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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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Sisterlocks: 4 years and 5 months Anniversary

Visual loc length gains about three inches per year.  At 4 years 5 months, my locs should average about 14 inches in length when measured.  I have an extremely elongated face, and my hair is at 75% shrinkage.  I mention this information because many people like comparing loc length.  My 14 inches of locs hang differently than other's 14 inches of locs.  Also, my hang time from the back as well as the hang time when my locs are wet make discernment easier on others.

Loc styling and makeup can make locs look professional.

I am definitely becoming more pescatarian than ever.  Butterflies are symbolic of the non-GMO project. I found this butterfly headband. Love it!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Ethnic Hair Tips From a Beauty industry leader

  1. Before the "protective styling" trend, I was wearing half wigs to allow my hair to rest.
  2. Before "invisible part" quickweave became popular, I was the first to create that "part illusion" that I know of.
  3. Four years and four months ago, I saw the vision of my hair in smaller locs.  The picture above reflects what a $750 installation and three Sisterlocks 4-day training sessions can lead you to.
  4. Everyone should learn to self maintain their locs in partnership with a loctician.  
  5. Interlocking can deliver a neater look to locs, but that method also enables hair from an adajacent loc to get crossed over.  Those with fine hair are more likely to get cross-over hair because one can barely see the finer hairs.  Twisting or palm rolling are probably the safest root tightening method for locs.

NOTE:  I may add on to this list periodically.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Pipe cleaner Wet Set on Sisterlocks.

Day 2 with Pipecleaner curly set plus Ardell eyelash extensions.

Day one pipecleaner curly set!

Initial Pipe cleaner removal results!

I purchased brown and black colored "Fuzzy Sticks" from Walmart for 88 cents. ($0.88 USD)

I put loops into the "Fuzzy Sticks" to drag them out of the spiral curls without disturbing the set too much.

I pre-made about 3 packs to spiral set my hair with.

This article was inspired by LovelyLocs NHCP (Natural Hair Care Products) Curling Sisterlocks with Pipecleaners Tutorial.   The "fuzzy sticks" tutorial starts about six (6) minutes into this video.

Sisterlocks Check-in: 4 years and 4 months

My Sisterlocks are now 4 years and 4 months old.  A fresh shampoo gives me time to admire my wet loc length.

Still wet Sisterlocks.

Pipe cleaner wet set day one.  I love the volume from the curls. I know how long my locs are stretched out so the shorter, curlier look is fine with me.  Others are constantly wanting to see length.  I want to see volume and curls.  I do what makes me happy.

Day 2 after pipe cleaner wet set allows my roots to volumize/thicken/shrink back up!  
Loving it!!!

Benita's Favorite Products of 2016

First of all, anything on my 2015 List from November of last year that I still love will NOT be repeated on this list.  So let's get started!

Favorite Detangling Shampoo
ColorProof SuperRich Moisture Shampoo

Favorite Light Brown Semi-permanent Haircolor
Clairol Beautiful Collection Advanced Gray Solution color name: 6N Toasted Hazelnut

Favorite Weightless Shine Spray
Chi Shine Infusion

Favorite Hairspray for Thermal Straightening
Joico JoiMist Firm Hairspray

Favorite Roller set Foam
Congo Perfecta Wrap-Set-Twist Foam Lotion

Favorite Moisturizing Conditioner
Rucker Roots Moisturizing Conditioner

Favorite Loc Setting Lotion
Design Essentials Twist and Set Setting Lotion

Favorite Leave-in Repair Spray
Paul Mitchell Forever Blonde Dramatic Repair (use on wet hair)

Favorite Color Alert Neutralizing Shampoo
Elasta QP Stop Action Neutralizing Shampoo

Favorite Liquid Chalk Temporary Color
L'Oreal Technique Liquid Chalk colors: Pink Pop and Better Off Red

Favorite Synthetic Hair Moisturizer
Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Styling Butter

Favorite Loc Repair Aid
Invisible thread color: Smoke

Favorite Wet Gray Cover-up Temporary Solution
Roux Fanci-full Color Styling Mousse colors: 23 Frivilous Fawn and 12 Black Rage mixed together.

Favorite Moisturizing Semi-permanent Haircolor
Nairobi TruColors

Favorite Setting Lotion Concentrate
Design Essentials Masterpiece

Many products from my previous lists are still my favorites.  So if you are going Christmas shopping or Black Friday shopping - print out this list as well as the previous versions of my favorites list.

Happy Holidays!!!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Paintings Spotlighting Hair

"Feeling Free" painting by Benita Blocker (student/artist).
Location: Painting with a Twist class

Everyone started with a template on their canvas.

I  decided on the blonde hair, the flesh-tone color, and the fashion color scheme.

Most people mixed the paint to match their own skin tones.  
My choice fell in the center of the range.

I also saw this painting at ZiZi's Vegan to Go restaurant in Charlotte, NC.  The hair was 3 dimensional.  I forgot to write the artist name down, but I am seeing more and more artwork with "raised" hair.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Realistic Loc Growth in five months Timeframe

November 2016 Longer Locs and Less Weight (without bodyshaper)

June 2016 wearing bodyshaper and different denim slacks

Using Herbalife shakes, teas, soups to replace meals and get multi-vitamin intake.  Healthier lifestyle promotes hair growth and weight loss.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Ardell Eyelash Extensions: Naturals Strip Lash review

The Ardell Eyelashes are much lighter in weight than the Kiss lashes I tried out months ago.

I barely realized that I had on lash extensions.  The Ardell Lash Grip adhesive was easy to apply and easy to remove.  I had a much better experience with this professional line of eyelashes.

My eyes may be sensitive to the adhesive fumes, but I will try these again.  I need an extra 10 minutes added to my cosmetics application time to apply them.  I will stick with Ardell brand for some more dramatic lashes as well.

Ardell brand probably cost double the Kiss brand, but it is worth it!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Lacer Set on my Longer Locs

My Sisterlocks are 4 years 3 months old.

The Lacer wet set gave me waves more than actual curls.

I used  two rows per lacer.  Both ends of the lacers we used as wrapping mediums.

 My 2nd day hairstyle shows length but I miss the fullness of a tighter set.

Monday, October 24, 2016

4 years 3 months Sisterlocks Check-in

Clean and Fluffy!

It is my four years 3 months Sisterlocks anniversary.  My locs are now long enough to wet set without any rods.  I can just bantu knott set all over.  I started to realize the perm rods are too heavy.

I experimented with the Helicopter wet set, but I found that the roller plus the rods were too heavy for my locs.  Now, I know why people select chenille stems/pipe cleaners to wet set.  The lighter weight is less stressful on the locs.

Soiled and flat.

People always seem to question my "hang time." I have a lot of shrinkage in my curl pattern, and I prefer volume versus it weighing too heavy.  In my "soiled and flat" picture, my Sisterlocks felt stringy, but they hung longer than ususal. I don't want to sacrifice my "fluffy" for "hang time."  So a fresh shampoo and wet set is required for maximum curl and volume.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Full sew-in's: With or Without Volume

Full sew-in with volume and custom closure area by Benita Blocker.

Full-sew-in by Benita Blocker.

Revamped the closure area to be more flat.  

You have it your way!

The Holidays are around the corner!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Sisterlocks Spotlight: Should headquarters provide an annual report?

My Sisterlocks at 4 years and two months old.

According to the "Spotlight" movie, the Catholic church had been covering up the fact that 10% of their priests may have been molesting children.  They justified the coverup; according to the movie, because the majority of their priesthood benefited the greater good of society.

However, if only 10% of the airplanes crashed that took off, then would airplane flights be considered safe to take? NO.  So 10% of priests molesting children is not acceptable, and 10% of Sisterlocks transactions becoming Sisterlocks nightmares should NOT be acceptable.

Sisterlocks headquarters are aware that people have called to complain about some of the Sisterlocks Trainers as well as some of their certified Sisterlocks consultants.  Does Sisterlocks keep a tally? Should there be a policing agency to track Sisterlocks complaints and compile annual reports?

The complaints and nightmares surrounding Sisterlocks will 9 times out of 10 stem from a "consultant" in "high standing" with the Sisterlocks headquarter.  Yes, the least expected and most trusted Sisterlocks consultants are more than likely the ones that get away with the most unprofessional behavior.  They will typically blame the customer by discrediting the customer.

When I tell you that my initial Sisterlocks journey makes my blood pressure rise every single time I think about all the pain that the Sisterlocks organization has caused me from one certified Sisterlocks consultant to the next certified Sisterlocks consultant all the way up to the Sisterlocks founder herself.

I have had people around the world chime in and tell me about their Sisterlocks horror stories. I honestly do not recommend people paying extra monies to get 700  and 800 Sisterlocks installed only to realize that some Sisterlocks consultants charge $50 and $60 an hour.

Why is this pricing structure an abomination?  Unfortunately, if someone gets Sisterlocks started at a $20 per hour rate and their consultant relocates or discontinues offering the service, then they are at the mercy of the next consultant that they can find outside of self-maintaining their Sisterlocks.  The problem with self maintenance is that it is hard to care for 700 and 800 locs without some help.

In addition, most "Sistahs" have told me that they would cut every single Sisterlock out of their head before they pay $50 or $60 per hour for hair maintenance.  Trust me.  There are many that have big chopped their Sisterlocks for various reasons.


  • Would you choose the Sisterlocks installation if you knew that 10% of Sisterlocks transactions go horribly wrong?
  • Would you choose the Sisterlocks installation if you knew that you could get microlocs, interlocking, and other small locs started for a fraction of the Sisterlocks cost?
  • Would you choose the Sisterlocks installation if you knew that there is no real policing of Sisterlocks?  People with Interlocs and Microlocs will still sometimes tell people they have Sisterlocks. The average consumer does not know the difference.  The average consumer will not care if you have 300 locs versus 600 locs.
  • Would you choose the Sisterlocks installation if you knew that there is NO way to insure that you will have a favorable experience in your Sisterlocks journey?

As a salon owner and full-time licensed hair professional with a Bachelors degree and a corporate background, I can seriously tell you that the Sisterlocks headquarters failed me over and over and over again without a single apology to date.  They may be too embarrassed to address their shortcomings with me, and furthermore, they may not see any benefit in addressing the fact that they do not accept liability for their independent contractors.

The Sisterlocks path is a journey that you take at your own risk.  Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Soapbox: Sisterlocks at Four years and two months

My Sisterlocks are Wet with conditioner.  

My hang time is quite visible when wet.  I had an established Sisterlocks client to come in for her first Sisterlocks consultation. Apparently, she started her loc journey around the same time.  Without her saying that she was comparing loc hangtime, the inflection in her voice let me know that she thought that her length was longer than mine.  In a dry state, her locs probably did look longer, and it seemed to matter to her.  I, on the otherhand, have been on my loc journey on my own, and I need no validation nor to compare.  However, I want to entertain the comparison within this article.

(Dry styled) Sisterlocks at 4 years 2 months.

Reasons why my Sisterlocks may look shorter:
  1. A previous certified Sisterlocks consultant (my third one?) went through ripping my buds off my ends causing me to lose as much as 2+ inches off of some of my Sisterlocks.   You can go back to my archives on this blog to read about this ordeal.
  2. I use the hand interlocking method to tighten my roots; therefore, I never put a lot of tension in my loc framework.  Greater tension keeps the coils unwind, but I prefer for my  coils to be slightly loose within the framework.
  3. I have a long face.  My nape hairline lines up with my nose.  Therefore if the measurements were taken starting from my scalp going to my ends, my length would be more accurately reflected than just focusing on hangtime.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Piggyback Perm Rod Set on Sisterlocks!

Yes, my four years and 2 months loc-versary is in about four days from now.

My piggy back perm rod set took at least 45 minutes to do.  

I oranged perm rodded my roots for my entire head first.  Then went back and put the baby perm rods throughout the ends of each piece.

 The perm rods are in hindsight a little heavy.  Now, I see why people love the pipe cleaners (i.e. chenile stems, fuzzy sticks). The orange perm rods and larger may be too heavy for any type of hair.  Although, those past due for a relaxer touch-up may benefit from the weight of the perm rod.

My loc length and my curly ends were great!  I was inspired by box braid styling  that has the curly ends. I am past for the four year mark.  I should have about 3 inches more of hang time next year!

Monday, September 19, 2016

What is a Natural Hairstylist in 2016?

The first question that I usually get from a new potential client is "DO You do natural hair?"

Like many hairstylists, I don't know how to answer this question.  I can offer color, smoothing treatments, sew-in, crochet braids, and individual twist styling. However, I am not a barber; so the small and big top loose naturals may need to seek a barber for haircuts.

I would prefer for people to ask for a specific hair service versus walking into the salon with a short, natural fro and expecting me to have a vision as to which direction to take them. Most don't want a relaxer, and they don't want locs.  However, protective styling (i.e. covering it up) seems to be top choice.

I am a locked natural wearer, but my locs keep my hair consistently under control.  I can use a wig for a loose hair look. I do maintain my own locked natural hair, but the majority of my clients are relaxed. 

Flat irons gave relaxers a bad wrap.  Relaxers have been around since the pressing comb timeframe.  The flat irons are the "new kids on the block."  The flat iron damage propelled this natural hair movement.  As long as the flat irons continue to be required for smoothing treatments and the preferred tool for straightening, the relaxer-free movement will continue.

Due to my aging, I decided to abandon relaxers as a personal healthy choice.  My decision to loc was also the best decision for me, but from what I know now, I would not encourage locking for everyone. Everyone's hair will not loc the same way.  I am four years ahead in my loc process so many who have begun to fall in love with my locs want the immediate long look versus the journey.

Luckily, micro faux locs can be crocheted for a practice loc run.  Now, back to the original question:

What is a Natural Hairstylist in 2016? What's your answers?  Feel free to leave your feedback.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Five Tips for Natural Hair Blowdry

Blow-dry service by Benita Blocker

  • Use a moisturizing conditioner layered by a Smoothing Conditioner
  • Use a wide tooth comb and distribute each conditioner throughout in two separate passes.
  • Set the dryer to "high heat" for platform dryer use unless you have a hair steamer.
  • Allow at least 20 minutes conditioning time
  • Avoid protein conditioning unless you want to define the curls more.

These steps should assist in hair hydration so much that the hair should feel elongated and non-resistant. (i.e. Ready for Blow-dry)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Look: Polished versus Unpolished

Wig Styling by Benita Blocker. (The polished look)

This article was inspired by the 2016 Olympics in Rio surrounding Gabby Douglas' hair.

I disagreed with negative comments that I heard firsthand such as:

"I can not believe she came back to the Olympics with her looking like that again after all the complaints about her hair at the 2012 Olympics.  What did she expect?"

In my opinion, Gabby Douglas showed up to the Olympics to compete and win.  She was not in a pageant or a sales meeting presenting a sales pitch.  She is an athlete.  It is a little hard to worry about hairline edges holding straight while executing gymnastics.

This insensitivity to Gabby Douglas' natural texture being unique to her hit a personal note with me.

A polished look is typically composed of new clothes, new shoes, smooth edges, pearl necklace, pearl earrings, no hair out of place and so on.

I had a similar situation going on while working for Carolinas Healthcare System.  As a hairdresser at a nursing home, dressy casual was my standard for the amount of manual labor required to care for the residents in a skilled nursing facility.  Apparently, my last manager really never understood the scope of the work that I performed in the nursing home beauty shop.

A meeting between my last manager and the Regional Human Resources Director yielded such comments as "you are very polished" by the Regional HR Director all the way to "you trying to get me fired" by my last manager.  Apparently, he did not expect me to dress up for the meeting.  He apparently did not know me well.

I know how to dress on many different levels.  It is all costume.  True beauty and true ugliness comes from inside the soul.

To clarify, unkempt edges has nothing to do with intellect nor skill set.  It just means that one is confident enough to be seen in one's own God given beauty without the need to submit themselves to look like the "polished" upper echelon all the time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Four years One Month Sisterlocks Loc-versary

Rise and Shine!  It is my Four years and a Month Loc-versary!

My 2016 Ardell Eyelash Extensions class.

2016 is a year of self-expression.  It is amazing how much we can do with our hair!  I am still happy with my decision to self-express with my Sisterlocked hair.

This past weekend was Summer 2016 Bronner Bros International Hair Show.  I did not even review the online brochure because the current trend seems to be "No Trend."  So I could not justify traveling to learn something new when the hair market is "all over the board."

Weaves, Wigs, Crochet Braids, Headbands, Headscarves, Hats, Box Braids, Twists, Relaxers, Afros, Wash and Go's, Smoothing Treatments, and the list goes on.  Men are even using their hair for more self-expression by growing more length.  Let us see what 2017 brings.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Don't get it Twisted: Curlformers, Lacers, Flexi-Rods, Perm Rods

Curlformer set by Benita Blocker. (Transitional hair - 15 weeks post relaxer)

Lacer set by Benita Blocker. (Relaxed hair)

Perm Rod set by Benita Blocker. (Relaxed hair)
NOTE:  Smaller perm rods hold the curly styling longer.

Flexi-rod set by Benita Blocker. (Relaxed hair)