OSHA releases a new Hazard Alert after cracking down on Brazilian Keratin Treatments.


Watch for other names for formaldehyde that distributors use.

A Chemical By Any Other Name

2. There are many names for formaldehyde that distributors use in order to label the product as “formaldehyde free.” If you see any of the following ingredients on your hair products, you should exercise caution before using them: methylene glycol, formalin, methylene oxide, paraform, formic aldehyde, methanal, oxomethane, oxymethylene, or CAS Number 50-00-0.

3. Every stylist should have a Material Safety Data Sheet for every product that contains an ingredient that is hazardous to the health. Essentially, every employee should be informed of the dangers of a particular product and should receive proper training on how to handle said products. Also, the Hazard Alert admits that not all Material Safety Data Sheets have all their ingredients listed, but if stylists experience health problems that they suspect to be the result of formaldehyde, they should report it to their employers. “Formaldehyde must be listed if it is in the product at 0.1% or more (as a gas or in solution) or if the product releases formaldehyde above 0.1 parts of formaldehyde per million parts of air.” (U.S Department of Labor)

4. If stylists decide to use products that release formaldehyde, they must install air ventilation systems, use lower heat settings on blow dryers and flat irons, offer stylists respirators, post signs that warn clients of the presence of formaldehyde, and educate the employees that might come into contact with the product.

Essentially, the alert doesn’t “ban” the use of formaldehyde, but it does set up some restrictions. Outside the U.S, however, several countries are taking measures to completely remove dangerous keratin treatments from the market. According to Europa Affairs, the following countries have banned specific keratin treatments:

1. France: Hair treatment product by BHOME, SOCAP Professionnel Paris, Nanokeratin system 2. Germany: Four different keratin treatments by Coppola 3. Ireland: Coppola, Global Keratin, and Marcia Teixeira 4. Portugal: Alter Ego 5. The Netherlands: Chenice

Unfortunately, the list doesn’t stop there. On October 26, 2010, Health Canada issued an advisory stating that the Brazilian Blowout contains 12% formaldehyde and should not be used. Since then, Health Canada has been working to stop distribution of the solution.

Will the United States follow their lead? What are your thoughts?

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Susonnah Gonzalez

Hi! I'm Susonnah Gonzalez. I write, work and live in Austin, TX. I began my wavy hair journey in college, which is when I really began to explore the needs of wavy hair and the products that work best with it. Every day is different with my hair but every day I learn something new!

As a professional stylist, I prefer the Cocoa Keratin System and it's been excellent for the hair and very long lasting. It includes the pre-treatment shampoo, smoothing treatment, daily shampoo and conditioner. It contains protein and Argan oil so the hair is moisturized and nourished as well as smoothed, strengthened and softened. An excellent treatment for all hair types.

Keratin-based hair straighteners are so 2009 ;) Here in Brazil, a new generation of products are becoming available that use different amino acids which are safer and more stable than Keratin (so they don't require the addition of nasty stabilsers like Formaldehyde) Names to look out for include Tutanat and Always Beauty if you can get hold of them. Just had my first treatment and to my amazement the product was only left on my hair for ten minutes. Much less than the 48 hours I usually wait. Results are maybe even a little better than other Keratin treatments I've used, but I'm told they don't last quite as long.

Try Kerapure. It is the only labratory-tested treatment on the market!

i am a black 29 woman and allways had my hair permed and i recently went to a natural look and found a product called kerastrait a spray on keratin treatment so safe WOW ! i could not belive how it made my hair sliky and manageble i did have to use a flat iron but it was well worth it as it lasted a good month with only one treatment it comes in a 4 oz spray bottle and i only used maybe 1/2 oz i paid $49.99 with free shipping a good deal ! as i was told at a salon just one treatment on my hair would be $150.00 and i need to conserve $ so it wasa great deal i recommend this kerastrait.com

Actually, the keratin treatments stays in for 2 days (48 hrs), not 4. But although the Japanese Thermal Reconditioning treatment sounds great, it also sounds like it's a straightener, which the Keratin was NOT. Many of us are OK with our curls, we just want them without the frizz. BTW, in my previous entry, I got the name wrong. It's the Brocato Curlinterrupted Smoothing System (http://www.brocato.co.uk/)

I have never been a fan of keratin smoothing treatments. After doing my own research on these treatments, I decided years ago that I would not subject my stylists nor my clients to a hair chemical that supposedly contains a fairly high percentage of formaldehyde. At Hair’s Talent, we offer Thermal Reconditioning, a much safer alternative to the keratin-based smoothing treatments. This revolutionary Japanese hair straightening system was introduced from Japan to the US around the beginning of the 21st century. Thioglycolate is the main chemical ingredient in Japanese Thermal Reconditioning, and permanent wave products. The reforming solution that is applied to the client’s hair generally contains 5-15% of thioglycolic acid compound. The treatment overall uses heat to restructure the hair’s protein bond which enables those with frizzy, curly, or wavy hair to experience permanently straight hair while at the same time preserving the hair’s health. It also improves the feel, texture, softness and shine of the hair, leaving the hair completely manageable. Generally, your hair will stay like that for about six months to a year depending on your curl pattern, length of hair, and how well you can manage your new growth. I have used the Thermal Reconditioning technique on all hair textures, including African-American hair textures. My clients love Thermal Reconditioning, and prefer it to other chemical straightening methods. If you compare Thermal Reconditioning with the keratin treatment, the Thermal is a permanent treatment while the keratin treatment only lasts for 1-3 months, depending on how well the stylist can blow dry and flat iron your hair. The keratin is left in your hair for 4 days before rinsing the chemical out, while the Thermal is rinsed out completely before leaving the salon. While the keratin treatment has a beautiful ending result sometimes (this depends on the hands - same with the Thermal Reconditioning), it's not worth my health. If I had chosen to do the Keratin in my salon, I would have financially done better than servicing the Thermal. Clients are paying somewhere between $200-$300 every 2-3 months while I charge any where between $350-$550 every 6 months after your initial Thermal. However, I prefer protecting the health of my stylists and clients over financially benefiting from a chemical solution that is claimed to be dangerous to a person’s health. By straightening hair with Thermal Reconditioning, my clients not only have beautiful, permanently straight, healthy, and shiny hair at the end of the treatment, but save more money in comparison to receiving the keratin treatment. Gina Rivera Healthy Hair Care Specialist Thermal Reconditioning in Connecticut at Hair's Talent

I also loved the Coppola Keratin treatment I did a few years ago (mine lasted much longer than expected!) but never did it again after the controversy. I was appalled that no one ever mentioned to me or gave me any warning about the formaldehyde contents. However, just last week I did a NEW similar FORMALDEHYDE-FREE (promised!) treatment called Bracato Smoothing. So far, so good, not as effective as the other, but very close...waiting to see how long it lasts. Try this alternative!

I saw this report when it first came out and immediately started testing out organic keratin treatment options to get this stuff out of my salon! I had my girls try a few different products, and a product called Keragreen came out on top. Weve been using that one since.

One of my neighbors is a retired hairstylist. He is on disability due to back problems,but his biggest problem is that he's on O2 constantly due to the fact that he had to have a lung removed due to inhaling all of those harmful salon chemicals over the years. Perm solution,straighteners,dyes,etc. So not worth it!

I think it's a shame that all these other countries taking steps to make sure that unsafe products in beauty salons are used, and the U.S. merely issues a warning. It's a good first step, but more needs to be done to ensure that employees and customers in these salons are in a safe environment.

I loved my Global keratin treatment when I had it over a year ago. I'd love to have it done again, but here in Canada most stylists have taken any kind of keratin treatment off their list of services. When will someone come out with a more organic or natural solution? I live in hope ;-)

Wow! I shared this information (article link) with my FB family and encouraged the ladies to read it.