Straight Hair Can Make You Ill or Make You Rich


The Brazilian Blowout is your standard femme fatale: sexy, mysterious, & potentially deadly. What is it? It’s a keratin hair straightening technique that claims to make hair healthy, shiny, & straight. And it has been wildly successful and enormously profitable, commanding $200-$350 per session. The Brazilian Blowout is a typical fixture on many daily deal sites, such as Groupon.

Pain is beauty, right?

Well, a little nip, tuck, or stuff into a pair of pants is one thing, but the ingredients in this hair treatment are claimed to be life-threatening. Last week, the FDA issued a warning stating that the brazilian blowout has dangerously high levels of liquid formaldehyde and ordered its makers to reduce the levels or face a product ban. Australia, Germany, France, Canada, California, and Ireland have already banned the product. The FDA further warned that the Brazilian Blowout brand was intentionally misleading its advertisements and packaging as “formaldehyde-free.”

How high are the levels of liquid formaldehyde?

The FDA must issue a warning whenever a product contains more than .1%. The brazilian Blowout contains 8.7-10.4% per treatment. Each treatment lasts about 8-10 weeks meaning that the average consumer gets approximately 6-8 treatments a year. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen. Exposure to this chemical can lead to various health issues including: central nervous disorders, vomiting, chest pain. The FDA had been receiving complaints from consumers and salon workers stating claiming similar symptoms subsequent to contact with the Brazilian Blowout, to wit:

Adverse events have reported the following injuries associated with Brazilian Blowout: eye disorders (irritation, increased lacrimation, blurred vision, hyperaemia); nervous system disorders (headache, burning sensation, dizziness, syncope), and respiratory tract (dyspnea, cough, nasal discomfort, epistaxis, wheezing, rhinorrhea, throat irritation, nasopharyngitis). Other reported symptoms included nausea hypotrichosis, chest pain, chest discomfort, vomiting, and rash.

The next wave of cosmetic class action suits?

A myriad of factors are brewing to create the perfect storm for a series of class action lawsuits*. First, the product is enormously popular. Second, the company deliberately mislead consumers and retailers by claiming to be formaldehyde free. Third, the Brazilian Blowout was put on notice of its product’s adverse effect on it’s users.Moreover, salons will not likely escape liability completely, and  will probably be sued both the consumer and the workers exposed to the product. Additionally, an argument can be made to bring in third party deal sites selling the keratin treatment.

The potential plaintiffs in this case would like be the consumers receiving the products; employees delivering the service; and the individual salons for being intentionally misled by the Brazilian Blowout facility.

Accordingly, behind each perfectly coiffed mane may be a victim left in the dark by these deceptive practices.

*Attorneys in Oregon have already filed a class action suit with an assortment of claims including: fraud, intentional misrepresentation, unjust enrichment.

(Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/en321/5814389576)

Read more from Gianna Scatchell.

1 Comment

  1. Guano Dubango

    September 14, 2011 at 10:25 am

    I do not have straight hair, but as a royal heir, I expect to have financial comfort. Now I just need a female to bear me issue.

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