoos used with the Paul Mitchell relaxer system can be "over clarifying" for some ethnic hair in my opinion. I get the best results by adding extra conditioners (such as Mizani Butter Blend Microfusion) in addition to the Paul Mitchell recommended "Lavendar Mint" conditioner.

Now, as for me, It took me about 14 months to recover from the "Bodipher" experience on my own hair, but I could not have done it without the Paul Mitchell relaxer system! I have found the super strength gives me about 75% straightness. That is straight enough to keep it humidity resistant.

Who should consider Paul Mitchell relaxers as an option? Anyone with a sensitive scalp and is receiving sensitive scalp relaxers in the salon. Here is a link supporting the dangers of sensitive scalp relaxers:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Natural Hair: Divide and Conquer

Naturally curly hair usually fall in the curly or kinky-curly categories. After the conditioning and leave-in conditioning phase, you will determine whether or not to divide and conquer. Sometimes the curly hair is very manageable, and partitioning is not necessary. You just work your way through from nape to front. However, if you can tell during the wide-tooth comb-out phase that the hair is going to continuously tighten up, then yes, partition first. Keep clean part lines and divide into as many 7 to 11 sections.

Straightening, cut, and Styling by Hair Stylist Benita Blocker.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Antique Blow-drying Comb

This comb actually blows out concentrated hot heat through the comb area. It was originally purchased in 1972. It is an antique from Norelco. [Formerly North American Phillips (Electrical) Company]

Getting all the haircolor from out of the tube

The full tube of haircolor is feed through the tool by manually turning the handle.
You can see the indentions in the tube from the haircolor having been squeezed out.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Allergies to Permanent Haircolor Overview

If you are allergic to haircolor, you will know within a week of the color service completion. If you already know that you are allergic to PPD (PARA-PHENYLENEDIAMINE ), then this article is for you.

The best answer to your hair color allergies is to embrace your grey/white hair and avoid coloring it. However, if you are not ready to "go gray," then here's a compilation of what I have discovered from online resources as well as my own creative techniques.

Techniques: 1) Foiling away from the scalp, 2) using a frosting cap for shorter hair for more blending purposes, 3) adding two "Sweet n Low" (in the pink packages) to your color mixture to "neutralize" the ppd effects, 4) Rinsing the haircolor out with Sprite or Tomato Juice depending on if you are a redhead or not.

Hair color Product recommendations:1)Roux Fanci-full Temporary Haircolor Rinse - it is a leave-in product that blends grey in. The product does not give complete coverage. It is designed to shampoo out after one washing. It is only about $6 for a bottle. I still suggest performing a skin test for allergies. You can purchase from almost every beauty supply store.
2)Act by Nature/Palette by Nature - natural haircolor that must be ordered and shipped. It claims to be PPD-free; but it may not completely cover the grey. Some say it stains everything but the grey. I read the cost is about $24 a box. So if you are a resistant/white, then it may take multiple applications.
3)Act Naturals/Advanced Cosmetic Technologies - ppd free but may not cover grey on first application
4)Goldwell Elumen - direct dye; ppd-free. Highly recommended salon color.
5)Color the Gray by Light Mountain Natural - a henna based color.
6) Surya Henna - it is a special cream henna. Surya has shampoo and conditioner to help maintain the color. You may need heat lamps assist with color processing. There's a lot of positive feedback on how great the hair feels after Surya color application and Surya's after care products are used. The longer the usage; the happier the results.
7) Herbatint - there are two versions. One with PPD and the other is a type of henna.
8) Sanotint (light) - two versions. One with may have some PTD or PPD. The Sanotint Light version says 12 shades; no ppds.
9)Matrix Logics Imprint - it is a semi-permanent haircolor that claims to cover the grey for three weeks.
10)TIGI hair color or Schwarzkopf Igora Royal permanent hair color mixed with Trionic enzyme developer- - The Schwarzkopf is supposed to be ppd free. I suggest patch test!
11) L'Oreal Excellence to Go 10 minute Cream Colorant, L'oreal INOA, or L'Oreal Natural Match - INOA is supposed to be ammonia-free. I suggest patch test!

There is a lot of information on line; please visit for additional concerns about your health as it relates to on-going allergic reactions.

For more information on the product suggestions, then google on the different product lines that I suggested. You may be allergic to more than just ppd. So the information provided in this article is intended to assist you in your own personal quest without being biased to one particular product line. I look forward to your comments and feedback.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Schwarzkopf Igora10 minute haircolor

I just attended a class on Schwarzkopf's new 10 minute haircolor called Igora10. My salon is now offering this new innovative permanent haircolor! It works by Amino Acid Carrier Technology! (much smaller molecules; quicker absorption into the hair; even processing; no worries about demarcation lines)
The models' hair had incredible shine and good coverage for 10 minute application; 10 minute development. White/Grey resistant hair may need 15 minutes processing time and/or some heat. The "Speedlift" Blonde colors are not recommended for hair that is over 50% grey. This young model was a Speedlift at the roots with an eleven series. (11/0 plus 11/2)
The best candidates for Schwarzkopf's newest haircolor Igora10 are those with average density and/or short hair. The haircolor must get applied within 10 minutes and processed in 10 minutes or it may deposit two shades darker. So thick, long hair is not a good candidate for this type of haircolor because of the application time limit unless it is partial highlights service. It is hard to apply haircolor through a full head of long, dense hair in ten minutes!
The Schwarzkopf Education team completed eight cut/color models within four hours plus lunch break! The models' hair felt fantastic after the color service! The cuts were all edgy!