Valerie Martin, master stylist at Ritual Salon in Austin, Texas, is one of the stylists who is saying no to Brazilian blowout treatments. Martin and some of her fellow stylists grew weary of the product after experiencing shortness of breath and watery eyes while performing the treatment. But after watching a feature on "Good Morning America," Martin put her foot down. The report showed that air samples of two separate salons using Brazilian Blowout contained 8-10% formaldehyde, an alarming result, considering any hair solution containing more than .1% of formaldehyde is considered potentially hazardous and must be reported to stylists by the manufacturer.
Prolonged exposure to formaldehyde can cause cancer, but more immediately, it causes eye and lung irritation.
“I could taste it in my mouth,” says Martin about the treatment. “All my clients had watery eyes, and I even had an air purifier next to them!” Martin no longer offers the Brazilian blowout, and is very skeptical about Brazilian keratin treatments in general. “There are a lot of keratin treatments that say they don’t have formaldehyde, but if you look at the ingredients it says aldehyde. They can call it something else because they changed the ingredient a little bit. But it’s pretty much formaldehyde,” says Martin.
Formaldehyde takes on many names, including methylene glycol and formalin, which is a liquid form of formaldehyde. Many companies are hiding the presence of formaldehyde by substituting it for other names, the most commonly used name being methylene glycol. It is released into the air as formaldehyde once it comes into contact with heat. It’s ironic, considering that the most important step in the Brazilian keratin treatment, the application of heat to seal in the keratin, is in fact the most dangerous one.
Read More: Keratin Treatments: Danger or Delight?