For the past year or so, I have heard so much about Brazilian blow-outs, yet had no idea what they were. The name alone intrigued me, as it sounds fun and exotic. I also noticed that it was expensive to have a brazilian blow-out performed, which made it even more intriguing. After wondering for what felt like forever, I decided to “Google” it. It turns out that a Brazilian blow-out is a temporary hair straightening service, with the use of keratin.
In this article, I discuss everything about a Brazilian blow-out, and answer some typical questions like “Will it work on African hair?”, “How does it work?”, and “Does it really have formaldehyde in it?”
How it works:
A Brazilian blow-out works by sealing liquid keratin and a preservative solution into your hair with a hot iron. The iron closes the hair cuticle, therefore trapping the keratin in your hair. It lasts about 3 months and unlike traditional chemical relaxers, it can be used on all types of hair (bleached, colored, permed, etc). However, unlike a traditional chemical relaxer, there’s no guarantee that your hair will be completely straight. In most cases, it reduces 50-80 percent of the curl, but also eliminates frizz (a common trait with curly hair), and smooths the hair. It is realllllly good for smoothing damaged hair. For African hair, which is very kinky-curly and coarse, a traditional relaxer would be recommended first, but the Brazilian blow-out would help re-condition the hair after.
How it is performed:
The first step to performing a Brazilian blow-out is to clarify the hair. This removes build-up caused by hair products, shampoo/conditioner (especially yucky stuff like Pantene), and also from medications. Clarifying the hair is always performed before similar services such as permanent waves.
Next, after the hair is towel dried, the keratin treatment is applied in small subsections from root to end.
While the product is still in the hair, the hair needs to be blow-dried as straight as possible. When the hair is completely dry, it needs to be flat-ironed, to seal it into the cuticle.
After the hair is completely straight, you rinse it out and re-condition it. Then the hair is blow-dried and flat ironed again, and styled as wished.
Voila! You have completed a Brazilian blow-out!
It is recommended that the customer does not shampoo their hair or use hair ties for four days, until the hair settles in.
Why is it so expensive to have done?
Besides the obvious ( it takes a lot of hair stylists’ time to apply the solution, blow-dry and style your hair not once, but twice ), it is a very costly product for us professionals to purchase. The kit to do Brazilian blow-outs costs anywhere from 100-400$ for the hairstylist to purchase.
An alternate version, that is a lot cheaper, is the Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Kerartriplex smoothing system. If you are a hairstylist, this is good information to keep in mind. If you aren’t, maybe suggest it to your hair stylist.
Another cost to keep in mind, is that you need to use specific shampoo/conditioner/styling aids to keep your hair in good condition. There is a brand called “Brazilian Blowout” that makes the best products for it.
Can I do it myself?
Ahhhh, the do-it-at-home type: a hairstylist’s nightmare. Remember, you get what you pay for. I would always recommend consulting with a professional who has been trained to do your hair. If not, you risk messing it up. Remember that one time you tried to dye your hair dark brown, but it turned green instead? Also remember, that you had to pay a professional to fix it, which costed more money in the long run? Even with the risks involved, there are still those ones who always want to try it. I don’t blame you. Who can afford a 300$ service in a horrible economy, and that’s why I will recommend the good stuff for do-it-at-home people here. But do keep in mind, that it may not turn out as good, may not last as long, and there are some health risks involved, which brings me to my next point……..
What is the downside?
There is a HUGE controversy with Brazilian blow-outs going on right now. Companies that make it claim that it is completely safe. However, it contains illegally high concentrates of bad chemicals in it. It is even banned in certain countries like Canada, and places in Europe. The main issue is that they contain aldehyde chemicals, that when heated to a high enough temperature (like that of a flat-iron), mutates into formaldehyde. Companies have tried to disguise some of these chemicals as other names such as Methylene Glycol to keep their name safe. Recently, the FDA has ordered companies to reduce the bad chemicals, and not claim that their product is Formaldehyde free. Formaldehyde, for those of you who don’t know, is a carcinogen, which means they are known to cause cancer. Hair stylists that have performed Brazilian blow-outs have reported eye disorders, nervous system disorders, respiratory tract problems as well as nausea, chest pains, vomiting and rash. So I do recommend that you use at your own risk.
I want to wrap this entry up with a funny story. Even though I had no idea until recently what a Brazilian blow-out was, I’ve actually used it before. The local beauty supply shop in my town, gave me a packet of samples from California Smooth. I had no idea what it was, so therefore I didn’t use it correctly at first. I thought it was just a Keratin conditioning treatment for my hair. I used some of it once, and applied it just like any other conditioner: put on wet hair, sat for 5 minutes and then washed it out. The second time I tried it, I did read the instructions and did it as explained. I remember thinking that it was a weird way to condition my hair but I was bored so I tried it anyways. I also remember seeing the prices in the brochure and thought I was such a baller to use this stuff since it was very expensive. How was I supposed to know I was rocking a hot Brazilian blow-out for 3 months? :)
Have you performed a Brazilian blow-out or had one done? I’d love to hear some of your experiences in the comments.
To read more from me, check out holleewoodhair.org