The Brazilian Blowout Might Kill You, but You’ll Die Pretty


straight hairWell, it's a good thing the dog days of summer are behind us because the United States Food and Drug Administration just officially acknowledged that the Brazilian Blowout, a product/process that can make the unruliest of manes calm and frizz-free, is dangerous. Like, really dangerous. They haven't banned the Brazilian Blowout just yet, but they've given the makers of the product until, like, now to get their shit together before the line is pulled from store shelves altogether.

What's so dangerous about the product? Well, see, it kind of/sort of/totally contains a dangerously high level of liquid formaldehyde, known to cause nervous system disorders, chest pain, headaches, vomiting, and rashes. The FDA confirmed that some Brazilian Blowout samples contained up to 10.7 percent of the chemical. Time wrote that the Cosmetics Ingredient Review Expert Panel considered 0.2 percent to be a safe level.

... But it makes your hair look so pretty ...

I've had the Brazilian Blowout once or twice in my day, and let me tell you -- nothing -- and I mean nothing -- gives you silkier, smoother, unbelievably low-maintenance locks quite like it. The first time I had it done was last summer, and it was like a miracle had occurred. I left the salon and was literally caught in a rainstorm, and when I returned home, my hair was perfectly straight and in place. I'm not one of those girls, people! I'm one of those girls you'll find in a public restroom attempting to salvage my hair with a travel brush and a hand dryer after getting caught in a rainstorm. It was a glorious day!

Thing is, though, I (thought I) had done my research, and I definitely asked the salon if the treatment contained formaldehyde. And they definitely told me no. And they probably believed their lie because, see, the bottles of Brazilian Blowout actually say "No Formaldehyde" or "Formaldehyde Free." Which, coincidentally, is also why the FDA is saying that these products are "mislabeled." Oops.

So, what are we going to do about our frizzy hair next summer, ladies? (I'm operating under the assumption that the Brazilian Blowout people are not going to be able to get their act together, because the CEO, Mike Brady, seems to be in complete denial of there even being a problem.) Are we going to embrace them a la Diane von Furstenberg? Probably not. Are we going to just have to bite the bullet and don a bun all summer? Nope. We're going to flat iron the ever-living crap out of our hair until it basically falls out. Thanks a lot, Brazilian Blowout.

Have you ever had a Brazilian Blowout?


Image via Stacy Huggins/Flickr



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Stacey. Stacey.

Or maybe try embracing your natural hair and working with it. It'd be a lot easier to learn how to control the hair you have then create the hair you do not.

nonmember avatar Shelly

No, I would never. Not worth it. The hair in the picture (If it's not just a stock image, and hair treated w/ Brazilian blowout) looks super fried and damaged. There is nothing pretty and healthy about that hair!! I looks terrible!

nonmember avatar dani

You would know if the product was unsafe. Almost everyone who uses that level of chemistry in hair shows allergie signals immediately.

And, for your information, the products wich formula contains more than 0.2% of formaldehyde were banned in Brazil a few years ago. FDA should do the same.

nmmama09 nmmama09

I wanted one so bad for my wedding day. I have the thickest, coursest hair ever and it takes FOREVER to flat iron. I didn't get the blowout but went to a salon to have the straightening done for me and it took about an hour just to flat iron. I've tried letting my hair air dry, but it turns into a giant pouf. Blowdrying does the same thing. So yeah, I'm basically stuck with the bun/ponytail look. The formaldehyde is the only thing stopping me from getting this done.

Sandr... SandraCheeks

I don't force my hair to look a way it doesn't want to. I like some wave/curl to my hair and have learned how to get silky brushable curls without using any products what-so-ever. I don't like the way the hair in the pic looks, and the ends look nasty. I don't like stick-straight ends, they look better with a curl to them.

But then again, I am NOT the kind of girl that obsesses over every hair, and if I get caught in a rainstorm, I just get caught in a rainstorm. If I saw a girl in the bathroom freaking out over her hair, I'd think she was crazy.

Melis... Melissa042807

And a Brazillian Blowout is NOT going to make your hair fall our vs. flat ironing?

Hasn't that happened down in Brazil, where women get those blowouts all the time? Their hair turns all brittle and starts falling out?

Using all those chemicals - in any hair treatment! - is so bad for the hair. I saw a microscopic picture once of the hair of a lady who had it chemically relaxed regularly, and the entire outer layer of the hair was GONE. Just...GONE. It had been stripped away. Scary.

Elaine Pappagiorgio

My former neighbor became specialized in Brazilian Blowouts a few years ago, before they were the "big thing". I remember her bragging how she was making anywhere from $300-$500 per client just to do these treatments and as always booked. We live in Encino, California, which has a high Jewish population, so she had many, many Jewish clients. At that time, I wasn't quite sure why these women couldn't just embrace their natural hair's texture and work with it. There's a product called BioSilk that I get at Costco for $12 a bottle, and that stuff works wonders!

I lost touch with my former neighbor when she moved out over a year ago, but I did notice starting last year that many salons began to advertise the BB. I had a stylist and and I remember telling her how my neighbor was certified in BB, and I remember her reacting in horror and telling me how bad those chemicals were and that there were other alternatives. I was thinking perhaps because it was such a big moneymaker and the profit margin was high. Now that I've read the studies and the effects of the chemicals, it makes me wonder if these stylists doing the BB think that money is worth more than their health. As the saying goes, health is wealth!

Madel... Madelaine

didnt know they werent safe!

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