The “Brazilian Blowout”- a seemingly harmless, and even all-natural ingredient based blowout treatment for achieving salon-smooth hair, introduced into the United States in 2005 after receiving high praise in Brazil, where the blowout treatment was started. After much complaint, though, of both clients and salon workers alike, the question now is, is the Brazilian Blowout a dangerous technique for straightening hair, or the best hair straightening treatment out there?
Reports of this seemingly all-natural hair straightening treatment actually containing formaldehyde, which can cause rashes in both clients and salon workers, respiratory issues, and even hair loss in the client, have been raised, and even products toted to be 100% natural still can contain more than the .01% allowance of formaldehyde in U.S. products as an ingredient. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is still investigating the probable health concerns of this increasingly popular hair straightening treatment.
Some women swear by the Brazilian Blowout, claiming it keeps them out of the salon for months at a time and works wonders. Others claim that the very strong fumes of the treatment require the salon to keep children out of the room and keep fans rotating to try to dispel the odors. Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration tested air samples of Oregon salons to test for potential formaldehyde danger levels, and found them to be within safety levels, yet, claimed head of the Administration, Michael Wood, the levels of formaldehyde found were “high enough to cause concern.”
In response, the LA-based Brazilian Blowout brand providers claimed that the levels of formaldehyde found in their products were “safely below OSHA’s Action Level,” disregarding Oregon’s air test sampling as a non-concern. Repeated emails and calls for a response to the testing findings were initially ignored, until the LA-based company released their statement in a November news release.
Still, class-action lawsuits are still underway as to the potential dangers of this seemingly safe Brazilian Blowout. California filed a lawsuit against the LA-based company that is behind the Brazilian Blowout brand, claiming false advertising of the product. The product claiming to be all-natural still contains formaldehyde, which is misleading to consumers. The lawsuit did not report any illness or injury due to the product’s use.
Controversy or not, the Brazilian Blowout still is a popular hair straightening tool, even though many California-based salons have since pulled the treatment off their services. In 2009, the sale of formaldehyde in pharmacies and supermarkets was banned to reduce the likelihood of salons overusing formaldehyde in their products to straighten hair. Still, many people continue to seek the “spiked” hair straightening treatment by doing at-home services with levels of formaldehyde use not regulated or deemed safe by the U.S.
Why? Because it works better. As opposed to going to the salon for repeated straightening treatments, Brazilian Blowouts and similar treatments that contain formaldehyde just plain work better, some people claim. Yet at the expense of potential hair loss, ulcers on the head, and respiratory illness, having straight hair may just not be worth it.