An Unofficial List of the Most Significant Beauty Trends Brazil Has Given Us
Including Gisele's iconic hair.
Including Gisele's iconic hair.
And Uniqlo is trying out a four-day workweek with its Japan locations.
Are you confused about all the recent hair straightening drama? Well, things aren't really going to be crystal clear yet after this latest news. Another US federal agency just officially weighed in. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducted air testing in salons that use the Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution and Brasil Cacau Cadiveu, and found "hazardous levels" of formaldehyde, according to WWD. This comes a month after the FDA wrote a threatening letter to the Brazilian Blowout company that if they don't reduce the amount of formaldehyde in the products and label the packaging more clearly, that the product would be seized.
After months of debate, testing by multiple agencies, and vehement denials and protests from hair straightening company Brazilian Blowout, the FDA has finally stepped into the arena. The FDA tested the product and found a whopping 8.7-10.4% formaldehyde content in the Brazilian Blowout formula. (Remember, if a product contains > 0.1% formaldehyde, companies must clearly disclose that on the packaging.) Calling the product “adulterated”--because of the high formaldehyde content--and “misbranded”--because of the formaldehyde-free claims--the FDA gave the company until September 12 to get its act together.
The infamous Brazilian blowout--a Keratin-based semi-permanent hair straightening treatment--has gone from hugely popular to hugely controversial due to reports of potentially dangerous levels of formaldehyde found in the treatment. Earlier this year, the US Department of Labor released a hazard alert about the dangers of straightening formulas that contain formaldehyde, causing salons and fans of the treatment (myself included) to question whether or not they're worth the risk. According to a report in WWD this morning, a ruling is expected for September 26 or 27 to determine once and for all whether or not these products are safe, based on studies being conducted by the Cosmetic Industry Review.
Brazilian Blowout, the beleaguered hair straightening company, is under attack yet again, this time by the US Congress. Ten members of Congress sent a letter to the FDA asking the agency to issue a voluntary recall for Brazilian Blowout products and “other brands that have high levels of formaldehyde based on testing information already available.” In the letter, the US Congressional members point out that formaldehyde-based straightening treatments have already been banned in six countries. The letter states: It is clear that the FDA needs to take decisive action. An investigation by the Environmental Working Group revealed that FDA has received 47 complaints from salon workers and clients who experience adverse reactions and injuries (including hair loss, blisters, burning eyes, noses and throats headaches and vomiting) as the result of giving or receiving hair straightening treatments. An FDA spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal, “We’re still evaluating the data on these straighteners.”
Brazilian blowouts--otherwise known as keratin straightening treatments--are in the news again, this time prompting the US Department of Labor to release a Hazard Alert about the dangers of formaldehyde-containing straightening formulas. The Department of Labor used the information gleaned from the various state and federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) investigations to formulate its report. The salient points in the alert:
There is so much beauty news lately, we can barely keep up. Hair is in the spotlight today for some reason.
My biggest secret is that I have curly hair. Thanks to my trusty flat-iron, I've been frizz-free for as long as I can remember. However, like I'm sure my fellow curly girls out there know, straightening your hair is no easy feat. It's a long and tedious process, and when humidity strikes, all of your hard work goes right out the window. So naturally, I was thrilled when I received a Brazilian Blowout for my birthday last year. I instantly became obsessed with my silky new locks that required minimal flat-iron time, but I wasn't so crazy about the dangerous levels of formaldehyde in the treatment or the $400+ price tag. After three months of bliss, it was depressing to go back to my hour-long morning hair routine after my sleek tresses converted back to their unruly ways. Luckily, my frizzy-headed prayers were answered last week when I found out that Lasio Inc., a brand known for for their Brazilian hair straightening treatments, had come up with the Keratin Tropic, a treatment that claims to be 100% formaldehyde-free, and is priced at a modest $250. Although slightly skeptical of this wonder product, I headed downtown to Lasio's East Village salon to see how the treatment stacked up to the Brazilian.
I got a Brazilian blowout, you know, that keratin treatment that's been making headlines for years regarding its formaldehyde content. I'm not endorsing these treatments but here are the important lessons I learned from trying it:
Ask someone who has had a Brazilian Blowout or other keratin straightening treatment, and more often than not you will get a giddy, breathless account of how it has changed her life. Indeed, my friend Jodi, who was an early adopter of the Japanese and then keratin straighteners said, “I would give my left arm before giving it up.” Trust me, she means it. But there’s a chance she may have to give it up. Perhaps the frizzy, unkempt hair Marc Jacobs showed on his S/S 2011 runway is a harbinger of bad hair days to come. The hair straightening product Brazilian Blowout is at the center of the controversy, faced with accusations that it contains dangerously high levels of formaldehyde. Health Canada, a government-based health agency, tested the product after it received multiple complaints and found that it contained 12% formaldehyde. Health Canada issued a statement on October 7th recommending that all Canadian salons stop offering the treatment.