Brazilian Hair Treatment Strips Frizz … and Hair

October 12th, 2010
Brazilian Hair Treatment Strips Frizz … and Hair

It is advertised as being a “permanent, nourishing” blow dry, meant to leave your locks lusciously frizz-free, but according to Susanne Harvey of Calgary, the Brazilian Blowout treatment she received left her balding and holding clumps of her hair.

Testimonials on the Brazilian Blowout website feature frizzy, unruly and dull hair transformed into flowing, shiny and bone-straight manes. If this is what the product promises and delivers (at least some of the time) what went wrong with Susanne Harvey’s treatment?

According to Health Canada, Brazilian Blowout contained 12 percent formaldehyde. Federal regulation stipulates that formaldehyde is allowed in non-oral cosmetic products as a preservative and only in quantities of 0.2 percent or less.

An exposure to formaldehyde can cause burning in the eyes and nose as well as sore throats and, in extreme cases, cancer.

How, then, did so much formaldehyde get in the Brazilian Blowout treatment anyway? According to Brazilian Blowout Corporate Executive Officer, Mike Brady, it’s a mystery.

“We’ve sent our product out for independent testing,” Brady said. “We have found minute traces of formaldehyde for unknown reasons.”

This is where the story doesn’t add up. Brazilian Blowout’s advertising says it is a formaldehyde-free, keratin-based alternative to chemical-laden hair relaxers, but when pressed back up these claims by producing a list of the product’s ingredients, Brazilian Blowout refused, citing confidentiality as it awaits a patent.

In the meantime, stylists and clients continue to use Brazilian Blowout, although Susanne Harvey questions what they are being exposed to. “I don’t really know what that level (of formaldehyde) can do to your skin, your scalp,” Susanne said. “I know what it does to your hair. It comes out.”

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