Brazilian Blowouts, Even More Toxic Than We Thought

The bad press continues for the Brazilian blowout. Today the Los Angeles Times is reporting that the treatment may be bad for health. They even spoke to one of our favorite toxicologists: Michael J. DiBartolomeis, head of the California Department of Public Health’s Safe Cosmetics Program. Some of you may remember Dr. DiBartolomeis from the book, where he helped us navigate some of the complicated science around chemicals. Here’s what he told the LA Times about symptoms and risks:

Michael J. DiBartolomeis says short-term symptoms from breathing formaldehyde vapors include headache; watering, burning, irritated eyes; a severely irritated inner lining of the nose or a bloody nose; and restricted breathing, similar to an asthmatic attack. Longer-term exposure can cause reduced pulmonary function or lung damage and raises the risk of cancer.

Jezebel, Nadine Jolie and other favorite sites have been covering the issue as well. And as Jolie reported today, a class action suit is already underway in British Columbia after samples tested in Canada turned out to contain 12% formaldehyde. 12%!

We couldn’t be happier to finally see this issue get the full attention it deserves. As many of you know, the Brazilian is what started us on our clean mission in the first place. We look forward to hearing your experiences with it above.

Image via LA Times

5 Responses to “Brazilian Blowouts, Even More Toxic Than We Thought”
  1. ComaGirl says:

    Just this weekend, I found happened upon two separate advertisements for stylists touting the Brazilian Blowout among their specialties. That is just frightening.

  2. Leslie says:

    Welcome to the world of African American women since we figured out we could put lye on our hair to make it straight. Why do you think many black women are always wearing pieces and are hair obsessed? It’s a nasty cycle you get into. Chemical treatment when you are young, followed by treatment after treatment on new growth. FInished with products that are designed to make your hair look like it’s not having a bad reaction to the chemical treatment which also is damaging to your hair. In the end your hair ends up breaking and or falling out, permanently damaging follicles which leads a lot of women to resort to wigs and pieces to make their hair look decent, which tend to be very expensive. “Good Hair” the Chris Rock film doesn’t even cover it. Imagine whether or not you got a Brazilian Blowout being tied to your inherent femininity, your professionalism, your value as a person. It’s a nightmare. I’m sorry this cycle is being perpetuated amongst caucasian women.
    My Nappy roots is a good documentary that addresses these issues specifically for black women. It’s a cautionary tale.

  3. Alexandra says:

    Leslie, thanks for the doc recommendation! This is a subject I find really interesting and really upsetting–would like to cover it more, especially with the right guest blogger.

  4. jJoAnn says:

    I am working on this in the state of Florida…I am a licensed Hairdresser of 23 years in two states….and have never seen anything this Toxic..I can not believe this is a legal salon process…I have filed a complaint with OSHA and working on the talks with the state board…People really need to understand you can not get a brazilian straightner in the Country of Brazil..That should tell you something….there was a great article four years ago in Allure magazine…called scared it worth dying over…please do not bring children into a salon preforming this treatment!! please keep fighting!!!

  5. Lisa says:

    I am a hair dresser and I have clients who want theses treatments
    I don’t do them so they get them done else where
    They keep telling me that the new ones are really formaldehyde free and safe because that is what other hairdressrs are saying?
    There is one called Zerran Lisse suppose to be Vegan natural no formaldehyde?How do you know if any of them are safe? and do they really improve the hair or is it just a coating and will eventually damage the hair ?
    California smooth is another defrizzer with a base of quinoa and it doesn’t straighten the hair just defrizz it.
    But I am not a chemist and not sure what some of the ingredients are?
    I am very leary now of all of these treatments because there are so many lies being told about there safety .
    It’s such a big business now and everyone wants to make a buck but at what costs to our health?

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