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, November 24, 2013

Rihanna's hair for AMA 2013 Icon Award

Photo credit:, Pictured is Bill Maher, Rihanna, and Rihanna's mother (Monica Fenty).

I am loving the rhinestone roller pins anchoring Rihanna's head wrap hairstyling. Some call this hairstyle a "doobie."  Others may reference this hairstyling to the Tuvinian culture who are known for hats and scarves that resemble this "head wrap" styling.

Some people felt Rihanna's hair was incomplete in the head wrap styling.  While others probably see it as a new trend to follow.   We will see!

Congratulations Rihanna on your most recent Icon Award for the American Music Awards 2013.  Your mom's speech was heartfelt and got me a little teary eyed.  Thanks for keeping it real!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Customized Bob Haircuts out of New Jersey

Photo and models by Simply Chic Hair Studio, LLC out of Union, New Jersey.

Believe it or not, I am almost positive that the back of these heads are all "Sistahs."  I believe Ms. Tara L. Patterson is the hair artist.

The bob haircut(s) pictured were customized for each of the four young ladies pictured.  Everyone's occipital bone falls differently and eveyone's headshape is different.  Haircuts have to be adjusted for each individual client.

I corresponded with the hairstylist through Facebook, and she did confirm with me that each of these women did have different bone structure and headshape.  Awesome work captured in Union, New Jersey!

Hair Politics: Being Caught in the Center

Photo credit:

Just when you think that you've encountered every salon scenario possible, then another one comes up that really makes us hairdressers feel like a psychologist.

The situation:  The mother wants her ten year old daughter to get all her relaxed hair chopped off. (i.e. Big chop)  But the pre-teen only wants a trim and is afraid of peer pressure at school that she may encounter from having a "boy haircut."

The challenge: The mother is telling me in a private conversation that she told the daughter that she was coming to the salon for a trim only, but she, the mother, wants me "to big chop" it.

My psychological resolution:  As you can see, I was completely thrown in the middle of this mother/daughter disagreement.  The mother was paying the bill, but the pre-teen clearly trusted her mother when she was told that she was coming to the hairdresser for a trim only.  Luckily, I gave the little girl a short haircut that both she and her mom both could live with.  It was a compromise.

My ethical dilemma:  I was in control of the shears and cutting the whole time.  I could have just performed the big chop as requested by the mother and traumatized the young lady for the rest of her life.  She probably would hate me, her mom, and all future hairdressers from that day forward if I had cut all of her hair off.  She was shoulder length relaxed with only about three months of new growth at the roots.  I couldn't do it.  I could see in this child's eyes that the big chop would be the ultimate betrayal, and I would not be able to live with myself if this child endured this nightmare at my hand.  I also could not betray the mom and tell the preteen that her mom told me to do so.  I was in a horrible position.  I thank God that He revealed to me a compromise to this dilemma.  I also told the mom that if this new short haircut did not work, then I will perform the big chop for free on the next visit.  That way, the mother did not feel like she was going to pay twice for what she asked me to do on the first visit.

Further confirmation:  I discussed this scenario with a client who is a dentist.  She said that she has encountered the same situation where the parent tells the child that they are going to get a tooth filled but is secretly telling her to extract the child's tooth out. (i.e. pull the tooth in lieu of filling it)  She agreed that she refuses to be put in the middle of the parent and child.  Granted, the child may not being paying the bill, but it is a heavy load to intentionally betray anyone especially a child.

Six Months and Three Year Thickness Comparisons

November 2013 (front hair twisted up) versus  May 2013 (with towel around my neck)

Pictured above is a six months comparison in thickness of my microlocks.  Again, finger twisting seems to work better for me for my lock tightening method.  March 2013 was my last interlocking session.

Pictured is the back of my head in November 2010 after a fresh haircut from another hairstylist.  I had relaxed hair at the time without any extensions nor any commercial enhancements. It is all my hair, and  I had quite a bit of fullness.  I had just turned age 40.  I really think chemicals, aging, and improper lock tightening technique was really taking me in a downward spiral over the last three years.

I really encourage women to take pictures to keep documentation of their hair.  Pictures are worth a thousand words.  It is hard to see subtle changes from week to week, but let several months go by, the story gets told vividly.

Many times, I post articles like this one more for my own reality check/sanity check to make sure that I stay on course for my own hair's sake.  If someone else can benefit from my journey, it makes these posts even more valuable.

Well, my 16 month lock anniversary is coming next week.  I'm excited.  I have not decided on a new product, new regimen, or just a new style to introduce, but I think that I am feeling inspired!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Concert Hair and Fashion

Hair by Benita Blocker
My client was headed to see Beyonce / Sasha Fierce / Mrs. Carter  in Concert!  

She has natural type 3 curl pattern hair, and I completed her blow out service the day of the concert.  She was kind enough to send me a snapshot!

Her attire chosen was Black, White and a touch of pink!  She said Beyonce was great!!!!

Fall 2013 Lower Richland High School Student Competitions

Applebaum Enterprises was one of the Proud sponsors of this student cosmetology competition.

Our future cosmetologists were excited about the product samples from Pureology, Goldwell, Matrix, and others in their Applebaum Salon promotional bags.

Pictured is the winners' platform for the Fall 2013 Lower Richland High School Student Competitions held in Hopkins, SC.

 Pictured is a future Cosmetologist in the making and her mannequin entry!

 The competition floor was busy!

Fantasy hair creation!

The energy from this event was high!  It's all about the love of hair and veteran hairstylists giving back to our cosmetology industry!

Two Months comparison of Lock Growth


November 2013 (blue sweater)  versus  September 2013 (black and gold)

Two months equals about an extra inch of hair growth.  If I drew an imaginary line from my right ear out in a diagonal, then I can see more solid length and fullness in the picture on the left in the blue sweater.

I am also learning to style the locks more as the length is gaining.  Everyone seems to be more and more excited about my microlocks.

Now, that the length is getting closer to chin level, I have more guides to really monitor my growth.  I also do not  feel the need to wear it curly all the time.

In another week, my locks will be 16 months old.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Review: KeraCare Overnight Moisturizing Treatment

First of all, let me tell you that my natural hair DIY "at home" clients are now buying two jars at a time of this KeraCare Overnight Moisturizing Treatment cream.

One of my clients even asked me how did that this product escape her product arsenal.  I told her that it is NOT under the KeraCare "Natural Textures" line.  It was introduced for relaxed hair.  She then responded "no wonder" she missed it.

Well, since I am selling this product at $15 a jar and two at a time, I started to re-examine why this product is working so well with natural hair?  Then I realized that the pH is 3.2.  It is acidic and is helping to seal down the cuticle.

Wow!  Apparently, if you roll  or Bantu knot your natural hair overnight using this Keracare treatment cream, you will wake up to a new head of hair!  (If your curl pattern is a Type 3 or Type 4a, then you get the picture of the process that I am trying to describe.)

Now, for my relaxed hair clients, they like this KeraCare cream better than the Mizani RoseH2O cream.  Why?  It does not have that lingering fragrance associated with the Mizani RoseH2O product.  The consistency of the two creams are about the same, but hands down, if you loved the Mizani RoseH2O cream, then you are going to be thrilled with the KeraCare overnight Moisture Treatment.

A little product goes a long way!

Monday, November 11, 2013

HairFinity sparks the Latest Hair Growth Mania!

In 2011, all the hype was about Hairadrenalin Potion and Viviscal tablets.  There were plenty of testimonies online and plenty of Hair Growth Competitions!

I still take some Viviscal tablets periodically when I want some extra help because my nutritition may be bad from week to week.  Viviscal tablets work for me when I do take them, but I never ordered the Hairadrenalin Potion.

Well, it's 2013 and "Hairfinity" hair vitamins are supposed to be the latest hair growth hype.  From the online picture testimonies, I see a lot of straighter hair women benefiting from the Hairfinity hair vitamins.

For those with ultra curly hair, breakage is always more of the problem than actual growth.  Most people grow their hair just fine.  That is why we have so many "hair removal" centers and haircutting salons.

Preventing breakage is the most important thing to me.  So if Hairfinity is designed to assist with preventing breakage, then that would be a great selling point for me.

The cost of 60 capsules which is a one month supply is $24.00 at  The instructions mention to take two capsules per day.

The company also has a hair care line, skin care line, and more.  I am mainly writing this article to keep everyone informed about the popular vitamin.  I personally do not plan to order them until I see more sistahs with my kinky curly hair type (4c) testifying.

But research the product for yourself, it may be exactly right for you.

Benefits of a Digital Triple Timer

I am still trying to get the rhythm of setting all three timers using this BonJour brand.  It is designed to keep track of three different dishes that you may be cooking in the kitchen, but why limit it to kitchen use?

I will give you a second to think of all the times that a hairstylist could use a timer in the salon.  Okay.  Begin now.

How many uses did you think of for this digital triple timer?

Here's my list:

1) Deep Conditioning timer
2) Haircolor processing timer
3) Relaxer processing timer
4) Soft Curl/Body wave processing timer
5) Disinfectant timer for tool soaking or UV lighting
6) Roller set check
7) Laundry check
8) Multiple roller set and/or deep conditioning clients at one time under the dryers.

Did you think of anything else?

The Unexpected Dreadlock: Removal of Commercial Hair

So you just took out braids or a sew-in weave and needed a relaxer the same day?  Have you ever had an unexpected dreadlock to form and attach itself to your own straight hair after the shampoo rinse?

Remember that a dreadlock is formed with shedded hair compacting and swirling around.  So if you have braids in for a couple of months, then you have a couple of months of shedded hair that has to be released from your head in one setting.  Can you see how an unexpected dreadlock can form?

So try to make sure your hair is detangled very well before applying a relaxer or shampooing the hair.  If the hair is just hard from spritz, then wet or rinse it first.  Once the hair is soft enough, begin combing it out with a wide tooth comb before shampooing it.

If you have your hair cornrowed or canerowed underneath a sew-in weave, then try not to shampoo but every other week.  Shampooing the hair too often with the hair braided down, sets or locks in those braids.  You can start to form an unexpected dreadlock just by shampooing too often with hair braided down.

A chelating shampoo is highly recommended under these circumstances.  A protein based shampoo will usually seal the unexpected dreadlock into place and you would need a low pH conditioner or apple cider vinegar rinse to assist in releasing the dreadlock from the ends.

For many of you, you are probably having an "Aw-haw" moment.  For those who have not experienced the "unexpected dreadlock," then count yourself lucky!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

November 2013 Hair Confessions

My Confessions of the Month:

1) I had been totally against coloring my microlocks until this weekend when I had an "Aw-haw" moment.  As my microlocks get longer, the years of shedded hair compounding into each microlock is going to make my microlocks heavy.  By lightening/bleaching my microlocks, it will make them lighter in weight as long as I am not re-depositing "artificial" color back into it.  So permanent haircolor is not an option, but hair bleach is.  The timeframe to make this happen is probably another year out.  I want enough length that if I get breakage in my relaxed ends that I will not feel like I am going backwards.

2) I have been secretly admiring The Vitale Pro High Comfort Relaxer System.  I wished that I had tried the VitalePro relaxer before locking my hair.  I even thought about putting this relaxer around my edges to see my scalp and hair response to it, but I am too afraid that I may get chemical residue in my locks. So I will have to secretly admire everyone else who is benefiting from this relaxer system.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Self Esteem, Natural Hair and the Corporate Workplace

"Oh, you're the one that had those little things in your hair."  - A statement made to me regarding my locks based on memory of my Sisterlocks when they were initially installed.

My initial thought was "Those little things" is my hair that God gave me.  My actual reply was "yes, that was probably me."

In the seminar this past weekend, some natural hairstyles were shown in a powerpoint presentation.  I was disappointed because my curl pattern will not achieve those natural looks without being chemically processed first.  There was only one example of a  professional "locked" look and her dreadlocks were mid-back with color and curls in them.  That length in locks is not achieved overnight unless lock extensions are added.

So where am I going with this discussion?  My self-esteem has never been linked to my hair, but it is the education and the love and encouragement that my parents have given me without limitation.

Accepting my curl pattern and accepting where my curl pattern ranks in identifying "professional natural hairstyling" is critical.  Some mothers may feel my viewpoint is negative, and that I am promoting "self-hate."

On the contrary, I am a realist.  We all need to learn our own hair curl pattern and curl behavior relative to what is acceptable in the corporate workplace.

As my microlocks get longer, I am being told more and more that they are starting to look more "normal" as far as hairstyling goes.

I want to smile and scream at the same time.  I love me.  I believe that God made no mistakes in my design.

I encourage others to look at the "big picture" when it comes to hair and curl patterns, learn your place and make the adjustments that you need to achieve your career goals.

Updos, wigs, and weaves may be your best friend until you climb the corporate ladder where you want to be.

Until next time, stay encouraged and stay tuned.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Hump: Core Hair Styling

 I have written other articles on my blog about the importance of achieving the "hump" for core hairstyling.  I felt it was time to remind everyone again about the "hump."

 The "hump"  is pictured here as a partial updo.

A settle "hump" is appropriate for long hair styling.

For full sew-in weaves, many do not want a "hump"  but most of the time, people are referencing a circular hump that resembles a Christmas tree in the center of their head.  A hump in the form of a semi-circle accents most hairstyling.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Team For Real Girl - I Love My Hair and Me Seminar

An all day event featuring hair styling demonstrations, skin care knowledge, image consultations as well as a lot of giveaways.

I only had three hours to attend, but I wanted to share with you two things that I was fascinated with:  1) Bantu knots styling and 2) Strawllers wet setting.

 Founder of  For Real Girl, Angela Holland unveils a bantu knot styling demonstration on her model.  The model has never had relaxed hair.

Angela uncoils each bantu knot, one by one.

The model's hair begins to fall into a full bob. 

 The model's final styling includes a hair accessory called "Kinkabands."

I completed a talk on locks and completed demonstrations with the stocking cap wig and the interlocking method.  The audience enjoyed the presentation and  left with a lot of natural hair knowledge.

Now, for the most exciting discovery:  the "strawllers."  They appear to be elongated magnetic rollers that  extend 5 inches or 8 inches long.  The straw sets inspired the inventor to make them.    You can find out more at  From the online videos, you just treat them like a regular magnetic roller except you have more surface area to spiral the hair around.