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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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wavers: Deep Wave set

I introduced these wavers a couple of years ago on this blog.  I have had some great success stories lately with using them right after a relaxer service.  Hairart is the brand.
"Ryler Stylers" is the waver tool pictured with "double connectors."  I have found it best to place the wavers in the hair so that the clamp closure anchors upward as seen above.

And the two "hook connectors" are designed to build and connect to the next unit in order to accommodate longer hair.  Some waver tools only have one hook to build on.  I am putting emphasis on the connectors because I had a hairstylist tear all the hooks off some of the wavers because she thought it was extra plastic leftover on the wavers.  Of course, those wavers now have limited use.

This Ryler style waver does not bend with the contour of the head.  The waver tools with one hook are more flexible in fitting under the dryer.

In the picture above, you can see how this is two units connected to together.  I have one side pulled slightly apart so that you can envision the two units separately.  These waves come in crimper size as well.  When parting the hair, use about 2 inch slices to make sure enough hair is able to support the weight of the wavers. As far as placement into the hair, the picture above shows the waver upside down.  The first picture in this article is the best way to install into the hair.  Also, the drying time is about an hour or less for the average head of hair.

Accent Hair Coloring: A bold new trend

Fashion has been showcasing bold, disconnected colors. Now, the freedom of color is expanding into hair!

You will need color bowls with multiple wells to hold the different colors that you want to add. Hair must be pre-lightened or bleached prior to trying to achieve any accent haircolor.

Semi-permanent colors do not have to be mixed with an activator. Using the law of color, you can achieve secondary colors such as greens and violets or just buy them pre-mixed if you can find them.

 As far as maintenance, color treated shampoos and conditioners should be used to slow down fading.  Also, the "touch-up on the roots" may be a little hard to maintain consistency if you want to continue to keep the look for an extended period of time.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Want all of your Hair options?

Fact: You were born with hair. Opinion: You may or may not like the hair that you were born with.

Fact: You can learn to love the hair that you were born with. Opinion: Everyone may or may not like your natural hair.

So lately I have had a few newer clients who have come in thinking about transitioning out of the relaxer, but they do not like their natural curl pattern. So they ask me what are their options?

Honestly, I am out of options for some clientele. Either love your natural hair and learn to control it with cosmetic products OR use heat or a chemical to assist with reducing the curl pattern in order to control it.

I may suggest locks/Sisterlocks, but some feel that their spouse would not accept the "locked" look. I hate to suggest a "soft curl" because it is a chemical just like a relaxer. Depending on the tightness of the curl pattern, texturizers, keratin treatments, and smoothing treatments are all a waste of time.

I do recommend people to visit my "curl pattern review" article on this blog to really see where their curl pattern falls in the scope of the curly hair world. Some people think that they have kinky hair until they actually see just how kinky hair can be.

If people can learn to love their natural curl pattern whether in freeform or locks, then they may enjoy the following benefits: 1) Better sex with their spouse because they are not trying to hold on to a $40 hairdo. 2) Enjoying events in the rain without carrying an umbrella. 3) Enjoying swimmning, workouts, and exercising and not worrying about a hair being out of place.

How about wigs, sew-ins, braids, and other protective styling? These hair additions methods will give you style, but not necessarily freedom. After months of protective styling, you will still be forced to deal with your own natural curl pattern again. That curl pattern in hiding is not going to change unless there is a medical reason present.

Any other options to add?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Final Evaluation: Pravanna Keratin Fusion Texture Control

First of all, as their website now states "Pravanna Keratin Fusion Texture Control is NOT similiar to a brazilian keratin treatment (BKT). However, it IS similar to a Japanese Reconditioning Treatment." In my downtime, I decided to perform this treatment on one of my kinky haired mannequins.
First of all, the mixture does smell like "perm solution" which is stinky. They have promoted this product as "zero thio," but there is some sort of thio derivative as its core chemical ingredient.
I decided only to perform the procedure on the right half of my mannequin head. I had been using this mannequin for press and curl trial and errors. It was purchased with kinky hair so that it can be relaxed, etc. No relaxer has touched this mannequin. I have used all types of hot tools at various different heat settings on this mannequin. So the hair was a little compromised.
I worked the properly measured solution through the right side of the mannequin head. It is definitely best to have mininmal tangles in the hair before starting your application. The solution does not undo knots. It does seem to soften tangle-free hair. I performed the "knot test" to make sure the hair had processed long enough. It looked straight until I rinsed the chemical solution from it. The mannequin hair felt weak and dry and looked wavy not straight. I did not flat iron it which was supposed to be the next step in order to permanently straighten it. I decided to detangle and neutralize it with the bonding lotion that was included in the kit. The hair still felt dry and weak so I had to condition it to get to normalize.
I did a simple styling to it for this article. I will probably sisterlock the other half of the head or maybe even relax a quadrant on the left side. I am personally happy that I never suggested this treatment for ethnic hair. When this product was first launched it was misleading. I think BioIonic has a similar "smoothing" treatment that is also more thio based. Please remember that relaxers and thio do not mix. The two chemicals break two different bonds. Please do not be fooled by derivatives. If your hair regimen may include relaxer some time in the future, then you should NOT use Pravanna Keratin Fusion Texture Control. You would have to grow it out before relaxing your hair. I know that the before and after pictures look great on here, but without proper conditioning, the hair felt so raw and abnormal. I did not like this product for anyone with Type 4 curl pattern.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Using Disposable Decorating Bags for Base Refills

All the hairstylists are just going to love me for this one. This is a "no mess" base refill into the squeeze bottle applicator solution.
So as everyone knows, the 4 pound bucket of relaxer base is much more economic than purchasing any of the smaller sizes. However, the downside is trying to get a bucket full of greasy base into a small neck squeeze bottle applicator.
So I purchased some disposable "cake" decorating bags, 12" size plus a "Smart water." I drank the water. Hydration- yes! I cut the top of the water bottle off and lined the inside of the bottle with the disposable decorating bag. Cautious, the next point is crucial in not making a mess.
You must tie a loose knot at the narrow end of the disposable decorating bag prior to lining the water bottle. Also, make sure the wide end of the decorating bag is overlapping the water bottle a few inches in order to be able to twist the end shut and squeeze the base into the squeeze bottle applicator. ( On a side note, this picture looks like an oversized condom - OMG. Anyway, I digress. Smile.)
So to recap: after scooping the base from the 4 pound bucket into the lined water bottle, then removing the loose knot at the narrow end of the bag and twisting the opening at the wide end and squeezing the greasy relaxer base into the the bottle applicator. It is now filled, and the decorating bag can be disposed of. Best of all, this procedure is orderly, quick, and no mess!

Relaxers: Curl Elongation Percentages

I received this chart from one of my continuing education classes. It shows curl reduction or curl elongation from 0% to 100%. Typically, if a client is receiving a relaxer service, then I shoot for 75 to 85% curl reduction. Some hairstylists shoot for 95 to 100%. If a client asks me for a texturizer, then I shoot for 50% curl reduction. Where I run into a challenge is when a client tells me to texturize, but in reality, she really wants to achieve 75 to 85% in curl reduction. Obviously, as an end result we are not on the same page if she is used to hairstylists giving her 100% bone straight hair, and I am delivering 50% texturized hair which was what she had asked for by my own definition. So now, I prefer to ask clients in curl reduction percentages "What are they trying to achieve? 50% or 85% or 100% curl reduction?" That way, we are both on the same page. Of course, 100% curl reduction can be problematic for the hair long term, but that is a whole other story.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Miss Jessie's Updated their Product Guide

The Miss Jessie's quick product guide on the left with the two women of color is the latest edition. The version on the right is the old edition. The new version includes their latest conditioner called the Super Sweetback Treatment.
Now, compare the descriptions of the Curly pudding and the Curly Meringue. The curly pudding was described as soft hold in the old version of the product guide but described as medium hold in the new product guide. I do not think that the formula changed. I just think the previous version of the product guide was in error, and they corrected it in the newer guide.
Unfortunately, I can imagine that some people bought the wrong product based on the product guide description, and Miss Jessie's products are not cheap. I do not believe there is any product under $10.
For the record, having some experience with Miss Jessie's products, Curly Meringue is soft hold and Curly Pudding is medium hold with oil moisturizers. I hope that this helps!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Big Chop Remix: Cutting Off SisterLocks

I just met another lady who cut off her SisterLocks a few months ago. She came in for a relaxer service. She got me thinking. Let me research about others who have cut their SisterLocks off. I read two blogs and both ladies had long, gorgeous SisterLocks. They had followers who adored their SisterLocks. Once they entered into the "teeny weeny afro" stage; the compliments stopped. Their blog stopped. I have no idea what their story is now.

One common reason for the big chop off of SisterLocks was because women wanted to see their natural texture without the locks. They said that they wanted the freedom of free flowing hair. However, one blogger realized after the big chop that her curl pattern was much tighter than she had thought. (i.e. this was not a good thing.)

With all of this said, I realized that being able to keep your relaxed hair while your SisterLocks grow out is both a blessing for some and a curse for others. For me it was a blessing because last summer, I tried dealing with my natural hair one last time. It beat my a$$- up and down, left and right, and downright wore me out. I got a full dose of my natural hair, and the pressing comb did not seem to be the answer. "Texturizing it" was not the answer. "Relaxer upkeep" was not the answer. So rest assured that I know where I came from, and I am SisterLocked for life as far as I am concerned right now.

Don't get me wrong, last summer, I learned a lot about all the curl care lines so I have been a Godsend for others regarding product recommendations. All of my trial and error (mostly error) is paying off now as far as curly hair recommendations go and as far as virgin relaxer services go. Yes! All of that wrestling with my natural hair is really paying off one year later.

So to see ladies cut off long, beautiful Sisterlocks to discover their natural curl pattern . . . when, their natural curl pattern was right in front of their eyes; yet, it was in a manageable state called Sisterlocks - is disturbing.

So for those who found it to be a curse going from relaxer to Sisterlocks because they felt like they missed out on an opportunity. I respect that. I am sorry that they felt deprived. However, while they were transitioning in order to prepare for SisterLocks, their natural hair was there at their roots if they really dug in to see it. It was probably not as manageable which was why Sisterlocks was probably eventually installed. I know that I am making it sound so simple, but if you run your hands along your new growth with your eyes closed. You can feel your natural texture more than trying to visualize what it could be.

On a separate note, some people said that their SisterLocks were thinning out or shedding so they cut them off. Now, almost all of them had used permanent color on their SisterLocks. I am not saying that the coloring was the problem, but to be on the safe side, I have no intentions of coloring my SisterLocks. My curl pattern and permanent haircolor are not friends. I am not willing to risk damaging my SisterLocks.

So my point of this article, if anyone is thinking about chopping off their long, beautiful Sisterlocks to experiment with a short afro . . . you will probably find yourself just as "bound" as when you had SisterLocks. If your Sisterlocks are too plentiful to stuff under a wig then so be it - cut it all off if you will, but there is a 50/50 chance that you are going to eventually end up with a relaxer again unless you never needed a relaxer nor SisterLocks in the first place.

Product Review: BBD King Stretch Growth Creme

The flier says "This is the models real hair. No weave added . ." BBD (Big Badd D) Stretch Growth Creme is a penetrating water base, water soluble reconstructor. I love it on my SisterLocks. It absorbs into my SisterLocks immediately and hydrates my scalp. It feels like a splash of water when I run it through my SisterLocks. Even after a few days, it does not feel heavy nor sticky. It does not seem to build up.
You can see the moisture in the product. I have to admit that I recently pulled this jar out of my arsenal because the S'curl moisture spray seemed to eventually become sticky after daily use. So far this Stretch Growth Creme is not building up and is not sticky. It seems to allow me to manipulate my Sisterlocks and they seems to stay in place. That means the product is very lightweight.
I purchased this Moisture creme from the Bronner Brothers hair show over a year ago. Their packaging has gotten more sophisticated and mainstream over the years. I first learned about them about four years ago.
Now, for the not so good news, this product ended up in my product arsenal of "standbys" because for relaxed hair, I felt it was a little too wet. I never really could get a feel for its benefits. Also, pictured is the $55.00 retail jar. Yes, it is expensive compared to those on a tight budget. So in the past, I found it hard to retail a $55 jar of "wetness" to relaxed hair clients. There is no ingredient list on the jar either. I have run into quite a few professional ethnic haircare lines that omit ingredients for fear of product duplication.
Anyway, I am going to assume that the models on this Stretch Growth Creme ad have a looser curl pattern than I do since they are double processed with color and probably relaxer. I do not know their regimen, but as for me, every day or every other day, the Stretch Growth Creme is a fulfilling hydration boost.
By the way, I have my SisterLocks tucked behind my ears. They are getting easier to style now. The freedom from having to wake up and grab a scarf, wig, hairpiece, or a cap has been unreal. I really foresee swimming next year and getting out of the water without wondering what my hair looks like. It will simply look wet, long, and beautiful.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Achieve Ombre Hair: Three Hair Coloring Techniques

Pictured is Raven Symone sporting an Ombre hair coloring technique. As I was watching the Ricki Lake show last week, Celebrity stylist Kimberly Kimble showed an "ombre" hair model. This word "ombre" caught my attention. So I had to do my research to find that Ombre hair is the two toned hair trend. Ombre is spelled with a french accent aigu on the "e" which I do not know how to create in this blog editor; however, the look can be achieved by three different hair coloring methods.
As seen in Jessical Biel's ombre hair, the look can be achieved with permanent color and/or lightener(hair bleach) by a professional colorist at a salon like "Bumble and Bumble" so that the two colors will blend naturally.
Secondly, you can try temporary Ombre haircoloring by chalking the hair. I have a few other articles on this blog about hair chalking.
Of course, if all else fails, you can go for "Ombre" two toned hair extensions. This pack of "Ombre hair" is probably five or ten years old. I do not even think that they called two toned hair Ombre back then. The package description just says "Euro weaving" hair. I really think that this two toned hair look made a "comeback" with a fierce, celebrity upgrade.
So now, when you see gorgeous two toned hair, you can say "I love your Ombre hair!"
Salon advertisement for "Ombre highlights."

Sunday, October 7, 2012

DevaCurl has Four Curl Categories

DevaCurl curl care line has categorized curls into four categories: S'wavy, wavy, botticelli, and corkscrew. Please see the attached picture for examples of each category. Most ethnic hair is considered curly or overcurly and would most likely fall into DevaCurl's "corkscrew" category.

If you are interested in other curl pattern pictures, please review our curl pattern review article on this blog: Curl Pattern Review
According to January 2011 Modern Salon magazine, 65% or more of all people have some curl or wave in their hair. When managing curly hair, remember some people need moisture only and others need moisture and control.

Those who need control should seek out curl care products with more weight to them in order to seal. Yes, you may feel some film on the hair or some firmness, but it should not look hard. You should see shine and curls that are set into place.

If you are not worried about control then moisturize and go! Leave-in conditioners such as Mixed Chicks is all you would need.
On a separate, note, according to Naturally Curly Network 2011, 48% of curly-haired consumers wear their hair curly 100% of the time.
Paul Mitchell Products now has added a Curl Care line. Honestly, all major product lines are adding "curl care" components to their existing line. I think that curly hair is here to stay until the economy gets better. Natural hair is less fuss and less styling time when you get a good regimen down.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Transitioning Hair: The Pin Cushion example

As I was preparing my needles for a sew-in client, I was reflecting on how this tomato pin cushion made a huge difference in my ability to prevent threaded needles from tangling. Anyone who has threaded four or five needles and laid them down flat next to each other on a table have probably ended up with a tangled web of threads that become more and more tangled until you have to cut the needles out and start over. Somebody has been there with me right?
Well, by resting the threaded needles in the pin cushion, they never ever seem to tangle because the foundation is stationary. Interesting. It seems that by keeping the "foundation/roots" straight avoids the threads from tangling. Wow! This really got me thinking about transitioning hair. The more new growth that comes in; the more challenging the manageability of naturally kinky hair gets overall because you do not have a straight foundation. So the tighter the curl pattern, the more unmanageable the hair will be unless you relax the roots, lock it, or just perform the "big chop." If none of those three options are desirable, then your hair may be a "bear" to detangle with each wash.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hair Length Acronyms

Photo credit from

For more details besides what I have listed below, then please check out the link above.

The most popular Hair Length Acronynms are:

APL = Armpit Length

BSL = Bra Strap Length

SL = Shoulder Length

TLBN = Tailbone Length

TWA = Teeny Weeny Afro

BAA = Big Ass Afro

Brown Spiders Attracted to Brown hair?

On several occasions over the years, I have removed dry leftover brown hair from the shampoo bowl in the morning after a late night in the salon to find a brown spider taking shelter. I also have caught a few other brown spiders in my shampoo bowl area. One was dropping down by web spinning to get to the shampoo bowl. According to my research, they are seeking water. My spider discoveries do not happen often enough to be alarming, but over the years, I definitely have made a note of it. What is strange is that I never see black spiders taking shelter in dried, leftover, black colored hair in the shampoo bowl.

NOTE: My shampoo bowl is black as are most shampoo bowls to avoid haircolor staining. I do not know if that makes a difference.

Monday, October 1, 2012

My Second SisterLocks Retightening Session

My second retightening session took about 3.5 hours. It is like a "relaxer touch-up" without the chemical. SisterLocks is a natural hair management system.
My personal SisterLocks consultant tightened my roots with more rotations this time than she did the first retightening session. Apparently, I am becoming less tenderheaded. Maybe because I have not been wearing any protective styling for about 10 weeks straight? Yay!
This last picture is right before my retightening session. Notice that I have thicker roots. Right? In the picture above, I look more "scalpy" after the retightening session which was at a five week interval from the previous retightening session. My scalp should thicken up again in another week - give or take.

As a reminder, my SisterLocks were installed on July 24, 2012 with relaxed ends. They are about 2.5 months old. On a separate note, my hair texture is coarse so my relaxed ends are considered more texturized and similar to someone who actually may have started off with a looser curl pattern. One SisterLock consultant that I met with looked at my hair and could not tell that I had relaxed ends. So my hair texturized is equal to someone else's natural curl pattern. Amazing. So putting my relaxed ends into a SisterLocks framework was not as far fetched idea as what I was taught in my own SisterLocks class in Boston, MA.

Well, as you all can guess, I am still going to my original SisterLocks installer. As you all also know, I do not like "chair hopping." We have been partnering much better with my hair. I had to call other SisterLocks consultants to give me ideas on how to improve my styling ability since my personal consultant is not a hairstylist/cosmetologist. The SisterLocks tips worked, and my consultant was willing to make some rotation adjustments to ease my ability to style after retightening. It is working out! It is definitely a journey, but I am happy that I started it.