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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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Color Indicator turns hot Pink

 Only the NuExpressions Super 10 in 1 Conditioner instantly turns HOT PINK when it encounters relaxer residue.  Some neutralizing shampoos will turn a slight pink color if relaxer residue lingers, but I have not found anything else to spread along the neckline if I have any questions as to whether something is conditioner or lingering chemical residue.  Anyone else have another color indicator product that works instanteously?

I started with 3 scoops of relaxer on the sticks. I also picked up some Hawaiian Silky 14 in 1 Miracle Conditioner, but it does not act as a color indicator.  Neither does the Paul Mitchell shampoo.  So NuExpressions Super 10 in 1 is a must.  The pH is around a 5.7.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Benita's Favorite Hair Products of 2014

First of all, anything on my 2013 List from December of last year that I still love will NOT be repeated on this list.  So let's get started!

Favorite Shampoo made with Quinoa
Abba Moisture Shampoo

Favorite Hairspray for straighening hair
L'Oreal Paris Elnett Satin- Extra Strong Hold

Favorite Firm Hairspray for holding curls without stickiness
Joico JoiMist Firm Finishing Spray (Hold 9)

Favorite Clear Shine Semi-permanent Haircolor
Dudley Blank Clear

Favorite Blue/Black Semi-permanent Haircolor
Nairobi TruColors Indigo (#2)

Favorite Natural Dark Brown Semi-permanent Haircolor
Affirm MoisturColor 2N

Favorite Light Brown Demi-Permanent Haircolor for Same Day of Relaxer
Beth Minardi Liquid Demi-Permanent Haircolor (acidic/liquid only)

Favorite Color Sealer
French Perm Stabilizer Plus Conditioner (pH 2.5)

Favorite Final Neutralizing Shampoo
Paul Mitchell Shampoo Two  (always on hand in case regular neutralizing shampoo does not wash out all the grease/oil from the relaxer service)

Favorite Moisturizing Conditioner with heat
KeraCare Humecto

Favorite Moisturizing Conditioner withOUT heat
Uans Crema

Favorite smooth edging gel
Design Essentials Natural Honey and Shea Edge Tamer

Favorite Gray Cover-up Temporary Solution
Roux T'ween Time Stick

Favorite Volume Shampoo/Volume Conditioner
Pureology Volume

Favorite Color Indicator Conditioner
NuExpressions 10 in 1 Conditioner

Favorite Luxury Shampoo
Pureology Nanoworks

Favorite Foil for Highlights
Sanek See-Thru Premium Professional Foil

Favorite Violet Conditioner
AG Sterling Silver Conditioner

Favorite Dry Set Twistout Cocktail for Natural Hair
Mizani Moisture Stretch
layered with
Mizani Perfect Curls

NOTE:  Most of my clientele still receive relaxers and/or permanent Haircolor.  In addition, I use the same high quality hair care products on my small but growing loc clients.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Two Years Four Months Wet Loc Length Check-in

I tried out the new Avlon/Affirm MoisturRight clarifying shampoo plus the Hempz Vanilla Plum Shampoo and Conditioner for my loc shampoo service. I found the new clarifying shampoo a bit runny compared to my concentrated high end shampoos such as Pureology and Abba.Otherwise, everything did its job.

 So far, I have a simple bob style when my locs are wet.

As far as length goes, I would say that I am solidly past shoulder length.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving 2014!  I got dolled up for the Holiday!

Coming Soon:  Benita's Favorite Things of 2014. Please stay tuned!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Versatility at 28 months Loc-Versary Check-in

 Yes, It is my two years and four months Sisterlocks Anniversary today!  It had been raining the last few days so I did not get to shampoo and wet set it, but I did a head swing to capture this volumious look!

Then I completed a faux top knot.  I do not have it tied down.  My hair's nature is to stack some.  I had to take the picture quick before my top stack fell.

I figured that I would play around with a fo-hawk look too! Now, I can go for more volumious hairstyling without worrying about length.

On a side note, I noticed that Charlotte, NC was not on the 2015 Sisterlocks training schedule.  Traditionally, every January is when the Charlotte, NC class is held, but apparently, not this upcoming year.  I must admit that I already miss not having the Sisterlocks training team come into Charlotte.  I understand though.  Last year, Charlotte did not have a lot of local participants.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Using Liquid Beeswax to Groom Dragon Locs

So this "triple headed dragon" loc probably started as a "two headed dragon" then I added a problem loc into it because it was adjacent to the "problem" loc.  You may be asking what is a "problem" loc?  For me, I had one loc at my hairline that would always snap off.  I remember when my first Sisterlocks consultant put the clip tool on it - it snapped completely off. She and I were both speechless. The spring closure of the Sisterlock clip tool just "clipped" the loc to a nub of new growth. However, even after, discontinuing use of tools, that one loc would never seem to stay loc`d so I combined it with the two headed dragon. It seemed like a good idea initially but all the extra nubs protruding from the loc was killing me from styling purposes.  Various ends were always sticking up from that "three headed dragon" loc.  So I massaged the dragon loc into a single loc without any product to see if it would mend together neatly.  It molded well together so I un-twisted the dragon, and  I proceeded to open my liquid Beeswax.

 I re-twisted the dragon loc with the liquid Beeswax oil.  I used very little, but it is still holding.  Ideally, I did not want to use any beeswax on my locs, but I was told about this liquid Beeswax, and it seems to be a good compromise for grooming dragon locs.  No more extra heads on this loc- Nice. Right?  Perfect timing too.  I ran into that other Sisterlocks Consultant that overtightened my locs and was charging me $75 for an hour and forty-five minutes worth of her time to overtighten them.  She was the second Sisterlocks consultant I had patronized.  Anyway, I saw her later in the day.  She spoke, but by the look in her eyes, I think that she was surprised that I had recovered from the damage that she caused.  She asked no questions, and I gave no insight into what I was doing differently either.  I am not sure what God's purpose in bumping back into her.  However, I think that maybe it was more educational for her than for me.

 I picked up this Murray's Liquid Beeswax from a local Korean beauty superstore.

The packaging is nice. Double /Triple sealed.  I only needed to use the oil off the red inner seal and then I re-sealed it.  I do not have any more plans to use this liquid beeswax anytime soon, but I will keep it on hand for backup in case I discover another dragon loc that would benefit from the grooming.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Using Netting to Add Color and Cover Thin Areas

I had a follower/reader of my blog ask for help with thinning areas for her head of locs. I told her that I would complete an article on my experiment with netting.  I had another student in one of my Sisterlocks classes to share the idea with me, but I had never tried it until now.  How do you like my temporary splash of blonde in my locs above?  Ready to find out how I did it?  Well, read on!

You will need kinky bulk hair or some sort of hair to make it look like a loc.  You also need netting with holes large enough to pull your own locs through.  Worst case scenario, you can buy a scarf with eyelet holes or a headband with decorative holes or maybe even a slumber cap with eyelet holes.  You need something dark or flesh tone to pull the locs through.

I fed one long piece of extension hair through two holes in the netting.  I am just experimenting here.  You can make your own interlocked looking loc and feed it through.  The way you want your "loc extension" to look is up to you.

 I cut away the extra netting in the picture above because I only wanted to try a splash of color in my bang area.

 I started feeding two of my locs through the holes of the netting above where the loc extension is hanging.

I finally got the netting close to the scalp and anchored using my own locs to secure the netting.  I can cut the excess netting away.  I personally decided to leave this extra netting attached and just swooped my locs over it. This method gave me a thicker bang area and a splash of color. It probably helps that I keep a little new growth at my roots anyway.

The Final Look!  

I had no problem with sliding the netting back out of my locs.  It was harder sliding it up my locs versus sliding it down my locs.  This was a great experiment. I will need to make some loc extensions or buy some loc extensions that will blend with my own texture if I decide to use this method for color enhancement.

For those seeking to cover thin areas or balding areas while keeping your locs, I hope that you can see how this tutorial can help you too! Use your own locs around the perimeter of your trouble areas as anchors and as a platform to build loc extensions onto the netting.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November 2014 Honorable Mentions

1.  Avlon Industries - makers of KeraCare and Affirm have launched a new hair maintenance line in response to the diversion challenges of the KeraCare line.  I have not tried the Affirm MoisturRight products yet, but the shampoos are sulfate-free.  Hopefully, you heard this announcement from me first!  Smile.

2. Please be careful with facial cleansers.  They can cause additional dryness around the hairline resulting in breakage.  You may want to wear a sweat band to protect your hairline when getting facials and/or cleansing your face at home.

3. Facial hair on women can happen as women age.  As a woman's female hormones lessen, unwanted facial hair may appear in the chin or jawline. i.e. chin wax

4. The hair on top of your head is not the only hair on your body that goes gray.  Eyebrows, underarms, private areas can become "salt and pepper" as well. Don't you love the aging process!  Ha Ha Ha

5. There are more metallic haircolors available now to mimic gray hair for those who want to become a "silver fox."

6. The NuDred sponge has even more competition now.  I have seen the knock-off version of it in the beauty supply store.  I first introduced the NuDred sponge in January of this year.  Please see separate blog article for more information on the original NuDred sponge.

7. Those in love with raw organic coconut oil, do not forget the cold weather may lessen the benefits of it because it will solidify on and off the hair. Please consider a different hairdressing for the winter months such as My Honey Child Sophia's Old Fashioned Hair Grease.  Please see my separate blog article on My Honey Child products.

8. Some natural women are finding that the conditioners that you usually rinse out work well as a leave-in styling agent.

9. Some of the towering large afros that you may see are actually wigs, but not all of them.  The real afros may get the assistance of a blow dryer.

10. Design Essentials Honey custard can be layered on top of the Almond and Avocado Detangling Leave-in Conditioner to lock in the style without any extra residue.

This is all the tidbits that I wanted to address for now.  I look forward to posting my "Best of" list by December of this year!  

Comparison: Locked Look versus Relaxed Look


My 2014 Sisterlocks Look and my 2010 Relaxed Look show how versatile micro-locks can be.  I must admit that I have more weight on me as well as more age, but I really hope that comparisons like this one will give women looking to discontinue chemical processes will consider locs.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Four Foils Lead to a 911 Call

The first time that I have ever had to call the police regarding a client happened this week.  It was traumatizing.

The situation
1) Sixteen year old "Spanish?" teenage girl wants haircut and some partial highlights.  (Four foils)
2) I had limited time, and the teenager's mom was working within a budget as well.
3) As a compromise, I offered to perform the haircut and place four foils to achieve blonde highlights.  No styling.  Teenager would have to leave wet.  I was accommodating this service as a courtesy to the mom.
4) I already had another client on a fixed time schedule due within a hour and fifteen minutes of the start of this "emergency haircut and partial blonde highlights" service.
5) Both mom and daughter loved the haircut that I performed so much that while the foils were processing, I booked the mom with a separate haircut appointment the following week.
6) I used a 30 volume lightener for safe lifting of the hair in the four foils, but a "fire engine red" was surfacing.  The mom then admits that they had been experimenting with red color and then they covered it with a dark color.  The teenager had been flat ironing her hair a lot.  So the red color was resistant to lifting. So I had to rinse and shampoo out the lightener after I felt like the lifting action stopped working.
7) I gave them the option of drying the hair while I finish up my client who had a pre-set appointment so that I can try to lift the hair past the red with a fresh batch of lightener at 30 volume or I could tone into a light brown.
8) They elected to let me finish my other client and try to lift the hair past the red color.
9) The hair lifted some more, but too much red was still left in the highlights so I toned it too neutralize the red while still keeping the highlights visible.  The results were a gorgeous light brown with some dimension to it.  There was some blonde in it, but due to the red color being baked into the teenager's hair from too much heat from flat ironing, it was not the true blonde that she was envisioning.
10) She was uncompromising and the whole family of five came to my salon.  I heard alot of foreign language was being spoken.  The parents were conversing outside the salon.  I was becoming on edge of the dynamics of the situation that was escalating so I asked that all speaking in foreign language cease, and I asked the older brother to ask their parents to come back into the salon.
11) The mom comes in says that I am racist for not allowing them to speak in their language.  She takes the cape off of the daughter after I have given her a beautiful haircut and glazed her highlights to blend in with her hair- yet still remain visible.
12) I asked her to pay me. She refused. I felt that she and her husband were plotting not to pay me while conversing outdoors. I mentioned that I can call the police. She mentioned that she would call the police. She still refused to pay.  I asked them to leave. Then I immediately locked the salon doors and called 911.

The Police was able to call them and had them to come back to pay me the money that they agreed upon. They really owed me more money for the "color correction" service that I had to perform because they had been playing with haircolor which lead to the difficulties that I ran into.  

I had used so much excessive product, "overtime," and expertise that I deserved some payment.  In addition, I kept the teenager's hair healthy and delivered a great haircut and some nice highlights.  I was proud of my work even though the teenager's hair would not achieve the blonde look without potentially damaging her hair.  She was a new client and a teenager.  I was not going destroy her hair trying to achieve blonde highlights after she had baked red color into it.

As I told the police, for the whole family of five to show up speaking another language and not offering to a least compensate me for a haircut was absolutely unacceptable to me.  I had been doing hair for ten years, and I have never had to call the police on a client before.

Well, there is a first time for everything. I have tried to figure out what I could have done differently, but I did everything that I knew to do.  For example, when painting a wall, if the wall has a lot of layers of paint, then repainting the wall can more difficult depending on the final color that you are looking for.  It helps to know that a wall has layers of paint before you start a paint project, but you improvise as needed.

In today's society, everything is becoming a "right now" "my way" attitude. Respect should be given, but if it is not, it can be enforced.

I am hoping that I never have to call 9-1-1 again.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Natural Hair Expos Have New Purpose!

Photo credit:

I have started noticing that many of the natural hair divas attending the Natural Hair Expos already have found a regimen that is working for their hair.  Compared to a few years ago when the audience members were struggling with their hair, YouTube tutorials and curl care product line expansions have turned some audience members into actual teachers.

Let's face it,   as I stated in a previous blog article, there are probably over 40 different hair types walking around based on the various curl diameters and curl behaviors.  Natural hair requires a lot of trial and error.  So that means that many women have become an expert on their own hair.  I have witnessed natural hair speakers and facilitators who do not hold any type of state issue license speak with authority on their subject matter which is their own natural hair.  We see it on YouTube all the time.  I love YouTube!  I am a licensed hair professional in three states, and I am willing to learn from everyone with or without a state issued license.

Luckily, I have been doing hair long enough to know when I hear something that does not sound right, I improvise as needed- but I do learn from other's trial and errors.

So back to my original question, with so many natural hair divas already savvy with their own hair, why attend a natural hair expo?  My guess is to discover even more styling options, styling tools, and great discounts on products that already are working on their hair.

Sometimes mothers may want to take their daughters to a natural hair Expo to help them appreciate others with hair like theirs.

Can you think of any other reasons to attend?

The Top 6 Loc Self Tightening Opportunities

As you all know, I hand interlock my locs.  No tools other than my moderately small fingers.  I just feel around my roots until my fingers get stuck then I start interlocking that particular loc that has too much new growth.  The picture above is an older picture, but you can clearly see the excessive amount of new growth that needs to be hand interlocked.  Let me be clear, I no longer tighten my whole head in one session. Tightening my locs has become a part of my daily or weekly lifestyle.   So which opportunities during the course of my day allow me time to self tighten my locs?

1) The Traffic Light
Believe it or not, I can now hand interlock with ONE hand.  So one hand is on the steering wheel of the car, and the other hand is interlocking any loc that I feel needs to be tightened.  Usually, a red light gives me plenty of time to take care of one or two locs.

2) The Movie Theater
If I arrive early to a movie and the attendance is low, then I may start tightening a few of my locs that I feel need some attention.

3) The Speakerphone at Home
While catching up with a friend or a relative, I will put the call on speakerphone and work on my locs.

4) Riding Mass Transit
Whether riding the bus, subway, train, or plane, you can hand interlock anywhere that you feel comfortable.

5) Waiting for an Appointment to Finish up
Whether you are the client or if you are waiting on a client, you can hand interlock anywhere that you feel comfortable.

6) During television commercials
I usually need something to do during commercial breaks.  Tightening up my locs is definitely in rank with bathroom breaks!