If this news is any indication, salons may soon require hazmat suits for its workers… That’s hyperbole, of course, but:
The Department of Labor has issued an official immediate safety warning about formaldehyde-containing hair-smoothing products like the Brazilian Blowout. This is big news—HUGE*—and speaks to how much things really are (slowly) changing when it comes to the wild west of chemicals used in cosmetics and cosmetic procedures.
Federal OSHA is recommending that salons that carry out the procedure follow the following guidelines:
- Give workers respirators
- Give employees appropriate gloves and other personal protective equipment (e.g., face shield, chemical splash goggles, chemical-resistant aprons)
- Post signs at entryways to any area where formaldehyde is above OSHA’s limit**
- Tell workers about the health effects of formaldehyde
Recent reports from Oregon OSHA, California OSHA, and now Federal OSHA should alert salon owners and stylists to look closely at the hair smoothing products they are using to see if they contain methylene glycol, formalin, methylene oxide, paraform, formic aldehyde, methanal, oxomethane, oxymethylene, or CAS Number 50-00-0. All of these are names for or treated as formaldehyde under OSHA’s Formaldehyde standard. Products containing them can expose workers to formaldehyde; employers who manufacture, import, distribute, or use the products must follow OSHA’s formaldehyde standard.
The Environmental Working Group also has a new report out called Flat Out Risky that is loaded with information we haven’t had a chance to sift through yet (we just wanted to get this information out to you!).
Also, note that the hazard warning cites new lab reports in which “formaldehyde-free” products proved to contain formaldehyde after all. So in case you were still wondering about whether or not you should do it, and whether or not that “greener” Brazilian blowout really is, consider this your answer!
*Big kisses to anyone who gets that reference.
** OSHA’s limit is 0.75 parts of formaldehyde per million parts (or ppm) of air during an 8-hour work shift or 2 ppm during any 15-minute period.
UPDATE: We now have a LOT of responses to this and wanted to bump it up to share the comments with you guys. You can probably skip to the comments if you read this site with any frequency. It’s really all about you, the readers, with this puppy. So read! And add!
Hello! Let’s have a little fun, since we know we are not the only ones who have gone down the Brazilian blowout road. As the bad press continues, we want to hear your Brazilian blowout stories:
1. Did you do it at home or in a salon?
2. Did your eyes hurt/nose bleed/hair smell funny? Or did nothing bad happen?
3. What was it called: keratin styling, old standby “Brazilian” or something else?
4. Did you do it again? (Do you still do it?) Did your hair get dry and weird two months later, as ours did?
For those of you who have not read the book or listened to us talk about this ad nauseam, a recap: We wrote the book because we went for Brazilian blowouts, had a sort of scary experience—much coughing, protective goggles, and hair that smelled like toxic chocolate for way, way too long—and decided we should investigate what was in it. We also noticed that after a few weeks, our hair looked like garbage, and it was a long time before it went back to normal.
But right after we did it? Boy were we excited. The pic of me up top is from right after the treatment: I look grumpy, but not because of my hair. That’s what my hair looked like without a blowdryer for a while, in the August humidity. Swoon! Except not really. That’s Alexandra’s hair about a month or so in—and the magic of the blowout was already beginning to reverse itself (you should see the pictures she took at two months).
Anyway, we want to hear your experiences. Please answer our questions in the comments section (or tell us a different story about it) and if, like us weirdos, you saved your post-Brazilian pics send them to us at nomoredirtylooks (at) gmail (dot) com.
Concern about the Brazilian blowout has reached the Attorney General’s office in the state of California, which just today registered a formal complaint in the courts about it.