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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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Holiday Hair 2011 for a day!

The beauty of the human hair wig! And I left my own (bang) hair out in the front!

This look was lightweight, but just like a "du rag," by the end of my day, the rest of my hair was "flat as a pancake!" It was a great one day look!

I have to admit I was diligently looking for my other Holiday hair that I was wearing for about 3 weeks. I could not find it; then I remembered it was a gluefree quickweave (that was attached) to my head. So the hair is disposed of and "the look" just another memory on this blog. LOL!

Anyway, Happy New Year Everyone!!!! Wishing you and I a productive 2012!

Pressing Comb Review: Old school versus New School

Pictured are two "old fashion" pressing combs and one "new school" pressing comb (in the center).
I have written about the "tear drop" of the pressing comb in a previous article. However, today, I had a lady to visit the salon who was interested in an old fashion pressing comb. So she got me to thinking . . . I pulled out eight pressing combs. Only two of them were from 20 years ago . . . then I began to realize the difference between the "new" pressing combs and the "old" pressing combs. Look at the ridges on the teardrop base. The "new school" pressing comb had a solid base with teeth sawed into it. The "old school" pressing comb seems to have individual teardrop teeth welded together. Actually, the teeth of one of my "old" pressing combs has become loose. I can move them slightly like running my hand down a keyboard. Amazing. This would never happen with a "new school" pressing comb.

They just are not built the way they used to be.

Hair Stylist Highlight: Stacey Smith

Publication: Working Mother magazine dated February|March 2009. Cover Story: Anucha Browne Sanders and hair stylist credits go to Stacey Smith.

When I googled "Stacey Smith" and "hair" - I could not narrow down a name match. So will the real Stacey Smith come forward? Smile. I loved your work in the cover photo of this publication. It is going into 2012, and I still have this publication.

I have to admit: The publication was sitting in the sun on a magazine rack in my salon. So the picture is faded, but the hair is not! That is just how exceptional this hair really is! I can tell just from the picture!

I am showcasing both the glam and the business look that was featured in this publication. I remember calling the publication a few years ago asking for your contact information, but they did not have it.

Hopefully, I will hear from you! Great work!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Product Review: Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner

The Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner is like heaven! The shea butter and the Rosa Mosqueta oil instantly softens and detangles without any heat. If you need an extra moisture boost layer the Onesta moisture binding conditioner on top of it imparts shine and brillance through the hair. Just massage through the hair concentrating on the hair ends and just rinse out. Voila!

So if you need fabulous hair without sitting under a heated dryer because you are short on time, then this conditioner is the "go to" conditioner!

You can purchase from "organic specialty stores" such as Healthy Home Market, Vitamin Shoppe, and Earthfare.

I tried out the Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose moisturizing shampoo as well, but found it to contain too much soy protein. I plan to stick with the conditioner in this line versus the shampoo.

2012: Change your Vision not your Hair!

The next time that you look through a "hairstyle" book, take the time to look closely at the models' hair textures at their roots.

What I have found that if you look past the style, the makeup, and the pose, but really look at the root of the hair to guess at curl patterns. I started seeing a trend. Almost all of the free flowing, sleek hairstyles looked like the model had a relaxed, type 3 curl pattern.

On the other hand, almost all of the "defined" shorter hairstyles looked like they had a relaxed, type 4 curl pattern. So what does that mean? Questions about curl pattern types? Please see my separate article about Andre Walker's book on hair.

Within this article, I added three pictures of what I think looks like Type 3 curl patterns and three pictures of what I think looks like Type 4 curl patterns. Can you see a difference? Most Type 4 curl patterns can not get color highlights, relaxer touch-ups and maintain length. Most Type 4 curl patterns still have a light "ripple" of texture through the relaxed strand of hair no matter what relaxer is used. Those with Type 3 curl patterns usually can get a very sleek, finished hairstyle with very little effort. So go ahead and compare pictures in this article. I will give you a hint. The ladies in the "BBD Stretch" flyer/flier would more than likely fall into a Type 3 curl pattern.

Okay. So we are born with the curl pattern that God gave us. We can elongate our curl pattern, but we can not change the starting pattern. Curl reduction (i.e. elongation) can alter it for styling control, but our foundation is "what it is."

So if you are a type 4 curl pattern, but you want a type 3 curl pattern "finish." You may not get the sleekness, but you can get the haircut and the final styling with some good movement to it.

I am on a quest to feature type 4 curl patterns within one hair (styling) book. I think that the type 3 curl patterns are featured everywhere and are often used in hair show demonstration because of the brilliant, "sealed" cuticle finish.

I just wrote an article mentioning "not that nappy" hair. In that article, I mention how the makers of KeraCare products does not reflect the "sistas" with "kink" in their hair in their more recent print ads.

It makes you wonder if these "black" marketed companies really have the best interest of the "kinky" hair in mind. Luckily, with the huge "naturally curly" movement, all the product companies are being forced with really seeing the levels of curly and kinky-curly hair that is really out there.

So hairstylists that are interested in showcasing their work on type 4 curl patterns -relaxed or natural then let me know! Please also be willing to assist with the cost of the distinguished publication.

On a separate note, I am also on a quest to feature other hairstylists internationally on this blog that are doing exceptional work! I am NOT looking for any submissions. I refuse to have hairstylists to pay to be featured on this blog. I only want to feature hairstylists that I have had to stop their client and ask "who does your hair?" I will find YOU through your work!

After months of waiting to find an exceptional head of hair outside of my own clientele (smile), I met a lady today. I gave her the invitation to give to her hairstylist. She was from Hampton, Virginia area. Historically, almost every person that I have ever met with undoubtedly exceptional hair have never been from the NC area. California, Virginia, Washington DC, New York, but not from the South. Hopefully, the hairstylist will call, and I can interview her. My fingers are crossed. The lady with exceptional hair actually was a perfect "silver fox." If I had to guess the curl pattern . . . probably a type 3 curl pattern, but it was just simply beautiful.

Okay, ladies, for 2012: embrace your texture, accept your curl pattern, and visualize growing your hair based what works for your hair type; not anyone else. Sisters can have the same mother but different hair types. Learn you. Do you. Have a Happy New year!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December 2011 Relaxer Touch-up

I'm a little exhausted from the start of a full week, but the relaxer touch-up application went well. I had the hairstylist to use the Design Essentials Regular relaxer with shea butter and olive oil. (new improved formula) I was happy that I did not burn. Surprisingly, the back half of my hair still seemed resistant. So thank God it was not my imagination. The stylist agrees that the back half of my head does NOT want to relax as quickly as the front half of my head. She also mentioned that five weeks should be a good touch-up timeframe for me. I had a lot of new growth for under 7 weeks since the previous relaxer touch-up. We did roller set my hair with the Mixed Chicks leave-in conditioner. Also, we trimmed /cut again.

I am pleased with the Design Essenitals Shea Butter and Olive oil relaxer. I will probably use it again. Second day hair was good. I just put it in a bonnet and picked it back in place the next morning.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Six weeks and Five Days Post Relaxer

Judging by my hairline, my new growth at my roots is now officially beyond control. It has been almost seven weeks since my last relaxer touch-up. This is "double" the wait timeframe that I had been performing my touch-ups. Remember I was at about every four weeks? I know. I am always telling my clients that four weeks is too soon. I finally know that I need to listen to my own advice. Smile.

But on a separate note, I met another hairstylist while shopping in one of my favorite stores: Tuesday Morning on last month. I am planning to have her to perform my relaxer touch-up for me this week. With me performing my own relaxers, I really lose control at keeping the relaxer at my new growth/root area. So hopefully, with this hairstylist, I should not get so much relaxer overlap onto my previously relaxed hair.

I plan to have her to use the new formula of the Design Essentials regular relaxer with Shea Butter and Olive Oil. Why? I really think that this particular improved Design Essentials relaxer is a midway point between the Mild True Indulgence (T/I) and the Regular True Indulgence (T/I) relaxer. I believe the Mild T/I relaxer is not strong enough for my type 4c curl pattern, but the Regular T/I relaxer is more aggressive than what I want touching my scalp since I am needing touch-ups within a six weeks period.

I plan to remove my "Holiday Hair" before she performs the relaxer touch-up this week. I will keep you posted on how it goes! Until then, it is "hat time."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Honorable Mention: the Clynol Protege Team

The two hair books pictured are for 2011 on the left and 2012 on the right. But notice the "redhead" on the bottom left corner of both magazines. The styling credits show the Clynol Protege Team.

Now, look at this 2009 hair magazine . . . you see the larger photo of the model on the right? the same picture . . . . Wow! I am starting to feel like this model is special????

Anyway, I researched this team online since their work was highlighted for the last three years on the cover of the magazine. It is a British team. You have to be selected to train with this academy for a year. I was really impressed with the mission of this organization. Aspiring hairstylists should check into qualifying for this training opportunity! I think it designed to lead to a career boost!

Quote: "Their hair is not that nappy"

I recently had a "mom" (parent) to call the salon for a price check on pressing children's hair. I shared my uniform thermal pricing, and the response was silence followed by "their hair is not that nappy . . ." I was a little speechless myself, but it was definitely the "quote" of the week for me. LOL!

In hindsight, despite the fact that the statement could be taken offensively by some of us with extremely overcurly hair ; it is almost a week later, and I am still chuckling over this statement.

Well, the Avlon picture in this article is supposed to represent Black women . . . My response to this picture is "their hair is not that nappy." Not one of those ladies pictured have really kinky, "Black" hair.

Avlon is the makers of KeraCare and Affirm product lines. It makes me wonder who their test models are. The "kinkier" sistas would feel more comfortable seeing ladies that have hair similar to their own. Historically, when it comes to purchasing hair products, ladies want to see women who look like them, but they need to have hair like them as well. Otherwise, "no sale."

So Avlon, please work on featuring more sistas with kinkier hair . . . Please?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Haircuts: How low can you go?

Haircuts . . . from $4.99 in Charlotte, NC to $499.00 in Beverly Hills, California. My Goodness. What a range? At the $500 price point, a plush robe and slippers, light lunch, and some aromatherapy are probably included.

At a $5.00 price point, then you may still get a $500 haircut without the extra "bells and whistles." It is a toss up. Amazingly, at $500, a customer still could hate the new haircut. It could be too edgy or too short.

I really want to raise awareness of different territories. Can a hairstylist who is used to charging $300 for a haircut transfer to North Carolina and still charge $300 for a haircut? I feel that I can safely say . . . the hairstylist needs to transfer with some clientele or look at another career. There is slim to no chance of surviving in the North Carolina area with $300 haircuts while also being new to the area.

Something to think about . . .

Color Fade Caused by the Sun

I had this red shirt in the salon storefront window for a few months. Notice the color fade? The front and the back of the shirt are two different shades of red. The Credit Card decals on the window blocked the sun from fading in the square area of the red shirt. Do you see the rich red block among the faded color?

Whether it is summer or winter, the sun rays can be very powerful. Shampoo lines like Pureology have Anti-fade and UV ray protection. Too much sun exposure without proper protection can deliver potentially undesirable results.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Flat irons are at the $20 USD range

Do you remember paying $150 to $200 US Dollars for a ceramic, ionic flat iron? Were you really paying for a lightweight microwave attached to two heated plates? I believe that you can purchase a microwave to cook food at about $100. So maybe the beauty industry finally realizes that the indirect heat of the ionic flat irons were destroying too much hair? Notice the word "new" on the Revlon SmoothStay titanium plate flat iron packaging pictured? Titanium plates have proven to be smoother to run down the hair strand than the ceramic plates. Notice these new flat irons are not promoting any "ionic" nor "far infrared heating." I am so excited about the new technology push and its price points. At $20 US Dollars, there is no excuse! All you flat iron addicts, can now try a healthier flat iron with adjustable temperature that is not designed to "cook" your hair from the inside out! These New flat irons pictured were found in a local Target store in December 2011.

Friday, December 2, 2011

KeraCare products keep changing ingredients!

KeraCare product line changed the formula of some of its shampoos a few years ago to make them sulfate-free. Many of the hairstylists began complaining about the new formula, so KeraCare re-entered the old formula back onto the market as the "classic" formula. Now, I realized that the original "sulfate-free" 1st Lather shampoo has changed ingredients since it was first introduced into the market. The pH is also different. Some bottles of the sulfate-free First Lather shampoos have a "6.5" pH and some bottles have a "4.5" pH.

I wonder what are the rules of changing the ingredients of products, but they still market the products as the same product?

For instance, I did an article on how Nexxus Humectress changed their ingredients over the years. Recently, I also noticed that Paul Mitchell Sculpting Foam eliminated an ingredient Lawsonia Inermis(Henna) Extract as well as changed their dispenser top for this foam.

I suppose the manufacturers do not want to pay extra money to re-package or to bring alert to minor ingredient changes, but major ingredient changes should be marked on the packaging as a courtesy to the hairstylists in case the ingredient change affect the results in their client's hair. At least, they will not have to be surprised.

Physicians don't expect their prescription drugs to change in midstream. Why should cosmetologists have the "switch-a-roo" done to them?

Product Review: KeraCare Twist and Define Cream

No, this is not me, although we both have great smiles. Lol! My cheerful model pictured has type 4c hair, and it is all natural and in an updo in the back. She has no chemicals in her hair. We used KeraCare Cleansing Cream, Uncle Funky Daughter's Richee Rich Conditioner, and Keracare Twist and Define cream. I "shingled" and double strand twisted the hair into cornrows. I did not have to use any perm rods on the ends of the cornrows because the type 4c curl pattern naturally curls back on itself at the ends. The drying time was at least an hour. We loved the elongation of the curl pattern that the Twist and Define cream gave, but there was some minor crystallization residue in the hair. I am thinking that in the future to skip the deep conditioning process and follow with the KeraCare Natural Textures Leave-in Conditioner. Then use the KeraCare Twist and Define cream.

The crystallization that formed in some areas was tolerable, but it reminded me that even when I was experimenting this summer with the KeraCare's Defining Custard, I used to have challenges with crystallization. I am almost convinced that when it comes to the natural, curly hair product lines, one really needs to stick with all the products within the same line.

I also have to admit that I had to use "Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding" around the hairline because the KeraCare Twist and Define Cream did not seem to want to lay some of the shorter, kinkier hairline down. Miss Jessie's "Curly Pudding" is my best edge tamer for natural and relaxed hair.

My model can further finish this style off with a colorful scarf or a loose headband.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Coloring Relaxed hair: What you should know!

So you are thinking about coloring your hair? First of all, If you have black, relaxed type 4b or type 4c hair, then do not even think about coloring your hair unless you are planning to maintain a short hairstyle. No exceptions. If you want to color any gray hair coming in from amongst your natural black, long, relaxed hair, then a "natural black" semi-permanent (no mixing) squeeze bottle brand of color will have to do or consider going gray.

Now, that we got that initial category of people who should not color their hair, let's talk technical about the haircoloring process.

Pictured are three developers. 10 volume developer gives one level of lift to the hair. 20 volume developer gives two levels of lift to the hair. 30 volume developer gives three levels of lift to the hair. 40 volume developer gives four levels of lift to the hair. The 40 volume developer is not shown in the picture because I do not offer 40 volume lift as a hair service. Why? If you want to maintain healthy hair, 3 levels of lift is the most lift in one setting that you can achieve and maintain healthy, non-relaxed hair. If you have Type 3, long, relaxed hair, then 15 volume developer is the highest developer level that you can use to maintain healthy, long relaxed hair in one setting.

So how do you get 15 volume developer? Mix 10 volume and 20 volume developers in equal parts to achieve a 15 volume strength. Some hair classes say 20 volume developer is safe for relaxed hair. Yes, this is true if you are planning to maintain a short hairstyle. As the hair gets longer, relaxed hair with 20 volume lift can get tempermental and break easily. I would not risk the 20 volume developer for clients desiring length.

Not sure what curl pattern you are and you are considering color? Here's a rule of thumb to go by: If you need a regular strength relaxer and your roots (new growth) are tight within six weeks or less, then you do not need to experiment with haircolor. Once the hair is lifted, a mild relaxer is the only relaxer strength that needs to be used to prevent breakage.

Also, pictured are activating lotions for demi-permanent haircolor. Please treat demi-permanent hair color like permanent haircolor as far as the rules for experimenting with color or not. Let me be clear: Demi-permanent color is not strong enough in general to lift hair to any level, but the peroxide in the lotion is what can cause kinkier hair types to become vulnerable to breakage.

Some demi-permanent haircolor can be used on the same day as the relaxer for Type 3 and some Type 4a hair types only. The processing time is 10 to 15 minutes MAX including application. However, remember Type 3 and Type 4a clientele are going to be receiving a mild relaxer anyway.

So if you are receiving a regular strength relaxer, then a no-mix brand of color is the only option for you on the same day as a relaxer. I do not care what the hairstylist was told in the color class where they are trying to sell their color line. If you are a regular strength or a super strength relaxer client, no demi-permanent color for you on relaxer day nor any other day if you want to grow your length out.

Double processed hair means the same hair strand is processed with two chemicals. (Color and relaxer) Kinky hair becomes vulnerable to breakage when double processed.

So if you have "kinky" hair and you see a lot of sistas with beautiful haircolor walking down the street? Feel free to stop them. Don't ask them who does their hair. Why? Because their hair may not be kinky. However, do ask them if they get a mild relaxer or not? and how often? If they are every six to twelve weeks, then they do not have kinky hair to start with. Their hair may not be like yours. If you find that you have the same type of hair, then ask for their hairstylist information.

In my opinion, it is a myth that most Black women have kinky Black hair. In my years of doing hair, I have found that half of the Black women in the US really do not have truly kinky, Black hair. What? Yes. I am serious. There is a lot of mixed hair out there.

Most of the hair care manufacturers are always showcasing Black women, but these Black women nine times out of ten do not represent a kinky hair, Black woman. They look like "Black women," and they are probably considered "Black" as far as race is concerned, but their hair is NOT the "kinky head of hair" that most Black women would call "real Black hair."

Let me clarify. I am not being discriminatory. In fact, many of my long hair clientele are Type 3, mixed hair. Early in my hairstyling career, I felt that what was working for Type 3 hair should be working for my "kinkier, Type 4 hair" clients. Not the right answer. In fact, it was not until I was able to compare my notes on different clients that I started seeing the common thread of what worked and when it worked. It all became clear. The natural curl pattern is the deciding factor in what can be done with haircolor and conditioner choices.

Actually, the hair care product lines are just starting to really understand Type 4, kinky hair. Thank God so many Black women started going back to their kinky, natural hair. It really forced product makers to deal with "real, Black hair." In all honesty, Type 3 hair is easier to work with natural or relaxed. It is a low maintenance curl pattern. Type 4 hair is where women are constantly fighting to control their hair. Naturally, kinky hair is stronger, but it is harder to control for styling purposes. Relaxing kinky hair makes it vulnerable because of the strength of relaxer needed to control it. So again, regular locs and sisterlocs can easily be the "go to option" where you have no limits on haircolor because there is no relaxer involved with locking hair.

I know this article started out on haircolor. So in summary, Type 3 hair and some Type 4a hair that are happy with a mild strength relaxer have very few limitations with haircolor options. Kinky hair, type 4b and type 4c, should not experiment with haircolor unless you are natural or wearing locs.

Also, let me add a message to hairstylists in general: Hairstylists that do not have "traditional kinky hair" need to know that what works for their "non-kinky" hair will not always work on Type 4 kinky hair. Hopefully, this message is received in a loving manner. I am not trying to be a "hater." God made all of us for a purpose.

Personally, I have kinky, resistant hair. It has been a "pain in my rear end," but now, that I have eliminated flat irons, sensitive scalp relaxers, permanent haircolor, keratin treatments, relaxer alternatives, heavy wigs and daily use of heating tools, (did I forget anything? Smile) I think that I finally have a regimen that will work!