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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Friday, July 31, 2015

My Three year loc journey in the Same Outfit

July 2015  
My Sisterlocks are at three years old.

June 2014
My Sisterlocks are almost 2 years old.

October 2012 
My Sisterlocks are at three months old.

I used the same Baby Phat top and Fiona workout bra over the years.  I love the color. I achieved three different looks based on my loc length.  Results will vary with locs.  My hair solution may not be a good fit for everyone, but pictures equal a thousand words.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Reality Checklist about Hair


Client complaint:  The conditioner dried my hair out. We do not need to use that conditioner again.

My response:  (after checking the client's profile) We have used that conditioner before, and you did not have any complaints.  In addition, it only sat on your hair for 5 to 7 minutes without any heat.  It may have been overhydrating resulting in the curls not holding, but I do not understand how a client can be so concerned about a conditioner's performance but the same client wants to maintain her chemical relaxer touch-up without any hesitation.????

Lesson:  No one should be more scared of a conditioner than a permanent chemical relaxer.

Hair Edges

(New) Client complaint:  I need my edges to stay straight for at least two weeks at a time- so if we need to relax them, then we can.  Then we can use a cosmetic cover-up wand to make the edges look fuller.

My response:  If you feel your edges are thin, then to continue to relax them every three or four weeks is going to continue to make them thinner.

Lesson: Sometimes you have to decide between textured edges or "no edges."  Face the reality of one's hair texture especially if you are over age 40.  Nothing recovers as quickly as we age including your scalp.  If one can afford to make peace with hair extensions and/or hair replacement for a few more decades, then it is all good.

Professional Color Alert Neutralizing Shampoos
Avlon Fiberguard Affirm and Avlon Affirm normalizing shampoos both work well to identify relaxer residue.  VitalePro's Neutralizing Shampoo had a faint pink alert, but no where near the intensity that Avlon's shampoos delivered.

These are the consumer and professional grade neutralizing shampoos that I trust with the Paul Mitchell relaxer service and any other relaxer system that does not have a "color alert" built into their relaxer system.  I have been surprised that despite rinsing along with one Paul Mitchell Shampoo two lather, I still get pink residue upon using a color alert neutralizing shampoo during my Paul Mitchell relaxer services.  The oily base used prior to relaxer application may cause the relaxer to not thoroughly rinse out. This is my theory since oil and water do not mix so a "color alert" shampoo is necessary to erase all doubt.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Winning Conditioning Combinations!!!

For my Roller Set clients:  

The Affirm MoisturRight Hair Repair Masque layered with the KeraCare Humecto Creme Conditioner seems to heal the hair and hold wet set curls in spite of the humid weather. I use medium heat for 15 to 30 minutes to allow the cocktail to work effectively. 

I may have to discontinue this combination once the fall season hits, but my roller set clients' feedback so far this summer has included incredible shine, softness, and hold.

For my blow/dry style clients:

KeraCare Humecto Creme Conditioner layered with Shea Moisture Professional Keravega Monoi Oil Complex Smooth Finish Conditioner delivers incredible shine and movement to the hair.  The heat protection is built into this Smooth Finish Condiitoner.  I still use additional leave-in conditioners, but I have no worries about the thermal marcel service.  15 minutes under medium heat seems to be adequate enough time for the Shea Moisture Professional fragrance to lock into the hair along with moisture.  

The final styling results are sweet smelling hair and reflective shine.

Retail sizes are shown here.  I have backbar sizes for salon use.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Celebrating my Third Loc-versary and Five Workouts!

High Five!!!!

1) I survived my 3rd year of Sisterlocks!!!  Self maintenance and all!
2) I completed Five workouts within the last seven days.  HerbaLife fitcamps plus walking!
3) Another Grade A Salon Inspection!

It has been a great week!  The Sandra Bland saga really consumed me, but I know that God knows what He is doing.  I will not join the "New Black Panther Party" yet.  Smile.  Rest in Peace Soror Sandra Bland.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

My Three Year SisterLocks Anniversary

It's finally here! July 24, 2015 will make three years of being Sisterlocked.

I have had many people to say that they could now "rock the locks," but they do not have the patience to wait two or three years to get the length they want. Neither do they want microloc extensions.

I have the "perfect" length according to the celebrity bob look.  I just won a Power Lunch with William Wilson Clothier on tomorrow.  I am so happy that I got a headstart on my hair!

I used my Uberliss samples that I picked up from my California Hair Show.
The shampoo was just okay, but I absolutely loved the conditioner.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Sandra Bland Connection

Sandra Bland


Sandra Bland had started her loc journey.  

According to social media, Sandra had just relocated back to Texas for a NEW job.  She was pulled over for a minor traffic violation.  Sandra probably was not wearing any cosmetic makeup.  She was probably having her "down time."  It is alleged that she was forcibly pulled from her car by a trooper who allegedly violated policy.  It is alleged that her face was slammed to the ground.  

Why would she go anywhere with a trooper who is already violating her rights, disrespecting her, and inflicting harm over a frivolous traffic stop?

Sandra Bland before her loc journey.

If Sandra would have had straight hair, long weave, or cosmetic makeup on, then I would like to think that Sandra would have been treated better by this trooper.  I dare say that Sandra would probably still be alive. Many people equate straight hair with education and professionalism, but many people do not understand that wearing one's hair in locs does not make anyone less educated.  Locs should be embraced as a cultural diversity versus an opportunity  to mistreat others.

Social media has highlighted that Sandra had been battling some depression.  The "starter loc" phase can be very depressing when one is used to more length and straighter hairstyling.  Unfortunately, locs take years to gain length because of curl shrinkage.  Many people do not have the patience to grow out their locs.  It takes a lot of self esteem to endure the starter loc phase.  People with high self esteem typically do not commit suicide in a jail cell that they should never have been planed.

I have been told that Sandra Bland is my Soror. (Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.)  She is also my Sister in the loc journey fighting society ignorance about dreadlocs.  My story link:

I too have encountered a disrespectful public servant.  My story link:

I specifically bought into a specialized "dreadlock" system, and I still experienced a nightmare regarding customer service.  My story link:

Rest in Peace Soror Sandra Bland.

Apparently, a cute picture of Sandra Bland in her loc hair phase was not acceptable. Now, that is depressing.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Avlon's Texture Release Update

July 2015 Class - This type 3c Hair Model's Quadrants have been misted with the Texture Release Spray in picture above.  Type 1 or Type 2 curl patterns are not recommended as a good match for this procedure.

July 2015 class - all quadrants have been combed through and the model is ready for "deep conditioning" time.

If clients do not alternate between wash n' go and straight, then no, blow-drying nor ironing is needed for wash n' go hair.  That was the be biggest change in directions compared to the July 2014 class.  The class material still showed a lotion versus a spray for product application.  So no updated literature was available at this class.  The instructor did confirm that too much product/lotion was used on the model in the July 2014 class.  I wished they would have notified the students from the July 2014 class of the errors and  changes.  Without attending this class update a year later, I still would not have known that the platform artist was in error.  

But, on a separate note, I did not stay over for the finished look for this model only because the model's hair was NOT a resistant hair type.  I was really hoping for a model with type 4 - kinky curly hair, but I am willing to try the spray out again.

Salon Inspired Costume Jewelry


I have a nickel allergy, but I wanted to have some FUN with my salon inspired Fashion Jewelry!!!

I will not be working in this jewelry because it is costume jewelry, 
but it is fun to wear to classes and meetings!

"By the way, I DO HAIR!"

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Braid-out at 35 months Sisterlocked

Almost at my three year loc-versary.

Braid-out all over with some rolling in the top.

No clippies, just Tropical Roots Foam as my setting agent.

I always love my day one hair with the braid-outs.

I have not refreshed my liquid chalk color yet because I prefer for my "loc bumps" to be all one color for my workout hairstyling in case my loc bump peeps through.  Please see my previous article on this blog about my "loc bump" styling.

Workout hairstyling: The Loc Bump!

I just entered an eight week weight loss contest with HerbaLife.  So I have been working out, and my roots are getting sweaty wet.   This moisture was causing my loc styling to deflate so I decided that I needed to start wearing a partial updo keep some style while working out.  

As I have mentioned on my blog in previous years, due to aging and some previous chemical damage, my hair is thinner in the top than it was a decade ago.  So when my locs were shorter, I would hide little clippies to create volume.  Now, I have plenty of loc length, but the lower density was making my partial updo awkward and unstable unless I had a lot of curls.  But I needed to be able to create an updo with straight locs which is when I started thinking maybe I could "bump-it."  I purchased these "knockoffs" from the Dollar Tree.

Then I decided that I was going to be annoyed trying to stabilize a plastic hump on top of my locs.  Then I said to myself "Why not braid up some of my locs and roll them down to create a bump?"  So that is what I did, and I massaged the rest of my locs around my own natural loc bump.  It worked brilliantly, and I secured the locs behind the bump with one of my leather hair accessories that the stick goes through.

I used this same barrette in one of my May 2014 articles about length compensating for density.  I used it when my hair was curly.

After getting stung/bite a few weeks ago while walking, I rely on Off! Active to repel insects!  My partial updo pictured here is all my locs with my own built-in "loc bump." No extra "bumpits" needed!

I am excited about getting some more weight off by 2016!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Soapbox Talk: The Beauty Industry 2015

Beauty Supply Stores
Most of the Beauty Supply stores sell hair, wigs, accessories, makeup, clothes, caps and more.  There are only a few aisles now that are actually stocked with hair products or Hair tools.  That means that people are either going natural where "less is best" or they are wearing a lot of protective styling (i.e. weaves or wigs)  This is amazing to me.

Print Ads
From Whole Foods groceries to Marshalls fashions to banking ads, almost every women of color has a short curly afro or a "braid out" or "wash and go" curls.  I have not seen a print ad with relaxed hair on a woman of color lately. This is amazing to me.

Day to Day Public Appearances
As I attend gatherings or go shopping,  I am simply amazed that by looking at people's hair all around me that I can tell that going to the beautician seems to not be a priority any more. Natural hair is everywhere. The afro with the headband or the pineapple top are the most popular natural hairstyling that I see.  There does not seem to be a glamour competition in my area except with the younger ladies with the vixen weaves.

People's opinion on Locking their Hair
"African Venus" 1851 sculpture by Charles Henri Joseph Cordier

Forming dreadlocks apparently has been a natural instinct for Africans from the 1800's and beyond.  I have even seem some mummy pictures floating on the Internet with dreadlocks.  However, 9 out of 10 times if I offer locs as a long term natural hair solution, Black women immediately have a brain freeze thinking "forever" locked.  Their excuse is that they want more styling options; yet, 9 out of 10 times that I see them, their hair is in the exact same headband or  afro puff on top of their head.  Well, you get the idea.  Dreadlocks are no more permanent than any other chemical service, but women are so scared of them.  I do not think that locs are for everyone's lifestyle, but I know for a fact that I can get  20 times the styling options as my locs continue to gain length than many of the natural loose hair sistahs walking around. Each to his own, but I am simply at a loss for words for the cosmetology industry.  Between the barbers and the braiders, cosmetologists are losing out on clientele.

I am personally going to stick with relaxers, smoothing treatments, and locs. Let's see what changes 2016 brings.

Color Alert Neutralizing Shampoo Competition

In my search for neutralizing shampoos with Color Alerts built-in, I discovered that Hawaiian Silky had  two different neutralizing shampoos.  One is for "No Lye" relaxers and the other is for a "Lye"relaxers.  Wow!!!  I was impressed.

So I used Fiberguard Affirm Normal "Lye" relaxer as my test relaxer.  I also picked up Maxi Professional Hair Repair Neutralizing Shampoo, Elasta QP Stop Action conditioning neutralizing shampoo, and African Essence Neutralizing Shampoo Plus to test for the color alert functionality.

I figured the Hawaiian Silky "No Lye" neutralizing shampoo was not going to work because I was testing with a "lye" relaxer, but to my surprise, neither of the Hawaiian Silky neutralizing shampoos worked compared to the rest of the other brands that I was testing. 

The Maxi Professional brand and the Elasta QP brand both showed immediate color alerts.

The African Essence brand worked quickly as well, but the color alert was not as bright and plentiful as the Elasta QP, but it worked significantly better than the Hawaiian Silky brand.

I decided to test the Isoplus Neutralizing Shampoo and Conditioner brand as well.  The color alert worked immediately.  This Isoplus neutralizing shampoo is one of the top recommendations for the price, and it is sold almost everywhere including Sally's Beauty Supply.

So first place is a tie!  The winners are Isoplus and Maxi Professional (listed in alphabetical order).  Both have thicker consistency.  African Essence and Elasta QP are both in second place because of their thinner product consistency.  All four brands really do the job.  

Note:  I initially had Elasta QP in the first place position, but because I probably dispensed more product out due to its thinner nature - I think that second place is more fair and in line with the African Essence consistency.  The Isoplus and Maxi professional could easily be used with an applicator nozzle because of their thickness.  It is all about customizing and personal preference.

On the other hand, Hawaiian Silky may need to go back to the lab.  I will have to test the No-Lye neutralizing shampoo on a "no lye" relaxer at a later date, but for now, I will keep my color alert winners on hand.

As you may recall, I had been using the NuExpressions 10 in 1 Conditioner as a color alert, but I got tired of importing it in because there are no distributors in the metro Charlotte, NC area.  So from a convenience standpoint, I wanted other color alert options.  So now, I have them!

A Quick Squeeze Nozzle Test showed that the NuExpressions 10 in 1 Conditioner was the superior color alert option, Isoplus was second, and with Maxi Professional showing only a slight pink (center color on stick).  Tests like these give me a clearer perspective to how products compare.

Bee Mine Products Increases Shelf Life Again!

Thank you Bee Mine Products for sending me a complimentary replacement of the 
Coconut Cream Curly Butter!

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that my Curly Butter had turned chocolate in color, and I read that the shelf life was only 3 to 4 months on the company website.  So I called the company to inquire, and they wrote to inform me that they had changed the scent which affected the shelf life.  

So now, they have gone back to the previous scent, and the shelf life is now back at 9 to 12 months for the Bee Mine curly butter.

I'm excited about this news because most people rotate through products and hairstyles, and "3 to 4 months" was just not long enough time to even stock the product.  I am so grateful that the company sent me a replacement with a batch code printed on the jar.  That's Great customer service!!!!  I am indeed appreciative, and I will gladly order from them in the future!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

35 months Along and Open to the Future

 So I have had a couple of people ask me about motherhood . . .  apparently, the whole "get married and then have children" has been an outdated tradition with the amount of "blended familes" these days.  So my answer was "I do not know."  I would love to mother more than one child because I believe in siblings, but I do assume that my biological clock is ticking as well.  We will have to see where my journey takes me.  The road ahead is according to God's plan.
I love it when I am wind blown.  Maybe God will send a husband to sweep me off my feet.  In the meantime, I have my hair "on lockdown."  LOL!

Loc Statement: Dustin Brown Tennis

German citizen born in Jamaica: Dustin Brown, age 29.

@DreddyTennis is his twitter name.   He embraces his Locs.
Wimbledon, sponsored by UnderArmour  GER/AT

Wishing Dustin continued success in tennis, modeling, and more!