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, October 31, 2011

Kim Kardashian: Secrets to the Look!

(Photo credit: Kim Kardashian is famous for being famous! It helps that she looks fabulous, and her hair looks fabulous.

For photo shoots, she adds hair extensions to her hair. More than likely, clip-in hair extensions.

To maintain hair similiar to Kim Kardashian, one should keep "dry shampoo" around to avoid shampooing everyday. Also, smoothing serums are important to keep frizz and flyways down.

Sulfate free shampoo and moisturizing conditioners are also important.

This has to be a stressful time for Kim Kardashian who has filed for divorce from Kris Humphries reportedly 72 days after being married. I am hoping that she keeps a good mental balance. Stress can take a toil on the hair six months from now.

Wishing you peace and happiness Kim!

Healthy Home Market: What's cool on the hair aisle?

Brand: Uncle Funky's Daughter . . . the Supercurl moisturizing creme is on my wish list. This company is Houston, Texas based. They are a competitor of the Miss Jessie's line. Some of their products have also been recognized in magazines such as Essence.

Henna is a metallic dye. It is not compatible with relaxed hair. (i.e. hair can break off) Only use on natural hair to color. Persian Mahogany (Medium Red/Auburn) is pictured here.

Natural hairspray . . . Wow! I purchased the "Weather Control" Hairspray. (orange label) Stay tuned for reviews.

Product Review: Nexxus Pro-Mend Split End Binding

Nexxus Pro-Mend Split End Binding Serum does have silicone in it. All hair types can use it; however, I have found that Type 1 (straight hair) benefits the most from this serum. Even Type 2 or Type 3 hair will see better results than type 4 hair.

Wondering about hair types? Please review our other articles on curl patterns.

So if you have naturally straight hair, then this serum will mend split ends caused by lightener, hair bleach, flat irons, and/or haircolor. It is a temporary styling fix until the next shampoo, but straight hair can look sleek again!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Flat Iron Review: Ceramic versus Ionic Showdown!

Which side do you like best? On the left side, you have hair straightened with a $20 (on sale) ceramic only flat iron. On the right side, you have hair straightened with a $120 ionic/ceramic flat iron. Same strand of hair. However, the left side still has more body along with its straightness. The right side looks more stringy to me. It is sleeker but more lifeless. So which side do you like best? The infrared heat in the ionic technology makes a difference. Is this difference good? Healthy? In my opinion, "no."
To eliminate the fact that the cuticle could be upside down with the previous flat iron test on the same strand, I cut three strips of hair wefts. The first curl strip on the left was completed by the ionic flat iron. It was a sleeker, thinner look. The middle curl strip was from a large barrel curling iron. The curl strip on the right was completed by the ceramic curling iron. The curling iron and the ceramic flat iron really delivers more body and thickness than the ionic iron. Some people are trying to eliminate body and volume. For short time, the ionic iron can serve that purpose.
I just purchased this Conair ceramic straightener/flat iron for $18.79 on sale at a CVS drugstore. Regular price around $28.00. I trust this ceramic only flat iron.

If you prefer a flat iron over a curling iron, then look for this ceramic only technology. It is only $20 with 25 heat settings. It takes longer to heat up since it is NOT Ionic. It is a healthier flat iron option.

As far as the Ionic blowdryers, which I still use heavily, I am undecided on whether I should discontinue using them. Since only the air flow is hitting the hair and scalp, I feel the concentrator nozzle is blocking any potential damage that it could cause. Again, I am undecided. I do have a twin turbo hairdryer that is not ionic. I may put it into service as my main hair dryer. Decisions, Decisions, Decisions.

Please see my flat iron free pledge/article.

Product Review: "First cut" human hair

"First cut" human hair is essentially hair from one person. The cut hair is from a ponytail cut off of someone's head. It is not a blend of human hair and other fillers. It is "first cut." Only specialty companies can process and disinfect this hair. It is so original that it can be colored or permed without damaging it.

When discussing boar bristle brushes, the terminology "first cut" is sometimes used to also describe a higher quality bristle brush.

"First cut" human hair is sold by the ounce in bulk. You pay extra to have this hair wefted. The length of the hair is solid and full. There is no need to pay for extra length just to be cut off. You would purchase the mininum length that you need and add two inches for the hair to be folded for the wefting service.

Because of the decline in the quality of the hair in the beauty supply stores over the years, I am in the process of stocking this "first cut" hair in small quantities.

It will average about $125 per ounce. The average person will need from 3 to 4 ounces to complete a half head of extensions. The hair can be reused for six months to a year.

There is not a "brand" necessarily attached to "first cut" hair. I would purchase from my supplier, and it is sent to me in tissue paper. This supplier does not sell any "junk" hair. They do not have hair at different quality levels. It is either good hair or they DO NOT sell it. < period > They stand behind their hair quality.

Hairdreams, a company that I have been certified with since 2004, also uses first cut hair, but they do not offer wefting service nor bulk hair. However, they offer infusion strands and partial integration units. On a separate note, Hairdreams does have "basic" hair versus their premium hair. For darker color hair, the basic hair is probably just as good of quality as their premium hair.

Because the cost of the hair alone is so expensive, your initial purchase plus extension service labor will start at $600. If you reuse the hair which you should, then in the future, you would be paying for labor only to remove and re-apply the extensions.

Product Review: Cuticle Remy XQ Human Hair

Cuticle Remy XQ human hair comes in double packaging. It has a newspaper wrapper and a tissue wrap around it. The hair looks and feels beautiful. It is straight hair and does not hold curls well. It will hold a bend.

If you wash and set it, it seemed relentless to hold curls past four hours. So for straight tangle free styling, it may be worth the investment. However, after trying everything from hot curlers, hot irons, setting lotions, and razoring, it finally held the curl a little longer, but it started tangling.

So if you want sleek, straight hair, then go for the Cuticle Remy XQ human hair.

Personally, I am planning to start stocking first cut human hair. It will run around $400 a bundle, but it will last about six months. Lately, the beauty supply hair is not lasting even if you are paying $100 per pack. By the time, you pay $100 to $200 for two packs of beauty supply hair every two months, it is cheaper to get premium first cut hair. Please see separate article on the first cut human hair. Article coming soon!

Monday, October 24, 2011

What does Patron tequila have to do with hair?

Billionnaire John Paul DeJoria is CEO of "Paul Mitchell" hair products as well as Patron Spirits. He has a "rags to riches" life story and still believes in community service.

This mini-bottle of Patron tequila cost over $6.00. Patron has been very profitable. Actually, profitable enough for Mr. DeJoria to expand into rum (Pyrat) and vodka (Ultimat).

According to my research, he has quite a few different businesses besides John Paul Mitchell Systems and Patron spirits. I have been impressed that he continues to improve his Paul Mitchell hair care line even though his sales in alcohol surpasses his sales in the hair industry.

Margaritas featuring Top Shelf Patron can be ordered in such restaurants as Outback Steakhouse and venues like the Comedy Zone. One should expect to pay $11 and up for their top shelf margarita. It is nice, sweet, and smooth. Smile.

Well, with so many different hair care lines on the market, it is a good idea not to keep all your eggs in one basket. Cheers!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Is plastic wrap and cling foil the same?

Plastic wrap and cling foil are the same. The most popular brand of plastic wrap in the United States is "Saran" wrap. In the US, we use the terminology of "aluminum foil" but "plastic wrap."

In other countries, plastic wrap may be referred to as cling foil. It does come on a "foil" roll, and it clings.

In regards to hair, plastic wrap/cling foil can be used to complete a "silk wrap" hairstyle. A Silk wrap is when hair is dry wrapped around the head with a lightweight silicone based serum and sealed with the plastic wrap, cling foil, processing cap, or "hydracap" for up to 10 minutes under a platform dryer set for medium heat. (You do not want to sweat.) The desired result is shiny hair with movement.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Technique Review: Round Brush Blow-Out

Hair by Benita Blocker. To achieve this sleek look, I blow dried the hair with a round brush. NO FLAT IRON. NO CURLING IRON. Round Brush only. Then sprayed some Aquage's Beyond Shine spray on it to tame some minor flyaways.

It is important to know that you need a hair dryer/ blow dryer with some serious wind velocity as well as some heat. The FHI Heat Nano Salon Pro 2000 was used to complete this job. This particular hair dryer features Low EMF. Please see my separate article on the topic of EMF.

I have featured other blow dryers on this blog. (Turbo Power, SuperSolano,and more) Please check out other blow dryer tool reviews on this blog. $150 for a good blow dryer is reasonable. You should get years of usage from it. However, if you spend only $40 on a hair dryer, you may get a year of usage out of it. If you spend at least $80 or more on a blowdryer, then more than likely it may have enough power to complete a round brush styling and get you past a year.

Your round brush styling does require skill in picking out the correct round brush for the job. Pictured is a Marilyn round brush with nylon bristles mixed with boar bristles. The nylon bristles hold heat and are designed for coarser; yet non-porous hair. I picked this round brush to complete this styling because the mannequin has coarse hair with tightly closed cuticles. For finer hair or porous hair, you may use an all boar bristle brush or a paddle brush.

Remember to rough dry each section to get excess water out of the hair before you start applying a lot of tension. Also, to determine if it is the right brush to use, please see how smoothly the brush slides through the hair without a blow dryer first. If it is snagging the hair, then it is the wrong brush. Also, the shorter the bristles are on a brush, then the less likely to get the brush tangled in the hair.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tool Review: SuperSolano 3500 Lite Hair Dryer

The SuperSolano 3500 Lite is a lightweight Italian blowdryer/hair dryer. I have found that it does not have enough wind velocity and heat to complete a round brush final finish. (i.e. Dominican style) Also, the vent cap is so thin and filmsy that it breaks with any rough handling. Luckily, you can order replacement vent caps from the authorized repair shops. If you do order, you best buy several because you may go through several if you are trying to use this handheld hair dryer in the salon.

The dryer will survive a fall, but the vent cap will not. Either have a backup hair dryer on hand or plenty of replacement vent caps. I believe the vent caps cost about $7.00 a piece.

I checked some Amazon reviews on this hair dryer; others have experienced the same issues about the lack of heat and wind as well as the filmsy vent cap.

Other than those two deficiencies, the dryer works well. Overall, save this dryer for home use; not for professional salon use. It can not compete with a twin turbo hair dryer. (Please see my separate article on twin turbo hair dryers.)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Split Ends: Where to trim?

Pictured is a ribbon. When I saw this ribbon, I realized that it reminded me of someone with split ends. In this picture, I show two different ends of the ribbon. One end of the ribbon is still in tact. The other end is unravelling.

So where do you cut? If you do not want to lose length, then I would just cut the string at the bottom but leave the loose ends.

Or should you cut some of the loose ends and be careful not to cause any more damage?

Or you should you just cut above where the damage ends are? You would lose a lot of length, but the ends would be nice and healthy looking again. This was probably your first thought as far as cutting this ribbon is concerned. A "no-brainer" right? Did any of the other options really even come to mind until after you read them?

Another question: Was I talking about hair or the ribbon pictured? The answer: I was talking about both - hair decisions as well as "ribbon decision." It is easier to cut this ribbon where it needs to be cut which is above the split end because it is just a ribbon, but cutting is a more difficult decision when it is relative to the hair on your head especially if you are trying to maintain a style.

Food for thought right? There is no right or wrong answer. Obviously, one would have to cut at least the string away from the ribbon. However, more importantly, one has to determine what caused the unravelling in the first place and make sure that it does not happen again.

Many "scissor happy" stylists as some would label them would without a doubt keep all your ends healthy looking. Some clients are happy with that. Other clients prefer the conservative cutting approach. I am conservative in my cutting. Why? To me, if a client has not eliminated the "cause" of the split ends, then they are going to split them again and again. I do not want to keep cutting off "too much hair" until they have a good daily regimen, and it will not interfere with their ability to style.

Tips for preventing split ends or stringy ends:
1) Stop using ionic flat irons.

2) Use curling irons and ceramic flat irons on the lowest settings as possible to do the job.

3) Wear a style that keeps the ends curled or in a loose updo. Avoid having the hair ends rub against the clothes too much. A loose ponytail or a bun works!

4) Keep the hair moisturized and soft. (Try Bee Mine Luscious Balanced Cream Moisturizer for those with dry hair.

5) Get a manageable haircut that falls nicely without having to force a style into it.

6) Pretreat hair with organic, virgin, coconut oil from the health store before you shampoo.

Please see my separate articles on "Luscious", coconut oil, flat iron free pledge, and curling irons for more detailed reviews and discussions.

On a separate note, I wanted to address the saying that "keeping your hair cut; keeps it growing." Hair constantly should be growing unless there is a medical reason, but sometimes people do not see length (which people incorrectly describe as growth) because their hair is also breaking.

Split ends will grab and latch onto surrounding hair to make it difficult to style; therefore adding to breakage. So regular trims do assist in gaining length because you eliminate split ends and snags. Be careful not to interchange the terminology of "hair growing" with "length."

If you see hair getting longer, then maintenance is being done to keep it from breaking. The growth is free. Remember your eyebrows, hair on your legs, and other regular hair removal areas? Hair growth is always happening. Hair is always growing in areas that you do not want it because the ends are not getting split. An aw-haw moment? Right?

Just take care of your hair using some of the tips above to avoid breakage if you desire longer length hair.

Product Review: Bee Mine Luscious Cream Moisturizer

If you are looking for a good daily regimen, then Bee Mine Luscious is it! It is a lightweight cream souffle for the hair. I do NOT use it on my scalp. Just hair only. I massage it through my entire head of hair every morning before my shower. By the time that I am finished showering, my hair is moisturized but no longer moist to touch. NOTE: I do not have dry scalp; so I do not apply anything to my scalp.

Bee Mine Luscious Balanced Cream Moisturizer is a little wet, but only equivalent to a light mist of water. Within about 10 minutes, one should be safe to hot curl the hair if needed.

I believe my protein treatment followed by the Bee Mine Moisturizing Conditioner really reset my hair. I have been using the Luscious every day plus the curling iron on a setting of 1 (one) which is very low heat in order to re-bend my hair in the back.

Luscious is the only hairdressing that I used all week. My hair is very soft and not greasy. The daily use of the curling iron does not seem to damage my hair with the Luscious in it.

I absolutely love this hairdressing!

Product Review: Design Essential Regular Relaxer

Design Essentials has now improved its entire relaxer line. They have added "Hydrastrength Vitamins and Protein Complex." Even the Pre-protect solution for the previously relaxed ends has the hydrastrength complex built into it. This is great news regarding the maintaining of the integrity of relaxed hair. However, I have better news!

Look at the old and new packaging of their regular strength relaxers pictured below. Notice the "olives" logo on the one on the right? They look like cherries from a distance, but guess what? Design Essentials has added Shea Butter and Olive Oil to this new regular formula. Okay, why am I sooooo excited? Well, remember I was soooo in love with the True Indulgence relaxer? The True Indulgence relaxer is infused with shea butter. Remember it did not irritate, and the hair turned out shiny and smooth? Well, the good news is that I used this new and improved Design Essentials regular relaxer on a borderline sensitive scalp client, and she did not get irritated from it. The old formula definitely caused irritation for those who were sensitive scalp. So I am excited about this new regular strength option! I have grown other clients that were not sensitive scalp out to mid back length using the old Design Essentials regular relaxer. So I know that it is a good relaxer line.

You are probably wondering if I like it better than the True Indulgence relaxer. The answer is that I am not sure yet. I liked the shine on the Design Essentials relaxer just after the shampoo. However, the True Indulgence shine was just as beautiful or better. So why consider this new and improved Design Essentials regular strength? I want to have a backup option.

Unfortunately, I have absolutely no regular strength True Indulgence relaxer in stock. Why? The distributor delivered one regular strength container, but the product consistency was different. Also, the batch code made me think that it was older product than the one that I originally purchased at the hair show. So I asked her to exchange it out. The next container that she delivered had the same "old" batch code, but the "shea butter" had risen to the top. So the product consistency of this second container was even worse than the one I was returning to her. She said that all I had to do was stir it up. "This happens in the summer sometimes." I told this distributor that I am not comfortable stirring up a new container of relaxer trying to get shea butter redistributed for my already sensitive scalp clients. Time is not on my hands in the middle of a relaxer service. I need product that has not been overheated, mishandled, etc. So she did not have any more fresh regular strength relaxer in stock to sell me. Of course, I was happy that I did not have any clients in immediate need of regular strength, but it made me realize that I may not be able to get my hands on the True Indulgence relaxer in a timely manner. Now, that is a problem. So I am going to need a backup. I believe that this Design Essentials shea butter regular relaxer is going to be my backup plan.

Of course, I will be using this new Design Essentials regular strength on my hair at my next relaxer time to see if it irritates me. I am soooo sensitive scalp. If it does not irritate me, then I know that my sensitive scalp clients will survive it as well.

Congratulations Design Essentials! You are back on the map for me!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tool Review: Hot Tools Curling Irons

I was used to turning my curling iron up to a halfway point for curling my hair. However, with this Hot Tools electric marcel curling iron, it seems to get exceptionally HOT! So I started using it between the settings of 1 and 2 which is considered low. I still managed to burn myself. Of course, it takes a day or so for the skin to scab up. I think that the lower settings are great! I feel that it puts a nice bend in the hair without feeling like you are cooking it.

No matter what brand of curling iron that you are using, definitely consider using the lowest temperature settings first. The Hot Tools brand seems to get hot enough to probably press out natural hair. I really underestimated the heat on this iron. No more halfway points for me. Setting #4 is probably the hottest that I ever plan to use on this iron. Also, I can appreciate curling irons with a cool tip. The cool tip would have prevented me from burning myself. (Pictured: scab near my eyebrow and hairline) The barrel of this iron is all hot. When the iron is on, the handle is the only thing cool on it. Hot Tools curling irons also come in different sizes as well as the spring closure versus marcel closure.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Eyelash Extensions: The Basics

Eyelash extensions professional services range from $25 to $250 for sable individual hairs. I remember when people only wore fake lashes for pageants and stagework. Now, it is rather strange sometimes to see so many people wearing them for everyday wear. Some people look like Tammy Faye Baker with all the "bling" on their eyes. Pictured are examples of fashion lash strips along with lash adhesive and lash adhesive remover. Careful with lash extension applications; remember when removing any type of extensions, damage can occur. There are people walking around without any eyelashes. Why? You need eyelashes in order to extend them.

I like the new Mary Kay Lash Love Mascara. It gives you distinguished lashes without the extensions. I do not recommend lash extensions especially if you are a contact lenses wearer. Also, sometimes the eyelash extensions look professional and sometimes they look urban. Do you see the "flashy" lashes in the picture? There is a time and place for all things.

Product Review: Bee Mine Moisture-only Conditioner

I have been experimenting a lot with the Bee Mine Product line. I like it so far, but I am still trying to see how everything really works. Their Luscious Cream Moisturizer delivers superb shine without weight. All the products smell delicious.

Pictured is the Bee-u-ti-ful Deep Conditioner. It is Bee Mine products' newest conditioner designed for delivering moisture to the hair without adding protein. Most conditioners seem to add some protein into its content so I was excited to get my hands on a deep conditioner that purposely was avoiding the protein. Why? Because when I do my pure protein treatment i.e. "Redken CAT" then I only want pure moisture to balance out the protein. This moisture conditioner seems to absorb nicely into my hair as you can see. I gave my hair the Redken CAT protein treatment first, then I rinsed it out. Next, I applied the Bee-u-ti-ful and sat under heat for about 15 minutes and then sat at room temperature another 15 minutes. (I was working on the computer and had not gotten to another stopping point or I would have rinsed the conditioner out sooner. Just being honest. Smile.) Also, please see my separate article on Redken CAT protein treatment. I used the new formula at this particular wash. It combed through nicely.

Overall, this was a nice "power pack!" Stay tuned for other articles on other Bee Mine products.

Break Point: The Bend

Pictured is a single strand of hair that has a sharp bend in it. I believe that I also captured a shadow of the strand so it may look like two strands with a very sharp point. Well that very sharp point is actually a bend in the hair. It is a very weak area, and upon attempting to unbend this strand it will break into two at the bend. I have found more than my fair share of these over the weeks. I think the double/triple relaxation that I performed about two months ago generated these plus my sleeping on my hair without wrapping nor rolling it. I know that I do not have the type of hair that is naturally low maintenance so I am doing much better with my nighttime regimen as long as I am not too exhausted. As my hair gets longer. I will be able to manage it quicker at night. I have been roller setting for the last three weeks. This week, I am going to try to eliminate using the curling iron to tighten curls for the whole week. I need prayer. Smile. I can do this! Also, I only plan to use Bee Mine products and some virgin coconut oil if need be. Let's see if that regimen prevents me from picking up that curling iron. Stay Tuned.

Friday, October 7, 2011

True Indulgence Relaxer: Client Feedback

My client pictured here had about eight months of new growth. She was ready to go back to having relaxed hair. We used the regular strength True Indulgence relaxer system to straighten the new growth area. We pre-protected her remaining relaxed hair that had not broken off. She is a type 4a curl pattern. We also completed a roller set service for her finished look. She was so extremely happy with the relaxer service that she said if she left wet without final styling, then she would still be happy because it looked so incredibly shiny and manageable. I was overjoyed because I did not remember the last time a client was ready to do a "halleujah" over a relaxer.

Constantly, this whole week, the client feedback has been everything from "my hair has been so much easier to manage on a daily basis" to "I am loving this new relaxer" upon arriving through the door followed by "oh, hello, how are you? . . . Well, I have not felt this way in a long time about a relaxer; I am truly loving this new relaxer."

I even had one client who is commercially integrated mentioned that she is no longer worried about her hair blending into the commercial hair; she now needs the commercial hair to stay as smooth as her own hair.

Other client feedback included that they were prepared to burn because they had been scratching a good bit, but amazingly, they did not burn, and it got straight. They were really pleasantly surprised.

Even for me, this relaxer has me spellbound.

Now, I only have one word of caution. As with any relaxer system or product line, you should make sure the product has not expired. I had gone through my first tub of relaxer that I brought back with me from the hair show and started the next tub that I had purchased locally. The second tub seemed to have a different product consistency. I had to call the distributor to get an exchange. So in the future, I am going to have to check for freshness before taking delivery.

Well, I have my fingers crossed. I hope that this relaxer is the real deal. I hope that I am going to continue to love and trust it for years to come.

Day Five Followup on my Relaxer service

Well, it is day five, and I am still "bright eyed and bushy tail" over the True Indulgence relaxer system. Also, the cooler weather means I can start back wearing my cosmetic/makeup without sweating it all off! Yay!

So far, I still working on a nightly regimen of rolling my hair and deciding which daily hairdressing to use. Also, I will be peforming a protein treatment at my next shampoo because I am still using the curling iron in the back to get a tighter curl in my hair. Yes, this is a "no no," but I think the Profectiv MegaGrowth hairdressing is a little too heavy in oil and the Bee Mine Luscious Cream Moisturizer is a little too light and wet for the back. Then add the fact that I sleep on the back of my head with and without rollers some times . . . I am looking forward to growing it out long enough to bantu knot or pin curl. Also, I hope to get a regimen together by next week in order to quit using the curling iron.

On a separate note, Affirm relaxer system has been revamped. Nice new packaging and new healthier formula. I believe they still want you to use their KeraCare Strengthening Thermal Protector to ensure the integrity of the hair. I purchased the 5 in 1 Reconstructor as pictured. Notice the old packaging versus the new packaging? The ingredients are different as well.

I do not plan to purchase this relaxer system at this time. I am really, really content with the True Indulgence relaxer system. I am happy to know that Avlon did improve their Affirm relaxer system. Many people felt that the previous Affirm relaxer system was too agressive. I think the beauty industry is moving in the right direction again. This is great news!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Relaxer and Roller Set Service

I wanted to focussed on my roller set service after my four week relaxer touchup. (Please see my separate article on my mild relaxer touchup service.) I decided that I needed to get into the habit of giving myself more roller sets since I am always pushing roller set services to my clients. Especially after the relaxer service, it is a good way to keep body in the hair. Anyway, for my final finish, I had to use hairspray and some of the Schwarzkopf "Dust it" powder to keep volume in my hair. Please see my separate article on "Dust it" powder. Also, I used the Bee Mine Luscious Cream Moisturizer for final shine.

As for the roller set, I used Jane Carter Solution Wrap N Roll foam and Paul Mitchell Sculpting Lotion as well as some Bee Mine Deja Vu Hair Milk for my roller set. As you can see in my picture with the rollers removed, the back of head still has some texture in it. The mild relaxer was not strong enough, but it was better than nothing! Smile.

Roller placement is important. Find the drop off points on the sides and back of your head and place rollers in these areas. The roller placement for the rest of the rollers is less important.

Also, please keep in mind that I am trimming my hair in the back to keep my layers and a uniform growth pattern. Everyone does not need to trim as often. The Chi Super relaxer touchup that I performed about six weeks ago??? was very drying. If you are wondering why I used a Super strength in the first place, please read my last article for your answer.

As you can see, I am back on track. I am growing solid length. Some of hair ends in the back of my head has been tempermental from the Chi Super relaxer, but I am diligently trimming those ends away with each relaxer service. A half inch of new growth a month really adds up when you are patient.

Also, I have discovered the Bee Mine product line. I am really loving it. I will be doing a review on these products soon. I am acheiving incredible shine and softness with a lightweight finish. I believe the lady from the KISS hair network turned me onto it. Anyway, stay tuned. I will perform the review on the Bee Mine products and a few others soon . . .

p.s. The weather is getting cooler. That means that I can start wearing my makeup/cosmetics again! Yay!!!!

Relaxers: Alternating between Mild and Regular?

Please don't call the relaxer police! Yes, I did it again . . . 3 weeks 6 days later . . . I relaxed my hair again.

However, I used the Mild strength of the True Indulgence relaxer. As you can see from the pictures, it did not straighten my hair as well as the regular strength did. However, my new growth at about 4 weeks was giving me a "fit." I had a mini-afro underneath the already relaxed hair. You can get away with a mini-afro if you have really long hair, but it is harder to camouflage when sporting a shorter haircut. As you can see from my picture at the end of this article, I did not lose much hair. This was all the hair in the bowl after completing the whole relaxer service. For some people, the amount of hair pictured in my hand is equivalent to a normal non-chemical shampoo. So it was a very safe relaxer service. I fear that I will have to relax again within another four weeks. I will have to decide if I want to use mild strength every four weeks until I get a solid three inches of hair in the back, then go to regular strength every 7 weeks? Or do I want to try alternating between mild and regular strength every four weeks? I am thinking the regular strength will correct the mild strength plus give me a little straighter roots. Since I used the regular strength True Indulgence relaxer about four weeks ago and still needed a touch up four weeks later . . . I really will have to see if this mild strength will get me to the four weeks mark before I can decide on a relaxer touchup regimen that works for me.

With that said, remember every one's hair is different. I have more coarse, resistant, type 4c hair. So "what works for me" may be "overkill" for a fine, type 4c hair.

Also, I noticed a number of bloggers and youtube videographers who were very focussed on achieving "bra strap length (BSL)" or "armpit length (APL)." However, if they continue using ceramic flat irons, then they may get there, but it will eventually break back off. They will forever battle maintaining their length. I have seen it time and time again. (i.e. the reason that neither my clients nor I use flat irons in my salon.) The flat irons are not a friend to "long, curly hair." I have quite a few recent articles including the flat iron free pledge. Also, if you take the flat iron free pledge, then you can NOT cheat! No more flat irons at all . . . if 200 to 300 degrees will not straighten your hair, then 400 degrees may straighten; yet, you will be causing internal damage. Internal damage will come back to bite you one day with continued abuse.

While on the topic of length, I am also focussed on long term length for my own hair. However, for the short term, I am keeping the back trimmed. That Chi Deep Brilliance Super strength relaxer really fried/dried some my ends out. I think that I have about trimmed away the last of them. I know a few of the new followers are probably thinking why did you use a super strength relaxer anyway? Well, I used the super strength in the Paul Mitchell relaxer system quite regularly and loved it. It was not strong enough to hold my hair straight so I had concluded that the "White/mainstream" super relaxers are not as strong as the "Black/ethnic" super relaxers. Oh boy, the Chi/Farouk Super strength relaxer proved that theory WRONG. That relaxer was absolutely ridiculously drying to my hair and it did not even straighten it all the way. I even got a chemical burn down my neck from the runoff. I am going to assume that I got a defected batch of this Super strength, but Lord knows -- it is off my list of ever trying again. Also, I noticed the "Vietnamese beauty supply" stores are selling the very same relaxer to regular people without a cosmetology license. Please see my article on "Hair Battle Wounds" if you want to live through that relaxer experience.

One last topic: Determining when it is time for a relaxer touchup? If you are tempted to use the curling iron everyday because your new growth is showing, then it is time for a relaxer touchup. Everyday heat from a curling iron is going to still cause damage. Luckily, you will see the damage more immediately than if you are flat ironing it. Damage is still damage. Whether you see it sooner or later, damage is what you are trying to avoid. With that said, box relaxers are a "no no." Any relaxer that you have to mix is a "no no." The safest relaxers are sodium hydroxide based relaxers. Some of the lithium hydroxide relaxers are "no mix." However, I think that the lithium hydroxide relaxers leave buildup in the hair similar to the "box" relaxers which are usually calcium hydroxide based.

Hopefully, I have tackled all angles on choosing relaxer touchup over excessive curling iron use. Also, this article serves as a review on the mild strength True Indulgence relaxer. My clients and I are still very, very pleased with the True Indulgence relaxer. I had a client yesterday mentioned how her daily maintenance has been so much easier with this relaxer. I was happy. For me, my search is over. I really like the True Indulgence relaxer system. Stay tuned. I will keep you posted on how long this mild strength touchup lasts . . .