Brazilian Blowout Causing Cancer?

I guess I’ll have to go back to my natural, frizzy hair for a while…

I should have seen this coming. Apparently, the “so-called” formaldehyde-free Brazilian Blowout is full of formaldehyde. And not just that, but it’s got dangerous levels of it.

Okay, I’ll back up. Three months ago I got this treatment done on my frizzy hair. The Brazilian Blowout promised to be a safe, harsh-chemical-free way to tame frizz and smooth hair. The treatment was said to last for three months. I even had a friend recommend it to me.

My experience was that it did exactly what it said it would do, but the process was painful. During the treatment, my eyes and throat burned. It got so bad that the woman doing the treatment ended up putting on a doctor’s mask herself, then handing me one to wear as well.

But after the treatment, I felt fine. And my hair felt more than fine. It felt better than it had ever felt. But I guess all good things come to an end…

I had another appointment scheduled to get my second blowout done this Thursday. (I promise I had every intention of blogging about it this time!) But I got a call today from the woman who was going to do it for me.

“Have you heard the news about the blowout?” She asked.
“No,” I responded.
“Well you should Google it. Apparently it’s full of formaldehyde!”

I actually felt bad for the hairdresser when she said this. It sounded like she’s lost a good friend to a horrible accident, or something.

“I love the Brazilian Blowout for myself, my customers. Really, for everyone. But until I find something that’s safe, I’m going to have to cancel your appointment.” I could tell that her telling me this hurt her more than it hurt me.

“I understand,” I said.

So, of course I hung up and Googled it immediately. I guess it all started when salon workers reported difficulty breathing, nosebleeds and eye irritation while using the products on customers. Yikes!

Apparently, it was our very own in Oregon who unveiled the sad truth about the miracle hair treatment. Researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University Center for Research on Occupational Environmental Toxicology (try saying that 10 times fast!) took samples of the brand’s Brazilian Blowout Solution and Acai Professional Smoothing Solution and found dangerously high levels of formaldehyde in their lap analysis.

Apparently, manufactures with products containing 0.1 percent formaldehyde are required to list it on a material safety data sheet. And products shouldn’t contain more than 0.2 percent formaldehyde. Guess how much OSHA found in the Brazilian Blowout solution?! Between 4.85 to over 10 percent! Great.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, exposure to formaldehyde can lead to quite a few immediate side effects: irritation of eyes, skin, nose, upper respiratory tract, cough, chest pain, shortness of breath and wheezing (I experienced some of these side effects).

And longer term side effects? Sensitization and asthma. Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services has determined that formaldehyde may reasonably be anticipated to be a carcinogen.

Now, here’s the interesting part (as if my subjecting myself to such dangers wasn’t interesting enough for you)… The Brazilian Blowout company is denying any allegations that the products have any formaldehyde in them.

The company made the following statement to ‘Good Morning America’ this morning: “With regards to OSHA’s claim, the actual source of the formulation tested has not been identified, and was not submitted by the Brazilian Blowout company itself. Because OSHA did not request a sample from the company directly, there is no reason to believe that the formulation tested and found positive for traces of formaldehyde was indeed Brazilian Blowout product. This represents a clear violation of proper testing protocol, and this gross negligence on the part of OSHA invalidates all findings that have been released as a result of OSHA’s testing.”

I guess we’ll have to wait a little while to find out the truth and see how this whole thing pans out. What are your thoughts? Do you think that the Brazilian Blowout company is full of s***? Or is the OSHA off its rocker? Leave me a comment and let me know!

My sources:
The hairdresser I was going to go to.

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18 thoughts on “Brazilian Blowout Causing Cancer?

  1. O.M.G. I don't exactly blame them for being defensive–I mean, they're being accused of some pretty hideous things, and we'll all be feeling pretty stupid if it comes out that they weren't the ones in the wrong. But all the same, GACK! I mean, look at all the anecdotal evidence, and OSHA's not exactly known for fabricating research, not as far as I know anyway. All I know for sure is this: If you have to wear a medical mask while using the product to avoid burning your throat and eyes…probably better to switch to something less harsh.

  2. Great points, Diana! The red flag for me was when I had to put on a mask. Still, I love the results of the blowout so much that I hope the findings aren't true!



    Your Product Junkie

  3. Sarah

    I myself have natural curly hair and wanted to try this blowout really bad. My hairdresser said since my hair isn't really that curly i shouldn't get it done. BUMMER! (but it also saved me a lot of $$$). Did you take any before and after photos?!?!?

  4. I have had the treatment done and myself and have done it on other customers. I never had any problems or had to wear a mask when I've gotten it done. I do however know what you are talking about with the fumes and burning eyes because some of my salon mates use too MUCH product. They apply it like you would color and it needs to be applied very sparingly for the best results. I believe that most of the problems coming from this are user error and people purchasing bootleg products because it's cheaper. The company is right to assume that the product that has been tested might possibly not be theirs. The beauty industry has been having a lot of problems with false, tampered with, or bootlegged product. As far as the cancer things goes, every time a new product comes out and gains popularity, there are people who claim it causes cancer. They did it with haircolor, perms, japanese straightening, etc. This is just the new thing. :)

    Stylist in California

  5. Jenette – I didn't get a chance to do before and after pictures, and I'm kicking myself for it! :( But I'm planning on ordering one of the Keritin treatments on soon, so I'll be sure to take pictures after that so I can compare.

    Sahi – Thanks, lady! Your blog is beautiful too!

  6. Hi- I'm a stylist and we have been using this product for almost 6 months now and we are pulling it from our shelves and from what I've heard so have salons in the surrounding area. Every time we did this service we required that our clients wore the mask as well as ourselves. I know that I wear gloves when I apply the product to the hair and this is because the product adhears to the hands and does not come off until it peels off weeks later, and my question is, is if this if what it's doing to my hands what is it doing to my lungs when I'm drying the hair and breathing it in… so this is the reason we started wearing masks. My symptoms became so bad that my doctor told me to stop the question he asked me is "in the end is it worth it?" and I've determined that it isn't. It seems like every month they come out with something new that is wrong with it and I just can't bring myself to trust the brazillian blowout company any more. I think that you're smart to wait until this is all cleared up. I hope this helped you.

  7. Yes. The brazilian blow out has formaldehyde in it. I got this procedure done about 2 years ago and I LOVED it too. My hair looked amazing….. and then I started thinking, this is too good to be true. So I did some research and found out that the treatment contains formaldehyde(which is the real ingredient that is responsible for straightening you hair) I found out a woman in Brazil died from it. I have never done another treatment since then. i have tried telling people not to do it because it could cause cancer, but most people didn't care. The price we pay for beauty…..

  8. I have donr Brazilian treatment once , and was scheduled to do it again in Decemeber, but that's not happening. Yes I did experience strong fume, eyes sensitivity & difficulty breathing during the process. I dont think its worth it!

  9. I'm a biochemist myself and I've done the treatment. That's madness. There are certainly loads of formaldehyde in it. Masks are not sufficient – it penetrates your skin easily! Formaldehyde is EXTREMELY dangerous, I know it as a biochemist! Do you want birth defects in your children or death from cancer? I handle many mutagens with bare hands but NEVER do it with formaldehyde! People, that's suicide! Stop it!

  10. Hey ! I am a haistylist, who has to leave the salon when the stupid cheap ass not english speaking hairderesser wannabe is doing a Bazilian straitening, otherwise I have headaches, and burning of the eyes ,sore throat . The salon owner do not give a shit , he only wants the money ! The hairdressers are afraid to say anything, in this economic situation, they all are happy to have a job. TO HELL WITH BRAZILIAN AND EVERYONE WHO WANTS IT TOO, YOU ALL ARE KILLING PEOPLE !!!!!!!!!!

    What right do you all have to kill me with a slow death ??????? Go back to brazil, go back where you all came from and take your poison with you !!!!!!! Yes, I am pissed .

  11. I'd just like to remind everyone here that I appreciate the comments and the discussion on my blog, but please try to stay away from swearing and overly negative comments that target specific people.

    Otherwise, I'm actually planning a followup post that should be posted in the near future addressing some of these issues and explaining any updates that have happened since I posted this months ago. Stay tuned!



    Your Product Junkie

  12. Hi Sarah,

    Just found out this week that a stylist in her mid 40's has been performing an average of 3 Brazilian Blowout Keratin treatments a day. From the Brazilian Blowout company, in a popular salon here in Lk Mary Fl. She was just diagnosed with a tumor in her throat. It was shown to contain carcinogens in the tumor. They've given her 3-4 yrs to live. She is a mom! I was told this by another stylist also working in the salon. Both the FDA & these companies need to get their act together!!!! They're peeing on our leg and telling us it's raining! Not cool! I have no knowledge that the treatments have caused this. I'm only stating what I was told.

  13. I had 2 brazilian blowouts done last year. The results were nothing short of amazing. My hair had never felt or looked better. I had concerns about the formaldehyde levels in the Brazilian Blowout based on what I had heard in the news but my stylist assured me that the new version of the product was now formaldehyde free, so I went ahead and had them done. Well, I was diagnosed with leukemia 2 months ago. I'm not absolutely positive that the BB caused it, but I'm doing lots of research to find out. I strongly urge all salons in the US and around the world to pull this product off their shelves. I also strongly discourage women from getting this procedure done! It's just NOT worth the risk. Had I known about the dangerous levels of formaldehyde in the product, I would've never had it done. I would much rather have frizzy hair and my health back. Now I have no hair as the chemotherapy treatments have made all my hair fall out. It's not worth it, ladies!!

  14. My hairdresser did Brazilian blowouts and got them on her own hair. I even questioned the safety once and she disregarded the health concerns like some ladies on this site. She was diagnosed with leukemia 10 months ago and just died two days ago leaving behind a 1 yr old and a 3 yr old. Something to think about….

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