If you are someone who keeps up with the newest in hair care, chances are you have heard about the Brazilian blowout. A Brazilian blowout treatment is a hair protectant that gives your hair a glossy, frizz-free, hydrated shine for up to three months. The ingredients used when doing a Brazilian blowout are the Brazilian camu camu, annatto seed, and acai berries, which sound harmless enough. But studies show Brazilian blowouts can actually pose a real health risk.
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What is a Brazilian blowout?
Just what is a Brazilian blowout hair treatment? The treatment is generally recommended for people with damaged, frizzy, or very processed hair. A Brazilian blowout treatment is meant to make your hair straighter, shinier and frizz-free, which can tempt many of us to try it. But then there’s the question of how long does a Brazilian blowout last, and it turns out the results only last for about 10-12 weeks. And that is if you maintain it the way the stylists tell you to, which we all know is hard to keep up with.
When you go for your Brazilian blowout treatment, the stylist will assess your hair and answer any questions you have, from what is a Brazilian blowout to how to care for your hair following a Brazilian blowout treatment. The first step of a Brazilian blowout is to wash the hair and then towel dry it. Next, the smoothing product is applied in sections. After that, the stylist will blow dry your hair while making it as smooth as possible using a brush. After a round of flat ironing, the stylist will rinse the hair out using only water, and then apply a specific bonding spray that will seal the cuticles of the hair. After that, it is time for a smoothing serum before the final blow dry and styling.
Why is a Brazilian blowout dangerous?
If you’ve read many Brazilian blowout reviews, you know a lot of customers are satisfied with the results the smoothing treatment has on their hair. What those Brazilian blowout reviews usually don’t mention is that Brazilian blowouts can be dangerous to your health — not because of the process itself, but rather because of some of the chemicals involved in it. While many people want to know “How long does a Brazilian blowout last,” a better question might be “How long can the potentially harmful effects of a Brazilian blowout last?”
Did somebody say free from formaldehyde?
What is in a Brazilian blowout hair treatment that could be considered harmful? Although the products used in the Brazilian blowout, and the similar keratin treatment, are reported as free from the carcinogenic chemical formaldehyde, the air in salons offering these treatments tested positive for formaldehyde. How is this possible?
Some manufacturers list “synonyms” for formaldehyde on their labels. This is because sometimes the formaldehyde has been dissolved in water or another substance, which changes its chemical composition slightly, giving it a new name. The problem is that all these substances can release formaldehyde when subjected to certain conditions, such as the heat involved in a hair smoothing treatment, or even when using heating tools later at home.
For this reason, The American Cancer Society wrote the following about keratin smoothing treatments: “Professional keratin hair-smoothing treatments can contain formaldehyde or formaldehyde-releasing chemicals. Using these can raise indoor air concentrations of formaldehyde to levels that could be a potential hazard.”
All of the chemicals listed below are names for formaldehyde under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s formaldehyde standard:
- Methylene glycol
- Methylene oxide
- Formic aldehyde
- Timonacic acid
- Thiazolidinecarboxylic acid
Is getting a Brazilian blowout worth the risk?
Formaldehyde is known to cause cancer and tends to be the worst when it is in the gaseous heated stage. It is a “sensitizer,” which means that it can cause allergic reactions of the skin, eyes, and lungs — such as asthma-like breathing, skin rashes, and itching. It can also be a health hazard, whether in a product or in the air.
Studies conducted by The American Cancer Society have shown that formaldehyde can increase the probability of nasopharynx cancer and leukemia. One study found that workers exposed to formaldehyde had higher than normal levels of chromosome changes in early white blood cells in their bone marrow. This finding supports the possible link between formaldehyde exposure and leukemia.
Other everyday chemicals you should get rid of
Considering this, maybe it is not worth risking your and your stylist’s health for the sake of beauty. There are other, safer methods of achieving great hair without turning to Brazilian blowouts. Have you, for example, considered natural solutions and skipping the chemicals for a while? We are not only talking about choosing a supplement made from plants to increase your hair health, we are talking about changing your routines, even when it comes to how you wash your hair. Did you know sulfates, which can be found in many shampoos, are well-known irritants of the skin, eyes, mouth and even lungs? Maybe it is time to take a closer look at the ingredients of that bottle you use every other day.
The study “Exposure to Chemicals in Cosmetics” conducted by the Breast Cancer Foundation shed some new light on another shampoo ingredient— parabens — and what effect it has on the body. The study discovered that parabens can penetrate the skin and act as a very weak form of estrogen in the body — potentially making hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer develop and grow.
So how about getting rid of shampoos containing sulfates and parabens and switching to a sulfate-free shampoo? Sulfate-free shampoos preserve your hair’s natural oils and are also color-safe, which is good if you dye your hair a lot. Instead of buying hair masks, which also have chemicals in them, you can make your own. A hair mask made from avocado, for example, contains vitamin E and is easy to make. Vitamin E is good for hair growth because it is a great moisturizer and also boosts the immune system.