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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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Will my head shape look good in a wig?

Wondering if your have the right head shape to wear a wig? The weather can be unpredictable. High humidity, rain, sweat can all put a damper on a fabulous hair day. So if you are in a bind for time and want to look great, then do you wonder if a wig is an option that you can embrace to save the day? The way to answer this question is to determine if you have a flat head or not. If you get a book balanced on top of your head, then determine if the book actually touches your front hairline or is there a gap between the book and your hairline. If there is a gap, then more than likely your forehead slopes down, and a full wig will NOT be a good fit.

Actress Diahann Carroll is a perfect example of a headshape that does not conform to the typical lacefront wig. Half wigs are a better option for this headshape/forehead shape. With the half wigs, one wears their own hairline out. If you worry about the weather and your own texture matching the half wig, then you can opt for a wig with a bang. The bang could be a "swoop bang" or a "whispy bang." The bangs help compensate for the gap from the hairline to the forehead dropoff point. Also, people with this "gap" headshape will find their side profile pictures flatter them more than head on photographs. They also will find that the traditional ponytail look without a bang is not a good "bad hair day" option.

So if the book does touch your hairline, then your head is flat enough to wear a full wig. In the picture at the top of this article, ignore the bang. You can see that her forehead versus the "top of her head" has a nice 90 degree dropoff. The book lays flat on her head touching her hairline. She is a perfect candidate for a wig. Pictured here is a wig stand. Do you get the same idea?
Almost any wig would go on natural looking without much effort with a head shape like this. So a flat, straight, vertical forehead means "wig ready." A big, bulging, curved forehead is not a natural candidate for a traditional wig.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter 2011: No Rush!

I wished that I knew the hair artist for this hairstyle!!!! This is fantasy hair! The artist put a lot of time and thought in this creation. As a fellow hair artist, I appreciate it. Those who criticize it should try to duplicate it. It is not easy to do. On a more humorous note, this hairstyle is "seasonal" and likely not to be showcased by the conservative soul.

On a separate note, Easter 2011 was a failure as far as hair service revenues. There was no rush. There was no overflow. Why? Could it be that gasoline prices are around $4.00 per gallon? Could it be that income taxes were due? Could it be that people decided to go to the beach for Spring Break to save some money? Could it be that Easter fell too close to Mother's day this year? Could it be that people are not socializing as much because of the gas prices? Could it be that people are embracing their natural texture? Could it be that people just want to keep it simple? Or could it be that Prom is coming up too? I do not know all the reasons, but the hair industry as a whole is not a lucrative business anymore.

High end services such as hair color, hair extensions, keratin treatments, and hair replacement services are going for "cheap!" People are even doing these services at home without the aid of a licensed professional. In some cases, the results achieved at home may be as good as going to the salon.

There is the terminology of "working hard" and "working smart." I think the hair industry used to be where you could work smart. Now, it seems that stylists across the board are working hard to retain current clients, attract new clients, and still maintain a work/life balance.

With more experience, one would hope to make more money. The hair industry just seems to be an exception at this time. There are other industries out there that are suffering from automation and change in spending habits. Examples: Blockbuster Video, Borders Books, photography and pre-press.

Staying on top of innovation is important and staying ahead of the curve. I am dedicated to the hair industry, but just like any "starving artist," I can see how hairstylists may be forced to find ways of working in the hair industry without standing behind the chair.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Relaxer steps: Conditioner or Shampoo first?

Avlon products started the concept of conditioning the hair right after the relaxer is rinsed out. Avlon is the makers of Affirm and Fiberguard Affirm relaxer systems. Mizani followed in Avlon's success with their Mizani Butter Blend Relaxer System. The concept of conditioning the hair while the hair cuticle is still open sounds good in theory, but notice the pH of the Sustenance Fortifying Treatment pictured here . . . it is at 4.5. It is hard for the hair that is still at an elevated pH level to accept the lower pH "conditioner." So many hairstylist sit clients under the dryer trying to get the conditioner to absorb better. On a different note, what if the relaxer residue would not rinse completely clean from the hair? Water and oil do not mix. Sometimes the relaxer client has an oily scalp, and there may be too much base in the hair. Conditioning the hair with relaxer residue still in the hair is not good especially when you know that a pH of 4.5 is designed to start shutting the hair cuticle. Hairdressers are human. If your stylists is double and triple booked, she is moving quickly from one head to another. Let's not forget that hairstylists get tired and sometimes hungry. Hairstylists are not machines so there are so many variables that could result in different results with each visit. Sometimes the clients' regimen at home could change as well. Weather changes can mean hair changes. My point is that there is nothing exact about a salon visit. I recommend shampooing after rinsing the relaxer out. Okay. There is an exception to every rule . . . Paul Mitchell is that exception.
Pictured is Paul Mitchell's Super Strengthener In process treatment. According to Paul Mitchell's customer service, the pH is from a 9 to 10. It absorbs instanteously without heat and at such an elevated pH, it is NOT trying to shut the hair cuticle down. It is the only conditioning treatment that I trust to use after rinsing a relaxer out and before a shampoo. Even if there is relaxer residue left in the hair (hoping not), but if so, the pH of the hair remains elevated until shampooing. There is still another conditioning process after the shampooing as well. Two conditioning steps instead of one. Please see my separate articles on Paul Mitchell Relaxer System.

Ceramic Tools Review: 2.25" Flat Iron

To achieve this style, I blow dried with a round brush and flat ironed with the Ceramic Tools 2.25" flat iron pictured below. I still used some hair polish and hair spray as well.
The model number of this flat iron is CTFI293. According to the customer service representative(April 2011), the ceramic plates on this tool are designed to reflect ions. So there is some ionic emissions surrounding this iron, but there is NOT a separate ionic technology present that the newer flat irons have. This Ceramic Tools iron has adjustable temperatures from 1 to 25. I had to turn this iron to about the 18 to 20 range to get the mannequin hair this sleek. Again, I used finishing products to seal the deal. The Customer Service representative said they no longer make this iron. She had to dig through hard manuals for the information because her computer database only had a brief description.

I am highlighting this iron because I feel that this ceramic iron is less damaging than the newer flat irons. Please see my other articles on flat irons.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hydracap Review: Shrink wrap for deep conditioning!

I found the hydracap in a Sally's Beauty Supply store. I am a "sucker" for new stuff especially when it has nothing to do with a chemical. So four hydracaps come in this package which runs around $4.00. So about a dollar per shrink wrap . . .
So this is how the hydracap looks out of the package.
This is the hydracap after using with one of my long hair clients. It definitely caught the attention of the other clients . . . Stylists: you know anything that gets attention means . . . anyway, back to my review. (LOL!) The hydracap worked fine. The client thought it was interesting and wanted to know if I felt that it made a difference in her hair. In my opinion, no. There was no difference in the conditioning results surrounding her hair than with any other regular processing cap.

I have a few more ideas surrounding these hydracaps for salon usage . . . maybe use them for flat wraps? This shrink wrap plastic is thicker than "Saran Wrap" and the regular processing caps. I have three more to experiment with to see if I will buy another pack.

Moms, if the hydracap gets the children excited about deep conditioning at home, then it may be worth the four dollars.

Seamless: The Best combs for Wet hair

The terminology "seamless" has been used to describe everything from hair extensions to undergarments. So now, let us talk hair combs! Pictured are some seamless combs. How do you test to see if a comb is seamless? Take the comb and run the comb down your bare arm taking note if you feel any rough spots or seams that were created in the making of the comb. Also, run your hands up and down all the teeth of the comb to see if any rough spots are present. Also, make sure that all the teeth are rounded on the tips. If it passes the "feel" test, then the comb is considered "seamless" and appropriate to use on wet hair.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sally's Beauty Supply offers Beauty Knockoffs!

OMG! I was in Sally's Beauty Supply recently, and I saw so many bottle and product packaging that looked like brand names from the first glance. I thought I saw "AG" "Rusk" "Moccocan Oil" and pictured here "Mixed Chicks." But look closer the product pictured says "Mixed Silk." The shape of the jar and colors look like "Mixed Chicks" packaging. Even the "Mixed Silk" shampoo was the same color as the "Mixed Chicks" shampoo. I was amazed. I picked up this jar of conditioner to look at the ingredients. Guess what? They had used propylene glycol instead of glycerin to make this conditioner. The original Mixed Chicks deep conditioner uses glycerin which is much more expensive and healthier for your hair. Please see my articles on Mixed Chicks deep conditioner and the brand Onesta which is free of propylene glycol.
Also, I found knockoff tools in Sally's. This "root control" tool entered the market about four or five years ago by a company called R Session Tools. It runs over $100. This knockoff is half that price in Sally's Beauty Supply.
I do not know about the quality difference. I purchased the original tool about five years ago, and I did not feel that it was healthy at high temperatures for ethnic hair. Heat protection sprays were needed. My original Root Control tool by R Session Tools eventually fell apart. I may have dropped it one too many times, but the thrill was gone within six months of purchasing it. That round cylinder heating element in the center either did not hold the hair straight or when too hot, seemed to cause erosion of the hair cuticle resulting in longer term damage.

In summary, please compare ingredients when considering the "knockoff" versions of beauty products. They may smell alike and look alike, but they may not work exactly the same. Also, the knockoff versions may be more diluted so you may use more at one time than if you bought the higher price concentrated original brand name. With the knockoff tools, I have not received any feedback on the differences. I only purchase brand name tools for professionals.

This was a quick review on off-brand hair care products and tools from Sally's Beauty Supply/stores.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Onesta: Free of Propylene Glycol, DEA, and more

Onesta product line is geared toward consumers that want to stay away from potential cancer causing ingredients.
Five cancer causing chemicals in beauty products have been identified at the website attached.
Onesta is free of parabens, sulfates, propylene glycol, DEA, synthetic colors/dyes, and more. According to another blog review, you have to use a lot of product to get a good shampooing. It is not concentrated and does not suds much. I have smelled the product, and it smells like paradise. More citrus or flowery; definitely not herbal.
This is a picture of some of Onesta's literature. I found the product line in Blooming Beauty Supply Store at Northlake Mall in Charlotte, NC. I have not tried the line yet, but their literature gave me food for thought. I do not think that this product is going to outperform Pureology or other leading brands for styling and finishing results, but if you are organic conscious and looking for more natural products, then it is worth looking into!

On a separate note, please remember that all product lines that are paraben-free do not have a long shelf life because parabens are preservatives . . . So make sure the product is fresh by calling the manufacturer especially if the product does not perform as well as to be expected.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mason Pearson: A Fifty dollars hair Brush

Yes, it is for brushing human hair; not for pets! Instructions for care are enclosed in the box. Bristles were rather soft to the touch compared to other vinyl brush bristles. This brush is designed for thicker heads of hair.
It is original and is from London, England.

Little Precious Princesses 2011: Beauty in Puffballs!

I am so grateful that the father of these two little angels allowed me to photograph his daughters. This was a quick snapshot. I only had a few seconds. A moment in time, but a priceless moment in time. I saw these two little angels and fell in love with the natural beauty of ethnicity. The sunlight distorts their beautiful hairstyle a little. I promise they have straight part-lines separating their puffballs! Those puffballs also had beautiful shine to them. Soooo how many puffballs do you see? Much care and love went into the styling of these two princesses. They are just adorable. Many people both young and old would typically try to relax, press, or straighten this hair, but this family has learned to embrace the God giving beauty of every curl! I hope that you can feel the love and beauty captured in this snapshot!

If those puffballs were straightened out, the hair would be "below shoulder" length. However, why mess with perfection? There is power in those puffs! Just lovin them! A symbol of patience, perservance, and pride!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Black Hair Care: Repeating History?

"The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker" by A'Lelia Bundles takes you back to your roots . . . of black hair care. I believe that "Those who do not know their history are destined to repeat it." From corporate politics to hair care, this statement has stood the test of time.
According to this excerpt, for over a hundred years, white-owned companies have pushed "hair straighteners." Their marketing images evolved from "wild haired caricatures" to "mulatto women with long, wavy hair."

Also, from page 66 of this book (not pictured), these straighteners was marketed as "hair growers" because as kinky hair starts to straighten out, it is amazing how the length of the hair expands from out of its original tightly coiled state. So from visual observation, hair looks likes it "grows" instantly in front of your eyes as it straightens. For a Closer "visual" look at "kinky" hair, please visit my article on "A Closer Look at Type 4c hair" for a picture of "nappy hair."

According to this excerpt, for over a hundred years, vaseline was already determined to be too strong for black hair. So why is petroleum still being used in some hair care products? I think that heavy petroleum hairdressings seems to attract too many pollutants from the air and makes the hair hard within a few days of using it. Hard hair can cause breakage.

This "On her own Ground" is about history, and history repeating itself in modern day times. From networking to marketing, nothing has changed; we are just cycling back and rediscovering our history.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Color and Relaxer Services in the same day?

Wondering how safe is it to relax and color on the same day? Wow! It depends on your hair type, your curl pattern, what type/brand of color being used, and if you are trying to cover gray. So pictured is Nairobi Semi-Permanent color bottle. It does not have to be mixed with any type of activator nor developer. It is a direct dye in a ready to use form. This type of semi-permanent color does NOT cover resistant gray hair even at relaxer time, but it safe to use on all hair types. Please note that direct dyes coat the outside of the hair strand which could hinder the conditioner from being as effective. Leave-in conditioners are definitely required when using semi-permanent haircolor. Pictured here is Goldwell Colorance line. It is a demi-permanent color that has to be mixed with an activating lotion. Goldwell Colorance has an intensive lotion and a mild (Acid) lotion. The Intensive Lotion should be treated like permanent color. It goes on dry hair, and it should NOT be used on the same day as a relaxer for anyone. Now, the Goldwell's milder Lotion can be used on the same day as the relaxer on certain hair types! Yes, it is discriminatory. Smile. If you have fine hair, then do NOT use this color on the same day as a relaxer. Stick with a ready to use/semi-permanent color even if you have gray hair. The semi-permanent color should cover gray on fine hair during relaxer time.

If you have an extremely curly hair type 3C or 4, then do NOT use this color on the same day as a relaxer. If you desire to cover resistant gray, then schedule a separate color service two weeks later for the Goldwell Intensive Lotion. If you desire a direct dye/semi-permanent color on the same day as the relaxer that will be fine for fashion colors, but it may cause the Intensive Lotion to not work as well if you need gray coverage two weeks later. If you still choose to get the Goldwell color with the milder lotion on the same day of relaxer, it will not melt your hair off, but your hair may be "fussing" about it. So it is not worth the headache.

If you have wavy hair or a looser Curl type 3, then your hair seems to do just fine with the Goldwell mild lotion on the same day as the relaxer as long as your stylist sticks to a 5 minutes or less application and a 10 minute processing time without heat. Now, a 20 to 30 minutes processing time in a corner while someone else is getting another service completed is TOO LONG. Your hair will not melt, but it may revert the relaxer application that was just applied and the hair may "fuss" for a few weeks. So I recommend setting a 10 minute timer as a guideline to rinse out.

If you have resistant gray outgrowth, an event to go to, and you need a relaxer, I advise that you get the color service done followed by a blow-dry service with a Redken CAT Treatment and mold your edges straight for the event. Then schedule a MILD Fiberguard Affirm relaxer touch-up a few weeks later. This relaxer in the mild strength safely relaxes hair with permanent color on it. Please see my separate article on the Fiberguard relaxer.

Again, if you have a curl pattern of type 3c or 4, then your hair is more vulnerable. So it will cost you more time and money to schedule separate hair appointments for the relaxer service and then to return two weeks later for the color service. Relaxer service is usually done before color service, but for those who need color every 4 weeks, then you get color service more often than you get relaxer service so your choice in relaxer strength and brand is important. If you have a sensitive scalp, Fiberguard Mild may not be a good match. Please see separate articles on sensitive scalp relaxers.

Paul Mitchell's mild or regular strength relaxer may be used in lieu of Fiberguard Mild in these cases when you are receiving regular haircolor services to keep the distinguished strands covered.

Fiberguard has designed a "Bridge Serum" to allow for permanent color and relaxer services to be done in the same visit with some restrictions, but I do NOT recommend this service option. I think it is too risky and remember the saying: "Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part (the stylist)!"

Hair Weave Closure: pre-made unit

Pictured is a Human Hair Closure unit by Sensationnel Premium Now Brand. This closure cost about $15.00. Yes! That is expensive when you can now buy a whole package of "inexpensive" weaving hair for the same price. However, you get what you pay for! For those who desire a full head of extensions to allow their hair to rest, this little closure delivers a nice finish for a hairstyle with a bang.
You can sew into the net to anchor the unit to a braid. Trim the net by cutting with regular shears. Add additional hair or wefts to the netting of the unit. At the $15 price point, the quality of hair is going to look nice and hold up. However, these higher quality closure pieces are harder to find because many people do not want to spend $15 for a "center piece" when they still have two packages of "weaving hair" to purchase to get a complete hairstyle.

Below is a tag from a Janet brand Human Hair closure unit.  It has H/H Top Pcs on it meaning Human Hair Top Piece.  This Janet closure was only around $5.00 but it was short in length with around 8 inch hair on a smaller net.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Comparing FHI Heat Iron Literature: Old and New!

As discussed in a separate article in this blog, notice the temperature warnings for fine and chemically-treated hair? In this newer literature, the warning is at the beginning of the paragraph, right? Reminder: Chemically-treated means color treated or relaxed, etc.
This is a picture of older FHI Heat Literature. Look at the "Temperature Settings" paragraph. Notice the same warning? Notice that in this older literature, the fine and chemically-treated hair warning was in the middle of the paragraph? So the newer literature pictured above emphasizes their warning about the dangers to fine and chemically-treated hair by moving the statement to the first sentence. Were they becoming aware of the damage that was happening?
Look at item number 6. Notice that instructions say hair should glide through iron without pulling nor gripping? If you have curly hair, you are more than likely shutting the iron tight trying to get the curl out? If you are already straight and just want to control some frizz, then a lower temperature, some flat iron serum and a simple pass should do the trick. But for curly hair and fine hair, why spend over $100 for a hot tool that is not designed with the health of your hair in mind?

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Great Moisturizing Conditioner and Hairdress

Nexxus Humectress is a moisturizing conditioner that works great on wet hair or dry hair. If using on wet hair, then rinse it out. If using on dry hair as a hairdress, then use sparingly as a leave-in conditioner. As a leave-in hairdressing, it softens hair like an "organic coconut oil." Pictured is older packaging of the Nexxus Humectress. This bottle does have glycerin and mineral oil listed in the ingredients. It works sooooo well for moisturizing the hair overnight as a hairdress.

The new packaging as shown on the right of this picture has different ingredients. It seems to have replaced the glycerin and mineral oil combination with dimethicone. I do not know if this newer version works as well as the older version. I found this older bottle in Harris Teeter. It was the last one left. There were plenty of the newer versions on the shelf. It smelled good; so I anticipate that it will still work well.

The Dimethicone (i.e. Silicone) which is now as controversial as the mineral oil may not moisturize as well. It should deliver the same shine, but not necessarily the same softness. I will try out the newer packaging in the future, but since I just paid $16 for the bottle pictured on the left, it may be awhile. Until then, if you still have this older version in your hair products stash, then try it out! It works for all hair types! Race is not important.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Michelle Obama: The Healthy, Sleek hair Look!

First Lady Michelle Obama is looking great from head to toe! This sleek style can be achieved from having your stylist use the stove and marcel flat iron. It can be acheived with the hair being roller set in large rollers first then use the marcel flat iron to relax the roller set parts. If using magnetic rollers, try the purple or gray sizes. Use of a light foam as a setting agent will eliminate any challenges with weight and/or movement.

The blow dry service is still an option as well. However, sitting clients with fine and/or relaxed hair under a pre-heated dryer on medium setting for about 5 to 10 minutes with their ends clipped up will assist in pre-drying some of the ends. The ends are usually the weakest part of the hair strand. With African American hair, I still believe that women with extremely curly hair need the roots blown dry with some wetness in it. If they have a fresh relaxer, then the roots should be straight. Choosing the marcel flat iron over the electric ionic/ceramic flat iron is safer for those desiring to keep their length.

I have grown my clients' hair out to mid-back lengths within two year time period using these expensive ionic flat irons, but I have found that continued use of the ionic/infrared heated flat irons seem to cause permanent damage in the internal structure of the hair. This internal damage to the hair shaft eventually shows up "one day" out of the unexpected. Race of the client does not matter. Natural hair versus relaxed hair does not matter. Curl pattern does not matter. The results of continued use of ceramic/ionic flat irons will show up one day. It may take a year, a year and a half, or even three years. Depending on the heat protection products that being used, how often the hair is being flat iron per week, and the fineness of the hair will determine how soon the damage will show up. The hair will typically start showing signs of minor breakage before the excessive breaking begins. Again, your race does not matter.

I have had new Caucausian/White clients come in requesting hair extension service because of excessive breakage from ionic flat iron use at home. Returning back to the original electric curling irons and bulky electric flat irons for home use will be best for the hair when heat styling is needed. Please see separate articles on flat irons for "old school tools." Also, read your tool instruction manuals under "temperature settings." Some warnings are printed there.

I have been asked a lot lately about whether or not the heat damaged hair will curl back up for those who were naturally curly prior to their hair starting to go straight from the heat. My answer is maybe, but do not count on it. For coarser hair, the hair strand has more medulla, and the curl may return after a few months. However, if the hair stays straight after it is thoroughly saturated in water (i.e. shampooed), then it is less likely to return to its original curl pattern. That straight hair may either break off eventually or it may need to be trimmed away over the year. Either way, your new growth is your new focus. No more ceramic/ionic/infrared flat irons at home nor in the salon. Promise.?

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Closer Look at Type 4c kinky curly hair

Okay. What are your first thoughts about this picture? Wow? nappy? Wow? Definitely type 4c? Curlier than yours? Did you notice that the hand is holding on to at least an inch of hair? Hair can coil/curl up so tightly that you can not find the beginning of it? Can you find the ends of some of the strands? Ignore the grey hair. Ignore some of the longer texturized lengths. Just concentrating on the natural base hair at the roots. Do you find beauty in it? or does it shock you? Does it look like normal hair? Is it socially acceptable hair? Does it represent "Black hair?" These questions raise more questions. Should this hair be colored or relaxed? Do the makers of relaxers even have this hair type in mind when the directions say "put the relaxer on and rinse it out in 15 minutes?" Can you imagine a relaxer touchup service that is past due? Trying to part the hair to get to the roots to apply relaxer product could be tough then add a time limit? Does this hair type represent a high percentage of African American women? Why do all the relaxer classes and relaxer demonstrations always use women with much looser curl patterns to sell their product? Would a stylist aim for "Super Strength" relaxer or "mild" relaxer strength? What do you think? If you go for "Super," relaxer is undoubtedly going to be in contact with the scalp for a extended period of time. That is not going to be healthy. But will the mild strength be strong enough to keep it from reverting? It depends on the relaxer brand, of course. So you are probably thinking to try "regular strength" relaxer or just remain natural? Okay, if you remain natural, combing this type of hair while dry is almost impossible giving the tightness of the coil without popping it or breaking it. The only chance of combing this type of hair with less breakage is after it is well conditioned and detangled in the wet phase. You have to partition it off and plait it down until you can blow-dry it a section at a time. This is high maintenance hair. I do not recommend permanent nor demi-permanent color on this hairtype at all. Not even to cover the grey. This hair type is vulnerable in its naturally, tightly curled state. It will be even more vulnerable after a chemical is added. Relaxer plus roller set service is about the only option to maintain a corporate professional look. Sisterlocks or other natural lock styling is also an option. I am hoping that the relaxer manufacturers will re-examine how they make relaxers. How do you keep relaxer off the scalp with a curl pattern like this? This head of hair represents a lot of struggling Black women who love their hair but feel like they have been dumped into a corner with limited to no options. With hair this tightly coiled, the words "tenderheaded" and "sensitive scalp" probably go together. If you are seeking out a routine for control without breakage, please stay posted. I will add to this article as I finalize the steps, products, and techniques that are in existence today. Be patient. You are not misunderstood.

9/4/2011 Update: The True Indulgence relaxer regular strength has met my requirements of being sodium hydroxide, little to no irritation, leaves the integrity of hair in tact and delivers reasonable straightness, shine and softness. My search is over. Please see my True Indulgence relaxer review.

12/02/2012 Update: New picture above. I really recommend Sisterlocks for this type of hair. Straightening by heat or by chemicals is just too aggressive long term for this particular curl pattern to maintain solid length.  Although, I am working on a unique relaxer touch-up technique, but I have not perfected yet. Stay tuned!

May 2013 update: After two years of searching, experimenting, trying to create a new technique, I finally and unfortunately concluded the microlocks formed by comb twisting is the best way to manage this hair type.  The scalp gets too much contact with relaxers whether you are using a mild or a regular strength. Over the years or decades, the damage will appear.  The scalp may begin to scar.  I have also found that interlocking techniques such as Sisterlocks do not grab the new hair up into the existing lock like comb twisting does. I have written a few articles on tips for healthy, stylish locks for May 2013. Please see those articles. For those who want straight hair, I still suggest locking the hair, but make a custom fit stocking cap straight hair wig to wear over the locks. I have an article on that too.

I am soooo sorry that in my two year search for a better solution to straight hair for this hairtype, I found no healthy solution, but I did find a stylish solution that works with the hairtype, not against it.  My search is truly over as far as relaxers are concerned on this curl pattern and hair texture.

The Best Detangler for all natural hair types!

Type 4c hair? No worries! Mixed Chicks deep conditioner softens all healthy hair types! So if you are naturally curly and not too "heat trained" then this conditioner works very quickly to detangle without any heat. 30 seconds to 5 minutes and rinse!
Mixed Chicks Deep conditioner works great on hair with tightly closed cuticles, and it will not weigh it down. On hair where the cuticle is eroded from heat damage, I have found this conditioner to not absorb into the hair. However, once the damaged hair has begun to heal and the natural curl pattern starts to return, then this conditioner will absorb and work fine. The use of "organic" coconut oil that is bought from a "Organic Specialty" type store is recommended as a pre-shampoo treatment if you think that your hair is heat damaged. Note: Organic Root Stimulant product line has a "coconut oil" blend, but this is not the same as a more "pure organic coconut oil." Also, many other product lines are adding coconut oil to their ingredients.

Organic specialty stores include places like The Vitamin Shoppe, Earthfare, Healthy Home Market, Trader Joes, and Whole Foods stores. Please search for my separate article on coconut oil.

Looking for Mixed Chicks Deep Conditioner? Beauty supply stores nationwide are starting to carry it or just purchase online from the Mixed Chicks website.