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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Sunday, April 29, 2012

From "Hair"stylist to "Wig" Stylist: The new trend?

So Beyonce was selected to lead the "Beautiful Woman" issue of People Magazine 2012. Halle Berry was the first Black woman to accomplish this. Both are beautiful Black women, but Beyonce is known for lace front wigs, extensions, ponytail extensions, etc.

So it's official! Wigs are the new style!

1) You don't have to worry about your flips flopping. 2) You don't have to worry about getting caught in a light rain. 3) You don't have to worry about hot tool damage. 4) You don't have to worry about sweating out the style 5) You don't have to worry about haircolor damage 6) You don't have to worry about going to the hair salon as often.

Wigs are "Hollywood!" 1) Meryl Streep wore a lace front wig in "The Devil Wears Prada" movie. 2) Many of the female cast members of Tyler Perry's plays are historically known for wearing wigs to have a consistent look for each showtime. 3) Madea wears wigs too! LOL! 4) "Dancing with the stars" contestants are interchanging in and out of wigs.

It's Wig Mania! I remember on the "Housewives of Atlanta" series when "Derek J" had the title "Celebrity Wig Stylist."

I also remember attending a class at a Bronner Brothers hair show where the platform artist typically carried an integration unit or wig for all celebrity photo shoots. The wigs and hairpieces saves time, money, and the photographers get great pictures.

Society is sooooo driven by the perfect image that very few people are going to be able to avoid reaching for a wig.

Angelina Jolie keeps her hair in a loose ponytail in her downtime. She never complicates her hair. Even for events, simple, elegant, and probably some flexible hold hairspray.

So hair stylists - if you can't "beat the wig trend" then you may as well join it!

Consumers - keep your own natural hair clean and trimmed every three months.

So how do the men feel about all of this? We need a "documentary." Men, let me hear from you!!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Product Review: Paul Mitchell Wipe out skin stain remover

I overheard another stylist rave about the Paul Mitchell Wipe out so I decided to give it a try. This product is new to the market. So far, it works really well to remove haircolor stain from the skin after a "dark" hair color service. It is definitely a "keeper." I love the consistency of the product. It is not too greasy, but still quite effective.

It can be used as a hairline base before the haircolor service is started. I have not tried it as a preventative measure yet because I was worried about it preventing some gray hairs from taking at the hairline. Clients can become anal about those hairlines!

Let us Talk about White Bobby Pins!

Feedback please. Since many of my clients still work regular daytime hours, I am usually busy at night with hair services. So if they are leaving the salon only to head to bed, then I have been pinning up their curls to head home. So I bought these white bobby pins on sale from the Sally's Beauty Supply to do that with.

My thought was this: They are just heading home. It is not a formal updo. I can save my black and brown bobby pins for formal updos.

The punchline: I have had so many clients so nicely return my white bobby pins back to me on their next visit because they do not want them. With a smile, I tell them thank you and inform them that I intend to trash them anyway in case they want to keep them. I do not want to reuse bobby pins that leave out the salon without sanitizing them, and I purposely bought these white pins to give away because they have nothing to do with the final styling. My client's behavior surrounding these white bobby pins have been quite humorous because the black bobby pins were rarely returned to me. LOL!

So honestly, what's your thoughts? I think that it would be tacky to charge a dollar upcharge for black bobby pins to pin curl the hair up at night. When I run out of the White pins, should I even consider buying anymore clearance white bobby pins in new packaging?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Product Review: Foltene Women's Foam

Foltene Women's Foam is a European Treatment for thinning hair. CVS pharmacy had it on sale so I figure that I would buy it. I had an area in my crown that seemed a little thin. So I took a "before picture" before I started using this women's foam off and on for about 10 days.

The foam burned my scalp a little upon application. I was thinking that it must be fighting the "bad stuff." Anyway, after 10 days of moderate usage, I took another picture, and I swear - the area had gotten worse than better. So I shampooed my hair to get rid of any traces of the foam. I also discontinued using the foam.

I have not been relaxing my hair so there were no chemicals that could have caused any side effects. So for me, I did not like the foam nor its results.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Best Detangling Shampoo for Overprocessed Hair

Every so often I get a client to come in where my high-end Pureology shampoos just does nothing for the hair. This is when I pull the Keracare Hydrating Detangling Shampoo - Classic out. It is my last resort, and it always saves the day!

Most of the time, the client would have tried everything at home to get the hair under control, but it just becomes a tangled mess when wet. So they then make a call to a professional.

The typical history of the hair that falls into this category is hair that has been colored or highlighted one too many times or bi-racial hair that is too fine to be relaxed, yet, it has a natural frizziness to it.

The KeraCare Hydrating Detangling shampoo - Classic does contain sulfates, but it has been the "go to" shampoo for probably a decade when all else fails. I started studying the ingredients because I was amazed that this shampoo could deliver the control over the hair that seems to be unmatched. I discovered that this shampoo has a hydrolzed wheat protein. I had an "aw haw" moment. This shampoo is a protein based shampoo. It coats and fills the desensitized hair shaft causing it to detangle. Amazing.

I have another protein based shampoo by AG that I may use on the next customer that comes in with past due, challenged hair to see if it is the protein that indeed makes a difference, but I am going to keep my KeraCare Hydrating Detangling Shampoo - classic available in case all else fails!

NOTE: The KeraCare Hydrating Detangling Shampoo does come in a sulfate-free formula in which Avlon discontinued their original formula. However, many professionals enjoyed the results of the original formula so Avlon brought the original formula back as the "classic" line.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Prom hair Using Hair Wavers

Pictured are the small, medium, and large waver set tools. I just used the large waver set throughout the crown and back of the clients' hair for prom. I used large magnetic rollers through the front. She decided to braid the front into the waves in the back as her finished style.

The teenager was quite happy with achieving her vision for her prom hairdo. I was happy that we did not have to use any extra thermal heat on her hair. We just used the platform dryer and the wavers and rollers. Mission accomplished! (Sorry, no pictures! Mainly, because it was the client's vision - not mine. It was a cute finish for the younger generation!)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Relaxer Residue Lingering Around

Look closer at this picture. Do you see the white relaxer residue on the shampoo nozzle? Be careful when rinsing out your relaxer bowl as well as while rinsing out a relaxer service. Relaxer residue can get caught on the shampoo nozzle. I found that if you try to push the residue off the nozzle with your fingers, that it just slides around in a circle. I literally had to take a paper towel to remove the residue.

Many of the relaxers have been adding more and more oils and butters to their formulas to make it more tolerable to the "sensitive" scalp clientele, but I do not think that the relaxer rinses off in water as well. Remember water and oil don't mix.

Just be more aware and check that your shampoo nozzle stays clear of relaxer residue. If this residue seeps into your client's rinse water; it may cause "creeping oxidation." This is where the relaxer residue may get trapped in the hair past the neutralizing phase. It can cause the hair not to neutralize properly because there is a "foreign object" present.

If you feel any chalkiness or any slickness at any time after rinsing or neutralizing the hair, then check your shampoo nozzle and go for another neutralizing shampoo lather making sure that the lather is White. Although such as small amount of relaxer may not be enough to turn the lather pink enough to see.

Just for Me Texture Softener packaging change?

If you see this old packaging of Soft and Beautiful Just for Me Texture Softener, please check to make sure the product is not expired before using it. I had a new client to call. She explained that she usually buys this "texture softener" every three to four months from Walmart for her daughter's hair, and everything always went well. However, the last time, she decided to run out to a local "national" drugstore chain to purchase her box of "Texture Softener." She started using it and noticed something was going wrong. She rinsed and shampooed multiple times, but it took about two weeks to get the granules out of her daughter's hair. In addition, there was a lot of hair in the bowl, and her daughter's hair has been breaking ever since. She said she called the company and based on the product code, the "texture softener" was expired by a year or more. This means that the product was probably manufactured about five years ago. The company blamed the drugstore for still having it on the shelf.

In the meantime, it has been an emotional toil dealing with the damage from using the expired product. I asked the mom about smell. She said that the product did not have a bad smell. I asked her if it even straightened or texturized her daughter's hair because usually old relaxers do NOT relax very well. She said that I was correct in that the product did not texturize nor straighten; it just caused damage.

So my theory is that the "conditioners" that buffer the "hydroxide" must have broken down and were not able to protect the hair. Relaxer have a high pH (alkaline pH). The conditioners that help prevent the relaxer from being corrosive probably were ineffective and could not balance the alkaline pH of the hydroxide.

I explained to her that just like a vegetable, if the hair is "overcooked" then you have to start over or gradually, trim it away over time.
Pictured is the newest packaging of the Just for Me Children's relaxer. The words "Texture Softener" is no longer on the packaging. I went to two grocery stores and one national chain drugstore (different from the one that the client went to) on yesterday and all of them had the new packaging of the Just for Me Children's relaxer on the shelf.
If you look at the top of the box, you see a product code that starts with "12." I believe that this box was manufactured in 2012. This box was from the drugstore. The two grocery stores had boxes that started with "11." So I believe their relaxers were probably manufactured in 2011.

I have written blog articles before about buying discounted hair products and calling the companies to make sure the product is not expired before using "clearance" products. Most clearance products are about to expire unless the company is discontinuing the line or is changing the packaging.

Let me clarify that the client paid full price for the expired product. It was not a clearance item. She just bought the "texture softener" from the drugstore for convenience. Buying old product can happen anywhere. If a store is in a neighborhood that does not cater to a "relaxer buying" population, it is probably going to have slower product turnover. This could lead to expired product on the shelf.

Just be careful with chemicals and all hair products. A shampoo that goes bad can cause the hair to tangle. The same thing for a conditioner that goes bad. Expired product may cause more hair challenges.

If more people start calling the companies to make sure their product is not expired, then this may make companies put expiration dates on the product packaging. Some lines do have expiration dates. Some stores hate expiration dates on products because they can not sell the product past the date on it. When the expiration date is not on the product, it makes them feel less liable.

Even as a hairstylist, I have to protect my clients. I have to make sure that my products are fresh. I have to pay attention to old and new packaging. I have to call the manufacturer sometimes to learn how to read the product code to make sure that I always purchase fresh product.

Hair grows a half inch of month. If you are used to long hair, then that can be a long two years if you have to start over.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Hair Integration Unit

This is a human hair integration unit. The honeycomb holes are extra wide to pull your existing hair through in order to blend. The integration unit is designed to assist with thickness and can be sewn down in a circle around the hairline using a cornrow as a foundation/track.
While the concept sounds great, the matching up of texture and keeping your hair blended with the commercial hair can be quite a challenge.
According to my research, integration pieces can be more trouble than they are worth, but at least, it is good to know that some are still available. I believe that I purchased this one years ago from His and Her Hair Goods.

French Hair Brush: Paraliss Tempo

Over the years, everything that has to do with hair has always fascinated me. I purchased this Paraliss Tempo by Paramount brush attachment several years ago.
It attaches to the nozzle of the handheld blowdryer.
The directions are in French I believe, but the picture is worth a thousand words.
I used this tool on my textured hair mannequin. I tried using it with a paddle brush, but it was clashing with the attachment. Only round brushes seem to fit in between the bristles and dryer nozzle area like a puzzle piece.

I really believe that there are newer tools that can achieve a similar result. But in all fairness, this tool seems like it would work best on straight or wavy hair versus curly/kinky hair.
This brush is a newer tool on the market. I believe it gives similar results as the french brush attachment. I had to use high wind/high heat to use this particular brush to straighten my textured hair mannequin. It is a slower process on kinky hair to use this brush tool. I will need to experiment more with wavy hair.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Lace Front Construction and Wig Partition Pattern

Many people have questions about lace fronts. Pictured is the inside of an inexpensive ($40 US Dollars) lace front "synthetic" wig that has been worn for about a month and is time to be disposed of. You can see remnants of tape and adhesive/glue for those who have enough forehead and may be lacking enough hair to support the side comb attachments. Notice it looks like a regular wig for 75% of its construction. Just the front hairline fits flatter and more snug.
If you do have plenty of hair, then pictured is a great way to part and plait your hair to support the two side combs within the lace front wigs. Also, the middle cornrow gives the wig a little natural lift with a natural hump in the crown area. Careful, the inexpensive lace can cause traction around the hairline. Keep the hairline moisturized daily if you are removing the wig each night. If wearing the lacefront wigs for glamour, then take them off during your down time. Those with hair loss will generally have the wigs glued and taped on for removal once a month or bi-weekly.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Protective Styling: Longer Look

I'm experimenting again with "It's a Wig: B. Singer." Color: DX3427 I cut a couple of inches off of the back, but it is still a slightly longer look than the B. Morning.
Same style. Different color: 1B/30 (a little darker look)

Tool Review: Mizani Hair Lacers

Well, I purchased these hair lacers several years ago. I used them to set clients with long locs. Because they are foam, I felt that they were not going to be healthy for relaxed hair.
The Mizani Hair Lacers come in a box of 40.
Photo credit: showcasing CurlyNikki New York City Meetup held October 20, 2011. Model with Mizani Hair Lacers. The lacers are held with endpapers and roller pins.
Photo credit from showcasing CurlyNikki NYC Meetup October 20, 2011. Model showing off finished look from the Mizani Lacers Set.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Product Review: Kayvel Wax and Creme Press

About five years ago, an old school stylist told me about the Kayvel brand. She swore that it was the best smokeless "press n'curl" line that she had ever used. I checked into it, and they were not in business at that time anymore. Well, with so much natural hair coming back to be the trend, the "Second Generation" of the Kayvel brand was released.

So as soon as Kayvel was back on the market, I got my hands on it! I played around with it some, but never could get a feel for what the line could do until now!

I used the Kayvel Curl Wave (a wax) on one of my Type 3 looser curl pattern clients, and it did NOT weigh it down. I had been avoiding using any potentially heavy product on her hair because I did not want to weigh it down, but her texturized hair was not holding the style. We only relaxed her hair every 4 to 5 months for some humidity control, but it was prone to frizz at will. So remember a few articles ago when I did the product review on the Mend conditioner? Well, that same beautician mentioned using a "wax" (no particular brand) as another secret to helping the curls to stay. So upon her advice, I took just a dab of Kayvel "wax" and emulsified it into the palms of my hands. I then distributed it lightly through my client's long blowdried tresses section by section from root to end. Only one small dab was enough to effectively distribute through the hair without it feeling greasy nor oily. I was still a little nervous as to whether it was going to be too heavy, but by the end of the marcel curling, it was shiny, bouncy, and frizz-free. It was perfect. Heavy enough to fight humidity, but light enough to move when she moved. The Kayvel Curl Wave did GREAT!!!!

I recently started using the Kayvel Creme Press on wet hair to assist in the blowdry process. The instructions are on the Creme press jar and the Curl wave jar on suggested usage. They suggest a "soft pressing" with the creme press and finish the styling with the marcel irons and the curl wave to get the moisture repellent curls.

The products seems to be smokeless and non-greasy. So anyone wanting an old school press with a new school finish should get their hands on the Kayvel!