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Regina Leonard Regina Leonard
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edge contributor


Flat-out risky

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The trend in hairstyling known as the Brazilian Blowout, keratin smoothing treatment or any other similar-sounding service deserves immediate attention. I want everyone to be educated in the dangers this product comes with. I have been telling clients, friends and colleagues for months that the infamous Brazilian Blowout is just that - a blow out. This process that chemically smooths and straightens your hair is doing way more than that, and most of you either just didn't know or refused to believe it. This product contains extremely high levels of formaldehyde and is extremely dangerous for the client, and even more dangerous for me as the stylist.

Customers are paying upwards of $300 for a carcinogen. Sound good to you? Is your idea of perfect hair really worth it to you? Are you willing to put yourself and your stylist at risk for that? I have been leery of this from the beginning and now reports have been released that the FDA is aware of this problem and are calling for these companies to lower the levels of formaldehyde and make their consumers aware. OSHA has issued a hazard alert to consumers and professionals which will outline the problems and hazards associated with this product, and the FDA has issued the companies a warning letter with a deadline to lower the levels or face enforcement action. About time if you ask me.

I first heard of the problems that this product was causing while I was in Oregon for training. A hairdresser who had been using this product a lot now cannot do hair at all because of the damage it has done to her lungs. She actually started bleeding from her ears and nose. I couldn't believe what I was hearing and that we, the consumer, had not been protected or warned of the dangers hidden in this treatment. In fact, the company itself still denies that it does contain formaldehyde, and the educators and other professionals fall for and back up this bogus lie. What is most likely happening is that these companies are using some sort of derivative of formaldehyde that the FDA doesn't regulate as of yet.

Lots of companies do this kind of thing in all sorts of industries. For example, if anyone says that their permanent hair color is "ammonia free," they are lying. There is no such thing. Permanent hair color has to have ammonia in it to color your hair. If they claim that their product doesn't, then their company is using a derivative of ammonia and most likely this derivative is stronger and more damaging than any other color that does contain regulated amounts of ammonia.

The moral of this story? Stay informed and educated on any and all products or processes that you may consume. You can always request a Material Safety Data Sheet from your stylist; you can easily find them online as well. The old saying of "it is too good to be true" applies here. I know many people who used the product and, while they complained of burning eyes and throats, they loved what it did to their hair. That always just seemed strange to me and led me to do some research. I refused to participate and endanger myself and my clients. I hope that this information helps you to do the same. Please e-mail me with any questions at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last modified on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 15:51


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