The FDA Finally Gives Brazilian Blowout an Ultimatum—Meanwhile, Another Reader Loses Her Hair

In case you missed this on Friday, the FDA has issued a warning letter to the makers of the Brazilian Blowout saying that the product is ‘adultered’ and ‘misbranded.’ No shizzle! Here’s a quote from Michael W. Roosevelt, the acting director of the Office of Compliance at the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (via MSNBC):

“Brazilian Blowout is misbranded because its label and labeling (including instructions for use) makes misleading statements regarding the product’s ingredients and fails to reveal material facts with respect to consequences that may result from the use of the product.”

What can we say? Better late than never, I guess. The chief exec at Brazilian Blowout has made a statement that this is all a ‘misunderstanding’ and that they are ‘delighted’ to work with the FDA. Meanwhile, officials over there have until today to respond to the letter or possibly face seizure of the product or court action. So stay tuned!

In related news, just this morning we received another comment from a reader, Jennifer, who got the Brazilian and is now suffering from hair loss. We get these comments all the time, so I thought I’d share and do a little crowdsourcing:

I had the Brazilian Blowout around my birthday May 14, 2011. Before the treatment I had very thick hair, which I loved. I had this treatment done because the humidity is so bad in the summer and causes frizziness. Now in September I notice my hair is getting thinner every day it seems. It’s scaring me because I don’t want it to continue. I noticed strands on my floor, clothes, etc. And now i’m actually seeing the damage of the hair loss thining my hair extremely. I even asked the lady when I sat in her chair if there were any downfalls and specifically asked about hair loss. She said no then made a joke saying “you can afford it anyway” which I found unprofessional because it was a serious question which in return deserved a serious answer. I want to know why 4 months later i’m still losing hair and if/when I should expect it to stop. I would have never had this treatment done had I read up on all the negatives before hand. The results were great until I am seeing my lifeless, flat hair that has thinned to the point that I can’t believe. If anyone can give some advice or tell me if there’s stopped falling out at a certain point, I’d appreciate any advice since I am very nervous about it continuing to fall out. Thanks!

My best advice would be to use the most gentle natural products you can find, and as few as you can too. Also, load up your diet with lots of healthy fats, especially omegas, and vitamin-rich foods. Does anyone else have ideas for Jennifer? Or a similar experience to share?

Gosh, this stuff makes us mad! Especially since we’ve been screaming about it for three years now—and this is the first official response from the FDA.

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29 Responses to “The FDA Finally Gives Brazilian Blowout an Ultimatum—Meanwhile, Another Reader Loses Her Hair”
  1. Lindsay says:

    Jennifer, I can feel your pain. My hair is falling out too due to a thyroid condition. I’ve lost half my hair volume. It’s very upsetting. I love Morocco Method hair care. It’s vegan, raw, no yucky stuff. You should try it. It sounds like your hair needs a detox. Hang in there. It will grow back over time.

  2. Erin Kent says:

    Everyone raves about Viviscal! It’s a really popular supplement among models. Supposedly helps your hair grow back thick and strong.

  3. Rebecca says:

    As Lindsay mentions, hair loss can be a hormonal issue. That could be checked with a doctor and possibly dealt with though nutrition and herbs.

  4. Courtney says:

    rosemary oil. i put it in my clean shampoo. i also combined a base oil with lavender and rosemary essential oils that i rub into my scalp twice a week before i go to bed and then wash it out in the morning. after a couple months the lady that cuts my hair noticed new growth.

  5. Elena says:

    I also experienced dramatic hair loss (after hair coloring from a young hairdresser who basically burned my scalp). I was distraught after losing half my hair – which used to be my pride and glory. I decided to take charge and I basically became a bit of an expert re: hair loss and what to do to reverse it.

    10 months later my hair has been growing back and is now stronger than ever. Some tips:

    – Food can do wonders. “Hero” foods for hair: salmon, eggs, nuts (esp. almond and cashew), dark green veggies, beans and flaxseed oil

    – Ylang ylang essential oil. Put two drops on your head while you wash it. It prevents hair from falling.

    – Castor oil. Extremely oily, but it promotes hair growth. Massage limited quantities of it on your scalp the night before you wash your hair.

    – Stop using the blowdrier and shampoo less frequently (2 times a week, tops). I used to blowdry my hair and iron it every two days. I stopped doing it once it started falling out in large quantities. And now it’s as thick and full of volume as it was when I was a teenager. I promise!

    Good luck, Jennifer!

  6. Deanna says:

    Go see your general practitioner or dermatologist right away — they will help you. There may be damage to your scalp or another reason you are experiencing the hair loss. It’s best to get a doctor to help.

  7. Alexandra says:

    Good one Courtney, I’ve actually read about this before and forgot. :)

  8. Michele says:

    I had an issue with thinning hair, and I just started using John Masters Organics Zinc and Sage Shampoo w/Conditioner. It doesn’t condition enough for me, so I use his Lavender and Avocado Intensive Conditioner after. It’s only been 2 weeks and I already notice a significant difference in the amount of hair that falls out.. Both products smell fabulous and the scent isn’t noticeable after your hair dries.

    He also makes a spray; Deep Scalp Follicle Treatment. There are many testimonials on his site that say that this has helped with thinning hair. I’m going to pick some up the next time I’m at Whole Foods. If you don’t live near a store that sells his products, his site offers free shipping in the US with no minimum purchase required.

    By the way, my hair is fine, wavy, and frizz prone and these products also work well for my hair type aside from my thinning hair issue. As a matter a fact I initially bought them for cleansing and conditioning. The fact that they helped with reducing hair loss was a surprising bonus.

    I hope this helps. I know first hand how a traumatic a hair disaster can be.

  9. Kim says:

    Jennifer, I totally understand what you must be going through, I started loosing my hair last year as a result of diet, and low iron levels, I got through it tho and my hair is now thickening up. My suggestion also would be to not rule anything out, go and see your GP, I also went to see my naturopath and she worked wonders. Make sure that your diet is well balanced, lots of protein! liver is functioning well, blood levels are ok etc. etc. Don’t worry it will get better it just takes time. Good luck :)

  10. Steffie says:

    I heartily agree with the motion to check with your doc, check your thyroid levels,iron, B, and other vitamin and mineral levels, etc. And double check any prescription medications you’re on – see if hair loss is a side effect. My mother lost about 75% of her hair during a long stint on Monopril and continues to have terrible dental issues from it. Good ole Google can help you find a basic list of side effects that you can bring up with your doctor. Additionally if you can find a good naturopathic doctor, DO IT. I have a recommendation for one based in Houston who will work with you long distance if you need it.

    And, importantly, chill out. Watch your stress levels. Some folks break out, some lose their hair.

    Once the hair LOSS stops, if you can correct the underlying cause, there’s a good chance regrowth will occur. Treat it well with the above suggestions, they’re all good!

    Best of luck to you!

  11. Rae says:

    I swapped my regular multivitamin for prenatal ones with more calcium and iron!

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Oh boy, I know this feeling all too well. For me, it’s definitely stress. I will echo everyone else’s sentiments here: check in with your doctor. Also, two things to keep in mind:

    1. Women lose more hair during the transition from summer to fall.
    2. Most female hair loss can be reversed in 3-6 months.

    I picked those points up long ago in an Oprah magazine :)

  13. Patricia says:

    I have had 3 Brazilian Blowouts to date over the past year. I noticed my scalp got much drier and itchy at times. then I noticed thinning esp at the crown and the sides (temples) NOw it is more noticeable and I am at the brink of losing it. The salon keeps saying how safe this stuff is and they say they all use it on their own hair but at this point i am not sure what i believe. has anyone who had brazilian blowout done had regrowth of their hair? i have no problem stopping this product, babying my hair with gentle and super conditioning products, but I would like to know if and when regrowth starts and the thinning stops….any words of advice will be soooooo appreciated.

  14. Gina says:

    Yep, you can count me in too as one whose hair is thinning on the crown and temples because I had two Brazillian Blowout Straightening Treatments last year (the “formaldehyde – free” version, which I am now finding out does not exist.) Until I found your site I thought it was just slowing of estrogen production from aging, but my hair and skin have never shown my 47 years, why would they begin to now, at such a rapid pace? No, those treatments were the culprit! -sighs- I just ordered a bottle of Viviscal vitamins and am planning to heed some of the suggestions given here; thanks, ladies! And NO MORE Brazillian Blowout for me!

  15. askvivi says:

    This is why I prefer using Cocoa Keratin System which is Brazilian treatment too and lasts for up to 5 months but its MUCH safer on my hair and scalp. It smooths my hair, moisturises it and repairs it. It contains argan oil so it’s super beneficial for all hair types.

  16. Nada says:

    I had Brazilian blow out. The first month my hair was amazing, so very shiny.. amazingly soft and the waves have become so natural.

    I noticed however that my scalp became dry, and as a result i had dandruff. It was annoying and embarrassing to be noticed by my boyfriend. i didn’t have problems with dandruff before.
    Another problem is falling hair, to be honest with you, my hair is not that thick, and i already suffer from falling hair.. BUT i noticed during the first month of the treatment my hair on the floor! the bed a lot of it! cleaning it is annoying and it made me worry..
    Another thing, after around 3 months i noticed that my hair has become more dry along the edges..

    1. Multi vitamin.. ( am taking Omega 3,6,9 supplements and Hair, nail and skin supplements” after around 2 weeks i found dramatic strength on my nail and their growth.. cant say much about the hair, may take longer time to recover)
    2. Watercress.. I started having watercress salad only!! i tried it before and it good..
    i got super excited and i started to make a smoothie of it! “Not that tasty” i put around 2-3 bags and i mix it with yogurt, lemon and mint leaves and its drinkable :) :) do that EVERYDAY my dear dear girl friends …..

  17. Jessica says:

    I had a Brazilian blowout done late August 2012. The first one didn’t work because the stylist realized her straight iron wasn’t working so she did it again a few days later and it was gorgeous! Loose, wavy…

    But it’s now two months later and I notice my hair is thinner… I’ve always had super thick, curly hair (almost too much of it!) But I am concerned. I am wondering if I should do something special to wash out the Brazilian or to cleanse my scalp to open follicles? I hope this isn’t permanent. My stylist swears neither she nor her client never had thinner hair after their treatments.

    I suppose it could also be stress, as I was in an accident in June and am presently a grad student. And it’s fall… time for annual “shedding”… But still.

    Advice would be welcomed! :)

  18. judi king says:

    You can add me to the list of women that are losing their hair after the Brazilian blowout. I had mine done in December and I, too, loved it at first. Now I am consumed with worry every time I touch it or look in the mirror, or shower drain. My once gorgeous super-thick curly hair is so thinned out you can see bald spots on the crown. I seriously wish I had done some research before going this route. My hairdresser told me it was safe and actually very healthy for your hair. and I just took her word for it. What I would really like to know is how long does this go on? I will try all the approaches mentioned above, but does anyone know how many months of losing their hair and having it break off you have to endure before the treatment wears off and the hair loss stops???

  19. Courtney says:

    I also had a Brazilian blowout last fall and felt that I lost a LOT more hair than normal (and I shed like crazy) aprpoximately 2-4 months after. I was freaking out because I have always had thick hair and it felt downright THIN and I was afraid it would never stop!!! I did NOT get another brazilian blowout and I am seeing a slowing in the hair loss. I also went to see my dr and they said I am slightly anemic and that too can contribute so I will be startting to take iron supplements too. So definitely explore other causes, but I think if you just treat your hair as gently as possible for awhile, the loss should hopefully start to get back to normal.

  20. Melody (South Africa) says:

    i had a Brazillian blow out twice now, first time my ends seemed dead and dry and I have never had split ends, I went to my regular hair sylist and she was shocked to see my hair in this state. once again I was convinced to do a Brizilian and now 5 months later my hair is thinning, but I have spilt ends in the middle of my hiar strands and when I brush my hiar it breaks off. I have shoulder length hair and I wash my hair daily as I hate dirty hair. Does any body know what I can do about this situation. The person that done the Brizilian said it is as a result of the chemicals and because I dont nourish my hair enough. This is the worst product I have ever used on my hair.

  21. Lyrickcalico says:

    I have blonde colored hair and thick. I had the blowout done about 3 months ago. I haven’t noticed my hair falling out.

    However,my scalp is still itching red. I would have thought this would have gone away by now. I am guessing this is permanent damage?

  22. jennifer says:

    Me and my daughter went in to a Brazillian blowout a few ago. We both had thick gorgeous hair and now our hair is falling out and thin. I wished we would have stayed away from this product. My daughter is 19 and she’s depressed and effected from this. STAY AWAY FROM THIS PRODUCT!

  23. Lauren says:

    Can any of you ladies whose hair started falling out because of the brazilian tell me whether your hair grew back???????? I just had one done and is happened to me!!! Please help me.

  24. Lauren says:

    Ladies did your hair ever grow back after the brazilian blowave as i just had one done and the same thing happened….is happening…. Please can someone tell me if this is permanent??????? I’m going out of my mind!!!!

  25. Clair says:

    I had a Brazilian blow out 5 days ago and it has been the worst thing ever. I was also told it is not harming and is a treatment which is good for your hair. Well 4 days later i had to leave work early after sever inflammation and my head cover in little blisters which were terribly itchy. My dermatologist visit confirmed it to be contact dermatitis from the treatment. My hair is also falling out at an alarming rate. DO NOT CONSIDER THIS BRAZILIAN BLOW OUT. It has horrific side effects and I am on cortisone treatment to try and clear up the painful dermatitis now covering my scalp. They use the MK product brand from Israel. Stay away from this rubbish that costs a fortune.

  26. Cristy says:

    I too used the Brazilian Blowout starting back in 2012 4-5 times over an eighteen month period. I noticed increased hair fall during that time, but didn’t think much of it until the sides of my hair started to become transparent. I also noticed hair shedding in different stages of growth. What I mean by that is some hairs were 1 inch long, other were 3 inches long, etc. when they would fall out- root attached. This was not breakage. My scalp was inflamed and hair was falling out prematurely. Of course I was (am) freaked out and saw multiple dermatologists, all labs tests normal. I even had a scalp biopsy. In late 2015, I saw a specialist at UCLA that said it was the the blowouts that had damaged my scalp leading to a “cycle problem” and chronic folliculitis. This was not hormonal, not autoimmune, not a nutritional deficiency, or stress. It was from the blowouts. MInd you my hair stylist told me this procedure would make my hair stronger!! I don’t use her anymore. The dermatologist has me on an oral antibiotic called doxycycline (long term), not because I have an infection, but to reduce inflammation. I am also trying a topical antibiotic shampoo. The dermatologist said Rogaine and those laser caps may help with the “cycle problem” but I am hoping the antibiotics and time will help enough. I have a feeling that the hair that I lost will never return. It is now very thin, but I am hopeful that the hair that I have left will improve in quality. Hope this helps.

  27. naomi says:

    I hear you. I must have had at least 4 or 5 over the past year thinking they were safe. They are not. My hair is falling out everywhere. Here’s my current treatment:

    1) Biotin Supplements (I use Hair Vitality)
    2) Biggest help: High Frequency comb (goes for $40 on amazon, and helps blood circulation)
    3) Inhairit herbal solution for my scalp
    4) If I do blow dry, I only blowdry with an ionic Sony blower from japan ($200 on Amazon)
    That’s all I can think of right now, but I’ll also try Viviscal (thanks to these comments).

    What an ordeal this is! I guess I’m in for curly hair for life! :-(

  28. Dale says:

    I am male and had been growing my hair out long for about 14 months. I had this done, and my hair started falling out. It’s been right at 9 weeks and I just finally shaved my head, not tottally bald but a no.2 clipper setting which leaves about 1 quarter inch of hair. It’s been about 4 days since I shaved my head, and I see no no bald patches nor is any hair coming out in the shower anymore so we will see. Fingers crossed.

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