In 2011 there were some serious warnings about the safety of the popular hair straightening service, Brazilian Blowout. Amidst the life-changing benefits of the service, there are some risks associated with the service as it utilizes chemicals to change the hair to adapt to our needs. Very similar to using chemicals to change the colour of our hair, or to add curl into the hair with perming treatments, chemical are an essential component of modern hairdressing and something we take very seriously. This is part of the reason we require our clients get a colour patch test prior to getting any colour services from our salon.
When it comes to the Brazilian Blowout service, we feel as salon professionals it is our duty to give you all the facts so you can make an educated decision on whether to have this service. So here it is, the unfiltered, point-blank details on brazilian straightening.
First, there are a lot of companies that provide the products used in ‘brazilian straightening’ services, so it’s important to remember that the risk associated with the service is relative to the ingredients in the product. The key ingredient that makes the service so revolutionary is formaldehyde, which most of us know from high school chemistry, but it is also used as a sanitizer, preservative and is used in a wide range of products used EVERY DAY. However, the risk of using formaldehyde comes when it is heated, which is a critical step in the brazilian straightening service.
When heated, formaldehyde begins to steam or smoke which has led to acute side effects including nosebleeds, burning eyes and throat, skin irritations and asthma attacks. These chemicals can also lead to long-term health issues, including nasopharyngeal cancer and leukemia according to the FDA. Sounds terrible, but in reality it happens to a small percentage of people who get the service done every day. This is one reason why the FDA has requested that warning labels be applied but did not ban the use of the products.
You may ask: “Why don’t you use something that has no formaldehyde or less of it?” This is a very valid question that many product companies have tried to answer with their own variations. However, they are simply not as effective and while we may in the future decide to offer this as an alternative to the Brazilian Blowout, we would never try to claim that it would work as well as the original. It just doesn’t.
All of our stylists that perform the Brazilian Blowouts are certified by the company and receive the necessary training to safely perform the service. They learn the safe amounts and methods for application to keep their clients as well as themselves safe. Sadly a lot of the problems we saw early on with the cases reported to the FDA were from at-home applications, purchased illegally online and applied by someone not certified by the company. It’s a bit like getting your friend to give you the flu shot; not advised.
Similar to the warnings we see on many over-the-counter medications in the grocery store, we feel responsible for providing our clients with the facts and allowing them to make the decision. For some of our clients that are weary of the side effects, but who truly do not want to face another day with unruly curls, we also offer Yuko system thermal reconditioning. This is a permanent straightening service, so only certain clients would typically want to utilize this product so it is best to speak to your stylist about both services so you can discuss the pro’s and con’s of each option.
Bottom-line? There are always some risks when using chemicals to treat our hair woe’s. It will be worth it to many of our clients, but perhaps not others. We want you to decide your recipe for beauty with all the facts on hand. Let us know if you have any further questions about the service.