It always amazes me how concerned we are about our face and the skincare items we use, but we are completely oblivious about what we put on and do to our hair. Hair dyes, perms, Brazilian Blowouts, Japanese straightening, relaxers—all use harsh chemicals that we forget also make contact with our scalp and can cause terrible reactions. As I am a girl currently sitting here with highlights, please don’t think that I am here to preach hair treatment abstinence, but rather to provide you with some information so that you don’t have to become a huge supporter of the hat industry.

First, I have to admit that I am really not a fan of chemical relaxers—especially Brazilian Blowouts that contain completely unacceptable and dangerous levels of Formaldehyde. In Canada, the government regulatory agency, Health Canada, is warning consumers and hair stylists. Even Dr. Oz has recommended against it, so you got to know it’s not a good idea.

Beyond that product—whenever you are going to do something permanent that is going to change the basic structure of your hair—you always should take some key points under consideration:

  1. What is the current condition of my scalp and hair? Situations such as having dandruff, being on serious medications, having known food or chemical allergies, or being under tremendous stress, all may put you at higher risk of you not being happy with the outcome.
  2. Have the stylist review with you the ingredients of the product ahead of time to make sure there are no potential issues.
  3. When in doubt, always take the gentle route first—like semi-permanent highlights first before you commit to a full permanent color.
  4. Patch test. Take a section of hair where it could be hidden if it things don’t work out—do the treatment and see if it ok. It may mean more times to the salon, but will save you grief.

And finally, just remember, you might consider making that big change in the winter months when the back-up hat is a little more stylish and easier to wear.

Linda Stephenson


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