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, August 29, 2013

Comb Teeth too Fine

I was on a quest to get colorful combs for my clientele with darker hair.  I usually feel for the sharpness of teeth, the weight of the comb, and a few other tests.  However, this comb passed all my initial tests, but when I started using it, I found the finer teeth side was entirely too fine for even my finer hair clientele. The client's hair would not pass through the teeth. I am actually going to have to dispose of this comb unless someone can discover another use.  Any ideas?

My Honey Child Hair Grease

As you know I have been on a honey kick!  I found this brand called "My Honey Child" and guess what it has in it?  Yes, you guessed it - HONEY!  I purchased "Sophia's Old Fashioned Hair Grease."

It is made of Sunflower butter, raw honey, and other oils.  The consistency of the product reminds me of Jane Carter Solutions' Nourish and Shine. It has a little weight to it.  The smell is bittersweet.  It is paraben-free so I am not sure of its manufacture date and age. It initially has a unrefined shea butter smell then it has a final sweet note once it is rubbed into the scalp.

It says that it can be used for press and curls. Since it is a butter, I would recommend using it in small moderation. I've been using it for oiling my client's hairline. It will be perfect for when the cold weather hits.

I hope to share some fantastic news about my raw honey experience within another month.  I am still testing a few things.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Carmel Treatment versus Diva Smooth Treatment

I brought the Diva Smooth Hair Smoothing Agent back with me from the Bronner Brothers hair show.  I had heard of it before from others who had either tried it or also heard of it.  I remember people describing it as being messy, but they also said it worked.

Well, guess what the main ingredient is for this treatment?  Honey.  As you all know, I fell in love with honey when I did my last retightening.  The honey by itself seemed moisturizing and a little weighted.

Now, that I have been introduced to the Diva Smooth hair treatment, I have also discovered that E'tae Products have been offering an "original" Carmel Treatment since 1999.  So the Carmel Treatment is also honey and bananas based, and apparently, from my research, they were in existence before the Diva Smooth treatment came out.

According to some reviews, people feel the Carmel treatment works better than the Diva Smooth treatment. In addition, I have found another local hair salon that discontinued the Diva Smooth line and is only offering the Carmel treatment.

I personally have not tried the Diva Smooth treatment on a client yet.  There are youtube videos on the Diva Smooth process as well as reviews of the Carmel treatment.

There have been many DIYers that feel that they would rather create their own natural batch of the Carmel or Diva Smooth Treatments.  Nicole Burnett of the has a recipe for the Carmel treatment that you can try at

If you are lazy, then DivaSmooth can be purchased online and the Carmel treatment can be purchased from E'tae Products online.

The products listed in the ingredient list are mostly edible.  These two treatments are considered chemical free relaxing agents.  They are designed to assist with keeping the natural hair from reverting at the first sign of humidity.

I have seen the Carmel conditioner listed as Caramel Treatment on people's reviews.  The Etae products spell it without the extra "a."

Well, you natural hair ladies have another recipe or product to try to make your everyday job easier!  Relaxed clients are also welcomed to try these natural based products as a reconstructor as needed.  You will need to protect your clothes and surroundings when using these products because I have repeatedly heard that it is messy.  Have fun!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Laser Therapy for Female Hair Loss

At the Bronner Brothers Hair Show, I took an introductory class on the Class 2 Laser Therapy for Female Hair Loss.  Click link or copy/paste to watch DoctorsTV 2010 segment on this topic.

If there is enough interest in laser treatments then I will look to get certified.  In the meantime, the company introducing this laser therapy certification is below.  They mentioned that if your scalp is smoothed over from chemical damage, then the laser therapy may not work for you.  Also, the wig above was made by me.

Best Brand for Pressing Combs: Kentucky Maid

Over the years, there have been two brands of pressing combs that have made pressing hair easy.  Kentucky Maid is #1 because of their wider selection of pressing comb choices.  You can choose between fine and medium teeth.  As well as brass or steel teeth.  As well as copper or steel spacers.  Their pressing comb construction has maintained a higher standard than the Golden Supreme brand.  The Kizure brand comes in second place because they do not have spaces.

 This fine tooth pressing comb pictured above has copper spacers and has done nicely to straighten hairlines for about 10 years or more.

I just bought more Kentucky Maid pressing combs because I saw another artist at the hair show doing a great job pressing the model's hairline. I asked her about her pressing comb. She said out of the brands that she has gone through, Kentucky Maid wins in lightweightness and getting the job done.

In the picture above, the pressing comb on the left has copper spacers versus the one on the right has steel spacers.  Can you tell the color at the base of the comb between the brass teeth?  Steel construction is heavier and more pricey than the copper construction.

I talked about my Kizure pressing comb in a separate article on this blog.  I like it because of its oversized teardrop base.  The Kizure pressing comb has no spacers, and it's a little heavy, but the base size makes it work for me.
As for the Golden Supreme line, I love their marcel irons, but their pressing comb construction is without spacers and limited in selection.  I find them hard to press with.

If in the Charlotte, NC area, Buywise Beauty Supply off Beatties Ford Road keeps a wide selection of Kentucky Maid pressing combs.

I was happy to see more conventional stoves at the Bronner Brothers Hair Show.  Most flat irons were being used to curl hair extensions versus real hair.  Sometimes we have to go back to what was healthy and working for Black hair.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Drying Net: The Weaver's Assistant

Another cool invention that I found at the Bronner Brothers hair show was this "drying net" for the hooded dryers.  The stretch band will fit around the portable home based hard bonnet dryer as well as the professional salon platform dryer.

The founder mentioned to me by drying extension hair in the salon hood dryers in the upright position can cause water to get into the neck of the platform dryers and may stress the dryer motor resulting in more repair work.  So even putting a towel at the base of the hood over the neck area would prevent the water from getting in the neck and the motor.  She said that it also helps shorten drying time.

The new "drying net" is designed to be a more professional look to drying the tools, wigs, and extension hair.  The dryer hood no longer needs to be upright.  I believe the show price for the drying net was around $20.

The nets are made in Detroit, Michigan USA.

Neoprene Swim Cap

These Neoprene Swim caps are basically a "synthetic rubber" head covering that seals out water.  They come in different sizes to accommodate all the modern day big hair.

The Neoprene material alone according to online research is used to make everything from a laptop sleeve to a dive suit.

According to the testamonies on the flyers, this swimming cap seems to protect the hair from wetness very well. I do not know how to swim yet, and I look forward to wearing my locks without a swim cap when I do go swimming.

However, for those who do not want to deal with hair maintenance immediately after a swim, I believe that this swimming cap will do the trick.

My only concern is that because it is a synthetic rubber, it acts like a supersized rubber band. I did not try the cap on at the Bronner Brothers hair show but it looked snug yet comfortable.  Rubber historically has been taboo for breakage when it comes to hair so just be careful trying to keep your hair dry.

The cost was about $20 at the hair show to purchase.  They look like the picture in the flyer with the neoprene material inside of it.  The brand is "myswimcap."

Barber Artistry by Steve Evans

 "Mount Rushmore" -Either you like it or you don't!  Regardless . . . It's fresh and creative!  I met Master Barber Steve Evans at the Bronner Brothers International Hair Show in Atlanta, August 2013!

Steve is by Appointments only and is based out of Stockbridge, GA and originally from Chicago!
(Chi Cuts)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Wedding Hair by Benita Blocker

 Hair by Benita Blocker

Hair by Benita Blocker

My client of 4.5 years got married this past July!  I styled her updo and her mom's updo the morning of the wedding.

For the Bride: I gave her a Mesh Rollers set.   A relaxer was done the week before.  We grew out her hair length for the wedding .  Typically, she gets a chunky long layered cut every six months.  We skipped the haircut this go around. I used a moderate amount of Dudley's Total Control Styling Spritz on sections at a time in order for her curls to hold for the day and into the night.

For the Mother of the Bride:  I gave her a (mauve) Perm rod set.  We used Jamaican Mango and Lime Styling Lotion for her Sisterlocks set.  She has a regular Sisterlocks technician in her own city to tighten and color her Sisterlocks.  I used Dudley's Total Control Styling Spritz very lightly.  I used a small amount of hair pins for her updo.

Wedding Hair by Benita Blocker

The Oprah Magazine September 2013

I really encourage everyone to pick up the Oprah Magazine for September 2013.  It is already on newsstands!

The wig that she wearing was made by Kimberly Kimble.  The weight of the wig is stated in the magazine as well as other photo shoot details.

Oprah is an even hotter topic nowadays because "The Butler" movie in which she completed an outstanding performance was number one (#1) in the box office in its first week in the United States.  Congratulations Lee Daniels! And Oprah, you looked absolutely fabulous in the movie!

Oh yes, back to the magazine, if anyone is interested in hair transplants, a detailed story of the cost and procedure is also described in this edition.  This edition has a lot of personal stories.  It  is definitely a keeper!

Relaxer Review: Vitale Pro High Comfort Relaxer

I have a few clients on the Vitale Pro High Comfort Relaxer now, and it has performed very well.  The clients have not experienced any irritation. The relaxer does not seem overly aggressive.  I actually have had to wait on it a few minutes and make sure that I smoothed out everything.  This is good because I had concerns about scalp damage when the relaxers work too quickly.

As you know with certain hair types, the relaxer is going to come into contact with the scalp because the new growth compacts at the scalp.

I remind you that this High Comfort relaxer is considered regular strength.  Also, according to the company, they only recommend 3 to 4 months shelf life upon opening, but five years shelf life unopened.

In addition, there is a post relaxer normalizing step that is actually layered with the neutralizing shampoo. This was the first relaxer system that I have ever been instructed to layer without rinsing in between as far as the first shampoo is concerned.  The second and third shampoos, of course, are all normal rinse-outs.

My clients and I like the Vitale Pro relaxer system thus far.  I am planning to switch people from a few other aggressive relaxer brands into Vitale Pro as long as it straightens enough for everyone. So far so good.

Bronner Brothers August 2013 Hair Show Atlanta

Can you guess how long it took to get his hair like this?   (The answer at the end of this article.)

I am happy that I attended The Bronner Brothers International Hair Show in Atlanta this month even though it was much smaller than I ever remembered.  There was no one selling souvenir booklets.  I am not sure if they even had them for sale.  There were no one selling the Dominican products that I needed to restock for the salon. Upon stepping onto the exhibit floor I could see the stopping points where the vendor booths ended on each side of the floor.  So I immediately made my decision to get everything completed in one day.

Now for the GREAT news!  I enjoyed my makeup artistry class and my laser light therapy class for hair loss!

I also found some products or accessories to put on a wish list to purchase for the future.  I was able to get product referrals for items not at the show.  It was great networking!

 In addition, from the pictures here, there was a lot of color . . . hair color, extension color.  There was a lot of fantasy hair artistry as well as barber artistry.  I will do separate articles on the Light therapy, making your own wefted hair, and Barber artistry.  So stay tuned.  I always learn something when attending any hair show.  I really encourage others to continue to attend!

Last, but not least, these unofficial Bronner Brothers show models were back! I believe I captured them at the February 2013 hair show as well.  Also, the answer to the question at the beginning of this article is three (3) hours.  That is what he told me . . .  it took three hours to reach that perfection for the male model in blue.  Did anyone guess right?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Curl diameter of Type 4c curl pattern

 My finger is magnified in the picture above.  The picture below is more actual size.  The diameter of my curl pattern is sooooo small that you can barely see the hair on my finger without magnifying it.

Totally different perspective of the same hair right?  Did you know that your sistah's curl pattern can be so different than yours?

Pictured is two (top curl) to four months (bottom curl) of hair growth all curled up on itself, and people wonder why they are not seeing grow.  If you have two to fours months of hair breaking off at one time, then you probably are not going to gain length quickly unless you control the breakage. Tight curl patterns that are resistant to elongation can break easily if it does not stay hydrated whether it is loose or locked hair.

Blowdrying this curl pattern with a comb attachment would do more damage than good. A Denman brush or a boar bristle brush would be the only way to go.

So does anyone have a curl pattern diameter smaller than mine?  If so, I want to hear from you!!!!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hair Lacers set on Relaxed hair

 My client has relaxed hair that reaches about bra strap length.  She is on the Paul Mitchell relaxer system about every 3 months.  She wanted a spiral look.  I decided to offer her the hair lacers set because the flexi-rods are too bulky.  I can wrap the hair around the lacers, and bobby pin the ends onto the lacers.  The hair lacers fit nicely under the platform dryer as well. I also used a lot of setting lotion and foam to coat her hair to protect against the spongy material of the lacers.  I did not see any more strands of hair than what the flexi-rods collect so the lacers seem to be safe for all hair types.  Dreadlocks, natural hair, or relaxed hair are all welcomed.

With the high humidity that we have been having, my client decided to leave the spiral curls in tact to pull apart later in the week.  Removal of the hair lacers once the hair is dry is easier when implementing the technique that I was taught in my Mizani natural hair class last month.  Hair by Benita Blocker.

April 2015 Update:  My same client repeated this look again and allowed me to pull them apart.  Here's the finished look using Nairobi Foam to wet set it.
Hair by Benita Blocker

My client keeps her hair layered.

Beyonce's 2013 Edgy Haircut

So some fans like the new haircut and some people do not like the short look on Beyonce.  In my professional opinion, this new hairstyle is hard to maintain unless you were born with a "Type 3" curl pattern. So I anticipate that Mrs. Carter will keep a "Plan B" i.e. wig/hairpiece on hand for emergencies.

We are used to Beyonce wearing "Plan B" anyway.  So this haircut was a way for Beyonce to connect with us on a "backstage" level.  It's her downtime allowing us to see the real Mrs. Carter . . .  "Sasha Fierce" is still around the corner.  So chill, it's only hair!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Detangling: Can This Unit Be Saved?

This is a high-end hair unit that retails about $850.00 that met with the wrong shampoo and conditioners.  I was a little scared to touch it, but it was stored in a sealed bag over the years.

 The inside of the unit is still intact so it's still usable.  This unit allows for the scalp to breathe as well as some integration of the client's hair through the holes.

 The bottom or back area seems to be less tangled than the top, sides, and front areas.  I decided to start detangling in the back area and work my way around.

I took this picture halfway through to prove to you that I was working on the same matted unit from the start.

 Yes, it took me three hours to detangle this unit.  I was definitely determined to make this unit re-usable for the original owner to wear again.

 Now, that the unit is softer and more manageable, I can show off the detail in the construction of this high end unit.  Nice.
The hair texture is yaki.  Unfortunately, yaki textures can be problematic to tangling issues.  However, for now, the unit is ready to wear!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hair and Hair Extension Robberies on the Rise

According to online news, beauty supply stores in Chicago, Dallas, and Atlanta have all been robbed of hair extensions that average about $200 a pack totalling $50,000.00 or more.  A Los Angeles salon has also been reportedly robbed of $200 a pack hair extensions.  The thieves are going after the premium hair behind the counter. If this robbery trend continues, we may see stricter sentencing for hair extensions robbers.  (I am joking, but who knows what the future holds. Smile.)

But you have not heard anything yet . . . .

According to Fox News Latino and Huffington Post, a new “hair robbery” phenomenon has emerged in the Venezuelan city of Maracaibo.

A group known as “piranhas” is actually stealing women’s luscious locks literally off their head and even have a preference for straight hair.

So at gunpoint these theives are making women gather their own hair into a ponytail to cut it off and go sell it.

Read more:

So hair extensions demand is on the rise regardless of race.  So now, not only do you have to hold on to your jewelry, cell phones, and wallet, you may want to hide your luscious long hair!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Dreadlocks: Lessons Learned in 2013

 This is my August 2013 picture.  My last time having my hair "sisterlocked" was March 2013.  Five months Sisterlocks-free!  Same parting sizes.  Just new SELF-tightening technique!

Honey (as explained in my last article on this blog) is doing really well to keep my locks coiled.  Overall, they are not untwisting.  I did have a few instances where the honey made my neck sticky because I was sweating and the leftover honey on my scalp started sliding down. (What a visual? Right? LOL!)

Anyway, I just took a wet paper towel and wiped my perimeters and neck off.  Surprisingly, I have spoken with more and more people who use honey to avoid skin breakouts from other "lock products."  So those with sensitive skin will love honey for tightening their hair.

The honey works like a heavy moisturizer. I must admit my satin bonnet and pillow cases all look "greasy" but I have not attracted any ants nor bugs.  I will happily use the honey again and keep the wetness of my hair consistent before applying the honey if it starts to dry out as I am working my way through my hair.

Well, this picture is from January 2013.  I really suggest children start their dreadlocks between 10 and 12 years old.  Some people are born with "perfect shaped head and face" that they can look glamourous with a bald head.  And some of us, like me, need hair length to balance our distinguished features.  I found it difficult in my age 40's working in a corporate setting to start growing out Sisterlocks and/or dreadlocks.  I hated to feel forced to wear a wig to fit in with the workplace and also cause stress to my new $800.00 hairdo.  I really did not have a real support system.  People would say  "it looked great, but it was not for me. "  "My (their) husband would not go for it." Oh, "look at those little things.  Is that your hair?"

In hindsight,  I realized that I gained weight from the stress of coping with Sisterlocks and the "starter dreadlocks."  I even was laid off from my corporate hairdressing position within two weeks of initial Sisterlocks locking session.  My manager was African American, but obviously needed diversity training. I have a few other choice names to call this manager, but it would be inappropriate to post that here.  So I digress.

The founder of Sisterlocks' purpose was to empower women, but I found MY Sisterlocks journey to be a quick route through "hell" and back.  I made the best of it, and I am now back on track for happier days with my new approach to dreadlocks.  Thank God that I now see clearer skies, and I am on track to becoming more empowered as my locks gain length withOUT thinning out my hair density.  More on hair density later in this article.

Anyway, the younger you can start your little girls out with dreadlocks the better to cope with the peer pressure.  The dreadlocks or Sisterlocks need at least two years before they get to the length that most people start to really love them.  So starting at age 12 means by high school, the locks should be easy to style, and the girls should have some workable length.

This picture above shows the relaxed hair that is still hanging on my hair ends versus my matured lock.  My relaxed hair rolled up on the ends and formed knots while in the Sisterlocks' framework.  The Sisterlocks consultant really did me a disservice by locking my relaxed hair.  I honestly do not know if I had enough new growth to start Sisterlocks anyway. (Visit my July 2012 articles for my start of Sisterlocks.)

I had so much relaxed hair that I do not know if she really knew what she was looking at. My relaxed hair was never silky straight because of my natural texture. I digress again. ( I am trying to stay upbeat. Smile.)

Anyway, please do NOT pay to get your relaxed ends Sisterlocked.  They will either matte and lock on its own depending on your natural texture or NOT.  Either way, you will probably end up cutting them off at some point in time.
 Okay, my Sisterlocks consultant had started doubling up my locks within the first 3 months of getting Sisterlocks started.  She did not tell me.  I found this doubled up lock, and I was upset.  For those who do not understand the big picture, doubling up locks means your hair density is thinning.

For Christ's sake, if your hair is thinning out within months of starting locks, then something is NOT right.  Either your hair is the type that really does need some shea butter, olive oil or some sort of moisturizer  OR the interlock/Sisterlock technique is NOT a good fit for your hairtype.  It could be the Sisterlock technician's error in her interlocking technique.

Regardless, stop the madness!  If the doubled up strand is larger than the root area, then you are going to rip your hair out from the scalp trying to pass the "fat ends" through.  If you understand the interlocking process, then you know what I am explaining here.  If you do not understand the interlocking process, I encourage you to watch youtube tutorials on "interlocking dreadlocks."

By all means, watch your hair density.  In my December 2012 picture above, my second Sisterlocks consultant was twice as fast at tightening, but I believe that she was also causing me breakage and thinning.

Most of the length in this picture is still stemming from my relaxed ends that had not rolled up and knotted.   (i.e. my length above is from the relaxed hair that was put into Sisterlocks framework)

I kept asking the new consultant how is she sooo much faster than my last consultant.  Her answer was "age difference?"

No,  in hindsight, my hair was being ripped out.  The Sisterlocks consultants seem to like getting those Sisterlocks premium dollars, but they do not care if you are going bald in the process.  They just want to get paid without owning up to the fact that the interlocking technique or even the frequency of tightenings may not be working for you.  There are some exceptions . . . so yes, not all Sisterlock consultants are bad.  But definitely, do NOT trust that certified consultant list either as far as finding a caring, professional consultant.  I digress. (I swear - writing this article is taking me through an emotional roller coaster. It is amazing what I have been through on this lock journey.)

Also, if your Sisterlocks consultant is yanking your sisterlocks apart if they start to grow together, then I do not recommend this action.  Shears should be used to carefully cut the cross hair(s) if they can not be massaged apart.  Yanking on dreadlocks/Sisterlocks is what amateur locticians do; not professional locticians.  Yanking stresses the locks.

As you can see, I have learned a lot about dreadlocks over the year.  As for me and my dreadlocks, the best thing is for me was to do like so many other women with beautiful locks are doing - just do it myself and go to a loctician for updos, steam treatments, or other specialty options.  I do not want to risk too much lock doubling or combining.  I want to keep my locks as feminine as possible.

Thank God that I have found a loctician that I hope will work out. Our consultation went the best out of the three locticians I visited a few months ago.

I hope that this article helps others considering the lock journey for their children or for themselves.  Locks are a serious thing.  It's still hair and breakage still can happen.  Some sistahs with straight hair take sistahs with locked hair for granted.  I assure you that a sistah with long, beautiful locks are just as picky about her locks as any straight haired sistah is about her blow-out.  So don't get it twisted!