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, January 31, 2016

Three years six months Wet Sisterlocks Check-in

Wash day finally came!  I waited about three weeks in between shampoos.

Three years six months wet Sisterlocks check-in.

I have solid loc length.

Side and back views.

March 2013 - Eight months old Sisterlocks. (almost 3 years ago)

I have come a long way, and I am still looking forward to year five.  1.5 more years to go!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Natural Hair: Curling iron versus Flat iron

Natural hair styling by Benita Blocker

Natural hair curled using electric ionic flat iron. (Paul Mitchell Smoothing iron)

Using a One inch flat iron.

Same natural hair client curled using an electric curling iron.

Natural Hair styling by Benita Blocker

Same client, Using 1" electric curling iron

The electric 1 inch curling iron seemed to deliver a "soft press" result on natural hair.  The electric 1 inch ionic smoothing/flat iron seemed to deliver a "hard press" result on my client's natural hair.  

Her feedback: "the soft press did not hold the style long enough" - so it looks like we will be  using the flat iron for future hair styling sessions!

I love my clients' feedback!  We partner to find a good regimen for their unique hair goals.

And thank you to all of my continued supporters of this blog.  I figured I would change the pace with this article.  I will check in with my own locs on my next wash day which is sometime soon - I promise.  I have just been preoccupied lately, and  that is the beauty of locs.  No worries. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Day 15 Post Shampoo - Scalp Check-in

I usually shampoo about once a month. It is now 15 days since my last shampoo, and my hair and scalp feel fine. You can see a lot of gray hair rolled up onto itself. It may look like lint, but if you look closely, it is loose gray hair.  Also, my hand is holding a bundle of my Locs out of the way so that you can see my scalp.

No flakes.  I have a pretty normal scalp.  Not too oily.  Not too dry. The flash on my digital camera seems to be causing my gray hairs to reflect again looking like lint. However, it is not lint. 

I have more gray hair coming in.

Many people are always trying to connect the "loc look" and the "scalp look."  I wanted to tackle both in this article.  I have a resistant, coarser hair. As my hair has grown out, even I have been amazed by the uniqueness of my hair. I hope to shampoo soon because I want to do my wet loc check-in.  I am at Day 15 post shampoo/wet set.  I am still holding on to my style.  My maintenance is different from those with scalp challenges.  I honestly can go a few more weeks without shampooing, and my scalp will still look normal.  Anyway, I have been enjoying my loc challenge postings.  I hope to start capturing my clients' hair again next month to share.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Day 10: Full Updo using Two Elastic Headbands

Loc Styling by Benita Blocker

I used two different elastic headbands to create this style.  One headband is an invisible, narrow elastic headband that creates some tension to keep all the Sisterlocks in place.  The second headband is wider and quite visible.  It is for decoration only.  It has NO tension, but since I need to retighten some of my new growth in the front, the decorative headband is to give me a more uniform loc look until I get caught up on my hand interlocking maintenance.

I didn't use any clippies with this full updo because the invisible headband is holding everything together.  Plus, those little clippies can get lost in my Sisterlocks.  I have to keep count of how many I put in so that I know how many to search for to take back out.  I realized that those clippies are a little extra work, but they have served their purpose.

I usually don't subject my Sisterlocks to any tension.  This evening when I let my Sisterlocks down to rest for the night, I will evaluate whether or not I see or feel any problems.  It's Day 10 post shampoo. I am really sold on the Design Essentials Masterpiece setting lotion. It's a week and a half from my last washing and my hair and scalp feel fine.  However, I know there are some people who are probably thinking "Yuck, you have not washed your hair in over a week now."  My scalp feels fine. I will try to work on tightening up my roots over the next few days, and then shampoo and wet set again.  

My 3 years and 6 months loc anniversary is coming up soon!  I will have to take pictures for a wet loc check-in during my next shampoo.  So stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Day 9: Full Updo using Stretchable Comb Headband

Last January, I used the stretchable comb headband to complete a partial updo look.  This year, using the same concept, I can make a full updo work!!!!

The stretchable comb headband is a circle, and it has no tension nor sharp points to it.

I used a few clippies to keep my center area pulled together.  For those with a lot of density in the crown area, clippies may not be needed.

I  have a huge forehead.  I like this updo better than my partial mohawk updo in my last blog article.  It is Day 9 post shampoo/wet set with setting lotion.  I am on a roll with loc styling!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Day 8: Partial Mohawk using Accessories

My Sisterlocks are still wavy looking, and it is eight days post shampoo.

I used these decorative bobby pins pictured above along with small clipplies, plain scunci elastic band, and hair brooch.

Headbands from prior days seemed to slightly flatten my locs around my hairline so I wanted to use the decorative bobby pins to force a mohawk section. My clippies were placed in the front to support the curls that I still have left in the top of my head.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Tackling my Texture and Loving my Tapestry

It's Day Seven post shampoo, and I still have curls. Some say setting lotion causes long term build-up.  I don't know if I should have the same concerns regarding my Sisterlocks.  Typically, my maintenance for my Sisterlocks goes against "Sisterlocks Bible" teachings.  I am ecstatic about how long my curls from my wet double strand twist set are holding. It has to be that setting lotion that is doing the trick.  I decided to headband my locs into a goddess updo for day 7.

Did I fool you?  Nope, I didn't cut my locs.  They are still there!!!!  See?!

"I show is nappy." Did I say that?  I can say that. Yes, I can. However, No, you can not call my hair "nappy." You probably are thinking the same thing, but nope, all curl patterns are created by God, and they are beautiful.  However, I took this picture above earlier in the day, and I realized I really, really needed to tighten my roots some.  I had over an inch of new growth in some areas.  So in the picture, below, I tightened some of the roots, and I took another picture.

Better? Right?.  Just a little more manicured look?  I was not going to post the "before" picture because I was ashamed of my curl pattern.  It seemed like it needed to be tamed.  It looked "ugly."  Although, I think it looks prettier since I tightened up some of my new growth, but then I realized why am I trying to compare my hair texture to a European standard.  Didn't Cleopatra have braids?

Self hatred still runs deep in this "natural hair movement" of 2016.  If you want corkscrew curls, but you were not born with it, then you sew it in or crochet it in.  You can have whatever texture you want to BUY right now.  

I am not sure what the natural movement started out to be, but I assure you that "being natural" is not what the "natural movement" is about in 2016.  The natural movement of 2016 is about being "relaxer free."  Women are still getting hair color, smoothing treatments, keratin treatments, and some sort of "weave."  The weaves are no longer just the typical straight, sleek, look.

I am natural.  No permanent haircolor. However, I find myself boar bristle brushing my edges to keep them from looking "ungroomed."  My intentions are good, but do they lead to self destruction trying to fit in to a new "curly society standard?"

I really did not plan to take this article in this direction, but since I had been trying to get back out into the dating scene, it has been depressing that women still have to work so hard to fit a standard.

The Right one is out there! 
I don't plan to work hard to get him so I don't have to work hard to keep him.

He must accept my texture as well as my tapestry. ~Benita

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Face Framing with Medium Length Locs

It's Day FIVE (5)!!!!  I am still holding onto that twist set.  Thank you Design Essentials Masterpiece.  You are my new best friend!!!!!!!! Yes!

I used smalll clippies for styling my locs on Day 5.  I also realized how huge my face is !!! My face seems to overpower my locs. Everyone has been noticing my loc length, but I think it is because they see my sides and back more than I do.  I have to get a mirror to see my full picture in a 360 degree pan.

Well, I am excited about my loc length more than ever!

By sweeping my loc length toward the front of my face as I did on Day 2, I feel that my facial features are more enhanced.

As my locs getting longer, I will probably wear them toward the front to frame my face.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Sisterlocks: My Rainy Day Look

I am still holding onto my double strand twist set.  This is day 4.  I am still excited about the curly look.  It was raining so I decided to sport a cap that I purchased from Aldo.  I skipped my makeup application.  I used the rainy day excuse.  My client told me that I had the Janet Jackson look.  She is my favorite artist! What a compliment!!!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Sisterlocks: The Headband Look with Pompadour

Since I still have my curls from my two strand twist set, I wanted to headband my Sisterlocks.  The cloth covered headband does not have any tension nor any teeth.  It is very lightweight as well.  In order to create volume I pompadoured my bang area first and then put the headband on.

I am still thin in my crown area, but my wavy Sisterlocks work to draw attention away from any trouble areas.  I suppose blonde colored locs would blend the area as well, but I do not want to consider dealing with any color damage.  My three year five and half months loc journey has been challenging enough without any chemicals.

My loc length really is becoming my friend.  It compensates for the fact that my hair is not as dense as it was 20 years ago.  I think I made a good decision to start my natural journey over three years ago.  It was not easy nor popular in 2012, but I took the plunge and stuck with it.  I guess that makes me leading edge in the beauty industry!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

My Double Strand Twist Set on Sisterlocks

Loc Styling by Benita Blocker

I started this wet set like a braid out but with 2 strands instead of 3 strands, but I ended with three strands to hold it in place.  Then I just rolled and tucked.

My Sisterocks are approaching 3 years 6 months in another few weeks. The gain in loc length is undeniable.

I used the Design Essentials Masterpiece setting lotion in a 1 to 1 ratio of water. I also added some Jamaican Mango and Lime Island Oil to my Sisterlocks after they dried.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Crochet Braids: New Tools Review

My new crochet braids tools:  1) Fusion hook (small latch hook) and 2) Hair Threader.  Those with ultra curly/kinky hair benefit from the thinner tools.  Those with shorter relaxed hair desiring crochet braids will also benefit from these thinner tools.

The popular latch hook pictured on the left seems too bulky to use on people with relaxed hair.  I used the Sisterlock tool on a prior crochet braid client, but I felt that I needed a closure latch on the Sisterlock hook tool.  So the Fusion hook tool is perfect because it is less bulky, and it is a latch hook tool.

The fusion (latch) hook can be purchased from Sally's Beauty Supply.

The bulk hair and braid hair options are expanding.  I have seen everything from Romance curls to Corkscrew curls.

Starter Locs: Bundling the Braidlocs

Braidlocs by Benita Blocker

I used the Interlocking method to tighten the roots of the braidlocs. Then we bundled them for shampooing.  This article is a followup on my previous braidloc article on this blog.

We used volume shampoos and Sisterlocks starter shampoo to cleanse the scalp and hair.  I was praying that the braidlocs did not unwind during the shampoo process, and I am thankful that they stayed in tact.  We had about 17 bundles.

Eventually, the braided look will disappear as the braidlocs mature. The Pure interlocking method has not held for this client who wore loc styling years ago.  So far, her hair is holding in the three strand twist method for forming locs.  She prefers a medium manicured look versus a highly manicured look.

Benita Blocker's TEN Tips for Achieving Red Haircolor

Hair by Benita Blocker

Tip #1 Determine your current level of haircoloring.

Are you 100% gray?  Are you 50% or more gray? Are you above or below a Level 6 in the haircolor chart?  A professional hair colorist can assist with this evaluation.

Tip #2 Determine if you have all natural pigment or is there some artificial pigment from a previous haircoloring visit already present.

Haircoloring is like "wall painting."  A wall that has layers of paint on it is more complicated than a new white wall.

Tip #3 Determine your maintenance cost.

If your natural haircolor does not match your new haircolor, then your roots will always grow revealing your true natural haircolor.  How often do you want to touchup your new growth?  Every four weeks? Every 8 weeks?  Do you want to incorporate a "red shampoo" with your weekly shampoo service?

Tip #4 Determine your maintenance routine to maintain healthy hair.

Do you use you a lot of hot tools or do you roller set?  Do you get relaxer services or are you relaxer-free?

Tip #5 Determine your styling preference.

If you have over 50% gray in any one area (versus a "salt and pepper" blend), then the gray/white hair is going to be more sheer and/or "flaming."  Can you part your hair to mask any areas that are brighter in color than what you desire?

Tip #6 Determine if your hair is strong enough to stand a lightener or  hair bleaching service.

If you have natural black hair, then a highlift permanent color in the blonde family can lift you into the red family and you can use an additional red toner to glaze over it.

If you have artificial colored black hair, then a color remover service or a hair bleaching service will be required to pre-lighten the hair.

If you have all gray or white hair like my client pictured above, a semi-permanent color like the Design Essentials Semi-permanent haircolor called "Passion" is all you need.  It goes on wet.  No mixing. Deposit only.  No harshness to the hair because you are naturally pre-lightened.

Tip #7 Determine if you plan to relax your hair in the future.

Relaxers are permanent, and they change the integrity of the hair.  If you are considering permanent haircolor or demi-permanent haircolor plus relaxer services, then two different chemicals on the same hair makes the hair extremely vulnerable to breakage regardless of race.

Tip #8 Determine long term haircolor goals as well as short term haircolor goals.

You can go many places to achieve the "red" look that you want short-term.  You can leave the salon looking fabulous, but that is the short term/impulse decision making.  Long term, in a month from that fabulous red haircolor visit, you will be faced with the challenge of how to keep that red fabulous.

Tip #9 Let professional haircolorists advise you on whether to use a Semi-permanent, Demi-permanent, or a Permanent Haircolor.

Tip #10 Don't be afraid to get a second or third opinion on your customized haircolor plan.

I charge $15 for "creative color" consultations.  The $15 payment can be credited toward a future color service.