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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Monday, February 23, 2015

Two years and 7 months Wet Sisterlocks Length Check-in

 Two years and seven months Sisterlocks anniversary is in full effect! This is my wet length check-in.  I still maintain my own locs by hand interlocking.

 I have some great length on my non-relaxed hair.  I still have some relaxed ends in the front.

 Some men love longer hair.  Let's see how the next few years go. Laughing out loud.

 I have a short torso so focus away from the mirror reflection please. Laughing out loud. Back of my hair is below shoulder length.
I was enjoying the one side whip of the hair.  I will have to go into my hair accessories stash and see what new accessories I can play with.

This picture above was my locs before I shampooed my hair.  I took my updo down to show you that the Tropical Roots foam that I brought back from California holds really well.  I only shampooed to get a clean head.  My locs were still able to hold a style.  Not too soft; not too dry.

Any salon or any hairstylist interested in meeting with me as a loc consultant should contact Applebaum Salon in North Carolina.  If you come to me with your client, then I can offer a $25 flat rate for up to 30 minutes.  Otherwise, take care of my travel accommodations, and I can fly to you!  Additional terms may include food, group consultation rate, etc.

I do suggest taking the Sisterlocks course in conjunction with my consultation.  The Sisterlocks course is separate and is through Sisterlocks headquarters.

Cleaning Conventional Marcel Irons

 I had some leftover relaxer from a relaxer service so I decided to put it to good use.  I heated up one of my marcel irons that seemed to be "chipping away."  Pictured above is the marcel iron after the first pass of relaxer on the iron while it was hot.

 There was definitely residue on the iron.  Some could be from it being tempered.

 I used a craft stick to scrape the iron plates while the relaxer was sizzling on the hot marcel iron.

The melted relaxer dripped off the iron into the shampoo bowl.  I was using a Paul Mitchell relaxer to clean the hot iron.

The marcel iron was much smoother after the second cleaning.  I did rinse the iron quite a bit, and I had to heat the iron to get excess water out of it.  It seems to have some tiny holes near the handles that I think water got into.  

The approach I used worked well enough.  I can also ship the iron back to Golden Supreme for them to clean it as well for under $20 + shipping.

To each his own - I may try this procedure again down the road if the plates begin feeling rough again.  I did not re-temper the iron.  I may do so.  It works fine as is, but it may work even better if I re-temper the iron.  I have a separate article on this blog about tempering.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Loc Rejection is Real

I was told that I looked better with the Mardi Gras mask on because "it covered up my locs."  That statement came from a Black woman.

I had a different Black woman to share with me that she witnessed her manager put all applications in a "reject" pile if the applicant had locs.  This occurrence happened some years back, but who is to say that it can not still happen?

Thank God that locs are becoming more accepted in society.  Natural hair over the last year has finally become more mainstream.  Many print ads and commercials showcase women of color with "textured" hair more than ever before.

We have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go.  We need our little girls to really appreciate their God given hair versus being brainwashed that long, wavy, Remy hair is better.

Caution: Disposable Gloves

Because quite a few people have latex allergies, hairstylists often prefer vinyl gloves over latex gloves.  Hair glue and certain condoms often are made of latex; so people with latex allergies should tell their hairstylist during the first consultation and at every visit. Of course, the condoms have nothing to do with hairstyling, but the hair glue and the disposable gloves can be a medical threat.

According to California Proposition 65 Warning as seen on the Diane by Fromm box pictured above, some vinyl gloves are made of vinyl chloride which has been shown to be cancer causing and harmful to one's health. However, before we get too un-nerved, I was told unless you are heating up the vinyl gloves or eating the vinyl glove, you should be safe.  Of course, food service handlers who pick up hot foods such as sandwiches could be introducing vinyl chloride into the food if the gloves contain a "vinyl chloride." 

I do not handle anything hot with my disposable gloves so I do not worry, but this information was good to know.  I picked up these pink disposable gloves for Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Soooo cute!

The color is called Radiant Orchid. The brand is ColorTrak.  I did not see the cancer causing warning on this ColorTrak box, but I definitely will be cautious with all disposable gloves.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Down and Dirty Truth about Starting Locs

I recently was trying to explain "dreadlocks" to a Latina or Latin American lady.  The picture above is a long Hair Latina picture from .  Women with this naturally wavy hair will only need to go into a hair salon for a  hair trim or some fashion highlights.  Some women with this type of low maintenance hair may never ever step into a hair salon.  They may experiment with hair color at home or even trim their own hair ends.  On the flip side, you would agree that some Black women have hair that is ten times curlier and 100 times more resistant to control.  So here's the task:  Explain to a Latina woman with the hair type pictured above that you . . .

  1. spent 20+ hours in the salon chair getting your hair "knotted" up in the name of "Sisterlocking" only to feel the need to dramatize your cosmetic makeup application so that you will look more feminine and still realize that you may need a "wig"as a backup plan for important meetings.
  2. spent $750 paying someone to "knot" your hair up who did not have a state issued hair license but was registered with Sisterlocks as certified to provide Sisterlock services.
So 20+ hours and a $750 bill and the goal is NOT to have an actual "hairstyle" when you leave out of the locking session.  Your primary goal is to keep your new "knots" from unravelling.

Well, readers, a Latina is going to be staring at you like you have "lost your mind" and when you honestly listen to yourself- you will even be second guessing your own self.

This is the raw reality of "Black hair" that some Sistahs are facing.  What if you have NO Support System to even think about beginning your "Sisterlock" journey?  What if your family is not familiar with dreadlocks?  What if your job does not employ a lot of Sistahs?   What if you want the freedom of Sisterlocks despite all the negativity around you?  

Here's how to prepare:

Weight Gain
Be cautious of weight gain.  Many times, women will use "eating food" for comfort.  After reflecting on my own Sisterlock journey, I realized that I probably gained at least an extra 15 pounds trying to cope with "starter Sisterlocks."  So I encourage women to watch out for their eating habits or any other vices that they abuse to get through the awkward starter phase of locs.

Dramatic Makeup and Wigs
Many Sisterlocks technicians are often scared that wigs will cause clients to sweat out their newly formed Sisterlocks.  So for those who have "hard to lock" hair, too much moisture from sweating, showers, etc. may find their hair unravelling after such a heavy investment in time and money to get the Sisterlocks framework put in.

At the end of the day, if your job requires a more European image, then plan to use a wig or more cosmetic makeup to compensate for the masculine look that starter locs can sometimes display.  Smart employers are not going to tell you that you were laid off because administration did not like your starter locs.  

I was laid off from my corporate workplace in under two weeks of having Sisterlocks started in my head.  Administration said that they just changed their business model- that's all.  Of course, I was one of the first employees at the workplace to get Sisterlocks so there was a lot of ignorance floating around.  Do not expect administration to understand your hair journey.  Be true to thine self.  If you need the job, then grab the wig if you feel more confident wearing a wig.  

On the flip side, there will be some Sisterlocks technicians who will not back their work if you wear a wig.  Actually, some Sisterlocks technicians will find every excuse that they can think of to not warranty their work.  You should have these discussions before the Sisterlocks are started.  If the Sisterlocks technician is very strict on rules, and you have a job that is very conservative - then this situation is a recipe for disaster.  I would find a Sisterlocks technician who you feel confident that you can partner with.  You may not have a lot of choices in your area.  This is where referrals become very important.  If you can not find a good match for Sisterlock services, I suggest waiting until you can find a loctician that will partner with you.  Locking one's whole head of hair should not be entered into lightly.

Immediate Satisfaction
I have had a lot of loc consultations with new prospective clients, and many ultimately want the five year look on day one.  They want my look, but even my locs are two years and six months old. Sisterlocks headquarters do not approve of loc extensions. I feel that people should consider micro braids extensions and then possibly start locking the roots as the braid extensions grow out.  There are no exact answers for everyone across the Board, but just know, that without a support system for your loc journey, it will be a cold, long, hard road, but only you know how to maintain focus on your prize at the end of the journey.

My loc journey has been very painful, but it has made me stronger.  If knowledge of my journey can make anyone else's journey just a little easier, then I will feel that I have done a good deed.  Wishing you the best as your begin your journey!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Affordable, Fresh Smelling Hair and Scalp Dressings

 The Vigorol Creme Hairdress with Soy and Olive is lightweight, fresh smelling, hydrating to the hair and priced under $10 USD.  Vigorol has an Avocado and Keratin version for those with coarser hair.

 For the scalp and for the skin, Nature's Blessing hair pomade is lightweight, fresh smelling, multi-purpose, and under $8.00 USD.

It is considered a rootbuilder, restorer, and leave-in conditioner.

I love finding affordable products that work!  Enjoy!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Spider Comb headbands

I was told the spider comb headband may be a "comeback" of the 1990's version.  Maybe not.

 I have been enjoying my comb headband from the 1990's so much that I was looking to find a replacement in case it breaks, and so far, I have not found anything exactly like it.  The spider comb headbands are close, but the teeth are so close together that I think that they will pierce through my Sisterlocks.

Also, the construction of the some of these headbands are really rough and pointy to touch. The way the plastic is cut on the headband, they can even scratch your skin.  The stretch of these headbands also seem tight.  Luckily, I only paid like .99 cents (less than a USD) for these two headbands pictured, but I don't think they are going to work for my loc needs.

Well, my search will continue for better quality, more comfort, and wider teeth.  Please see my article(s) on Headband updos for a picture of what I am looking for.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Signage: Beauty Supply Stores Lay Down the Law

So I went to the one beauty supply store that I knew sold my favorite brand of mesh rollers. (The Diane brand)  Between the Police Canvas and this sign on the front entrance, I knew that the neighborhood must have gotten worse. The sign read: 

  • Please be sure that EVERYTHING you purchase meets your needs exactly.
  • We do not warranty ANY electronic equipment or other products.
  • You are responsible for the safety of your child. No playing or running in the store.
  • For your child safety absolutely NO stroller between the aisle
  • If you or your child break anything you will pay for it.
  • No handbags or backpacks are allowed in the aisles
  • No food or drink allowed in the store.

Even with all these rules in place, there were people coming and going out of the beauty supply store.   Other beauty supply stores have security officers and heavy video surveillance. Anyone else seeing anything different?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Loc Wet Set using Tropical Roots Moisturizing Foam

Curls plus updo seems to be my new "fly" look as one of my clients called it.  Laughing out loud.

 Bronner Brothers has now added a clarifying shampoo, conditioner, and Moisturizing Foam to their Tropical Roots product line.  The shampoo and conditioner was not as important to me as the styling foam.  I had the Taliah Waajid Crinkles and Curls foam in my inventory, but I was still looking for another foam option for natural hair.  I like this new foam because it seems more hydrating compared to the Crinkles and Curls.

I used the plait and tuck setting technique throughout my head.  It delivers great texture and volume. Updos are going to last longer than wearing my locs down.  I am so excited about my loc length.  Ultra  curly is my new friend for finger teasing to get volume.

I brought some of this foam back from my California trip.  This foam is not even in most of the stores yet.  However, if you are ready to try it, I am selling them for $5 a piece.  I wanted to pass the savings on to you!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Start of a Certified Sisterlocks Consultant Locking Session

Of course, there is a story behind this Sisterlocks locking session picture.  Well, I had a natural client that referred another natural client to me.  They had two different curl patterns and two different curl behaviors.  So this new referral had more limited options based on her hair texture compared to my long time client.

Surprisingly, this new referral liked my Sisterlocks and wanted to learn more about them.  So while I did a thermal hair straightening service on her natural hair, I showed her some Sisterlocks pictures and explained them.

It seemed that Sisterlocks were the answer that she was looking for as far as control of her natural hair.  I eventually secured her at a $600 Sisterlocks quote based on her length of her natural hair.  However, because my speed was not what it is now, I had second thoughts about tying up my salon time which would take away from my "chemical" clientele. So I gave her a certified Sisterlocks consultant contact information that I trusted to give her true Sisterlocks sizing and a speedy completion.  She did call and scheduled a consultation with the recommended certified Sisterlocks consultant.  However, she came back questioning me about why she didn't get "test Sisterlocks" and my professionalism as far as my Sisterlocks offerings.

Having gone through 12 days of Sisterlocks training, and the personal "hell" of a Sisterlocks journey that I went through, this questioning struck a nerve.  I was NOT upset with the client because she had a right to ask questions.  I was IRATE at the certified Sisterlocks consultant.  My thoughts were this:

"How the hell is it that I am sending a $600.00+ referral your way on a deal that I closed for myself, and your a$$ is painting me as an unprofessional Sisterlocks representative?"  (sorry for the French here)

You best believe this fellow Sisterlocks representative got a long, professional voicemail from me that went something like this:

1) I am a licensed cosmetologist in three states that shampooed and straightened the client's hair so I saw the client's curl pattern and curl behavior.

2) Test Sisterlocks are done mainly because Sisterlocks consultants do NOT have to be cosmetologists.  They can just be "Sisterlocks technicians."  So the test locs allow the Sisterlocks rep and the client to see what the Sisterlocks will somewhat look like initially before the settling in phase.  It also assists with choosing the locking pattern for a new walk-in client.  However, since I gave her a full hairstyling service, I fully knew which pattern to use because I was NO LONGER "new" to her hair.

3) As far as a Sisterlocks paid formal consultation, I did not give it to her because she did not come to me asking for Sisterlocks.  I sold her on Sisterlocks upon hearing her struggle to control her natural hair.  So Sisterlocks was an afterthought for her.

4) I am a full time hair professional.  I do NOT expect anyone including another Sisterlocks consultant to question my professionalism nor integrity.  I am not perfect, but I know that I am a industry leader.

So the certified Sisterlocks consultant listened to my voicemail, and she did call me back, and we did "clear the air."  So we had a new understanding.  I am not in competition with other hair professionals.  I have been in the hair industry long enough to respect being a team player even if we work for different companies.

If we all disrespect each other, then the masses will disrespect all of us.

The client did send me a picture of her start of her Sisterlocks locking session with the other certified Sisterlocks consultant.  She is still pleased that I introduced her to Sisterlocks even though I was not the one to get them started for her.

In summary, the average person wants to assume that all the Sisterlocks consultants are like Mary Kay consultants where there's a Sisterhood and everyone wants the best for each other for the most part.  However,  not all cities have strong Sisterlocks consultants bonding.  It is best to assume that each Sisterlocks consultant is truly an independent consultant in a different network.

Do I anticipate the Sisterlocks networking to get stronger?  It will depend on the city and if enough Sisterlocks representative want to try to work together.  Right now, I would say "no."  But who knows what the future will hold.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Yendi Collection: Sisterlocks Hair Tie

 I purchased my Sisterlocks (tm) hair tie a few years ago.  I knew that one day my Sisterlocks would be long enough to wear it.  Well, most people sport this hair tie with a ponytail, but I opted for an updo enhancement.  Hopefully, I am the first person to "rock" this Sisterlocks hair tie like a headband!

 They come in Brick and Gold colors.  I liked the gold color.  It is a special occasion hair tie because it is great marketing to gain new Sisterlocks clients. I wore it to a Superbowl 2015 event.  I didn't have anyone to ask me any questions, but with the Sisterlocks name "front and center," there are probably not any questions to be asked about the locs.

An artist named Yendi designed the hair ties.  Yendi Collection is listed inside the hair tie.  Where to buy? From Sisterlocks, of course.

On a separate note, Sisterlocks have started an online academy.  I believe that it is mainly for consultants to complete refresher courses. Personally, I still think that consultants should be forced to attend all Sisterlocks trainings that are within a 30 miles radius of the consultants' addresses.

Depending on the city, Sisterlocks consultants bond in Sisterhood by fellowshipping at the trainings. I never found this to be true for the Charlotte, NC area.  In fact, the Charlotte area, would be stronger if Sisterlocks consultants would meet up at least once a year to just have a luncheon.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Loc Hostage: Look, Touch but No Pulling!

One of my clients got very fascinated with my locs.  I initially thought that she wanted to just touch them, but before I knew it, she had held one of my locs hostage to measure its length.  She was pulling it with tension to see where it fell on my back.  I was tilting my head to alleviate tension, but she was determined to continue stretching my loc until it had no more give.  All of this was happening so fast that it completely shocked and surprised me.  I was even a bit traumatized by the hostage of my loc.  My loc and I survived the "loc length check," but in the future, I will have to inform anyone interested in my locs to

LOOK and maybe touch but NOT PULL!