The latest Brazilian beauty treatment to cause a stir is not the one that involves removing every last bit of hair from a lady’s nether regions, but rather a hair straightening treatment that promises perfectly straight and glossy hair for as long as, well for as long the treated section of hair is still on your head. Enter stage right Brazilian Blowout. This is a company that claims that its product is formaldehyde free. Low and behold some renegade sample testing was done by Oregon Health and Science University and guess what they found? You got it that nasty human carcinogenic formaldehyde. In case the word “carcinogenic” doesn’t get your attention, how about “allergen”, “irritant”, “immune system toxicity”, and the big “C.” Not only did they find the perpetrator in the samples but at insanely high levels.
Health Canada released a warning to consumers:
Testing conducted by Health Canada found that the Brazilian Blowout Solution contains 12% formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is permitted in cosmetics at less than 0.2% when used as a preservative. Formaldehyde is a known irritant, sensitizer, and is linked to cancer in humans when inhaled chronically over a long period of time. Health Canada believes that the reactions are being caused by formaldehyde becoming aerosolized during the blow drying and flat ironing stages of the treatment. Any procedure containing formaldehyde above the allowable limits places clients and stylists at increased risk.
If you want to see some scary math, check out the stats that Virginia has compiled over on the Beauty School Project. I’ve been following the story mostly on Nadine Jolie’s blog because she’s got her finger on the pulse and giving daily updates. If you watch her youtube video you can see how passionate she is about the story. Here’s how she sums up her passion:
Why am I so pissed off about this? Because countless women are having this treatment done instead of others, erroneously believing it’s perfectly safe. Countless stylists are performing this treatment instead of others, erroneously believing it’s perfectly safe. We’re big boys and girls and we deserve to make adult choices for ourselves, but particularly when it comes to our health, we have a right to crucial information–and to be denied that crucial information and unknowingly exposing ourselves to high levels of carcinogens for a company’s financial bottom line is despicable.
I completely agree with Nadine. The point here is that Brazilian Blowout has lied to its customers about the content of its product. Surely the “free” in “formaldehyde free” means none, nada, zip, zilch. So how in the world did the sneaky stuff wind up in their product? Other companies with similar treatments have come under fire as the results of product testing has confirmed that they all contain high levels of formaldehyde too. Pause while I get on my soapbox. It’s appalling to think that companies have outright lied about the contents of their products, but just think that anytime you go to a salon and get your hair or nails done, you don’t actually know what’s in the products your stylist is using unless you actually ask. If we ignore formaldehyde for a moment, there are plenty of other toxic chemicals in the Brazilian Blowout and other similar products that you wouldn’t want being absorbed into your susceptible scalp.
Now ladies I’m going to ask a slightly uncomfortable question here. If we’re told that some concoction will radically change our hair to give us the hair of our dreams, can we honestly believe that it won’t be bad for us? It just makes me sad the lengths that women will go to in order to go against genetics. We’ve only got one life, so why spend it fighting against things you can’t change. Embrace your natural beauty!