Beauty Buzz: Are Brazilian Blowouts Worth the Risk?

June 30, 2011 • Beauty, Fashion Blog

Last week while having my hair colored and cut I noticed about 5 stylists and their guests sporting serious gas masks. Of course I had to ask what they were doing to their hair and if I should be concerned as I am pregnant. I was told these customers were getting Brazilian Blowouts (or keratin treatments). As odd as it may sound, I don’t know much about the process. While I may be the perfect candidate, I have learned to work with my natural curls and know how to manage the frizz. I have more products than a drugstore. In the winter months I just get regular blow-outs whenever I can. I will admit though, after witnessing the end results last week I was very much intrigued and thought to myself…I must come back and try this after I have the baby (pregnant and nursing women are warned not to do the treatment as most contain high levels of formaldehyde) and have three plus hours to spare. I have been searching for some deals (thanks Lifebooker so I don’t have to pay $500 for a treatment that lasts 3 months) and have since heard that once I try the process, I will be addicted. Unfrizzy hair that dries in less than half the time I hear is as addictive as crack. As in will sell off designer shoe collection for money, addicted. Great. There goes my disposable income.

Then I read today’s NY Post article entitled “Beauty At Any Price” and I am re-thinking getting a keratin treatment. The treatment, which costs from $200 to $700 and lasts two to three months, has been getting a bad rap as of late. Last year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration warned that the formula used in Brazilian Blowouts contains nearly 10 times its stated level of toxic formaldehyde. In April, OSHA sent out another hazard alert, declaring that formaldehyde is linked to nose and lung cancer, especially when heated above 450 degrees. When hair is flat-ironed at the end of a “blowout,” chemicals vaporize — and are suddenly breathable.

Due to the warnings, some New York salons have stopped offering keratin treatments completely, despite the enormous profits they have now lost. Joel Warren, co-owner of Warren Tricomi Salons, which has two locations in New York, says the company raked in about half a million dollars in revenue thanks to keratin last year. But it still banned the treatment in October. “Clients were coughing and their eyes were tearing, and people on my staff were complaining of nose bleeds, headaches and sore throats,” says Warren. That can’t be good.

If the FDA is considering banning Brazilian Blowouts because they are beyond toxic, maybe I shouldn’t try it. A burning throat can not be a good sign. So since I can’t miss what I have never tried, I figure I will wait until there are some safer alternatives on the market. From the looks of it, some salons are working furiously to find them. Hey, long-lasting blowouts are a cash cow. But if you are a conscientious salon, the risks outweigh the profits.

Read “Beauty at any price” here.

Also, read bout some New York salons offering less dangerous alternatives by reading “The Best Blowout Alternatives” here.

– Lauren Dimet Waters

Source & Photo: NY Post

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