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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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Blow Drying Tips for All Hair Types

Blow Drying Tips for naturally straight hair or freshly relaxed straight hair by Benita Blocker:

1) When there is little to no curl pattern present, blow dry from root to end slice by slice based on the diameter of your brush.
2) Take your time.  There is no need to hurry.  Thoroughly dry each slice before going to the next one.
3) If you just completed a fresh relaxer, you may want to foam the edges down and comb the hair in the style for the final look.  Then let the client sit under the platform dryer for 5 to 10 minutes to offset any extra blow-dry tension prior to starting the actual blow out.

 Blow Drying Tips for wavy to moderately curly hair by Benita Blocker:

1) There is no need to "divide and conquer" if the hair does not seem prone to shrinkage.
2) If the roots are kinkier than the relaxed ends, then focus on the roots as you go slice by slice.  You can return to thoroughly dry the ends as soon as you get all the roots straight and under control.  You do not want the roots to set in its naturally curly state.  You may want to explain this blow drying method in case they are used to a traditional blow-out in a specialty "blow-out" salon.

Blow Drying Tips for resistant curly hair by Benita Blocker:

1) If the hair has 50% to 75% shrinkage as you are combing through it, then you need to "divide and conquer."  I have discussed this method in a different article on this blog.  You must work quickly to get the hair detangled and plaited down into 13 or more large plaits.  You may need to re-wet the hair as you complete your "divide and conquer" step.  Water often gives more control over the hair.
2) Find a brush that the resistant hair will slide through but the brush needs to have enough bristles to hold some tension on the hair to keep from springing back.  Sometimes a first cut, soft, boar bristle brush may be your best bet as far as hair brushes are concerned.
3) If the "divide and conquer" technique is in place, then you do not have to hurry.  Just blow-dry slice by slice or plait by plait from root to end.
4) Clean partings are important even though it maybe difficult to part the hair.

Most blow dryers no longer have these long, narrow necks, but when they did, we as hairstylist would hold the blow dryer around the neck to control the blow dryer.  I wanted to include this picture from a historic blow drying perspective.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Backcombing Mimics Ethnic hair

As I was in deep thought about curl behavior, I realized all the times that the little ladies in the nursing home would have their hair "teased" or backcombed was actually mimicking Ethnic hair.  The backcombing  compacts the length of the hair at the roots.  It makes the head of hair look fuller. It gives it a fixed look. Hence, this technique was probably labelled "the tease" for its created fullness effect.

Many Black woman are born with hair that compacts at the scalp making it look fuller even when recovering from scalp damage.

The backcombing technique or finger tease technique are also used in dreadlocks and Sisterlocks formation for those with harder to lock curl patterns.

Well, I am definitely thankful to God for my "built-in backcombed" curls.  They really work in my advantage with my loc styling.

Friday, October 24, 2014

My 27 months Loc-versary!

 Well, my Sisterlocks are now two years and three months old. Considering one of the Sisterlocks representatives told me that Sisterlocks were not for everyone around the time that I was in the process of suing my Sisterlocks consultant, here I am.   I am still on my loc journey.  Every year will continue to present more styling opportunities and more caution as my locs get longer.

Some may wonder if it was worth suing my Sisterlocks consultant since my Sisterlocks turned out great?  With a resounding "YES" I do respond.  $750 for pure labor (no products), and I had to beg for a starter kit.  Oh yes, you bet I needed a partial refund!  I digress. The start of my Sisterlocks journey is still a sore spot for me.

Anyway, life is getting easier and easier.  I had someone mention - I remember when you started those Sisterlocks . . . they were "such and such" size.  I seem to now just fit into the crowd.  I have less stress.  No more struggles to keep it relaxed and under control.  One side of my locs are still smaller than the other, but I will continue to make it work.

Even as I am servicing my own hair clients, they enjoy seeing my hair (my locs) move with the tilt of my head as I am putting finishing touches on their final styling.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Avlon's Texture Release System: Original Formula

 Hair by Benita Blocker, October 2014

I used the original formula of the KeraCare Texture Release Smoothing System with this client.  Having been trained on the Brazilian Blowout smoothing treatment, I found the application phase of the Texture Release system to be slower and more difficult than the Brazilian Blowout formula.  However, I also experienced a nose bleed assuming it came from excessive exposure to an original formula of the Brazilian Blowout solution. 

I did get fumes from the Texture Release System, but apparently, because this old formula is a concentrated petroleum base product, it caused a haze in the salon. 

 Side view before smoothing treatment.

My client's mom explained that my client's hair is a mixture of Mexican and Black.  So thickness and curliness are both full throttle.  Luckily, my client says she likes "big hair" but she needed more control.

 Hair by Benita Blocker, October 2014

Application time was an hour to get the Texture Release from root to end throughout the head.  Flat ironing was another hour or more.  Typically, Brazilian Blowout would require a final water rinse and masque and another blowdry style phase.  KeraCare Texture Release does NOT require another water rinse, but there is a gamble that the client could be sensitive to the Texture Release System.  Avlon Industries' test salon actually recommends a "patch test" on the day before for anyone that has sensitive skin.  I told them that I did not realize that the system rose to a patch test level.

I hope to get my hands on the new Texture Release kit soon.  Apparently, the Thermal Protection spray will be less concentrated, and the smoothing solution is going to be in a spray bottle.  I actually like the origninal formula of the Thermal Protection Spray so I am going to be dissappointed that another good thing will be gone.

Back view before smoothing treatment.

My client was pleased with the service. I felt that it was a little oily than what I would prefer, but the extra oil will disappear with her next wash. We just considered it as a hot oil treatment.

Also, a note to the hairstylists, the chemical smell of the Texture Release system lingered on my clothes and hands.  My cover-ups have to be laundered after performing this Texture Release service.  I hope the smell from the new Texture Release formula is better.  This original formula does not smell worse than a "curly perm," but it is a strong second as far as I am concerned.

When I get to try the new formula of the Texture Release system, then I plan to add a separate article on this blog about it.  Until then, stay tuned.  Thanks for following me!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Taliah Waajid Crinkles & Curls Styling Foam

 Taliah Waajid Black Earth Products Crinkles & Curls Natural Hair & Loc Styling Lotion is a foam that delivers a soft set.  I used it to "dry set" my locs overnight.

Because this foam delivers a soft hold, you can use it daily to dry set your locs at night. I used 3 strand twists put into a bantu knot to achieve this look.

I also had to use some Joico Firm Holding spray to give me volume and to reinforce the hold of my curls.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Natural Hair Dry Set and Updo

Hair by Benita Blocker, 2014

So my client turned age 15, and she loves her natural hair.  She does her own hair about 100% of the time, but she had a special event where she needed a polished natural style in the form of an updo per her mom's request.

So after shampooing with conditioning shampoos, I skipped the conditioning phase and went for the blow dryer.  So YES! She was a full blow-out but no hot irons.  Her texture was moderately resistant so the blow dry phase took at least 40 minutes. Then I performed the dry set in the form of 2-strand flat twists.

If you remember, sometimes I have dry set my locs by using a setting agent on them from a completely dry stage.  So the only wetness on the hair is generated from the setting agents.  Dry sets cuts down on the drying time for natural hair.  For short hair:  40 minutes.  For medium hair: an hour.  Getting the back of the 2 strand twist cornrows dry is where the challenge is.  So your front is guaranteed to be perfect which is the area that most people focus on.

Because my client had a formal event on a Saturday, we shampooed, blow-dried, and dry set on a Friday.  She left out with cornrows to sleep overnight then we unloosened each one to deliver beautiful waves. I absolutely loved it completely down but because of the event and the formal dress that she was going to be wearing, an updo was a must.  I french braided the back up to the bottom of her ears, then I french rolled the rest.

It turned out gorgeous!  She was the second one that I used the dry set technique on and so far, it is a perfect score for both clients.  Great timing especially if the hair is a easy blow-out and quick drying time. Average price is $45 to $55 depending on how long the blow-dry takes. I actually used the Mizani Moisture Stretch and Mizani Perfect Curls cocktailed to achieve this look.

If the hair is too long or too resistant for a quick blow-dry, then I recommend trying a method that does not require blow-drying.  20 to 40 minutes blow-dry maximum.  If you have to "divide and conquer" in order to keep control of the hair, then that may be a sign that the hair is too resistant to dry set.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nairobi Tru Colors has a New Shade!

Nairobi Tru Colors, a semi-permanent color line, added a Bombshell Dark Brown color #3-D to their collection.  It has a neutral base and reminds me of a milk chocolate color.

I prefer when this color line is thick versus runny.  I have had a distributor sell me color with a runny consistency, and I discontinued using the line because of this inconsistency.  The distributor later mentioned that I should let him know if I prefer the thicker consistency over the runny one - that way, he can pull it for me.

In my head, I am thinking - really? There should be some sort of quality control. There should be some sort of consistency in how the product should be.  Why sell hairstylists inferior products because they do not know  how thick or thin the product should be to achieve optimum results with their clients?

Anyway, the size of the Tru Colors bottle allows you to get several uses out of it so I prefer to buy the blue/black/Indigo color from Nairobi.  I do not have many clients who want the blue/black color, but it is the best option for semi-permanent hair color for those clients who do.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Loc Wet Set versus Wet Locs

October 2014 
Plaits,  Pincurls, and Bantu Knots wet set using Lottabody Ready to Use setting lotion- new formula

 October 2014 Wash and Condition

October 2014 different camera angle

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Ten Reasons Why Hairstylists Retain Clientele

Ten Reasons in no particular order why Hairstylists retain their clientele include

1)  Great reading selection!

I have some clients that love all the latest celebrity gossip so People and Us magazines are their favorites.  I have some who love the latest fashion trends so Vogue, Instyle, and Harper's Bizarre are favorites.  Others like Health and More magazines for anti-aging tips.  My salon has a lot of reading choices and classic hairstyling books to keep all ages occupied in case they don't bring their IPad or Kindle.

2) Flexible salon hours!

My salon is open by appointment from Monday to Saturday from 8am to 10 pm.  I am a full time hairstylist so I work around my clients' needs.  I am servicing clients from 4pm to 9pm on most weeknights.  I have worked on Sundays in cases of emergencies such as funerals, heavy travel schedules, or if I take an extra day off and need to makeup salon work hours.

3) Caliber of clientele!

I attract warm spirited clientele.  Most of my clientele get along and hold very productive conversations.  We talk about current events and movie reviews.  Most clients feel like my salon is a great place to meditate, laugh, and relax.

4) Great smelling hair!

Many clients love leaving out of the salon, and their hair smells like they just left the salon.  Great looking and Great smelling hair goes a long way.

5) Great smelling salon!

Using top quality shampoos and conditioners causes a sensual aroma to permeate throughout the salon.  Most shampoos with peppermint or tea tree definitely carry a scent that lingers on and on!

6) Fresh perspective!

Sometimes new clients are looking for a fresh perspective on their hair.  Just like you try different makeup artists to deliver you a slightly different color scheme, many clients want to try a different salon regimen on their hair when they go to a different salon.  So if every salon in a little town uses KeraCare or Paul Mitchell, many clients would jump at the opportunity to try some Bumble and Bumble or Pureology.  My salon keeps a variety of fine haircare lines and the combinations seem to keep bringing people back!  We rotate through some lines, and for some, we stick with what works.  I typically update each client's profile with every visit to know if we did something that worked better than before or not.

7) Various chemical options!

Sometimes people need to switch chemical brands for a variety of reasons.  If the salon has limited options, people want to  go where they get more alternative solutions.  My salon offers several relaxer options as well as treatment options.

8) Precision Haircuts!

Many people want a great haircut without the hairstylist being scissor happy and taking off too much length.  I am very patient with my clientele.  Most say that I am too conservative sometimes when they really want a haircut versus a trim.  So they trust me to not cut too much.  They usually ask me to take off more.

9) Community updates!

Some people like hearing about "what's new" moving to the area as well as movie recommendations and new food dishes to try in the area.

10) Product Knowledge!

My clientele love to hear about my latest continuing education classes.  What new procedures are being introduced?  What new products to consider?  What is the latest hair trend?  When is the next hair show? Many of my clientele remain true to their classic hairstyling, but they like that option of trying something new.

Loc Length Check: Two Years Two and a Half months

It was wash day so I did my wet loc photo shoot to keep everyone updated!  I am about twelve days short of my two years three months loc anniversary.  I retighten by handlocking as I feel for loose locs on an almost daily basis.  So the amount of new growth in my locs vary from loc to loc. This regimen works for me.  Those with smaller Sisterlocks should stick to what works for them.

 I am still getting a lot of compliments.  Some the same strange "it's growing" compliments.  Others just say "I love your hair."

I figured that I would showcase my thickness while wet.  It is a bit of an illusion by bunching it, but it serves the purpose!

I may post final pictures of a pincurl and bantu knot set that I am sitting under the hair dryer with as I am writing this article.  

Review: Design Essentials Deep Fortifying Treatment

Bad news first:  I hate when manufacturer's give hair treatments generic names like "Deep."  You have to ask do you want the "Deep" deep conditioner or just a deep conditioner.  You feel me right?  The name can lead to a little confusion within the salon.

Now, the good news:  I love the smell of this treatment.  The Deep Fortifying Treatment is designed to be left on the hair for up to 15 minutes with heat.  I spend about five minutes combing it through the hair for even distribution, then I let the client sit under the medium heat dryer for another 10 minutes.  Rinse thoroughly and and continue to my next styling steps.

If it is a blow dry, then the aroma from the treatment just permeates the salon.  The hair smells delicious.  Not many conditioners leave a fragrance in the hair like that.

Unless someone has extremely damaged hair, I do not suggest using it on a regular basis.  The directions says that three consecutive weeks of use can greatly improve the hair's integrity.

So overall, the Design Essentials Deep Fortifying Treatment is a definite keeper for clients with double processing or if they need a quick treatment.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Sombre: The Next Generation of Ombre

The Sombre Look is now replacing the Ombre look as far as haircoloring trends are concerned.  Sombre is a "softer" ombre look rather than the bold contrast in the original ombre technique.

The Sombre look can be achieved by
1) Keeping your darker and lighter colors within two or three levels of the same color family.
2) Blend some of the lighter color into the darker color
3) Remembering to go for a soft color change in lieu of anything dramatic.

So now, you can ask for sombre for a softer ombre color update or ombre for the bolder look.  I have written other articles on this blog introducing the ombre look.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Safe Same Day of Relaxer Demi-Permanent Haircolor

Photo credit from Modern Salon magazine, August 2014 edition

Does anyone remember when Goldwell Colorance demi-permanent color had "Acid Lotion" written on developer liquid bottle?  Well, Goldwell has re-formulated their Colorance developers a few times over the last five years.  I do not think that they are as acidic as they used to be.

You may be wondering why is this "acidity" is important.  Well, human beings are acidic naturally.  Relaxers and permanent hair colors are typically alkaline.  So to have even a demi-permanent haircolor that is acidic in nature means a healthier option for coloring hair on the same day as the relaxer service for those who have resistant gray hair.

Well, guess what?  Beth Minardi's liquid demi-permanent color is acidic in nature.  You loving me right now?  I know you are!  It is music to a Black hairstylist's ears. I had been noticing the incredible health of the hair from using this haircolor each time that I have used it.  I had fallen in love with it and then after reading in the Modern Salon magazine that it is an acidic color, I finally understood why it was working so well.

Now, please do not confuse it with Beth Minardi's creme demi-permanent and creme permanent hair colors.  These two cream versions of her hair color are alkaline, and the permanent haircolor rules apply.  Two weeks wait for relaxer clients.  The liquid demi-permanent haircolor by Beth Minardi is the only one safe enough to deliver a beautiful light brown on the same day as a relaxer using 20 minutes of medium heat.

So remember - liquid Beth Minardi is safe.  Creme Beth Minardi is NOT safe on the same day as the relaxer. According to the Modern Salon article, the creme demi-permanent should be used with 30 minutes heat to ensure gray coverage as well.  From my experience with the creme demi-permanent, I would use caution if the hair is not healthy.  Without heat this creme color seems to take but it does not last past a week or two as far as fading is concerned.  I am still getting a feel for the cream haircolor. I will update everyone on the cream demi-permanent haircolor as I get more clients on it.

On a separate note, Clairol has liquid permanent haircolor.  Please do not confuse the "liquid" to mean that the color is acidic.  Beth Minardi's liquid haircolor is about the only one that seems to be acidic and safe.

Don't forget that the ICE line helps boost the gray coverage for the browns.  I have mentioned this in another article on this blog about Beth Minardi's line.

Loc Clippings from a Long Layered Loc Haircut

First of all, I did change up the color scheme for this blog in order to allow easier printability.  I previously had white text on a dark/black background.  It looked great on the computer screen, but when I went to print out my own articles, it was awkward.  So now, printing should be more clear.  So if the blog display looks different, then it is not you, I did recently update it.  Hopefully, it helps those who want to print out articles to share with others.

Now, you are probably wondering what is that in the picture above?  It is "Loc Clippings."

I performed my first long layered haircut on a loc client.  I used the same procedure that I use for regular loose long hair.  It turned out gorgeous. I hope to get some more loc haircut referrals from this client.

All of her locs stayed in tact and condensed.  Nothing frizzed up nor exploded. I cut between 2 and 7 inches off.  That was a year's worth of growth.  I used shears for control, but I did consider the clippers if she wanted a straight bob.

Based on the success from this haircut service, I believe year six is when the loc length and settling period should be safe enough to get a precision layered haircut with the shortest loc length in the crown area being about 10 inches.

This client is due for a full retightening within a few weeks, I will try to get a picture of the haircut at that time when the roots are all neat and groomed again.

*****Update**** As promised, a picture of my client's cut with some curl to it!
Haircut by Benita Blocker 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

Focus on Loc Shrinkage

Is it just me or has anyone else inhaled a Sisterlock up their nostril by accident? Anyway, I have been sniffling some due to the fall weather hitting so quickly, and on more than one occasion, I have sucked up a loc.  I am sorry if that is too much information, but I supposed that people with long hair must have sucked up their own hair before too.  I never remember sucking up my own hair before so with me gaining more length, I am sure that I will be making further longer length discoveries.

There was only a two day difference between the two pictures included in this article.  My natural, loose hair usually shrinks about 75% into a tight afro.  My locs still have about 25% shrinkage so I do not worry about showcasing length for myself, but I know that for others inspired by my journey, shrinkage is real based on your curl behavior.

I also braided my hair up one night to get the wavy look.  I initially felt the tension on my roots from the braids so I literally had to purposely re-braid my locs slowly and loosely.  Any type of tight ponytails or braided loc styling that is pulled even moderately tight can put stress on the locs.  I may need to even re-think wet sets.

My focus has been no stress on my tresses. I have not have any problems yet, but I have not had enough length to stretch my imagination with styling my locs.  So let me continue to stay conservative with styling for at least another six months, then I can try more fancy options with no tension.

Benefits of Partial Cellophane Foil

 Sanek brand has a See-thru Foil that is better than the original full cellophane foils.  With this partial cellophane foil, you can watch the hair change colors without peeping into the foil.

 By having some aluminum built into the foil, the foil stays in place on the hair and prevents slippage and spillage of color from out of the foil.

As much as I loved the full cellophane foil,  they were not flexible when you needed precision placement of color.  You could not bend and seal this foil in place.

I believe Schwarzkopf also offers a pre-cut partial cellophane foil as well.  The Sanek brand is a roll with a dispenser.  I am excited about this new next level of the cellophane foil.

I am almost out of the full cellophane foil, and I could not find them anywhere for purchase.  Now, I know why.  The next generation of foil is now here!  I purchased the Sanek brand from Sally's Beauty Supply.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Hair Advertisements Displayed on Mass Transit

 As this Express Transit Bus was loading passengers, I was amazed to see this banner marketing hair extensions.  Some people do not have a dollar to spare, and you wonder if there are enough people who do have $50 or more to buy hair extensions.

This banner was captured in May 2014, but this particular location was already closed as of October 2014.

Another large banner promoting African Hair braiding.

 There are small banners on the inside of the bus featuring hair braiding locations.

An African Hair braiding banner was also displayed inside the bus.

This WBTV banner was on the public transit bus promoting their newscast. It was a great picture, and I felt it captured the Natural hair and hair extensions movement.  This look is definitely ruling our commercial print industry.