The Great Brazilian Straightening Debate

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In the past year, the “Brazilian Keratin Treatment” has become hugely popular among those who want straight hair. Supposedly using a solution of keratin and formaldehyde, the treatment fills in ridges and roughness while simultaneously moisturizing. Though women love the results, our sources tell us that this wonder-antidote for curls and frizz may not be all that it’s cracked up to be.

While we’re not quick to dismiss the effectiveness of this technique, it is important to note the potential health consequences. “The treatment uses formaldehyde, so you are inhaling a toxin,” says Scott Aronesty, who has ceased offering it at his salon, Hair by Scott & Co in Delray Beach, Florida. “We keep hearing about salons that no longer offer it because of the potential long-term effects of formaldehyde,” he explains.

The formaldehyde used is available in concentrations ranging from 0.02, which is the only safe level, to 30 percent. (Higher percentages are commonly found on the black market.)

Even though copy-cat versions are cropping up, Aronesty is quick to point out that “despite the claims that are being made that these formulas are not dangerous, it’s hard to know for sure.”

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