Brazilian Blowout: Concerns arise over popular salon treatment

Brazilian Blowout: Concerns arise over popular salon treatment »Play Video
Gina Paregien, owner of House of Colour Salon in Bakersfield, says the Brazilian Blowout causes an odor but has not generated health complaints from customers. Paregien is not performing a Brazilian Blowout here.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- The Brazilian Blowout is the latest Hollywood fashion craze and it's also sweeping salons in Bakersfield.

But glamor aside, some people are concerned about chemicals in the product. Common complaints about the Brazilian Blowout have to do with the smell, burning eyes and sick stylists.

But what's behind it? The chemical formaldehyde in the product is bringing up questions of safety.

The Brazilian Blowout is a keratin-smoothing treatment used to soften and straighten frizzy or curly hair. The treatments can only be obtained in salons for the cost of $250 and up.

The treatment begins with a shampoo that strips the hair of all oils, then the keratin treatment is put on the hair. The stylist then blow dries the hair which causes and intense odor. Once the solution is applied and blow dried the stylist must flat iron each section of hair seven times.

The Brazilian Blowout has recently surged in popularity. Sixteen salons in Bakersfield perform the treatment. But along with the popularity has come controversy with studies showing that the solution contains formaldehyde, which is a carcinogen that causes cancer.

Health complaints over possible formaldehyde levels in the solution spurred researchers in Oregon to start testing in bottles labeled formaldehyde free.

Researchers for the Department of Consumer and Business Services Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division say they found the products to contain 10.6 percent, 6.3 percent, 10.6 percent and 10.4 percent formaldehyde. But according to the Brazilian Blowout website, the formula contains less than 0.05 percent.

Eyewitness News spoke with a hazardous material specialist from the Kern County Public Health department who said that those test results are concerning. The Oregon Office of Occupational Safety and Health has issued an advisory over the product, but has not banned it's use and are doing further studies.

California OSHA is also checking into the issue after complaints. Their studies found 7 percent formaldehyde of in the Brazilian Blowout product. Cal/OSHA says they are looking into the specific contents of the product because the company has not provided them with a list. And according to OSHA, the California Health Department is also investigating.