Brazilian Hair Straightening

Brazilian hair straightening may give you beautiful, shiny, and straight hair, but what else will it give you? The formaldehyde in these keratin straightening solutions can also cause headaches, breathing difficulties, nausea, skin rashes, and burning eyes and throat, so is it really safe?

Brazil is known for many unique beauty treatments, and this hair straightening method uses liquid keratin, a preservative, and intense heat to turn a head of curls into poker straight hair. It's also known by the following names: keratin cure, Brazilian Blowout, keratin straightening, escova progressiva, or Brazilian Keratin Treatment.

It is very common for many of us to want to change our appearance. Perhaps we just get tired of looking at ourselves all the time! So many people with curly hair want to have straight hair and vice versa! Think about this though - is it worth losing your health just so you can change the way your hair looks?

How Does Brazilian Hair Straightening Work?

Hair is prepared to receive the Brazilian keratin hair treatment solution by washing it with a specially formulated shampoo that causes the cuticles of the hair to open up.

Next, the keratin straightening solution is put on the hair and combed all the way through, making sure all the hair has been covered with the solution.

Half an hour later, a 450-degree flat iron is applied to the hair. It's during this step that the keratin straightening solution is locked into the hair cuticles, which is what makes the hair appear straight. The result is hair that looks as though it's been blown dry naturally.

How Are Brazilian Hair Straightening Products Marketed?

Here is what the proponents of this keratin cure method of hair straightening have to say about it. The process could take as little as 90 minutes or as long as 4 hours.

The time involved and the cost depends on the length and thickness of your hair. The cost could be $200 or as much as $600 per session. That's a total of at least $1,200 a year or as much as $3,600 per year!

They also say that any hair type will respond well to the treatment and that it's a safe method for making your curly hair straight. Your hair will appear shiny, healthy, and straight for up to 2 months before the process needs to be repeated. Washing your hair less means you could extend the time in between treatments.

Dangers of Brazilian Hair Straightening

The keratin cure may indeed straighten your hair, but the price of beautiful hair may be too high when you look at the dangers associated with Brazilian keratin hair treatment.

The danger arises when the heat is applied to the hair that's been soaked with the keratin straightening solution. The solution contains dangerous amounts of formaldehyde!

Did you know that formaldehyde is a proven, well-known carcinogen? It has and can cause cancer of all kinds! Although the companies who make this solution are being sued by hundreds of people whose health has been adversely affected by the keratin solution and the process, the products are still widely available online for people to do it at home.

What Happens to You and Your Stylist When Heat is Applied?

These are just some of the physical reactions that occur when the Brazilian hair straightening solution that contains formaldehyde is used in a salon or home.

  • Instant headaches

  • Nausea

  • Itchy, burning, watering eyes

  • Burning throat

  • Hives or rash

  • Difficulty breathing - both during the procedure and for a long time following the procedure

  • Hair loss

Think of the potential dangers of this method of hair straightening this way: is it worth it to you to enjoy beautiful straight hair only to not be able to breathe properly or get cancer sometime later in life?

Did you know that in its purest form, formaldehyde can cause blindness, cancer, respiratory difficulties, birth defects, and even death? Are any of these worth enduring simply to have straight hair?

The company who produces Brazilian Blowout claims that their products are completely safe and formaldehyde-free. When testing was conducted on this product however, it was discovered that it actually contains 6000% more formaldehyde than is permitted by law!

Health Canada was the organization that made the discovery in October 2010. That doesn't sound like a formaldehyde-free solution!

Alternatives to Brazilian Hair Straightening Method

These are some alternatives that may be safer than the Brazilian method, but as always, we encourage you to do research for yourself to make sure you're using the safest and most effective products possible.

  • Zerran - 100% vegan hair straightening products that contain no formaldehyde and are 100% paraben free

  • La-Brasiliana - a hair straightening treatment that uses keratin infused with collagen instead of harmful chemicals

  • New Options by Crockett & Company - this company says they're committed to producing healthy hair product options. Products do not contain petroleum, alcohol, or sodium hydroxide.

  • Curlaway - a chemical free relaxer

  • PhytoSpecific - a company who claims to produce 100% botanically derived hair relaxing products

  • Janelle Diva Beauty Smooth - a non-chemical relaxer that contains all natural ingredients

Safer, Chemical Free Hair Straightening

One method of safer, chemical-free hair straightening is to follow these steps. This works well even for very curly or frizzy hair.

  • First, wash your hair and deep condition it. The deep conditioner will help protect the hair.

  • Blow dry the hair on a low setting and straighten as much as possible using a brush.

  • Apply a serum for protecting hair from heat and then proceed to use a flat iron to straighten the hair.

  • Last, apply a humectant to the hair to keep it from regaining too much volume.

This method is much safer than the Brazilian method and will give you beautifully straight hair for those times you truly want it!

A Word of Caution

Always research a hair product before using it on your own hair or allowing someone else to do so! So many of the products on the market today have potential health risks and side effects that we may not be aware of.

These type of Brazilian hair straightening products are just one example of products that can have dangerous side effects. Another is hair dye allergies which can develop from exposure to a chemical known as PPD which is in many brunette hair dye products.

As you can see, I know more than I'd like about this topic! Just because the product is available for purchase, that doesn't mean it's deemed safe! Take the time to read up on any product you're considering before making a purchase and using it on your body.

I never thought much about the ingredients in my hair and skincare products until I developed a sensitivity to fragrances and chemicals, which required that I learn more about what exactly is in those nice creams and lotions! :-) I was quite shocked by what I learned, which eventually motivated me to start a whole website on this topic.

For more information, please see my Sensitive Skincare website which provides a helpful Safe Cosmetics Guide to help you learn more about how to choose safer skincare and personal care products.

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