BunThat fear in her eyes is so warranted.

Although keratin straightening treatments have never claimed to have any magical properties, not that long ago the Brazilian Blowout was the hottest thing to hit salons.

Those behind the process admit that it will not mysteriously straighten your hair, especially if it is exceedingly curly or kinky. But they do claim that it can drastically eliminate frizz, provide radiant shine and improve the overall health of your hair.

The temporary beauty treatment straightens your hair by sealing it with liquid keratin solution and the aid of a flat iron. Each treatment can cost anywhere from $150 to $600 with the promise of totally noticeable results, which can only be maintained with proper aftercare, including the use of certain products to prolong your hair’s new straight texture.

The effects of the Brazilian Blowout are supposed to last from 10 to 12 weeks, with the aid of proper aftercare maintenance, but the blowout is also considered a “cumulative treatment” — the more often you repeat the treatment, the longer the results will last.

Heath Concerns and Controversy

Formaldehyde is usually used for preserving animals and specimen.

When hairstylists at an Oregon salon began complaining about respiratory problems including hacking coughs and randomly occurring nosebleeds, the reputation of the Brazilian Blowout  as the latest miracle product came under scrutiny. After that incident, a series of important and pertinent questions began surfacing about the safety of the treatment.

What is Formaldehyde?

  • Formaldehyde is a carcinogen that can potentially lead to cancer. In the case of the Brazilian Blowout, because toxic fumes are inhaled, there is risk of lung cancer for both the stylist and the person receiving the treatment.

These health complications prompted the Oregon Health and Science University to research the product. After testing the ingredients, they issued a health warning about Brazilian keratin treatments due to dangerously high amounts of formaldehyde present in the product.

Consumer and Media Backlash

Immediately following the emergence of this news, fashion magazines, beauty blogs and everyday consumers began openly criticizing the Brazilian Blowout. Unsatisfied and concerned consumers wanted to know why the fumes from this product were so noxious, and most importantly, was it safe to use?

News outlets began widely broadcasting the potentially life-threatening properties of the Brazilian Blowout. Message boards lit up with angry curlies and wavies, frustrated that they had spent their hard-earned money on a temporary treatment that had long-term health consequences.

Today, many women are armed with the details needed to make informed decisions about the risks of keratin treatments like the Brazilian Blowout.

Women with naturally straight or smooth hair rarely have to participate in all the research, planning and forecasting that curly girls do when it comes to hair. As curlies, we have to be conscious of what we’re being sold to make our hair straight, and we must be diligent about insisting on the best products and ingredients.

More Hard and Fast Facts

The much debated treatment is still a popular option for many women looker for straighter strands. Curl Chemist investigates in to the formulas and chemicals behind the process. 

Final thoughts

What are your thoughts on the Brazilian Blowout? Have you ever gotten one, or would you?

Kristian Richards


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