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.

Total Pageviews

Monday, June 29, 2015

Multi-Purpose Magnetic Wristband

I referenced this Clairol Magnetic Wristband in a previous article on this blog for hair pins and updos.  I realized recently that sewing/weaving needles can be stored as needed as well.

The Heat Solution for Fine Hair

The Electric Marcel curling irons supply plenty of heat for fine hair or even gray hair.  I have found the traditional stove and conventional marcel irons are just not the best fit for sensitive and/or aging hair.  Even with the heat tester, I feel the electric version of the curling irons with adjustable heat control are safer. I have six sizes to choose from.

The client's hair can be blow dried or flat wrapped prior to the electric curling of it.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Three Sisterlocks Styles in One

Almost two years and 11 months into my Sisterlocks journey.  I can achieve styling without much effort!

My Doobie look

My center part look!

I used the Hempz Vanilla Plum shampoo and conditioner.  I felt it was a little dry so I used the Design Essentials Nutriment to hydrate my scalp and locs.  I will probably shampoo again next week.  I have a few other shampoo samples to try out.  I also have been exercising more because of my weight loss competitions.  So the extra sweat and salt from the sweating has made me a little more sensitive to monitoring my locs.  So far so good, my locs shrink as usual when dry, but it's all good!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Wet Loc Length Check-in at 35 months

I will be approaching 35 months in about three days. Some of my roots are puffy because of new growth so excuse my uneven parting. I usually tighten around my parts when my hair is dry.

I am finally at "celebrity short" length.  I have seen a lot of celebrities rock this length.

My length is well past my shoulders.  I am going to focus less on rolling them, but more on braidouts.

My Liquid Chalk haircolor is hanging in there.  I did not even refresh it this wash period.

June 2015 Honorable Mentions: Sensitive Shelf Life

I purchased some more Bee Mine products this year.  I could have sworn the Curly Butter in Coconut Cream scent was the same color as the Luscious moisturizer in the same scent when it was shipped, but now, my Bee Mine Curly Butter looks "chocolate."  Anyone else experienced this?  It does not have a batch code on the bottom.  I will probably open it for personal use and hope that it still has some life left in it.

 On a separate note, the Bee Mine products website mentions a 3 to 4 months shelf life for the curly butter.  I will have to discontinue ordering because I do not have a strong enough demand to keep fresh product on hand.  I was wondering why one of my local natural beauty supply stores stopped carrying Bee Mine products. Their sensitive shelf life would probably be why.  I prefer for products to have at least 3 years of shelf life from the time that they are manufactured.  Anything less seems to be a waste especially when people are rotating through different product lines anyway.

I also had a Design Essentials edge gel manufactured in 2014 to dry out on me.  I keep the lid on the product when not in use, but I do not know how it dried out within a year or less.

I will start keeping this extra covering over it to see if the next jar stays fresh longer.

The batch codes are on the bottoms.

I like the Design Essentials Natural Honey and Shea Edge Tamer.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Gaining Length While Losing Weight

Well, I am back down to my weight when I first got my Sisterlocks installed, and I was headed to Boston, MA to take my first Sisterlocks training.  It was August 2012.  I had been laid off from my corporate hairdresser position with Carolinas Healthcare System.  I suppose some people don't understand that you do not grow "long locs" overnight.  It takes time, and I was not going to pay another $1000 to get microlock extensions added nor was I going to spend another two days having anyone do anything else to my hair.

Some people have absolutely no idea what others go through in regards to controlling and grooming their hair.  I digress.  Anyway, I did not need a seat belt extension flying into Boston in August 2012, but this past January 2015 when I was headed to California, I had to ask for a seat belt extension.  I needed another inch or less of belt, and there was no more squeeze left in me so I had no choice, but to ask the flight attendant for a seatbelt extender.  I obviously could blame the airline for making the seats smaller, but somehow, I decided to suck up my pride. I had to admit to myself that I had slowly but surely gained a significant amount of weight in the last two years.  I don't even want to remind myself that I maintained a size 6 figure in my 20's so in the last couple of decades, I have experienced a lot of weight gain.

But I am regaining focus on getting all of that weight off.  I think that my hair had been a burden for so long because it is so different from the average head of hair.  Sometimes I question whether or not a "hair blog" even makes since anymore because unless someone truly has hair like mine - what worked for me may not work for another.  However, I am dedicated to the beauty industry, and I am excited about staying on the forefront of the hair industry.  

My locs will be 35 months old in another week and a half.  My mom seems to be noticing my length more and more.  She even asked if all of that was my hair to make sure that I had not added any.  I had to laugh.

Let's see what the next year holds.

The HerbaLife Weight Loss Challenge is on!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Successful Mediation regarding Sisterlocks

I had a reader to reach out to me regarding her Sisterlocks.  She was trying desperately to get in touch with her Sisterlocks consultant, and she had really just given up.  She needed a listening ear.  Initially, I gave her general advice that I would give to anyone displeased with their Sisterlocks experience; however, when she gave me the name of the consultant, I went into shock!  I knew this Sisterlocks consultant from one of my many Sisterlocks training classes.  I immediately went into mediation mode because I just was in disbelief that this particular Sisterlocks consultant (not naming any names here) was not up to par with superior customer service.  So I called the consultant, and I left her a message.  She returned my call.  I reminded her who I was in relation to our Sisterlocks training class.  She remembered me which set the tone for mediation.  I explained to her that one of her customers was frustrated enough to reach out to me for a Sisterlocks referral for her area.  I told her that my heart sunk to discover that the name of the consultant that was failing to return her phone calls was indeed a name that I held in high regard in the Sisterlocks world.  The consultant thanked me for bringing the misunderstanding to her attention, and she assured me that she was committed to providing this young lady with the customer service that we all expect from Sisterlocks consultants.  I emphasized to the consultant that this was not a question about her technical skills.  It was a customer service issue.  A young woman was so frustrated with her hair that she was searching abroad for answers.  Not a good look in the name of Sisterlocks, but obviously, this type of complaint is not new in Sisterlocks World.  Anyway, the young lady did hear from the consultant and wrote me this "thank you" note:

"Thanks for helping.  She did call me after I got your email.  We spoke and hopefully everything will work out.  I really appreciate your help.  Hopefully this was just an unfortunate misunderstanding.  But again thanks for helping me get in contact with her!  I know this might have been extreme just for hair, but I really appreciate it.  Thank you again."

I am so happy that this mediation went so well.  I wish that Sisterlocks headquarters was as dedicated to mediating complaints.  I can only assume that they get too many complaints to even invest the time to help consumers who are desperately seeking help for something so personal as their hair that they spent their hard earned money to get Sisterlocked.

So how much did I charge for this successful Sisterlocks mediation?   Zero dollars. It was indeed my pleasure and my passion to build and foster good Sisterlocks communications.  The "thank you's" from both sides was payment enough.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Balayage Plus Highlighting on Locs

Haircolor by Benita Blocker

I performed a Balayage technique in the bang area by 3 strand twisting and surface stroking the top of the locs. She plans her own retightenings.  I am just her colorist.

Hair color by Benita Blocker

I also highlighted 24 locs that my client can use semi permanent color to play around with.  I also performed gray coverage at her roots.  She wanted a summer splash of color . . .  I enjoyed doing it!!!!

2015: Beauty Products are Always Changing!

Both of these jars are Design Essentials Honey Curlforming Custard.  Both are fresh product, and they both deliver the same performance according to the McBride Research representative.  So why the change in color?

The yellowish version was manufactured in 2015 and has an ingredient change. The clear version was manufactured in 2014.  I know- you thought one was old- right?  Imagine me the hairstylist having to investigate into the color change.  The beauty industry is a full time job to keep up with changes.

 Redken changed their packaging of their protein treatment Extreme CAT.  The ingredients list looks the same.

Marianna changed their packaging of their hair pins as well.

The old packaging had a Quality Control Check list on the bottom of the box.

The new packaging had no quality control checklist. I did not call the company, but it does make you wonder about whether or not the quality is the same.

Another Marianna box of bobby pins with Quality Control label/ checklist on the top of the box.

Review: Trionics Enzyme Color Developer

The Trionics Enzyme Color Developer has been around for decades, but I remember another White hairstylist sharing with me that she did not feel that it provided adequate gray coverage.  Then when I went to the California ISSE hair show back in January of this year, Trionics had a booth.  The representative put a finger tip of 50 volume developer in his mouth to show how safe it was.  I was impressed.  So I decided to put this developer to the test.

I tested hair samples from the same head source with the Schwarzkopf 20 volume developer versus Trionics 20 volume developer at room temperature only.

I felt the results were the same as far as color coverage.  The health of the strand was not significantly different. The reason why I was considering this developer was because my clients are aging, and many have relaxers.  Permanent haircolor plus relaxers can make the hair sensitive to more breakage.  I figure that if I can make the permanent haircoloring more healthy, then that is going to keep the hair stronger.

Now, for those who do not have relaxers or do not need relaxers, then I do not know if the gray coverage is adequate. However, the Trionics developers require heat processing, and it reduces the time for development.  20 minutes max of heat processing is the boundary.  

I have tried the Trionics with a relaxer and permanent haircolor client who also wears hair extensions.  It gave great coverage and saved us some processing time.  So far, I am pleased with the Trionics for those who get multiple chemical services as well as regular haircolor and highlights.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Design Essentials Smoothing System Revised

The new Design Essentials STS Express Strengthening Treatment shortens the steps of its original version.  You only have to blow-dry and flat iron once versus twice with the old system.  Also, the flat iron should be between 340 and 400 degrees.  The educators pounded "1-2-3 Smooth" into all of us.

Relaxed clients, natural clients, curlista's - all can benefit from the new smoothing treatment.  There are three different "Step 2's" to choose from.

Another hairstylist and I asked about using the marcel irons and pressing combs. The educator said that the direct heat from these tools would take the product back off of the hair.  So sealing the product with a flat iron is the only option.

They did not showcase a final style.  The class was to demo the smoothing treatment.  I didn't see much beveling of the ends.  So if you just want straight hair, this system should work great.   Please note that many of the hair classes as of late - no longer offer final styling.

On a separate note, this platform artist says "natural hair is not a trend; it is here to stay."

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Hair Extensions: Creating Texture in Straight Strands

These strand extensions were behaving very stringy looking.

I decided to curly perm these.  Pictured is the stiff behavior of the hair extensions before the perm solution.  The extension hair did not want to stay curled on the rod.

I used the Quantum Acid Extra Body perm solution to force the texture in the strands.

This Zotos Quantum perm was about 3 years old, and it left the strands hydrated.  The odor of the chemical lingered in the salon a lot longer than I was hoping for, but overall, I would trust this brand to use it again.

The mauve rod delivered a looser wave than the white rods.

My client preferred more texture so we decided to go with the curl delivered from the white perm rods.

I had five more strand bundles to complete.  I slide this one right off the rod without fingering through it.

The white perm rods deliver the perfect texture in that straight hair, and it does not tangle.

The strands dry with a lot of texture in them.

I used the Opti curl acid wave extra body perm on the remainder of the hair extensions.
The Opti-curl does not have a lingering odor, but the hair extensions definitely seemed drier.  I would not recommend this perm on real hair, but it worked fine for the extension hair.

For the strand hair extensions that were placed in my clients' relaxed hair, I had to use a Sunglitz plastic highlighting cap to form a barrier to pull the hair extensions through while protecting the already relaxed hair  from the incompatible curly perm.  I did tease/backcomb her hair out of the strands before pulling the extensions through.

I used color applicator bottles filled with water to dip the spiral placed rods to begin diluting the perm solution after the processing time expired.  A Neutralizing bib was necessary as well. 

The service was very successful.  We had to add more textured strands, and we wet set the newly textured extensions that were already attached.  Overall, the texture was still slightly silky, but the curl behavior was much more friendly to staying curled and blended.

I will take a picture on her next wet set visit.  I had to hot curl the new strands added, but the existing strands were roller set.  Overall, we really were both happy with the improved blending.

8 Weeks Later . . .  A Roller set using the Lottabody Wrap Me Foaming Mousse.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Loc Nation: From the Darkness to the Light

I am a member of the Loc Nation.  What is it?  Those who control their hair strands by twisting or interlocking.  There is no organized meetings that I know of.  We are of one mindset to work with the hair that our Creator gave us.

It's time to shed a little more light on my own hair.  I wanted to go deeper.  Anyone fascinated with my volume?  No hairspray here.  I did condition with the ORS Moisture Lock Hair Conditioning Cocktail with Tamanu and Black Currant oils plus I used the Tropical Roots foam to wet set it.

My scalp/roots dated May 2015, present day.  By European standards, everything about my hair is "ugly."  However, as "ugly" as some people may describe it, it is normal for those with ultra coily, kinky, resistant hair.  All my life, hairdressers have tried to "straighten the hell" out of my hair because they did not like what they saw.  They wanted my hair to be straight.  I was always okay with texturized/slightly relaxed, but unfortunately, when my hair is under-relaxed it becomes even more unmanageable.  So beginning my loc journey marked the end of my fighting to keep my hair straight.  Unfortunately, many locticians are not used to seeing my ultra coily texture either.  They wonder how such "ugliness" can output/produce so much beauty?  This "ugliness" often times has been associated with people thinking that I have not taken care of my hair.  This is the farthest thing from the truth.  The problem has been trying to make my hair conform to straight hair standards.  The problem has been learning to love the beauty in the uniqueness of my own hair.  It is only ugly when the standard is straight hair.  However, when I accept my hair as the norm, then it is as beautiful as God has created it to be.

My locs are doing well.  I see nothing but progress.  It has been a long, hard journey in a world where I have had a hard time fitting in primarily because of my hair.  Although, my loc sizing will always create a few styling limitations because one quadrant is much smaller than the rest, I am happy that my locs are mostly large in size according to Sisterlocks standards.  Why?  Because I refuse to be dependent on another human being to care for my hair again.  I had heard others say this about their locs before, but now, I really, really get it.  You can not control relocation of consultants or your own relocation or even death of another individual.  If the locs are really small, self-maintenance can be a huge challenge.  So the concept of microlocks is brilliant, but 600+ Sisterlocks on your head can really be a "check" that most people will not be to handle long term. God knew what he was doing when I got my Sisterlocks installed.  Because I had some true Sisterlocks sized locs in one quadrant of my head, I have been able to learn the benefits from all the loc sizings from "micro size" to "too large." I self maintain all of them.  I do not recommend tight updos.  They are too stressful to my locs in my opinion.  So I either wet set my locs or leave them straight. Larger traditional locs may benefit from the updos.  Just watch the tension.

May 2015 - the back of my head - it is progressing nicely!

So 34 months - 2 years 10 months is here!

I am loving my Loc Nation!