Monday, April 27, 2009


I know I said May 11, but things have gone so well in the past several weeks, there is no reason to delay our big announcement any further!

In October 2008, I launched my web site,, to educate curly women and men everywhere on the basics of simple hair science. My goal was, and remains, to empower the curly community of the world so we understand our own hair’s individual needs and why it reacts the way it does to certain product ingredients, environments, climates and care routines.

Most importantly, I want you to have this information so you can always make good product choices for yourself regardless of what any product manufacturer might claim is good for you. Live Curly, Live Free is the only web site in existence to provide objective education on curly hair care and basic hair science while remaining “brand neutral”—meaning it is not owned or operated by any product manufacturer and can provide unbiased information without obligation to promote a particular brand.

In addition to my web site, I also spend a great deal of the time behind my chair educating my clients personally; however, there is just too much to learn in the relatively short amount of time of a typical appointment. Because of the sheer volume of information, my clients and others who have called or written to me from around the globe have constantly urged me over the past year to write a book of my own. The time, they told me, is long past due to have a volume with this type of impartial information and education available to the curly hair community of the world.

And so, that’s exactly what I’ve done.

I am excited to announce that my new e-book, Live Curly, Live Free – Unlocking the Secrets Behind the World of Beautiful Curls will be available on my newly redesigned web site, with a planned launch date of May 3, 2009. This 72-page e-book expands on the web site information to provide even more comprehensive instruction that can help almost anyone make intelligent product and curly hair care maintenance routine choices based on their own individual needs.

I am most excited about two sections in particular: 1) the expanded product ingredients section in the book that includes vital information on essential oils, humectants, fatty alcohols, petrochemicals, salts, proteins and other primary product ingredients found in today's hair care products; and, 2) easy-to-read charts that show recommended guidelines that can be used for product selection based on hair porosity, texture, climate and product ingredient suitability.

I agree with my friends and clients: I think a book like this one is long overdue. I just wish something like this would have been available to me when I was younger. Had I only had the simple and basic education a book like this provides, I would have avoided 18 years of straightening and destroying my own hair.

With the release of the e-book, the new site design will also be launched on May 3 and I hope you will take a moment to go and check it out as well. And, as always, please feel free to send me an e-mail to tiffany [at] to let me know what you think!

Isn’t it time we learned to live curly and free?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Oh, the Anticipation!

I am almost beside myself with anticipation myself :)

I am excited to announce...that I will be making a very exciting announcement on May 11.

Stay tuned!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Do We Really Need Another Forum?

I felt the need to post a bit more information about why I feel the Live Curly, Live Free forum was necessary.

While and other sites provide a welcome and supportive space for curly women (and men) to explore products and try to determine the best ones for their particular hair, there is no site that actually takes a scientific look at these products and applies the principles of hair science to understand how and why a product may work for a certain type of hair.

Product manufacturers spend millions on marketing plans so you will buy their products. And if you buy them, the marketing plan will have done its job--which is to make the product manufacturer money. Educating you on the special needs of your own individual hair is wayyyy down at the bottom of the product manufacturer's list, if indeed it is even on the list at all.

There has been, up until this time, no site that is 100% devoted to objective curly hair education without being tied to a particular brand. That is why Live Curly, Live Free was created.

We took it one step further and created a forum on the site--because we perceived a huge need for a place that was not loyal to any brand, where we could talk about products and hair properties and figure out how and why certain products work for certain hair. And without having our members wonder if there might be any underlying motive afoot because the site is either owned by a product manufacturer or is a site that accepts sponsored advertising or other income-generating opportunities from a product manufacturer.

I get asked quite often if I will be developing my own product line in the future. Now, I've learned to never say never, but at this point in my life, I would rather crawl into a corner and stick forks in my eyeballs. Education is my passion, not product development. Besides, I feel once I develop my own line, my objectivity goes right out the window--and my ability to stay brand-neutral is far more important to me right now than having product bottles with my name on them.

With all this, I am in no way inferring all product manufacturers are going to be less than forthcoming about their products or whose main goal is to sell you crappy, sloppy stuff just to make a buck. There are some good, decent companies out there with whom I am happy to do business in my salon and with whom I enjoy my professional relationship.

What I am saying is that your curly hair education is not their priority; selling their products and their services is. Anyone who is serious about the health and care of their hair needs to have a space for proper, brand-generic, objective hair education in order to do so.

And I believe Live Curly, Live Free and its forum is the place that can fill that need.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The New Live Curly, Live Free Forum

Okay. So maybe there is ONE thing I can't wait to announce, lol.

I am pleased to announce that the Live Curly, Live Free forum is now live and online!

Over the past year, it has become increasing clear to me that more and more people with curly hair have become educated far past the point of “what is CG?” and “what products do I use?” Many individuals have expressed to me a longing for a discussion forum where more attention is paid to the hair science behind our curls, and less to the first baby steps in the curly hair education process.

While beginners’ forums are vitally important for anyone starting on their curly hair journey, there comes a time when some are ready to move on and sink their teeth into meatier discussions. The Live Curly, Live Free Forum aims to provide exactly that:

- advanced hair science conversations
- more in-depth focus on product ingredients, NOT just products and product brands
- product testing

For product testing, we will be assembling a team of product testers who will look at current (and professed) products for curly hair and run them through a fairly serious battery of tests to see how they withstand close scrutiny. They will report on their findings, which will include individual hair properties for a true apples-to-apples comparison, so you can make more informed product choices for your particular hair type. (Manufacturers, beware!)

If you have questions such as what does or does not constitute “CG”, or how to get second day hair, or what your “hair type” is, this forum will not be the place for them. Since 1998, has been providing a place for new beginners to ask those types of questions and you will find plenty of information and support there—but those questions are not relevant to this forum.

Our intent in creating this forum was not to form a "copycat" site, but instead to provide a space where more advanced discussion can take place without loss of focus. If you are ever asked to bring your question elsewhere, it is not because we think your question has no value: it is because it will be better answered where the overall site content is more appropriate for your particular inquiry.

I also ask that you read the Forum Guidelines before participating and feel free to PM me or one of the Moderators if you have any questions. Then sit back and enjoy this opportunity to understand the science of hair as it relates to your own.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Coming Soon ...

I've been burning the candles at both ends here at Live Curly, Live Free over the last several weeks and I am excited to announce a new web site design that is targeted to be launched within the next month. I also have planned a few surprises as part of the new site that I almost can't wait to tell you about. Almost...but I promised myself I would wait until all systems were definitely go until I made an announcement.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Do "Sulfate-free" Cleansers Automatically Clarify?

This has come up in several conversations over the past week and I thought I'd take a moment to address it here.

Individuals are asking the question: do sulfate-free cleansers automatically clarify?

I need to make it clear that “sulfate-free” does not necessarily mean "surfactant-free." A surfactant—sometimes referred to as a detergent—is a substance that, when dissolved in water, gives a product the ability to remove dirt from surfaces such as the human skin, textiles, and other solids. There are several different types of surfactants, ranging from harsh to mild.

For example, many non-sulfate based cleansers contain an ingredient called “cocamidopropyl betaine,” which is a surfactant just as sulfates are. However, cocamidopropyl betaine is derived from coconut oil and is therefore not considered harsh like sulfates; however, it will clarify and remove product build-up because it is still a surfactant. Clarifying is largely necessary for those who still use non-water soluble silicones in their conditioners and styling products.

Conclusion: if your cleanser is sulfate-free, but contains another surfactant which is milder, such as cocamidopropyl betaine, you will receive the benefits of clarifying without the harsh effects of sulfates.