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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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

This Design Essentials' Class Blew Me Away

Everyone knows that I give all the manufacturers a hard time, but I give them compliments when I can.  So Design Essentials is no exception.  Although, I am not ready to try their relaxers again, but I am open to more of their non-chemical styling options.  So let's dig into highlights from this July 2014 class.

Almost Natural Blow-out
The model did not have a relaxer, but she has had various permanent color services completed on her hair. The model/stylist loves changing her hair color.  In addition, her natural curl pattern may have been closer to a Type 3c.  Every permanent color service acts like a texturizer in my opinion so that is why I call this model "almost natural."

The platform artist is using a "Denman-type" brush to blow dry or air form this model's hair.

As you can see, this model has highlift color, but no relaxer and no keratin treatment.  The blow dry service alone got it pretty straight.

The platform artist uses her ionic flat iron for final styling.  For professional platform work, artists do not want to carry a conventional stove and marcel irons. Everyone knows I am against flat irons so I will not make a big deal in this article.  If you or your clients keep your hair cut or trimmed then flat irons are fine because you are always trimming away the damage.

This particular platform artist recommends relaxing hair (texlaxing hair) to 65% to 70%, then using permanent haircolor and blow-dry with thermal styling to keep the hair under control.  This approach to hair will definitely work for some, but not for everyone.

Towel Blot
Towel Blotting before using neutralizing shampoo is highly recommended to not dilute the neutralizing shampoo's performance as well as to conserve the amount of neutralizing shampoo used.

Fine hair clients who do not like Holding spray
In a separate article on this blog, I discussed that in order for hairstylists to get repeat business, the hairstylist has to deliver hairstyling that has memory plus movement.  The proper holding spray used within the thermal service makes a huge difference, but in case you get a fine hair client who just refuses any type of holding spray, the platform artist suggest using the Design Essentials Masterpiece Setting Lotion.

New Products
They have a new conditioner in the retail size called "Deep."  They also have almost doubled their natural textures line with a Almond and Avocado Detangling Leave-in Conditioner and more.  I will do product reviews at a later date as I try these new products out.

With the mindset of Wendy Williams, I paid for my admission to this class in order to have an unbiased opinion.  Any events that media gets in for free lends itself to pressure to be exceptionally nice.  I enjoyed the class, and the content of this article honestly reflects that.

Answers about Resistant Hair

I just completed a  Design Essentials Product Knowledge class with Platform Artist Yolanda.

I asked her how to determine if hair is resistant.  She said if it stands straight up on its own, then it is resistant.  She could not visually categorize my hair as resistant, but within this video I show you how my loc stands straight up!  So you get to see a closer look at my hair, my locs! 

And feel free to subscribe to my youtube channel ReelLife.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Viola Davis: New Hairstyle 2014

Viola Davis has a new television series to debut Fall 2014, and I love her new hair! I saw her in a magazine and barely recognized her.

According to what I have read about her, she has earned her success.  Many times, light skin color and wavy hair can make an actress' journey a little easier.  This sistah has naturally, tightly coiled hair and has worn many different wigs for her many different movie roles.  I really love this new wig the best!  Of course, I am assuming it is a wig, and I am excited about her upcoming television series "How to Get Away with Murder."

Two Years Sisterlocks Close-up

In my two year loc-versary post, I did not include a close-up photo for those who like to dig down into the root of things.  LOL!  So here it is!  This side of my head has the smaller locs.

But as you can see, I have some good length on it!  I also want to remind everyone that I have small fingers so I can handlock my locs without in any problems.  Okay, until next time . . .

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Honorable Mention: Box Braid Wig

I found this on Facebook.  It looks like a "lace" box Braid wig. I love it. African American chemo patients seemed to favor this option.  Any thought?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

2 years Sisterlocks Anniversary

It's Official!  My Sisterlocks are two years old!  And I have a youtube channel so this video should work when you click on it! Yay!

Disclaimer:  I have not had my locs retightened recently so I may have one to two inches of new growth shrunken up at the roots.

I am self-maintaining my locs so as I run my fingers through them, if I find one that is too far past due, then I hand lock it.

I have found quality is better than speed.  I also found that $15 a hour is a reasonable rate to pay Sisterlocks consultants.  Those at $25 per hour, $30 per hour, $50 per hour - I have not seen anyone's work that was worth that. That is not to say that there are not consultants worth these prices - I just have not met them yet and I have not seen their work.  The higher the hourly rate the faster the consultant should be, but if they are sacrificing quality and the health of the loc, then I have a problem with those situations.

I am attaching a six month old picture of my well manicured Sisterlocks below.  I no longer keep my locs this manicured because I prefer the thicker look.

Six months old well manicured Sisterlocks

My advice to anyone on their loc journey is to be true to yourself.  My journey has not been easy.  Sisterlocks empowers people to abuse the opportunity by scamming.  It is NOT Sisterlocks` intent to enpower unethical people, but it happens.  Everyone is an independent contractor.  Just remember that!  

Also, too much manipulation of the hair and/or locs can cause damage - learn when your locs have had too much manipulation and let them rest for a couple of months.  You can still wash them, but the interlocking may be working against you. Every hair type responds differently to locs and locking methods.  Just like all the other naturalistas out there - what works for one may not work for another.  Also, permanent haircolor is not safe for everyone. Try a few locs at a time before diving into a whole head of haircolor.

I think that is all that I can think of. I am going to add one more two year photo.  Thanks for being a part of my loc journey thus far!
Two years Sisterlocks - alternating between handlocking and twisting.

The longer the locs get- the less I worry about manicuring the roots. Okay, until next time!

Rattail combs: Variety of Teeth Spacing

One of my followers asked about rattail combs and the teeth spacing for fine tooth combs versus medium tooth combs.

First of all the blue and the white rattail combs have about the same teeth spacing except the white rattail has a metal tip used for foiling haircolor for color services.  However, both the blue or the white combs are great for roller seting wet hair.  If you have fine hair the dark blue rattail, third from the left would work great for more control.  The fine tooth black carbon comb works best on DRY, straight hair for ironing purposes. All hair types can use this fine tooth comb, but it is designed for thermal straightening services.

Honestly, if you misjudge a comb, and it is pulling too much hair - just go to a larger tooth rattail.  Sometimes the condition of people's hair require wider teeth.  Just keep a variety of sizes available.  If you are getting a  lot of hair in the comb and you are using the widest tooth comb that you have then the hair may have too much protein stuck in it.  Coconut oil and other protein rich shampoos can cause extra tangles when hair absorbs too much.  How to counter that is a whole other topic that even I have not mastered.  Luckily, I have not had anyone lately with that issue.

Anyway, I am not sure if I really answered my reader's question, but I hope this information is in the ballpark!  Pictures of the different tooth combs are worth a thousand words.

LottaBody Ready to Use has new Packaging!

 Surprise!  Lottabody "Ready to use" Setting Lotion has new packaging and more oils in this newer version.

Those who still want the original formula may want to get to your local beauty supply store as soon as possible and stock up because Walmart stores only have the new version! I have not tried the new version yet, but I will update this posting when I do!  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Paddle Brushes: Size Does Matter!

When to use a small paddle brush or a traditional denman brush?

  1. Blow-drying Type 4 curl patterns - You need a smaller brush to get in and control the roots.
  2. Blow-drying smaller areas like the nape, around the ears, and side burns or use a smaller round brush.
  3. Blow-drying resistant hair regardless of the length.

When to use a large paddle brush?

  1. Blow-drying fresh relaxed hair.
  2. Blow-drying wavy and slightly curly hair.
  3. Blow-drying very long straight hair when straightness is desired for final styling.
  4. Wrapping a roller set for final styling to remove the partings.

Rule of Thumb
The size of the brush should give you an idea of the parting size or sections that you will take to blow-dry.  So if you have a bunch of small plaits to blow-dry, then you pick a smaller size brush even if the hair is very long. On the flip side, if you are dealing with naturally straight hair, then larger sections are fine for speed drying.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Abba Moisture Shampoo with Peppermint and Olive Butter

I was looking for a shampoo that stimulated the scalp promoting blood circulation and growth without drying out the hair.  The Abba Moisture shampoo with Peppermint and Olive Butter does just that!  It is not as intense of a stimulation as the Paul Mitchell Tea Tree shampoo, but the client can feel it.  Also, I have found the Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Shampoo can dry out relaxed hair.  This Abba Shampoo is hydrating, and it is sulfate-free.  Stimulation and hydration in one shampoo is a treasure.  Surprisingly, I discovered it at the Beauty Brands Annual $12.99 Liter sale.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Clowning Preference: In Your Face or Behind Your Back?

I was in the cafeteria line this week when the kitchen staff was clowning one of the other employees that came through the serving line about her roller set on her naturally kinky hair. They told her that her husband must have not seen her before she left out the house. She should get his approval next time. I must admit she just smiled and kept her composure and kept it moving. I tried to change the subject by asking for selection recommendations from the serving line, but in the back of my head, I wondered was it better to be clowned in front of her face or behind her back?

Her hair was neat despite the ultra coily texture. I felt like I should have addressed the kitchen staff and their ignorance, but why bother? I decided that it was not worth it considering they prepare the food.  Sometimes you have to choose your battles and just believe . . . . "Girlz With Kinks Still Get Winks!"

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Reader Appreciation: You all Inspire Me!

Some people comment directly on my articles and others email me separately.  All of your feedback is welcomed! Thank you! Please continue to email me and share your success stories!  I will try to add them here!


Hello Ms. Blocker,

The next time you are in Socal, can you post or email.  I tend to do my own hair because the last few times I tried a "hairdresser" I ended up losing my hair.

In short, I'm pretty sure the last one used super relaxer on my fine hair when I clearly requested Affirm normal (I even had a tub in the car--in case).  With the hairdresser, I had burning (they were heavy handed), breakage and split ends after she trimmed.  I left the house with hair below my shoulders and within weeks had breakage so bad that there was barely enough to braid for tracks. When I relax my own, no burning or even tingling.  A friend's mother that is a hairdresser said that she thinks they used super relaxer.  Unfortunately, she is in IL.

I have followed your blog for about a year and you really car about healthy hair.  I followed your tip about not tying my hair down at night and my edges are filling in.  So, if you are in town, I would like a consultation.  

Thank you,


 Once again, you've saved me from hair ruin. I went to a beauty supply store for Affirm relaxer. I had the owner specially order it for me. Since, Affirm is manufactured for use by salons only, the activator came is a large bottle. He apportioned me a large amount into a separate bottle, which, upon review, seemed to be too much. In attempting to make sure that I relaxed my hair in the proper method I googled Affirm relaxer and this article came up. Thanks to your measurements and marking the bottle at 1.3 ounces, I was able to eyeball roughly the same amount to mix with my relaxer, and discarded the rest. Can you imagine if I had simply poured in what the salesman gave me? I'd have had no hair left!! My hair turned out fine. 

I ended up using Affirm Sensitive Scalp. I understand that it can be drying to hair and bad for hair over all. But with that understanding I've made committed myself to using chelating shampoos, shampooing and deep conditioning weekly, and regularly moisturizing my hair. I think I've also found that relaxed hair really just thrives with roller sets. So I've broken up with my flatirons.

Thank you for the articles you write. Keep them coming.



P.S. I'm studying for the bar exam now and it was great to see you apply tort law to the salon predicament. Back to studying for me!!

Categorizing Food for Homemade Hair Masks

Every food is going to fall into the category of moisture or protein.  Try to keep it balanced when mixing homemade masks!

Raw Honey = Moisture
Olive Oil = Moisture
Jojoba Oil = Moisture
Kukui Nut Oil = Protein
Avocado = Protein
Coconut Oil = Protein
Mayonnaise = Protein
Quinoa = Protein
Egg = Protein

Monday, July 14, 2014

Curling Locs to Achieve a Professional Look

My locs are almost two years old.
Setting Agents:  Ferm Aqualizer plus Lottabody Ready to Use setting lotion 
 Set Technique:  Bantu knots set on 70% Dry locs
Cosmetic makeup (MAC, L'Oreal, Mary Kay, Physician's Formula, Nuance)

I didn't realize that people do notice when I wear full makeup!
Thank God for blotter sheets in the summer to counter the summer sweats and keep the makeup blended.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Wet Loc Length Check at Almost Two Years

 I just completed a shampoo with Abba Moisture Shampoo with Peppermint and Olive Butter followed by  Straight Request Power K77 Cleansing Conditioner.  I used no other conditioners nor leave-in conditioners.  My hair or locs hang longer when wet.  I have been hand interlocking individual locs as needed.

  I decided to allow my locs to air dry while running errands today.  I will probably use a spray leave-in conditioner tonight and scrunch them up in a headband.

My bob is forming.  It will be two years in another 10 days. 
Society is more accepting of this loc length on me.  My loc journey looks to be getting easier.

My back has a layered look. I believe I have a lot of water droplets on my loc tips in this picture.  This was just a quick shout out!  I have not had time to start my youtube channel yet.  I am finalizing a name for it. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Uberliss Smoothing Treatment for Wavier Textures

The master Chemist of Avlon recommended the Uberliss smoothing treatment for wavy hair during my recent class because Avlon's Texture Release System may be too "greasy" or heavy for fine and/or wavy hair.

Avlon's Brazil location manufactures this product.  Dr. Ali Syed developed the Uberliss smoothing treatment as well as the newest Texture Release System.

No formaldehyde is in either smoothing system. Depending on the coarseness and resistant of the hair, the Texture Release System may be a better smoothing treatment option because of its petroleum base.

 Otherwise,  consider Uberliss at

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Guess Who's Chair Hopping?

HINT:  It's no longer the customers!

Can you believe it?  The customers are now complaining that

  1. Their hairstylists keep relocating.
  2. The salons are closing.
  3. The hairstylist work hours have become too limited.
My salon has been opened for going on ten years.  I am now attracting more and more clients because they want a hairstylist that
  1. works full-time as a hairstylist
  2. has flexible hours, days and nights
  3. plans to remain open for ten more years.
  4. attends continuing educational classes to stay ahead on the latest trends.
I literally am booking clients at 7:30pm, 8:30 pm, and on special occasions, 9:30pm at night.  I have to start my day later as to NOT burn out by the end of the night.  

Times are changing.  Clients are now looking for stable hairstylists in 2014.  

Praise God that my appointment book seems to stay steady with an occasional wait list.  I'm happy to have endured to reap the harvest!

A Hair Shaking Shout-out!

I purposely did not speak in this video.  I am still testing video functionality on this blog.
(I had just did a partial tightening using hand interlocking .  My hair is dry versus wet.)

Two years loc anniversary coming up at the end of this month!  
Ten year salon anniversary coming up in August of this year.
This blog also turns five years old this August.  

I decided AGAINST publishing a book on hair because too many people are writing books on hair.  

 But I am considering vlogging on youtube!

So please continue to stay tuned! 
Thank you for following me!

7/19/2014 Update:  My youtube channel is born:  

Hair Cuticle Erosion and Scalp Abrasion

Have you noticed that your hairstylist wears vinyl gloves when applying chemicals such as relaxers, perms, haircolor, smoothing treatments, etc?

When you are doing serious household cleaning, do you put on gloves?

The answers to both of these questions is probably - YES!

So what protects your scalp which is a living organ?  The "Vaseline" based protectant?

Hmm, got you thinking?

FACT:  If your scalp is exposed to chemicals on a regular basis, then it will eventually increase sensitivity to the chemical causing temporary abrasions and possibly even permanent scalp scarring.

So if you start relaxing a child's hair at age five, then if she gets scarring in her scalp in the form of bald spots by age 16 - then who is to blame?

FACT:  Some people's hair buckles up at the root, and others' hair grows away from the root.  Hair that buckles at the root typically forces the relaxer chemical to come in direct contact with the scalp.  Whereas people with less resistant hair typically get minimal exposure of the relaxer coming in extended contact with the scalp.

So if your aunts and female ancestors have a lot of  "resistant kinky" hair, then you may see some hair thinning or hair loss in your blood line.  It is NOT because of "bad blood!"  It is solely because the buckling of kinky, resistant hair requires relaxer touch-ups more often for control, but this increased frequency also increases the scalp's exposure to the chemicals.  Over time this vicious cycle would cause hair loss in anyone regardless of race.

Now, lets tackle "Hair Cuticle Erosion."  What is hair cuticle erosion?  Well, similar to land erosion, the hair shaft is being "chipped" away or damaged.  Eventually, damaged hair needs to be cut off if it does not break off first.

So what causes the erosion of the hair cuticle?

  1. Hot irons at too hot of a temperature for fine or medium hair.
  2. Lightener/Hair Bleach and Color Remover to correct color.
  3. Overlapping Permanent Haircolor too many times.
  4. Using the wrong hairbrush to blow-dry hair.
  5. Using a pure protein treatment on the same day as a relaxer. (Remember damaged hair can be soft hair.)
  6. Byproducts left in the hair from "No lye" relaxers.
  7. Double processing hair.  (relaxer plus permanent haircolor or perm plus permanent haircolor)
As far as smoothing treatments go, the flat ironing of the hair can cause more cuticle erosion than the actual "smoothing solution" being applied.

Hair cuticle erosion is not the "end of the world."  All hair is DEAD that is why you do not feel it when the scissors cut it, but cut into your scalp - it's living - you will feel that.

FACT: Hair will grow back as long as the scalp is healthy.  So damage your scalp, and you are DOOMED!

Damage your hair - just trim away and discontinue anything that caused the previous damage.

Well, it's just as simple as that!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Your Guide to Naturalista's in 2014

The Original Naturalista
The Original Naturalista goes back and forth between heat straightening and "wash and go" styling.  She may have a partial head of color highlights for style enhancement, but she does NOT color her full head.  She does not have any permanent chemicals in her hair besides the optional partial head of highlights.  She may get smoothing treatments which temporarily coats her hair for weeks at a time to control frizz.  Race and curl pattern are both irrelevant.  She will use a "curl care" product line for her "wash and go" styling.  She can be one of the original "press and curl" enthusiasts.

The Organic Naturalista
The Organic Naturalista does not use any permanent chemicals.  No haircolor. Little to no heat styling.  She typically eats an organic diet.  She only uses organic products and oils in her hair.

The Neo-Naturalista
The Neo- Naturalista is that wants her hair to have a consistent, neat natural look regardless of the weather change or climate.

  1. She may get her relaxer touch-ups on a regular basis and flat twists her hair for a controlled "twist-out" look.  
  2. She may use high-lift permanent color as a texturizer to loosen her curl pattern all over. 
  3. She may get a body wave or soft curl chemical to achieve a natural look.

The Commercially Integrated Naturalista
The commercially integrated Naturalista keeps her hair covered by integrating braids, weaves, and/or wigs. She may be an undercover "Organic Naturalista" or a "Neo Naturalista."

I am an Organic Naturalista in regards to my own locs. If I add some color highlights to my locs, then I would become an original Naturalista.

Which Naturalista are you?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Unleashing Avlon's Texture Release!

 If you are ready to come out of the relaxer or the thio based body wave (Wave Nouveau, etc), then Avlon's Texture Release system may be perfect for you!

In my opinion, it is a "cousin" to the "Diva Smooth" process (separate blog article) and healthier than those keratin smoothing treatments.

It is a temporary curl elongation.  It is a hair filler that is heat activated and offers you wash n`go styling or just frizz-free straightness for up to about 10 weeks depending on the hair type.  My salon (Applebaum Salon) now offers this service.  The pictures in this article are from my training class.

 Avlon's Texture Release system is a Nano Technology. There is NO formaldehyde NOR any type of aldehyde deriative.  There are no fumes as you flat iron.  It has NOT been tested on children.  So this system like any other hair chemical is for those past puberty.

The two models have been shampooed and dried.  Their hair texture is VERY SOFT.  Their curl pattern is a Type 4, but they do NOT have resistant hair.

 Color correction or any color services should be done a week after this Texture Release service to avoid fading your color or removing the color.  The lotion should not be applied to the scalp but if the scalp comes in contact with the product then it is not life threatening.

 The blow dry service is what starts the activation of this system.  The client has to be blown dry first then they can be re-wet for a wash and go styling or "hot ironed" for straighter results.

 When re-wetting the blown dry hair, allow the curl memory to come back.  It may take a little longer to curl up, but it will start to wave in about five or 10 minutes.

There is a Curl, Shape and Shine Cream for "wash and go" styling which was used section by section to crunch this model for final styling.

The other longer haired model at the beginning of this article was flat ironed at 400 degrees with 2 to 3 passes of the flat iron.

I am really excited about this product. It is double the price of the relaxer service, but it qualifies as a healthier version of the smoothing treatments on the market.

I will try to post more feedback from my own clients as I get more people on the system.