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

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hair Career: Hairdresser for the Elderly

 Hair by Benita Blocker.  Thanksgiving this year was quite different for me.  Last year, I was working at the nursing home servicing some of my elderly residents.  As you can imagine, nursing homes never close. This year, the company decided to eliminate all the hairdresser positions.  Now, only independent contractors will offer hair services to the residents.  So I had more free time this holiday season, and it gave me time to reflect.
When I began my career at the nursing home, I attended training sessions on dementia.  The company had a "dementia" specialist on staff that had developed a series of training classes.  I learned to communicate with dementia patients in order to calm them and make them feel safe.  I learned body positioning. I learned to understand their world.
Hair by Benita Blocker

These skills came in handy for the seven years that I serviced the elderly.  Although, the pay was no where near my corporate engineering salary, I enjoyed making the elderly feel good about their clean head and their fresh hairdo.  When I had to transport them to their rooms, I got to see all of the pictures of their younger years and their families.  It is amazing to see that one day if we live long enough, pictures may be the only thing showing proof of our youth.

Hair by Benita Blocker

As for the short term residents that I serviced, some had been in the hospital so long prior to getting to the nursing home, a relaxing shampoo service was like "heaven" to them.  I remember so many times that the patients/residents touched my hand at the end of their hair service and just said "Thank you."  Seeing a client just smile after you made their day so much better is worth more than words could ever say.  I missed that connection.

However, what I do not miss, are the times when the residents were physically not able to bend back into the shampoo bowl.  Sometimes the wheelchairs prevented the residents from being able to receive a good shampoo.  Sometimes, so many needed hair appointments, but I had to be careful not to overexert myself because the company did not care if you injured yourself.

Hairdressing for the elderly is a specialized area of the hair industry.  Some say it's "a calling."  It is NOT a glamourous job.  Sometimes, your residents expire, but you do not want them expiring during their hair service visit.  Because of the physical toil that working with the elderly can have on your body, part-time hours are the best way to go as to not get burnt out.

Click for Nursing home video footage

Friday, November 23, 2012

Barrier Cream for Relaxed Ends

Paul Mitchell Color Block is perfect to protect hair from overlapping chemical damage.  Yes, there are a lot of "pre-protect" lotions out there, but many are "sticky."  They cause the hair to become hard to part for chemical application.  This Paul Mitchell Color Block is lightweight and creamy and makes the hair easy to be combed through as well as quite hydrated.  Great for relaxer applications and haircolor applications to prevent overprocessing of hair ends.

Relaxed hair: Sisterlock it or Not?

Yes, I was taught by my Master Sisterlocks Trainer not to Sisterlock relaxed hair; however, I have been informed by others that some Sisterlocks Trainers teach that "Sisterlocking" relaxed hair is an option.  In addition, my relaxed hair was put into my Sisterlock framework and is still doing fine.  So what is the best answer?  Well, I have determined that it depends on your hair type as to whether or not your relaxed hair should be included into the SisterLocks framework.

Pictured above is hair from two different mannequin heads. The black strands and black Sisterlock on the left is a coarser hair that has been heat trained/processed quite a bit.  The strands are more fragile and weak and very easy to tangle in the wash bowl.  This type of hair CAN be put into Sisterlocks because it does not try to unravel.  It may never "properly" lock, but it will be less likely to completely unravel.  It will stick together. Its natural behavior is to "tangle."  Even to undo the Sisterlock in this type of hair was very tedious.

Now, as for the the lighter/brown hair on the right, this type of hair is easier to unravel.  I had no problem undoing the Sisterlock out of this looser patterned hair.  This type of hair even in its natural state is hard to lock and hard to prevent from unraveling.  So I do NOT suggest putting this type of relaxed hair into the Sisterlocks framework.  Just "Sisterlock" the new growth at the roots and  roller set or curl the relaxed ends in its "loose" or free state.

I hope this helps in your Sisterlocks decision making!

Tool Review: Marcel Waving Iron

The marcel waving irons can be a quick way to get a textured look using the thermal stove to heat it up.
This waving iron is made by Golden Supreme and all of the barrels are solid.  This type of iron is also called an undulating iron.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Celebrity Stylist and Makeup Artist: Benita Blocker

Hair and Makeup Artistry by Benita Blocker.

April 2013

April 2013

Hair and Makeup by Benita Blocker, 2013.

Hair and Makeup by Benita Blocker, April 2013.

Need a Stylist for the Red Carpet?  Benita Blocker is a licensed cosmetologist in California, Georgia and North Carolina.  LA area . . . no problem!  Atlanta area . . . no problem!  Wig Stylist, Hairstyling, Extensions, Makeup Artistry . . . I can get you ready for your next photo shoot, video, reality show, pageant,  event or celebration!  I understand natural hair too!

Hair and Makeup by Benita Blocker, 2013.

April 2013 Hair and Makeup by Benita Blocker.

May 2013 Makeup by Benita Blocker

Past events and awards:
Roy Jones Jr. Super Bowl Party 2000 (provided models, sponsored by Doughboy Entertainment)
National Society of Black Engineers' National Convention 2000 (provided models)
An Applebaum Affair 2000 (Promoter/Upscale Fashion Event)
Ebony Magazine (July 2001, hair and makeup credits)
Fashion Floor Television Show 2002-2004 (Executive Producer, Public Access Television)
The Lake Norman Jumpoff 2003 (Promoter, Upscale Fashion Event)
Carolina Comedy Challenge 2003 (Promoter)
Milky Way Hair Styling Competition Winner - July 2007
Mother's Day Makeover by Star Power Charity - May 2014

March 2016

February 2014

December 2013

A Registered SisterLocks Trainee and Makeup Artist: Benita Blocker.

  Full Service Hair and Wig Styling at Applebaum Salon of Lake Norman, NC.


Product Spoilage within two years

 Paraben free means no preservatives, but it also means that the shelf life is limited.  I am having to trash "half full" products because of product spoilage.
 This Bee Mine product was made in December 2011 based on the product code, but it started to smell rancid already.  I think one ingredient is probably spoiling the whole jar.  I really think that this jar is only one year old.  That's money down the drain.
 This KeraCare Natural Textures Hair Milk seems to spoil quickly as well.  The 2010 bottle is already separated and the smaller 2011 bottle that I just opened smelled spoiled from day one.  I know what it should smell like . . .
Again, with the 2011 bottle, it is probably one ingredient that is spoiling the whole bottle.  Just be careful when purchasing "paraben free."  You need to get your hands on it as close to the manufacture date and use it within a year!

Sisterlocks: Consultant or Registered Trainee

 Well, I just completed my third retightening session.  For some reason, my session marked my first time where the consultant did not have to use clips. My hair is now long enough to gather sections and twist out of the way. Yes!

Now, for the not so good news, I can now see the differences in my parting sizes on both sides of my head.  They are maturing differently.  Can you see a difference in the sisterlock count and sisterlock parting when comparing the picture above with the one below?  I know that the title of this article is "Consultant versus Trainee." But bare with me, I have a reason for taking this tangent.  So as I was stating, my Sisterlocks are not consistent on the left side versus the right side.  Why? One side was completed at the top of the day on the first day.  The other side was completed in a hurry trying to finish up the first 12 hour day.  We were both getting tired, and I now see the results from that.  As you all know, I decided to have my SisterLocks installed by a Certified Sisterlocks Consultant versus one of the Registered Sisterlocks Trainee.  You  all also know that I had a "less than perfect" experience with the Consultant resulting in me flying to Boston to become a registered trainee so I can know what a more perfect experience should have been.
So my right side, pictured above was done at the top of the day. I like this side better than the left side.  I am going to have to live with the inconsistency now.  It may work to my advantage because I prefer a side part anyway.  When I achieve "BSL" (bra strap length,) I will have a fuller side and a skinnier lock side that will be easier to tuck behind the ear.  It will work out.  God has a Master Plan.

So now that I have been in SisterLocks world for over three months, I have learned a lot, and I am quite certain that I have more to learn.  For those who are trying to decide on a Sisterlock Consultant versus Registered Trainee, ask yourself these questions:
1) Do you need someone to assist you with styling? Find a trainee or a consultant who is also an ACTIVE Licensed Cosmetologist.  Hair styling is legally only to be performed by licensed cosmetologist.

2) Do you want to eventually have your Sisterlocks highlighted or permanently colored?  Again, seek out a trainee or a consultant who is a licensed cosmetologist.

3) Do you want a customized regimen for your particular hair type? Again, seek out a trainee or a  consultant who has a track record for healthy hair with a diverse clientele.  Some women have scalps that produce a lot of oil naturally and some women have scalps that do not produce lot of oil.  The latter category of women really need to use a special hair moisturizer that does not attract dirt and lint.  Only a cosmetologist would possibly know what to recommend for your individual hair needs.  Sisterlocks teaches one way for everyone.  I make sure that potential clients understand this.

4) Now, for the million dollar question, consultant or trainee?  Find the one who you are willing to stick with through thick and thin.  I have not met a perfect Sisterlock consultant nor a perfect Sisterlock registered trainee.  Women often compare their Sisterlocks.  Your hair texture dictates how "slick and stringy" they look versus how "fluffy" they look.  If your Sisterlock installer gets tired, then you may get some inconsistencies, but they should be within the scope of the grid and partings set forth by the Sisterlocks company.  My Sisterlock consultant is constantly beating me up whenever I tell her that I use lightweight moisturizers on my hair.  She literally drives me insane and gets under my skin, but I know that is her personality, and I just deal with it.  We understand each other.  The funny thing is that she never know that I used moisturizer until after she is finished my whole head.  She couldn't tell without me telling her. So as far as I am concerned, the products that I am using are working.  They are not too greasy, not too sticky, not too heavy.  So I will probably just stop telling her that I am moisturizing my Sisterlocks so she will not get on her soapbox lecturing about not putting anything on my locks.  My Sisterlocks are growing, and I know my hair and scalp better than she does.

5)Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, The Sisterlock consultations usually require a consultation fee.  So if you have to interview three Sisterlock "installers" you may be out of $25 per interview.  The Sisterlocks installers that are exclusively Sisterlocks all day everyday may be faster with installing Sisterlocks, but again, it does not guarantee a perfect experience.  It is a long procedure, and we are all human.

If I had to prepare for my SisterLocks installation again, I would have already detangled my extremely kinky coily hair and made sure I had a perfect middle part with four sections across the front from ear to ear.  If you do not have extremely kinky hair, then try to let it "kink" up as much as possible.  My consultant told me not to detangle my hair, and it made it an extremely difficult first day.  So against her orders, I detangled the back of my hair on the second day prior to going.  Because my hair was naturally able to lock, it made both of our lives easier on the second day.  She could tell that I detangled it, but I was lucky because of my hair texture.  It did not mess up my installation.  Someone with "loose, hard to lock" hair may have made the installation of Sisterlocks more difficult.  Hopefully, everything that I am saying makes sense.

There are not a lot of choices in my area for people registered on the Sisterlocks website.  I am surprised that I do not get more phone calls for the Sisterlocks service.  The few that I do get want a huge discount because I am a registered trainee.  I have a solid "non-Sisterlocks" clientele.  I am not going to reduce my revenues to install Sisterlocks which can be a two or three day procedure.  I can promise people that I will follow the Sisterlocks grid  for installations, partings, and sizes.  I just may be a little slower, but I am not going to be cheap. I am a full-time licensed hairstylist within a Grade A salon.  God will have to send the right people for Sisterlocks services in His own time; in the meantime, I am will be dedicated to practicing Sisterlocks installations on one of my mannequins.

My SisterLocks: Wet versus Set

 My SisterLocks feel like loose hair when they are wet.  When I get full shoulder length, I may just wash and go, who knows?
For now, I perm rod them and wear it curly.  I had to grab the Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding as my moisturizer.  My locks soaked it right up!

This article is important because I had one "former hairstylist" to ask me if I cut my hair when she saw me in my curly look.  I told her "no."  This particular hairstylist has "Halle Berry" type of hair and her hair never shrinks.  I did not feel like schooling her on my type of hair and how it shrinks.

Anyway, my length is looking good at 3.5 months!

Abnormal Shedding of Commercial Hair Weft

 When my client came in complaining about a gap in her thickness, I could not believe my eyes after I examined her tracks.  

Before I go into anymore details, the human hair extensions we used were from Lugo.  Lugo Hair Center has four locations:  Miami, Fl, Brooklyn, NY and two New York City locations.  My client(s) usually orders from the Miami, FL location.  Great customer service.  The semi-straight hair shedded a good bit but never tangled on my client.  This particular client decided to try the semi-wavy hair to see if it will hold the roller sets better.  The Miami location was out of semi-wavy, and the Brooklyn store was the first location to get the semi-wavy in stock.

 So five weeks later, there was nothing but weft left in the middle of one of the tracks.  I may would have expected that from a "cut end" but not the middle of the weft.  We called the Brooklyn store immediately.  They told us to ask for a reinforced weft next time.  We were told to call back the next day because the manager was gone for that evening.  The Miami store never mentioned reinforced wefts and checkwashing prior to application.  We will definitely make it a point to order from the Miami location in the future.    
A whole 2 inch area just missing?  This is abnormal.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tool Review: Magic-Grip Hairpins

 Good Hair Days' Magic-Grip Hairpins were introduced to me by one of the hairstylists in my Hairdreams refresher class.  They can be purchased from Sally's Beauty Supply.  They are great for tucking in hair regardless of its density.  The hairpins are lightweight, and the crystal clear color makes them almost invisible.
 This 10 pack also comes in a neutral brown color.  They feel snag free.
 I am pointing to the invisible hairpin above in this picture.
Great bun maker!

Joico Blowdry Spray: Reduce Drying Time

Joico K-pak Quadraion Blowdry Spray claims to reduce blowdry time.  Well, when using an ionic blow-dryer, I can testify that it certainly does! I believe that Joico makes an ionic blow dryer that they suggest to use with this blowdry spray, but even with my Turbo Power twin turbo ionic blow dryer, I did cut my drying time down.  This blowdry spray does have silicone in the spray so I made sure that all of my "healthier" leave-in conditioners were distributed into the hair first, then sealed the hair with a generous amount of this spray as I sectioned off and blowdried.  Results:  Shiny, silky hair with a lot of body.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ombre Hair Using Hairdreams Hair Extensions

 Applebaum Salon has been a Hairdreams Luxury Hair Extensions Partner salon since 2004.  Using Hairdreams' "top of the line" hair is a great way to achieve Ombre hair.  If we only go for thickening, then two colors will show through.  If we try for lengthening, then we end up with three colors:  The roots, the blended colors, the pure extensions' color.
 Hairdreams require a consultation to determine the number of pre-tipped strands that are needed to achieve the look that you desire.  At least 50 strands is needed to achieve Ombre hair without adding any length.
 Hairdreams strands blend nicely with the existing hair.
Hairdreams is a preferred brand of hair extensions by celebrities such as Lady Gaga.

Super Size Perm Rods

These perm rods have a diameters as large as 1.5 inches.  These sizes are probably ideal for longer Sisterlocks!   There are only six in a pack.

They are hollow inside and relatively light in weight.  The brown rods are the same size as the Ivory mesh rollers, and the Pink rods are the same size as the Red rollers - mesh or magnetic.  There is not an equivalent magnetic roller for the Ivory mesh roller nor the brown large perm rod pictured above.

These large rods would also be good for people with fine hair that have challenges with the regular rollers falling out.

Three colors safe to use on relaxer day

Resistant Gray or White hair? No problem.  These Sebastian Cellophanes semi-permanent colors (Deep Brunette, Shine Clear, and Golden Brunette) require no mixing.  The "Deep Brunette" delivers "black, darkest brown."  The "Golden Brunette" delivers "caramel."  The "Shine Clear" can be used alone to seal the hair after conditioning or it can be used to dilute the other two colors.

The best deal about the "Deep Brunette" is that all three primary colors are already blended into this color so it makes resistant gray no problem with coverage.  Resistant gray hair should process at least 25 minutes to 30 minutes with a cool down in order to ensure coverage.  This color does has to be shampooed to remove excess from off the scalp followed by another instant conditioner if hair feels like it needs it.

Pictured is the newest Sebastian Cellophanes packaging.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Minerals in Tap Water Alters Hair color?

 Do you remember seeing pinkish residue around your shower head in the bathroom?  Do you feel like your hair pulls warm or red gradually?  Well, the "soft tap water" in this area seems to be the culprit.  I had another hairstylist swear that this Malibu Color Wellness shampoo prevents those pinkish water minerals from collecting in your hair.
My water line shows some pinkish discoloration.  So there is probably some truth to countering the color changes in the hair especially if you have blonde or other lighter color hair.

SisterLocks Fullness Comparison

 This snapshot is at my 3.5 months SisterLocks anniversary.

 This snapshot is at my one month SisterLocks anniversary.

This snapshot is at SisterLocks installation.  The wigs/protective styling seemed to have been thinning to the hairline.  It was hard to see it until now.  Pictures really tell the story.  My hairline is less sensitive to touch now as well.

The timeline above represents three months from installation time at the bottom of this article to the 3.5 months at the top of this article.  Hair grows a half inch a month on average.  These three pictures seem to accurately represent realistic growth.  Besides taking biotin periodically and using the Bee Mine Products' Growth Serum once every few weeks, I am pleased with my growth.  I do not look for accelerated growth even though I may be getting accelerated growth.  Believe it or not, I want normal growth. If people are getting extreme accelerated growth due to organic mixtures, etc, that makes me nervous.  There is always a cause and effect as well as advantages and disadvantages.  Each to their own routine . . .

Wella Perm Rods Limited Edition

 The Wella "Identical to Nature" Perm rods were introduced in the late 1990's.  They are probably considered limited edition or maybe even vintage.
 They are designed to deliver more volume by giving alternating bends in the hair.
I like the closures on these.  I do not  have to worry about losing the closure band.  I have about four different sizes in this design.  I would probably use these perm rods in the top and crown areas.  Most people want more volume in those areas.