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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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Body Wave Hair Service Overview

Hair by Benita Blocker.  Wave by Design (Design Essentials) is the soft curl/body wave system that I used to achieve this style with my new client from the California USA area.  This service was a "touch-up" service because she transferred to the Carolinas area having been a veteran in knowing how to maintain this curl system.  I used white perm rods all over to achieve this body wave finish.

The service time is around the same time as a relaxer.  Maintenance requires Wave by Design "Mist and Shine" spray at the roots and  Wave by Design "Define and Shine" lotion on the hair on a daily to every two days basis.

This client's history included "burning" from traditional relaxer services and going natural for two years.  She grew tired of working with her tightly coiled hair as her lifestyle became more hectic.  The soft curl or body wave system became a  perfect fit because she never burned with various curl systems such as Wave by Design, Wave Nouveau and Avlon's Ferm systems.

Many local people still remember the "dripping Jheri Curl" days.  The maintenance product technology is different now.  The moist look can be achieved without being "messy."

Above is the before and after pictures of the back of my client's head.  My client had just received a big haircut prior to coming to me so she missed her length.  We added "wet and wavy" extension hair to achieve her final look.  Her final look is to achieve the Type 2b/c curl pattern.

In the "before" picture below, my client hair is prepped for the "rearranger" step to straighten her new growth at the roots only.  She is a Type 4 curl pattern which is resistant to straightening.  The roots gave a more texturized look after using the rearranger, but please remember this is a thio based service so it is not compatible with the traditional relaxer.  Only individuals with natural virgin hair should consider this service option  if they are tired of their natural curl pattern and do not want to go back to a traditional relaxer.

According to a "Wave by Design" educator out of New York, the "soft curl" procedure long term may cause clients to lose some hair thickness over the long haul.  Please see my previous blog article comparing the curly perm versus the "soft curl" system.  The chemical exposure to the hair is definitely longer than the traditional relaxer service.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Soft Curls and Curly Perms: The Differences

Since there are people ready to abandon their natural hair journey, I wanted to discuss the soft curl chemical option as it compares to curly perms.

Both "soft curls" and "curly perms" are thio based chemicals making them incompatible with traditional relaxers.   They also both require the hair to be wet when rolled on the perm rods.  Blotting the rolled hair with paper towels prior to applying the neutralizer to the perm rods is also the best way not to dilute the neutralizer and to deliver a firm set of curls.

Now, for their differences:
1) The curly perm is for those who have a smooth, straight hair from the start, and they want more curl and texture in their hair.

The soft curl system starts with a "rearranger" which is more of a thio-based relaxer to reduce the existing over-curly hair pattern before rolling the hair up into a new curl pattern.

2) The curly perm does not require any chemical application to the hair until after the hair is completely rolled on the perm rods.

The soft curl system exposes the scalp to chemicals from step one and throughout the rolling of the hair which could take 45 minutes for thicker hair in small slices to ensure proper neutralization can take place.  Hair rolled too thick will make it hard for the neutralization of all the strands on the perm rods.

3) The curly perm requires a plastic cap to prevent the hair from air drying during the average 20 minutes processing time but not required during neutralization time.

The soft curl system requires a plastic cap during processing time and neutralization time.

4) The soft curl system has one extra chemical step than the curly perm.

5) Some Type 3 curl patterns could potentially use the curly perm to soften their curl pattern or use the "soft curl" process for a more aggressive rearrangement of curl pattern.  Type 1 hair type would be a typical candidate for a curly perm.  Type 3c and Type 4 hair types would be a typical candidate for soft curls.

By the way, many people still equate the soft curl to the "jheri curl" minus the "drip." Better technology. Smile.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Chenille Stems versus Fuzzy Sticks for Spiral Curls

Chenille Stems are also known as pipe cleaners.  The Fuzzy Sticks that I picked up from a Walmart store are very similar.  The biggest difference is that the wire in the "Fuzzy Sticks" is much more pliable.  It is very easy to bend and mold.  The chenille stems that I bought from a fabric store are also bendable, but more stiff  to do so.

Apparently, using these chenille stems are the best way to get spiral sets on long locks.  There are youtube videos on various ways to roll your locks on these.  These chenille stems/pipe cleaners/fuzzy sticks can be used similar to flexi-rods or "Lock Loops" or "Soft Spikes."  Please see my separate blog article on these other lock styling tools.

The pipe cleaners are soft enough to sleep in, and if you get the color matching your hair color, you may be able to incorporate them into a hairstyle to be worn out.  Long locks can easily hide these stems while wearing them in a bob set.

Another blogger has a detailed article about how she used the pipe cleaners to curl her twisted hair at

She mentions using pipe cleaners to curl loose natural hair is NOT a good idea.

A Lesson about Hair Length

There are four chenille stems pictured. They represent hair strands in different curl patterns.  Which chenille stem is the longest?  The third one from the left?  The fourth one?  Which one looks the shortest?  The second one from the left?

Okay, some of you probably guessed the answer . . . .  all four chenille stems are the exact same length.  Can you believe it?  The shortest chenille stem measures under 2 inches, but the straight chenille stem measures 12 inches.  That is 10 inches difference which mean hair shrinkage is almost at 85%.  50% shrinkage of anything is a lot.  Can you imagine 85% shrinkage?

So when people comment on how short someone's hair is . . . do they really know the true length? Probably not unless you straighten it.  Then you can compare "apples to apples."

My Sisterlocks at 8 months curled with perm rods.

A detailed look of one of my Sisterlocks at 8 months with relaxed ends still intact.  As far as curly length goes, I am only visually seeing about an inch and a half of growth in the last 7 months, but I know that if my curly hair was straightened then it should measure about 3.5 inches longer.  This long locks journey is going to take me about four years versus two years based on what I am seeing.  I am definitely mentally preparing for the long haul.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Silver Fox Look

A quality gray wig is a great way to see if you can pull off the "silver fox" look!  This is one of Raquel Welch's wigs called Voltage in a gray hair color.  Retails for $225.00  

I had to ditch the yarn unit for a minute!  Also, I didn't feel "scalped" with my last retightening by my new Sisterlocks consultant so I think that I am going to do fine for the summer without any help!  By the way, my white shirt has gathers in it making my chest look huge!  I should have cropped this photo! LOL!

Multi-purpose Natural Hair Tool

Do you know what these are?  If you have little girls with plaits and pigtails, then you probably already know what they are.  Okay, time is up . . . . and the answer is . . .

Yes, hair bead threaders!!!!  The smaller white one came from the $4.00 bead package.  The larger one is sold individually for $1.00.

Now, for the multi-purpose use for these threaders . . .  they can be altered to interlock locks according to one youtube channel.  Just cut the ends off and smooth out any edges with a cigarette lighter for "do it yourself" interlocking.

Using Hair Roller Stick picks

 The beige and pink stick picks are not showing their true colors here, but there are six different roller stick picks along with a hard mesh roller in this picture. The four roller stick picks on the left are hard and rigid.  The Yellow one is metal based.  I have not learned the benefits of the metal.  Of course, the rest of the stick picks are plastic.

When using the hard plastic mesh rollers, the flexible stick picks are the best for rolling the hair without pain.
If you are using the soft wire mesh rollers, then the rigid stick picks are probably better to hold that type of roller in place.

As far as tips for rolling with any type of mesh rollers with stick picks,  the hair going around the roller needs to make at least two revolutions to hold it tight then secure the roller with a pick.  So if you have short hair and do not want tight curls then don't use the stick picks, just use the regular double prong clips. As short hair dries, it will release the roller if not enough hair is around it.

So why choose the mesh rollers with stick picks method?  The stick picks actual hold the tension on the rollers to pull new growth straighter if you are past due for a relaxer touch-up.  So it extends the relaxer time.    Also, those with a type 2 or type 3 curl patterns can use this method to achieve a classic straight looking roller set as well!

These stick picks are also used during curly perm and soft curl rod placement to avoid hair folding over the wrong way.  You just slide stick picks underneath the rod bands down each column of rods.  It will keep them all sitting up in a row.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

7.5 Months Sisterlocks Check-in

I wanted to post a little glam picture and to update everyone on my lock correction decision.  I am going to wait another year or so for my Sisterlocks to get longer before I begin having the ones that are "too large" split.  I figure longer locks will hide any imperfections than shorter ones.

Also, as the weather gets warmer, I am going to put my yarn unit in storage because it will be too hot to continue wearing it.  I am hoping to use mousse to get my back Sisterlocks to hold volume.  They are so bulky compared to the some of the front locks.  I think that they are long enough now to try to work with them some more!  Stay tuned.

Product Review: IC Hair Polisher Styling Gel

I just fell in love with this styling gel for my "Gro Protect" Quickweave  services!!!!  The top ingredients listed are water and glycerin!  Yeah!  An expiration date comes on the jar so you know when to discard it.  Yes, I know it is an "over the counter," non-professional product line, but it works!

Hair glue is not a professional product line either, but we need it for quickweave services.  So I will be sticking with this styling gel until they do not make  it anymore.  It is easy to apply.  The hair absorbs it well and makes the quickweave removal easier.

I believe that there were quite a few online recommendations for this gel so I bought it months ago, and I finally was ready to try it, and now, I wished that I had tried it sooner.  I am only using it for "gluefree quickweave" services. Please see other blog articles on the gluefree quickweave for information on that procedure.

I love this gel!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Product Review: Mizani Supreme Oil

The Mizani Supreme Oil bottle states "No Silicones, No Mineral Oil."  It has 8 natural oils.  It is not greasy, but probably too heavy for finer hair.

I decided to remove this oil treatment from my routine because it smokes too much when heat is applied.  I can put it on wet or dry hair, and it seems to create a smoke screen whenever using any type of iron.  It does not set off the smoke alarm, but it does cause a thick haze depending on the amount of oil that is used.

For instance, I had a "press and curl" client where I used more Supreme Oil than what I would with a relaxed client, and I had to open the salon door to clear the "fog" out.  There was no smell, and the fog disappeared into the breeze within five minutes, but it was odd.

Assuming that the product burns off which is probably what causes all the haze, it is not clear whether it is "frying" the hair.  I do not smell any burnt hair, but it does seem to interfere with the hair's ability to move freely.

This Supreme oil is probably best used as a hair dressing when no heat is required.  It is an attempt to be a "healthy" oil alternative, but in my opinion, it missed the mark for heat styling purposes.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lash Extensions or Not?

Ummm . . . Not.  LOL! These eyelashes are all mine.  No extensions here!  I actually did not even use any mascara, but here is what I did do:

1) I used a black pencil eyeliner.
2) Then I added a layer of a white eyecolor.  (I used an angle brush and the Maybelline Color Tattoo by Eyestudio "Too Cool" color.)

That's it!  This combination gives me the lash extension look.  Do not ask me why lash extensions seem to be the normal look these days.  I used to hate seeing overexaggerated lashes, but now,  lash extensions, hair extensions, and nail extensions seem to be the "modern" look.  It's all good!

In this picture, I was having a low key day, but I've been enjoying experimenting with my eye makeup to add a little spice.

Curling the ends of Box Braids

 First of all, you are never going to believe where I purchased this bag of jumbo braiding hair . . . .  the Goodwill store for $1.99.  I could not believe it!  Braiding hair at the Goodwill . . . this makes a strong statement regarding the hair industry and what is now "the normal."
Well, on the back of the package was instructions on how to curl the ends of this type of braiding hair.  One method involved typing the ends up with thread.  The second method was braiding ends together.  The method pictured involves setting the ends on perm rods.  All the methods require dipping the  ends into hot water for about 10 seconds, and voila!  curled ends.  According to the picture, hot water from a coffee machine and a wide open coffee pot/pitcher is the quickest way to complete this styling task.

Taming the Baby Hair at the Hairline

Pictured actress Lake Bell, photo credit from the

Apparently, women of all races have challenges taming the hairline.  Listed below are some tips; find the best one for you!

1) According to one of Paul Mitchell's dvds, apply a mousse/foam while the hair is wet, then rock the blowdryer and pat the hairline down first thing.  The concentrator nozzle may be warm enough to assist in additional smoothing.

2) Hair Gel applied either wet or dry may be a good option if you have a definite idea of final placement such as an updo.

3) "Edge" Pomades or "Flyaway" tamers work well if you do not have any other products in the hair that may cause buildup.

4) According, clear mascara as a finishing touch works too! I would imagine that if clear mascara can tame eyebrow hairs, then it should be of some assistance with those stubborn baby hairs.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Magnetic Rollers in Half Sizes

 Yes, Magnetic rollers used to come in half sizes as well as whole sizes.  The half sizes (short sizes) were used when you ran out of room on a head for the longer sizes.  I still grab a half size roller if I need to fit one in.
Interesting enough, I am not sure if they are still manufacturing the short sizes.  The red color was the largest that the half/short sizes came in.  I still have some new packages to sell at $3.00 per pack.

My 7 months SisterLocks Check-in

 The "So how's your hair doing?" question came up again . . .  so I knew it was time to check in again!  I just completed another retightening. Hopefully, you can tell that it's growing despite the fact that I have been awful about taking my biotin daily and my Viviscal.
My new Consultant (my third one) was the first to wear her Sisterlocks tank, and also, did some grooming of my locks as she went along.  Her philosophy is a little different in that she does not like those buds on the ends of locks so she removed some of them.  I must admit I am a little nervous about this but most of the knots on the ends stem from my leftover relaxer.  So I may start snipping them myself to save her time for the next retightening.  Now, for the not so good news . . .

She informed me that some of my back locks are too large.  Notice the Sisterlocks parting card compared to my partings.  She wants to split some of them. As she was retightening she felt that some of my locks felt like they were matted inside the lock as she pulled through which probably alerted her to the size of the locks.  Of course, I am thinking great - seven months and three certified consultants later . . . I am discovering that even my back locks are not in compliance with Sisterlocks suggested guidelines.  I was ready to scream and/or cry.  I just had to say a prayer and give my frustrations over to God. However, I did make a decision that my original consultant that started my Sisterlocks will need to find some resolution with me.  I paid top dollar, and my expectations were extremely high.  Please understand that I do not question her ability to deliver exceptional work, but my problem is that she did not deliver for me and my hairtype.  My new consultant has seen other clients completed by her, and she said that my head was definitely not her best work.  Judging by the larger sizes of my locks, she was surprised at who completed my locks.

Another picture of my back before retightening.  Some volume, but it is hard to style.  I do not know if this is the "bunching" that is described on the Sisterlocks parting card or maybe it is normal behavior at this length.  I do not know.

 Of course, my yarn unit makes all my woes go away.  It is simple and low maintenance.  I have been playing around with eye makeup too!

 This is a quick picture of my hair wet  to show more of the length before the retightening session. Please remember that part of my front hair still has relaxer in it which is why it looks so stringy.

Another quick picture of me trying to style it wet.  Well, I will check-in again in the next six weeks . . .

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Certain Hair Types can Break Easy

I remember hearing a hairstylist say that some hair just doesn't grow.  After nine years of hairstyling, I can definitely say "This statement is NOT true;" however,  I do believe that some hair types have a hard time gaining length.  Remember "gaining length" and "growing" are two different things.

Everyone can see hair growth from the root/scalp area, but if the ends are continuously breaking and are being continuously trimmed,  then no, you will not see any significant gains in length.

After completing a consultation with a local loctician, she explained to me that she recommends the hair steamer to condition traditional locks, but not interlocks/sisterlocks.  She felt the hair steamer would interfere with the interlocks/sisterlocks from locking properly by loosening them up. She did mention that traditional locks can break at the ends if they do not stay hydrated.  I was amazed that withOUT any chemical in the hair, some hair textures will just naturally dry out and break.  Wow!

I also remember my first Sisterlocks consultant mentioning that she had two daughters.  Both went natural, but only one decided to get Sisterlocks.  She noticed that the daughter with the natural free flowing hair did NOT gain length as quickly as the daughter with Sisterlocks.

In addition, I have an associate of mine that has worn her hair free flowing and natural for three years, and I have not seen any real change in hair length over the years.  I mentioned to her that straightening her hair in order to trim it is probably damaging it.  She did discontinue the full straightening process, and it looks healthier and has gain some more length, but overall, no mind-blowing gains in length at all.

Apparently, the interlocking/sisterlocking provides "strength in numbers" by the hairs supporting each other.  This is another reason why I decided not to transition into traditional locks.  I also decided to focus on making sure my hair get some sort of moisture misting for routine maintenance.

It is just so amazing that without any relaxer nor haircolor, my highly textured hair can be prone to break according to the loctician.  Luckily, it is still growing and gaining length.  I am due for my next retightening soon with my third consultant. We have hashed out our expectations; so I anticipate that she is going to be a good fit.  I will update everyone soon!