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I really believe in limiting the amount of chemicals around me and my family.  So I opt for natural cleaning products, organic fruits and vegetables when possible, paraben free sunscreens and deet free bug sprays. I also use natural soaps and phosphate free shampoos and conditioners.

But there isn’t an organic product out there that can tame my frizzy hair.

I know what you’re thinking… Kelcey, you don’t look like you have frizzy hair! It looks so sleek, sassy and Barbie like. Yes, it’s called a flat iron. I use it. A lot. And it is the only way to get my thick insane hair slightly under control.

Then I started hearing about this Keratin hair treatment, otherwise known as the Brazilian Blowout. I heard it makes your hair look fabulous with no blow drying! But not so healthy! It lasts for months! But it’s toxic! You will feel like a new woman! Just wear a gas mask!

I decided because I was too Botox chicken to do anything about my new 40 something wrinkles, that I would fix my hair.  I’m sure you already know that hair is the window to the soul.

I got a number. Someone knew someone who knew a woman who comes to your house. She’s way cheaper than the salons. You pay in cash. I made the appointment.

At first, the process seemed okay.

But then my throat and eyes started burning. Badly. This felt… how do you say it?  Oh yes. HORRIBLY UNHEALTHY. Ugh. But the effects were amazing. My hair became so manageable. Surely, a mom of four young kids deserves easy breezy toxic hair.

Not long after, the New York Post ran an article about the dangers of the Brazilian Blowout with this photo…

Courtesy Eilon Paz

Well that looks organic.

The article has lots of fun facts like… “The Occupational Safety and Health Administration warned that the formula used in Brazilian Blowouts contains nearly 10 times its stated level of toxic formaldehyde. In April, OSHA sent out another hazard alert, declaring that formaldehyde is linked to nose and lung cancer….”

And it gets more Debbie downerish…

“The Department of Health and Human Services placed formaldehyde on a list of known carcinogens, and members of Congress have urged the FDA to recall the Brazilian Blowout hair-straightening treatment.”

Oh crap. I just want to have nice hair. Why can’t the Department of Health and Human Services just let me have NICE HAIR?!!!

Plus, now some salons are banning the treatment because it’s just too dangerous for the stylists and the clients.


Will I do this treatment again? I don’t think so.

Will I judge anyone who decides to do it? Definitely not.

But as for me… it’s time to dig that flat iron out of the closet.

25 Responses to the brazilian blowout must be safe because i look so good!

  • Amy says:

    I’m with you! I have what I call a “white chick ‘fro” because it’s just enormous! I have to flat iron it all the time. I don’t especially like my hair looking all that flay, but I don’t like looking like I’m wearing a hair-helmet either. I’ve tried all sorts of things, sometimes with results that caused me to have to call off of work and hide at home. Word of warning, don’t try the chemical straighteners made for African-American women if you’re white. Wow, that did NOT go well! I’d be willing to wear all kinds of stuff all over my face to protect my post-smoker lungs just to even briefly not hate my hair. From what I’ve read, there’s formaldehyde in the diet soda I drink all the time, so why not put it on my hair?

  • Jenn says:

    Oh wow. Here in the good old S of A they’re punting the brazillian blowout!! Gotta Haveit, they tell you. Clearly when a product is declared dangerous in a first world country they quickly ship it off to South Africa!

  • Honest Mum says:

    ‘No pain, no gain, right?’-OK wearing a gas mask to have your hair blow dried might be taking those sentiments a little too far. Enjoy your great hair while you have it-it lasts for a few months, right?

    Seriously though, I’ve not heard of this treatment across the pond although there is a Japanese one available in salons in the UK I believe which is meant to deliver the same results. I found this link for you:http://www.straightenit.co.uk/

  • Becky says:

    Wow. I saw the words “brazilian blowout” in the title and I thought this post was going in an *entirely* different direction. Like about 2.5 feet south of your head.

  • Heather says:

    Kelcey, I just got a “groupon” for $250 worth of salon services for $100 at a new place called Plush White Plains. They said you could get a keratin treatment with it that was organic which is why I decided to do it. Maybe I’m delusional? I was planning on doing it in Sept because you’re not supposed to go in the salt water w/ it and we have some vacations coming up. I’ll let you know how toxic it seems!

    • Kelcey says:

      Yes, let me know! I’m going to need a replacement. Just make sure that it it’s truly organic…

      “While many salons now promote “formaldehyde-free treatments,” even some of these solutions contain aldehyde or methylene glycol, both close cousins of the offending agent.”

      I go in the salt water all the time with my hair! Didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to do that.

  • Sarah Maizes says:

    Did you see that picture I posted? The one of me in my gas mask at Louis Licari this past weekend?? It’s like I’m in a hair salon on The Death Star. But BOY does my hair look good…

  • Ann says:

    Okay. Aveda offers a natural much less toxic alternative. I haven’t tried it, but you might want to!

    If my hair is completely flat my face looks a liiitttle too Wicked Witch of The West.

  • Shannon says:


    I did a Keratin treatment and was told it was all natural – no gas masks in sight and it did not smell at all. My hair felt like glass and I loved it!!!! I am in London and there are lots of salons here that do it and they are stricter here about evil chemicals.

    I would do it again and plan to as soon as I can find one over here that is organic, now that I know what to look for.

  • Hether says:

    There are formaldehyde-free versions of the Brazilian blow out! So you can look fabulous without having the burning sensation (it probably costs a lot more, though)

  • Blair says:

    Hmmm… maybe it was the stylist. I’ve had it done for the last 2 summers (the salon opens on Mondays solely to do Brazilian Blowouts when other clients aren’t there! Thank you California for ruining it for the rest of us and making me take time off work to deal with my windows-to-the-soul-frizzy-hair) and never had anything resembling a side effect or reaction. And here I am, happily sitting in 98 degree humid Dallas without a frizz in sight. It’s actually very gentle compared to the Rusk relaxer I used to do for years that would fry my hair!

  • Carol says:

    I’m with Aunt Marcia. I went to LA on business and my hair was perfect.

    Alternatively, you could embrace the curls like I have. I like Redken’s Fresh Curls to tame the craziness and go with what nature gave me.

  • Becky says:

    They have a new product, the “Zero” that doesn’t work. My hair isn’t as frizzy for sure but not straight.

    I would love something that would make me look hot and not kill me.

  • LT says:

    Wow – did not know any of that – will put Brazilan blowout on my list of things not to do. Thanks for the info.! xoxo

  • Lori says:

    Omg, I’m a NYC mom of 3 that just splurged and had it done, leaving the salon with the instruction of “do not wash hair” for 3 days. The smell is so awful I’m going to barf, except I’m abiding by the orders because it was so damn expensive that I don’t want to F it up. Never again…

  • Anna says:

    Too funny, I am a first time reader of your blog and was just going through the archives when I came across this post! I just got the Coppola Keratin treatment done to my hair which is very similar to the Brazillian Blowout but doesn’t make your hair stick-straight and has fewer chemicals. I did all the research/anxiety/questioning myself too but ended up getting it done last Friday. And…I’m in love. My hair is still curly but not uncontrollably so – just beautiful big wavey curls and my hair is extremely shiny and soft! I feel like I’m in a Pantene commercial! It’s worth checking out if you are considering getting another treatment done. Am I still afraid of the formaledhyde? Yes…but, like you, I’m generally a healthy person so I’m hoping for that that will somehow make-up for this hair treatment in the long run. NO? thats not how that works? Le Sigh.

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kelcey kintner