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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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)

Flat Twists versus Individual Twists on All Natural Hair

Hair by Benita Blocker.

Type 3 (curly) hair typically benefits from flat twist sets as long as their curl behavior is not resistant.  This particular client had some "heat trained" ends so flat twisting also blends the curly and straight hair.  I used Design Essentials Honey Curlforming Custard for this flat twist set.

Hair by Benita Blocker.

Type 4 (coily) hair typically benefits from individual twist sets.  I used Design Essentials Defining Cream Gel.  It provided stretch and control.

Both twist sets are gorgeous. Of course, we always want what we don't have. I say embrace one's own beauty.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Hair Texture Hierarchy: Surviving Discrimination

(And yes, I still have some gray hair.)

I knew that it was a matter of time that the hair texture hierarchy and/or discrimination would begin.  It was inevitable. Relaxers evened the playing field for most Black women.  Yet, with this natural hair movement, reality checks are getting cashed everywhere.  

Most Black women have some "European" influence in their hair texture, but for those like me, we are "African Royale."  My texture is excellent for locs.  Many Black women with more European mixed hair want locs that look like mine, but I realize my loc-print is unique to me  because of my coarse, resistant hair.

Now, for those whose reality check is that their hair is more of a type 4 (coil) than a type 3 (curl) - there are plenty of products to assist with control or many will weave or crochet it up.  It is all good.

People should not loc their hair until they are ready.  If that day never comes, then that is good too.

There was an article at that alerted me that some people were feeling like they fell lower in the hair hierarchy because their hair was not "exotic" enough.

Thank God for my "exotic skin" because my hair is simply royal like a "Cleopatra."  My curls are generated from a wet set. My edges are never smooth unless they are twisted or tightened.

I am content that locs were the best solution for my hairtype.  Black women have to accept their reality and plan accordingly in order to survive the natural hair discrimination practices.

I believe that hair and skin are natural discriminatory factors in the Dominican Republic surrounding Haitian inhabitants.  I have read that DR side of the island identifies with more Spanish influence than the Haitian side.  I believe that the DR wants to keep the blood lines separated.  One is  welcome to research more on this top as the international situations are subject to change.