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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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wigs and Extensions: Worried about Weight?

In this picture is a 100% Kanekalon wig that has been thinned out as well as some pinking shears from the fabric store. If you were to weigh each item separately on a scale, which do you think would weigh more?
The pinking shears weigh in at 4.75 ounces . . .
The layered wig weighs in at almost 5 ounces . . . oooohhhhh (4 7/8 oz). The wig weighs more than the pinking shears. Wow!
After weighing a 100% Human hair wig that was thinned out . . . it was about 3.75 ounces. That is an ounce or more lighter to carry around.

My point? Hair extensions, wigs, etc. can cause a lot of stress to the hair and scalp at all anchoring points. Human hair is lighter than the synthetic fibers. Weight and stress on the hair can cause thinning. The lighter the better!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Product Review: Mizani Conditioning Curl Wash

Mizani's True Textures for Natural Curls Cleansing Cream Conditioning Curl Wash was a disappointment; however, it does have its place in the curly hair world.

I found that had to use a lot of product in an attempt to cleanse my clients' curly hair. The product description states that it is a mild, low-lathering curl wash. If you are a "wash n' go" hair person, then this curl wash is perfect to maintain your moisture level. However, if you need to use a defining gel to wet twist your hair, then this curl wash leaves a little too much build up behind. The defining gel may not be able to cling and hold the twists as well.

Also, sometimes product buildup can reduce the shine ability of the hair. You will need a more clarifying shampoo to alternate with this Mizani conditioning curl wash. I still like the KeraCare Cleansing Cream better because it has more glycerin in it. The Mizani Conditioning Curl Wash has more propylene glycol in it. I have been trying to avoid products that contain heavy amounts of propylene glycol.

I had run out of my KeraCare Cleansing Cream and figured the Mizani curl wash was a great substitute. It served its purpose, but I think that it lacked the intense shine that I was looking for at the finish. It is amazing how one product can make all the difference in the world.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rene Furterer Paris: A French haircare line

I have seen this line over the years discussed in various beauty magazines. Madonna has used it to keep her blonde hair looking fabulous. It is rumored that Jessica Alba uses some of their products. According to the before and after pictures on youtube, their dry shampoo Naturia is great for a 2 minute fix without the use of water.

I have experimented with a limited amount of their products. Most are very herbal. The line prides itself on pure essential oils and plant extracts. They are focussed on a "healthy scalp." Careful when purchasing . . . natural products do not have a good shelf life . . . call the manufacturer and confirm the product code on the bottle if you are in doubt on if the product is effective.

Do's and Don'ts: The Flat Iron Free Pledge

Do NOT use the flat iron to curl your hair with. Why? The hair stays in contact with the flat iron for too long of a period of time. Also, according to my findings, after the third time using the flat iron to curl with- your hair stops holding curls. Consider using a curling iron with adjustable temperature settings to curl your hair. It will give you more body the next day.

Do NOT use the flat iron if you any type of allergic reaction to the scalp from surgery, medicine, etc. Why? According to my findings, the flat iron seems to reactivate the allergy symptoms and may cause hair to shed. The main concern is the scalp. If you have long hair and your roots are straight, and you just want to pass the flat iron through a few ends of long hair for a quick styling touchup, then you should be safe. If you have short hair or curly hair - I would completely avoid the flat iron until there is no chance of activating an allergy.

Do NOT use the flat iron on the same day as a relaxer service. Why? According to my findings, relaxers and flat irons are a bad mix. Many blame the relaxer for their hair problems. The relaxers can be a potential issue, but more than likely the flat iron is causing the thinning of the ends and possible breakage. Without a relaxer, regardless of your race, flat irons can cause hair to thin, get stringy and break.

Do NOT use the flat iron to straighten really curly hair. Why? Most people have to pass the flat iron through sections of curly hair over and over again to try to straighten out the waves. I have found that these multiple passings are doing more long-term internal damage to the hair shaft and overexposing the scalp to any "radiation-type" side effects since the roots usually present the most resistance in straightening. This scalp "overexposure" can result in shedding. The hair should be blowdried as straight as possible before using the flat iron. Ideally, the hair should require one pass through of the flat iron to get you your desired straightness.

Do use heat protection serums and sprays when using the flat irons. Why? They will help prolong the potential damage to the hair.

Do try lower temperatures first before using a high temperature on your flat iron. Why? Fine hair and chemically treated hair are advised not to use the flat irons on high at all. Also, when using a curling iron, I used to never turn the curling iron to maximum so why should a flat iron be used at top temperatures? If your curling iron dial goes from 1 to 25. Try 13 to 17 range. Most of the time, that is all the heat that anyone will need.

Please consider going flat iron free for two months. No cheating at all. Promise? If you do not see a difference in the one inch of new growth compared to the previously flat ironed hair - then go back to your flat iron. If you do see a difference, then remain flat iron free and grow the flat iron damaged hair out.

Revitalizing Human Hair Extensions and Wigs

I have found that the Graham Webb Heat Response Thermal Protection Conditioner seems to restore moisture to commercial human hair. This conditioner literally revitalizes the extension hair to give you more wear time. With the prices going up so drastically on human hair, one would want to get the most use of their hairpieces as one can!

Now the bad news: This conditioner and product line is being discontinued. The good news is that you should be able to buy this conditioner at a great price because it is being discontinued. I have not tried the shampoo, but I found the conditioning phase to be the most important part of restoring commercial human hair. The goal is to maintain tangle-free hair.
Whether you pay $60 or $600 for your human hair extensions or human hair wig, eventually, it will get dry and easy to tangle. Pictured is the before . . .

You must still use plenty of conditioner, a seamless comb, and comb through the ends first and then work through the roots. The end results are shinier and more manageable extension hair! Pictured is the after . . .

Of course, this conditioner was not made exclusively for extension hair. It contains high levels of alcohol. I recommend this conditioner for anyone with an oily scalp regardless of extensions or not.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Natural Hair Styling for Type 3b Curl Pattern

Hair by Benita Blocker. In order to achieve this shine and curl definition on Type 3b curly hair, I shampooed three times with KeraCare Sulfate-free Cleansing Cream. The KeraCare cleansing cream is not a deep cleanser so that is why I used it three times. I desired a clean scalp without drying the hair out. For additional conditioning, I used the Mixed Chicks Deep Conditioner. (see separate article about Mixed Chicks brand) No heat. Just 5 minutes massaging and manipulating the natural curl pattern. Then rinse.
I towel blotted the hair leaving it pretty wet and began applying and twisting the hair using Design Essentials Defining Creme Gel one slice/section at a time. Then client has to dry under pre-heated dryer for about 30 minutes or so depending on length of hair. Then Voila! No extra shine products nor leave-in conditioners needed. Hair by Benita Blocker.

Lightweight Hairdressing: How much to use?

Yes! There is enough product on my finger to oil your entire scalp and then some. Just emulsify or spread this amount throughout your hands first. Then massage into the scalp and hairline without reaching for anymore product.
Design Essentials has their Herbal Complex that is lightweight enough to apply to the scalp without weighing the hair down. The best thing is that this jar is only around $9 retail price.

In summary, "less is best" when dealing with oils and hairdressings. It is better to add more as needed than to oversaturate too soon.

Review: Turbo Power Twinturbo Blowdryers

Turbo Power company has been manufacturing quality blowdryers for decades; however, this is Turbo Power's only ceramic and ionic blowdryer model. It is a 3200 series, and so far, I love it! The 3200 model is available without the ceramic ionic technology. All of the 3200 series are designed to be compact, lightweight, but ultra powerful!
These blowdryers are made in Italy. The 3200 is built to be more compact and lightweight than the 2600. According to specs: The 3200 model is 490 grams in weight versus 590 grams for the 2600 model. The 3200 model also has 79 cubic meters air/hour flow versus 70 cubic meters air/hour for the 2600 model. I love the sound of the Italian engines in these dryers!

Review: Bobbi Boss IndiRemi Hair

Bobbi Boss' IndiRemi hair line is my 2011 choice for "over the counter" remi hair that seems to remain tangle free for months.
IndiRemi hair does come wrapped in the nice tissue paper. The packaging colors are black and mint green. The Ocean Wave hair is nice for those who are less yaky in texture. The Ocean Wave can be straightened. My clients and I have not used the Natural Yaky nor Perm Yaky as of yet.

My 2010 choice was the Bohyme Platinum line, but now, their hair quality seems to have gone down. However, the price point has not. The hair on the wefts of the Bohyme Platinum seem to be thinner this year versus last year. The Bohyme Platinum also started tangling within a month whereas my clients used to get a few months out it. So this IndiRemi brand has been working for my clients this year. Of course, I can custom order hair by the ounce, but most people prefer to pay $100 for IndiRemi hair at the store versus $400 for me to import hair.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Truth about Texturizing: Curl Reduction

Yes! This is a "Slinky" toy. It will represent a Type 3 curl pattern.
Yes! This is an ink pen. Focus on the Spring . . . it represents a Type 4 curl pattern.
Okay. Let's take a closer look at the small spring. Does it look familiar? This is just like Type 4 kinky/curly hair.
I pulled the "Slinky" out to give a realistic look at how big the diameter of a curl can be.
I am elongating/pulling the smaller curl pattern here. This elongation represents "texturizing and reducing the tightness of the curl pattern. As I pull, I am elongating the hair strand, and the hair pattern is going to either become a "ripple" or just straighten out. Please note that this little metal spring had a little resistance to pulling on it and I needed to put my inkpen back together to write with. Despite this technical difficulty, can you see that the smaller the diameter of the curl pattern, then the less beneficial texturizing becomes? If God did not give you a "Spanish wave" then you may have to braid/plait your relaxed hair while wet and let it dry to get a deep wave look!
Now, check out me pulling out the "Slinky." The bigger the diameter of the curl, then texturizing will successfully deliver more defined waves like a "Spanish wave." Can see the difference between the two "curl patterns?" Texturizing makes more sense for people with Type 3 curl patterns that want to tame frizziness and sport more waves than curls.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Review: Schwarzkopf Osis Dust It Mattifying Powder

After a fresh relaxer, have you ever felt that your hair is a little flat? Or do you have fine, oily hair? Any type of flat hair? Well, sprinkle some of this mattifying powder lightly into the roots where you want more volume, and then Voila! You have light control for styling ease without any weight nor any stickiness. Remember less is best! The "Dust It" powder comes out white but it becomes transparent as you finger tease.

Now guys! Do not feel left out! Do you have strong directional growth in the top of your head? Gels are overkill? Just sprinkle the "Dust it" lightly through the top; then finger spike! Voila! An edgy look without it looking wet.

Viviscal Extra Strength Dietary Supplement

Viviscal Tablets were highlighted in the May 2011 edition of InStyle magazine as a celebrity must-haves. (The information is on Page 240 in case you need to buy a copy and find out which celebrity uses it!)
Prior to this article, the February 2011 edition of Vogue Magazine also highlighted these tablets. Celebrity stylist Orlando Pita was quoted among others who recommended the tablets. (The information is on Page 151 in case you need to buy a copy to read the other testimonies!)
The tablets are described as 100 percent natural and designed to make hair grow long and healthy. I just bought my pack of 60 tablets. Each tablet is individually sealed by foil like "Sudafed" allergy tablets. You just break the foil as needed to get one out. I am only planning to take one a day versus the two a day recommended dosage according to the product instructions. I will keep you posted! By the way, the tablets do contain fish ingredients. The ingredients are clearly marked on the package just in case anyone has fish allergies.

If the tablets do make a difference, then I wonder what happens if you discontinue usage? They are expensive tablets to get "hooked" on!

Review: Design Essentials Time Release Relaxer

Design Essentials brand has reformulated all of their relaxer systems. Pictured is the Honey Nectar Time Release Regular strength. I began offering this Time Release version in March 2011. I did not want to do an immediate review of the product until I had used it repeatedly. I have learned over the years that first time success with a product does not reflect if it is a "keeper" or not. I have enough clients on this relaxer and have repeatedly gotten positive enough results to say that I plan to keep this relaxer around.

The Benefits:
1) This sodium hydroxide relaxer is great for those with sensitive scalps and extra-kinky hair that want a straighter result than what the Paul Mitchell Super strength relaxer gives. (Please see my separate articles on Paul Mitchell relaxers.)
2) The sodium hydroxide(lye) is buffered so that there is a delay in straightening the hair. This delay gives the stylist more time to part through kinky curly new growth without popping the hair.
3) The Design Essentials Honey Nectar Time Release relaxer is still considered a regular strength relaxer so if straightness is what you want, then it will get you there eventually. It does permananently soften the hair (i.e. little to no reversion in high humidity) if you process it long enough.

The Disadvantages:
4)It is still a regular strength relaxer so if you are color-treated (i.e. demi-permanent or permanent color) then you should not use anyone's regular strength relaxer. Design Essentials does not really offer a mild strength relaxer. Please consider Fiberguard Affirm relaxer system for color treated hair. Please see my separate article on this brand. If you are color treated and sensitive scalp, then I still do not have a definite relaxer recommendation yet. Sorry. Please consider discontinuing the color services or go to a "one-step, squeeze bottle, semi-permanent" color for less resistant gray hair.
5)Remember: There is a delay in this relaxer processing so I would make sure that your hairline gets the relaxer by the halfway mark as far as your timing is concerned. If you apply the relaxer to the hairline last, then the relaxer may not stay on long enough to straighten all the way. Again, this concern is for those who have overcurly, hard to part, kinky, Type 4 curl pattern new growth. If you are just a Type 3 curly pattern, but have a sensitive scalp, then apply relaxer to new growth as you normally do as quickly as you can with hairline last. Then smooth.
6) Because this relaxer is regular strength, I recommend roller set services in lieu of blow-dry services. Also, I recommend a seven to ten week wait between relaxer touch-ups. Also, please use a curling iron versus a flat iron if you decide to do any heat styling at home.
8/1/11 UPDATE: 7) I question the tensile strength of the hair after using the Design Essentials Time Release relaxer. It reminds me of the Phytospecific relaxer results. I just tried the Chi Deep Brilliance relaxer and loved it. I could immediately tell that the hair was overall stronger in tensile strength with the Chi relaxer; however, straightness and scalp sensitivity - I am still evaluating. I need a few more months. I wrote a brief article on the Chi relaxer. I will further update it as I use it more.

NOTE: According to the MSDS sheet that I found online, I believe the sodium hydroxide percentage of the Design Essential Time Release relaxer is at 2.2 which is the same as their regular strength relaxer. I attempted to talk to a company representative. After about two weeks, I received a return call from the company from one of the educators (i.e. another cosmetologist), and I could tell that she was reading from a book. She seemed easily confused when I was trying to compare their different relaxers that Design Essentials offered. I wished that I could have talked to a more technical person or a chemist, but it took two or more weeks just to get "an educator" on the line. Regardless, for those not color-treated, but have a sensitive scalp and need a relaxer strong enough to straighten versus texturize - then this is it! Thank you Design Essentials!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hair tips for Swimmers!

This article was at a special request. It made a lot of sense to me because the hot weather usually equals pool and beach parties!!!

First of all, Pre-treat the hair! Please see my separate article on "pre-shampoo" treatments as well as my article on "organic coconut oil." These products should strengthen hair and not wash away in the water.

After the swim, if your hair does NOT tangle, then clarify the hair by using Pureology Purify shampoo.
You can read the Pureology Purify shampoo benefits here.
If your hair does tangle easily or become unmanageable, then do not use the clarifying shampoo. Instead use Uans crema conditioner as a shampoo. Pictured is the new packaging.
Pictured here is the old Uans Crema moisturizing condiitoner.
Pictured is the benefits of this conditioner. It is still important to pre-treat the hair before getting into the water, and then choosing the right after care regimen based on your hair's manageability.

Detox Regimen to soften "Hard hair!"

Most of the time, hard hair can mean a calcium buildup from no-lye relaxers or too much protein. KeraCare has demineralization wipes that when used properly, really soften the hair. The formal name of this service is Demineralizing Treatment.
Yes, the wipe looks like a baby wipe , but notice the pH of 7.0 in the picture above. This is a neutral pH. Typically, you need four wipes. One for each quadrant of the head. So divide your hair into four sections and subsection each section as you wipe the hair in the direction of the cuticle. Wipe Down; not up. Of course, it is best that you clarify the hair with a chelating shampoo first, then towel blot the hair before you begin to wipe.
Paul Mitchell Shampoo Two is a good deep cleansing shampoo. Only one lather is needed and not too heavy on the pump. A little goes a long way! After your hair is squeaky clean, then use a "seamless" comb to part into four sections. As you begin to wipe each section with a fresh wipe, then the hair should start to soften. Use your "seamless" comb as a judge as whether the wipes are working by the ease of the comb through. Remember one section at a time. Please see my separate article on seamless combs.

After detoxing the whole head, it is best to go back into a hydrating shampoo and moisturizing conditioner. The Onesta brand is recommended for moisture. (Hydrating Shampoo and Moisture Balancing Conditioner) Style as usual. Please see my separate article on the Onesta brand.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

3-inch Jumbo Magnetic Hair Rollers

Three-inch magnetic rollers deliver volume and body to long, straight hair. This photo of Elizabeth Hurley is from
Magnetic rollers are called magnetic because wet hair clings to the plastic. So as you roll, if the hair starts to dry, then use water to re-wet it in order for it to cling.
The magnetic rollers range in sizes up to about 3 inches.
Rollers this size should be double clipped. Notice the clips? Roller pins as seen in the picture below can also be used. Roller pins are extra long bobby pins.
This picture of the back of a roller set client is from It gives you an ideal of roller placement and the use of a net to hold the rollers in place. Also, look closer at the anchoring of the rollers. Can you see that two roller pins are used to hold the rollers in place? More than likely, the hair on the rollers are rolled as a flip set in order to keep the roots flat. Please see my separate article on flip roller sets.

My salon has a large inventory of 3-inch rollers for long hair services.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Review: Fanci-full Foam for Grey hair coverage

The new foam version of the Fanci-full Temporary Rinse/Leave-in works GREAT!!!! It is a "home run!" Just put the appropriate color foam in and distribute into the hair. Then add the liquid Fanci-full leave-in. The hairline coverage holds like a new color touch-up! My clients are loving it! The new Fanci-full foam can be found in Sallys Beauty Supply.
Alert! Make sure you are not buying old product. The one with the pointy lid is old packaging and may be a little runny because it is old. I purchased the old packaging from a Black beauty supply store. The consistency was not as thick as the ones that I bought from Sally Beauty Supply. I believe Sally Beauty Supply has better product turnover so it is fresher. The rounded "lift" top is the newest packaging with the freshest product.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Wig Wearing: Watch for Room Lighting!

Most people who wear wigs wear a synthetic fiber. Why? Because it holds the style/curl in the worst weather! Your clothes may be "soaking wet" but your hair will still be styled. LOL! I could not resist! Anyway, on a more serious note, synthetic hair wigs sometimes have a little extra shine to them. So in the wrong indoor lighting, it can "scream" "WIG!!!!!" So check out these pictures . . . Notice the huge globe and the amount of light that is bouncing off the table? Minor right? This is good lighting. You do not have to be on "wig PATROL!"
Now, look at the track lighting. Do you see the heavy lighting reflecting off the table? Your wig will be in "spotlight!" This is NOT a good table to dine in . . . without everyone focussing on how the lighting is showcasing your wig. This is a little humourous topic, but it is "real" for those new to the "wig world."

Let us keep everyone focussed on your upbeat conversation and your positive attitude!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Review: Hair Rules Kinky Curling Cream

About $30 in products pictured here. 3- 2oz bottles. Expensive? yeah. Smile. I have been texturizing my Type 4c curl pattern. I tried the Hair Rules Quench ultra Rich Conditioner. It uses shea butter, honey, glycerin, coconut and olive oils. I sat under a pre-heated dryer for about 5 minutes. The conditioner was okay. I did not feel that it defined my curls, but my hair felt softer. It has a nice smell. Since I did not have defined curls at the soaking wet stage (the most important stage), I was not very optimistic about the Hair Rules Kinky curling cream. I put it in generously, section by section and still NO extra curl definition. The ingredients contain a lot of mineral oil and beeswax (isoparaffin). Maybe between the conditioner and the curling cream, the products had too much weight? I layered the Hair Rules Hydrating Finishing cream while wet as well! It dried shiny with a little firmness which was no different than the KeraCare and Design Essentials Twisting gels.

I definitely loved the fresh smell of the Hair Rules products. I specifically think that the Hydrating Finishing Cream carries the smell that I adored. Also, this finishing cream is for all hair types. Otherwise, the conditioner and kinky curling cream were not exceptional. These 2 oz sizes cost around $10 a bottle at Beauty Brands. They gave me the 2 oz Quench conditioner for free. So $20 for three 2 oz bottles to try.

If you have a curly product line that already works for you, then stick with what you know. If you are still looking, then these Hair Rules products probably work better for twisting kinky hair versus trying to coil. They seem too heavy to coil.

Hair Rules does have different formulas for wavy hair and curly hair. They are different than the ones for kinky hair. According to the reviews that I read, the "Curl whip" leave-in is popular for less kinky hair.

I hope that this review helps! If I find something distinct about it on my next trial run, then I will add a comment to this article. Until then, this line is average. Not bad; yet nothing exceptional.

Deal or No Deal? Discounted Hair Products

Believe it or not, these two globs of product are both Fiberguard Affirm Sustenance conditioner. One was squeezed out of a bottle due to expire July 2011. (within a month) The other was from a bottle due to expire June 2013. (two years from now)

Can you believe the difference in color based on age of the product? Even the consistency of the older product was a little thinner but not runny. Can you imagine if you were not familiar with the product?

I had a client who had this conditioner in her collection and brought it to me to use it up on her hair. Being familiar with the product, I immediately noticed that the product looked discolored. I immediately pulled my bottle from my supply closet and Voila ~ I was right. The client's bottle although not expired by date; it was expired for getting optimum use of it.

So the lesson is -- if you buy discounted hair products and it does not work good on your hair, then consider the fact the product may be too old to really do you any good. So deal? or no deal? It is a deal if you are already familiar with the product!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Review: Avlon's Moisturcolor Permanent Haircolor

I have been using Avlon's Affirm Moisturcolor line for about four years. Time and time again, the tubes leaked before the distributors could sell them. Now, I notice that if the tubes sit unused for even a few months, they can start leaking as well.

As far as performance, between the 2N and 6N, it is great for root touchup. The 8N and 10N appears to be too strong to touch the scalp. I would only consider these two colors for off-scalp highlights, and please do not leave it on too long. These colors seem to deposit darker if they are left on too long.

In a nutshell, this color line has failed me time and time again as far as creative color and resistant white hair. Also, with the tubes always leaking, I am losing product, money, and time.

I started using the Wella Color Perfect line for root touch-ups. So far, great results and good strength remained in the hair. I am considering the Pravanna color line for more creative color options. I also have Schwarzkopf Igora10 available for 10 minute quick foiling.

Stay tuned for special promotions on color services to use up my remaining Moisturcolor tubes!

Hair Tools Alert: Electromagnetic fields (EMF)

Do you see the words "Low EMF" on the concentrator nozzle? EMF means Electromagnetic Field. Why is Electromagnetic field important? It has to do with the potential to cause CANCER! Cell phones. Refrigerators. Hair dryers. Computer monitors. Low EMF is GOOD!!!! Unfortunately, a lot of our modern technologies have much higher EMF readings. This is a picture of a hair dryer that was left from another stylist that got my curiosity up. Notice "LOW EMF" on the nose of the tool right under the word Turbo? As technology advances, it will may be increasing our chances of developing cancer. Some websites suggest that blowdryers should NOT be used on little children because their brains are still developing. They also suggest that refrigerators face outside walls so that the EMF will not be adjacent to someone's bed in an adjoining room. They recommend hands free devices for talking on your mobile phone. This topic is very scary to talk about. I have no idea what type of EMF that flat irons carry or if they carry them. What about the Ipad? the Gameboy? PSPs? I have a few more phone calls to make to some manufacturers. I will add additional comments to this article as needed.

I encourage you to do your own research on this topic. The dangers of Electromagnetic fields are another "Inconvenient Truth."