Sunday, March 29, 2009


And in other friend and curly cohort, Mary Pat, just had to go and sell me on Twitter at dinner last night. So if you Twitter as well, you will find me Tweeting and Twittering away under StruttsWife :)


Liquid Keratin

The latest round of questions I've been getting is about a treatment called "Liquid Keratin." Many curly girls are asking me if it is as safe and effective a way of straightening at home as the company claims it is.

Frankly, based on what I've heard from others and my own training as a cosmetologist, I think Liquid Keratin is a whole lot of bad news and not a whole lot of anything else. I have absolutely no qualms about sitting here and telling you I believe there is a bunch of misleading information in their marketing and they are not being honest with consumers about this product.

First of all, what is Liquid Keratin?

The company says it is a "...revolutionary patented treatment that infuses curly, frizzy, unmanageable hair with keratin protein that it's naturally missing in just 30 minutes...unlike salon treatments, Liquid Keratin DOES NOT contain Formaldehyde or harmful chemical ingredients..[it] is a spray in treatment with amazing results of straighter, smoother, stronger and longer hair instantly!"

From the above, which can be found on the company's web site, I think we can agree consumers are being led to believe this is a safe way to straighten their hair using only a protein infusion treatment. Unfortunately, their marketing is misleading for quite a few reasons, as I have outlined below:

1) Not everyone who has curly hair has keratin protein that is "naturally missing." On the contrary, coarse-haired curlies manufacture an overabundance of protein "naturally" in their hair on their own. If you put more protein--especially with a treatment like this--on top of hair that is already protein-heavy, you will have a dry, straw-like mess on your hands.

2) Hair is permanently straightened or curled by breaking what are called the "disulfide bonds" in your hair--the bonds that are responsible for the shape of your hair strand. The marketing of this product leads consumers to believe the keratin protein infusion is what is responsible for straightening the hair; however, it is absolutely impossible for protein alone to break disulfide bonds to permanently straighten curly hair. That takes chemicals such as sodium hydroxide, ammonium thioglycolate...or, formaldehyde.

And here's where it starts to get really interesting.

3) The company bills the product as formaldahyde-free. They literally scream it at you in caps: "DOES NOT contain Formaldehyde or harmful chemical ingredients." However, if you look at the ingredients on their product label, you will see one near the top called "Biformyl." And another name for biformyl is oxalaldehyde, which happens to belong to the group of organic compounds called aldehydes...a group to which formaldehyde also belongs.

4) There is protein in this treatment; however, the order of the ingredients on the product ingredient label tells me this is simply a formaldehyde-type straightener with a little protein keratin thrown in so they can legally call it a keratin treatment instead of what it really is...a procedure that is banned in many salons because of the risk of sickness from fume inhalation.

5) Quite a few women with lightened or bleached hair who have actually used this product reported it turned their color a horrible, brassy orange color, which they then needed to have redone. Something a pure protein treatment wouldn't do.

So, there you have it. This safe little at-home treatment doesn't seem so safe all of a sudden, does it? And I have to wonder: what do we think might possibly occur if an individual with asthma or other breathing-related health issues is exposed to an aldehyde without their knowledge?

My biggest issue is this: I have a BIG problem with sneaky, unethical marketing. I don't like it when any product manufacturer tries to pull the wool over the customer's eyes just so they can make a buck. And I invite any representative from the Liquid Keratin company to address the points above and tell us why they are not being misleading or dishonest in their advertising of this product.

You can contact the Liquid Keratin company at:

Liquid Keratin, Inc.
101 King High Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
0001 - (647) 588-5515

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Whatever Did We Do to Deserve This?

I realize this isn't hair science-related...but it's my blog and I am feeling the need to rant about that trifling twit on Millionaire Matchmaker.

If you haven't seen the show, the twit in question is Patti Stanger, an annoying, shallow, homely hot mess who has no class, no manners and no style. She owns a business called The Millionaire's Club, which helps men with a lot of money find a "Perfect 10" wife.

That, in itself, is enough to gag me. But my real problem is how she bashes curly girls at every opportunity. She calls them horrible names like "brillo pad," makes them get thermal reconditioning if they want to join her service, and goes ballistic if they show up for a follow-up appointment and she thinks they are not "straight enough". She insists no man--especially one who is wealthy--wants a woman with curly hair.

In my experience, idiots like her spew their ignorance because they don't know how to handle curly hair. It's easier to go on the attack like she does than admit you haven't the slightest clue what to do with it. From what I've seen, she only seems to know how to turn out carbon copies of the O.C. shallow bimbo look.

I guess Bravo couldn't spare the ten seconds it would have taken to find someone more competent with real styling and fashion skills. Of course, these women do allow her to treat them as she does, but I think it's ironic this "reality" show is based on something not real at all.

If you would like to write to Bravo and tell them exactly what you think about this sorry excuse for a reality show, you can do so at:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Where, Oh Where, Have My Curls Gone?

If you are like me, this winter has been hell on your curly hair. The dew points in Florida have been much lower than usual over the past several months, leaving me mourning the loss of my bouncy, shiny curls. For weeks, I've been getting panic calls and emails from clients, saying, "Tiffany! Ack! My hair was wonderful and now, all of a sudden, it's a mess! What happened?"

While most of us pay attention to humidity as the barometer for our curls, it is actually the dew point that is more critical. There are several good discussions already on about dew point, and it is something I definitely want to elaborate on myself in the future.

In a nutshell, the lower the dew point, the less moisture there is in the atmosphere for our curls to use. Moisture is what forms and shapes our curls, and keeps frizz at bay, so it is no wonder many curl patterns turn looser and frizzier when the dew point dips. My usual quarter-sized amount of leave-in conditioner often turns to a palmful on low dew point days.

If you are suffering from the winter curly hair blues, your first step is to make sure you are putting enough moisture into your hair to supplement what Mother Nature has taken away. If you have fine hair, be judicious as too many emollients can weigh you down and dry you out, but a small bump in your normal amount could be just what you need.

You also need to take care with products that contain glycerin which, although a humectant, can actually dehydrate your hair drastically in weather with very low dew points. Glycerin has what are called hygroscopic properties, meaning it absorbs water from the air, but if there is no moisture in the air to absorb, it will take the next best thing and go after the moisture already present in your hair.

So, pump up the volume and throw your curls an assist to get moisture back into those curly locks. Spring is just around the corner and the dry winter blues will be behind us before we know it.

In other news, I recently did an interview with Sage Vivant, author of the curly blog No-poo Jillipoo, and answered her great questions about protein, porosity, color glazes and other cool curl stuff. And as of this week, I'll be contributing weekly to CurlyNikki, a site dedicated to the helping the curly-haired women whom Nikki calls "naturally glamorous"... as indeed we all are :) If you have not yet checked out the sites of these two fabulous women, you need to do so pronto!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

So they say. But is it flattery when others want to profit from it and stoop to stealing rather than putting in the hard work and effort themselves?

I've had a couple of little industry birdies whispering in my ear over the last month or so, that others within the professional beauty industry are potentially looking to appropriate my blog posts, forum posts, web site information, etc. for their own for-profit publication. And I have to be honest--that leaves a really, really bad taste in my mouth.

So, I am taking a brief hiatus from posting any more of my research findings, hair science information, etc., until I figure out how I am going to manage this. And that really pisses me off more than anything, because there are a whole lot of women out there who tell me they are finally starting to understand their hair better and get a handle on it for the first time in their lives--and now, I have to leave them in limbo for a while because of some common thieves who only care about lining their own pockets at the expense of others.

Bah. I thought I left this kind of crap behind when I bailed out of corporate America. But apparently, there are shysters anywhere you go.

Any suggestions are welcome--well, anything that is legal and doesn't involve calling my Uncle Guido.