Brazilian Blowout – A Dream Or A Nightmare

The good, the bad and the ugly of Brazilian Blowout

Of course you heard about it. If your hair is anything other than perfect, you were probably wondering if you should give it a try. I had Brazilian Blowout done on my hair several times over course of two and a half years, and I did enjoy the results. However, eventually, health concerns, costs and diminishing results prompted me to look for other solutions. Here is why.

First let me walk you through the procedure. Typical Brazilian blowout takes about 3 to 6 hours, depending on you hair length and texture. First step is washing your hair with specially formulated shampoo to prepare it for the treatment. Then the technician will apply straightening solution to your hair dividing them into small sections and using fine comb to ensure that solution is distributed evenly. This solution breaks down the bonds that keep you hair wavy/curly. The technician will determine how long the solution will stay in your hair depending on your hair type and strength of the solution. For me it usually was 1 – 1.5 hours. After that the technician, will start straightening your hair with a flat iron. They will work on one small section at a time. That’s longest part of the process, and my least favorite one, mostly due to unpleasant smell released by the heated solution.  Some type of exhaust is used by most of salons, but smell is still noticeable and bothersome. Fortunately, this is the last step. After this you will be provided with after-care instructions (at this point the salon would usually try to sell you after-care products they carry) and sent on your way.

The Good:

  • It does straighten you hair… for some time. The first time, I had it done, I was very  happy with the results for about month and a half and then just happy for another month.
  • It minimizes necessary styling to virtually nothing and makes that “wash and go” dream of yours come true.
  • It minimizes drying time.
  • It makes your hair look shiny and healthy.

The Bad:

  • Aftercare requires use of special hair products to ensure lasting results and those tend to be pricey.
  • The treatment starts washing off right away, and gradually disappears, despite use of specialized products, although, some effect does last up to 4 months.
  • Both chlorinated and salty water makes it wash off faster. So, you may want to think twice before taking that dip in a pool or ocean.
  • May be this was just my experience, but it seems that every time I had it done, the results were less satisfying and lasted shorter periods of time.
  • It does not actually make you hair healthier. It is safer and healthier than using lye-based relaxers, but it’s still a chemical treatment and is damaging to your hair. Don’t let word “natural” fool you into thinking otherwise.

The Ugly:

The solution used for straightening contains significant quantities of formaldehyde. It’s potent lung irritant and carcinogen. While it’s the stylists and technicians who get the highest exposure during the procedure, you get significant exposure as well. Small amounts of formaldehyde are released from your hair (read next to your nose and mouth)  every time you wash and blow dry you hair.

At this point of my little anti-brazilian blowout rant, you may wonder, what about products advertised as “formaldehyde free”? They should be safe, right? Well… wrong. They contain compounds that react with each other when heated (by stylist’s flat iron) and release formaldehyde.  There are some solutions that contain lower levels of formaldehyde, but they are less effective than regular strength solutions. They have to be used more often to maintain the same results.

Bottom line:

It is true that Brazilian Blowout is damaging for your hair and bad for your overall health. It is also true that it will make your hair straight and shiny for about 1 – 3 months. Is it worth it? Well… that’s for you to decide.

I’ve come to realize that embracing my curls saves me time and money, and ultimately makes me a happier person.

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