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OSHA warning on Brazilian Blowout

Is a Solution for:
Dry or Brittle Hair, Limp Hair, Dull Hair
Reviewed by Sunil May 7, 2011 13 Comments
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has finally issued a Hazard Alert for those using Brazilian Blowout Products for hair straightening. Concern surfaced when a stylist reported having nosebleeds, eye irritation, and trouble breathing while using a Brazilian Blowout product labeled "formaldehyde-free."

The alarming thing is that some of these products contain formaldehyde but aren’t listing it which has resulted in these health issues. The toxic ingredient has been linked to many maladies from blindness if eyes come in contact with it to cancer. Some salons have gone to great lengths to prevent this by either banning the product or taking precautions (eye wash stations, proper ventilation, etc) to ensure that both workers and customers aren't injured.

Unfortunately, the FDA hasn’t taken an initiative as strong as OSHA which is why so many of these Brazilian blowout knockoffs have littered the marketplace. Facing pressure from media, state, and government agencies, the makers of Brazilian Blowout introduced their Zero line in March. This product line claims to be formaldehyde-free. Then again the Oregon Health & Science University found formaldehyde levels as high as 4.85 to 10.6 percent in a treatment – that claimed to be formaldehyde free. It’s almost impossible to tell what you’re getting in a bottle these days which is why we need stricter enforcement from the FDA.

If only Mary-Louise Parker had known the potential issues. In April, the actress had a Brazilian Blowout and noted that she ended up losing hair due to the treatment. In an interview with The New York Times Magazine, Parker said the following when asked if she had any beauty mishaps lately:  "I've experienced hair fall-out in the past, and it is not fun. This treatment resulted in more".

To repair post blowout hair, see our Healthy Hair Collection

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  • September 12, 2011

    by FDA to Brazilian Blowout: Reduce Formaldehyde Content Promptly | EHS & Safety News America

    [...] May, the Truth In Aging beauty and skin-care product review website reported actress Mary-Louise Parker claimed she lost [...]

  • September 4, 2011

    by Marta

    Hi Jeanne1010, I've never had a Brazilian Blowout, but as loss of hair and decline of hair strength seems to happen as you get older, hair growth and conditioning treatments get a lot of attention at Truth In Aging. I would urge you to try emu oil, a good shampoo with as few chemicals and as many nutrients as possible. And copper peptides, but only if continued excessive shedding is an issue for you. Here's some background on emu oil:
    And shampoo suggestions:

  • September 4, 2011

    by Jeanne1010

    Does anyone have any ideas about what to use to bring your hair "back" after a Brazilian Blowout? After I had one I experienced significant hair fallout and I now have dry, brittle-textured hair that looks a bit like straw. I started using Aveda's Hair Remedy product for damaged hair, but I don't think it is helping. When I use Moroccan Oil things improve a bit, but I wonder about using it repeatedly.

  • August 10, 2011

    by Holly

    I am a cosmetologist and was in love with the brazilian blowout when I first used it, but when I heard all the negativity about the product our salon asked a chemist to come test our products. Everyone in our salon had their bottles tested and it was full of framadahide! Our salon decided to discontinue using the product and found the Pravana profection treatment, it was tested and it is safe. Our clients have liked it better and it has no strong smell and doesn't make our eyes water or nose bleed or run so we are happy! And it's cheaper!

  • July 2, 2011

    by Jacki Abrams M.D.

    Let's get some perspective here. I've had 4 Brazilian Blowouts in the past year (3 were the original "Brazilian Blowout" and one was the Cadiveu brand). It is an AMAZING product for those of us with wavy hair who have spent hours blow-drying, flat-ironing or even chemically straightening our hair (often damaging it from all of these things), only to see it ruined by humidity. My hair is much healthier and so much easier to deal with. I am not Mary-Louise Parker but I am a pathologist who has been exposed to much greater amounts of formaldehyde, in my career of 25+ years, than what is in these hair treatments. Pathologists do not have an increased risk of cancer (like radiologists do, for example) and formaldehyde has been around for over 150 years, so we would know by now. While I don't doubt that some people are sensitive or allergic to the product, the vast majority of people, both clients and hairdressers, are not. Proper ventilation and use of the product is essential but I think the majority of negative comments I read sound like over-reactions.

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