Brazilian Blowout Back in the Hot Seat

Mary Louise Parker says the Brazilian straightening treatment made her hair fall out

Alexandra Spunt, co-author of No More Dirty Looks, writes:

Oh, how revenge can be sweet! You may recall a few months back I wrote a guest post about my pretty awful experience with a certain formaldehyde-laced hair treatment. In fact, the Brazilian blowout (a.k.a keratin hair straightening treatment and other misleading names) was the very thing that lead my best friend Siobhan O’Connor and I to investigate the chemicals used in the beauty industry. Ultimately we wrote a book about this stuff called No More Dirty Looks.

So, I’ll admit, it’s not without some satisfaction that I’m back here reporting on the Brazilian’s latest public beatings. Because so much has happened I’m going to give you the CliffsNotes:

—As was reported on our site and elsewhere (like TIME): The Department of Labor issued an official immediate safety warning about formaldehyde-containing hair-smoothing products like the Brazilian Blowout. That’s big news.

—Then the California government released its proposed preliminary injunction against the Brazilian Blowout (official company name GIB Inc.), along with a memorandum that accuses GIB of being in violation of no less than five state laws:  “(1) the inclusion of high levels of formaldehyde in GIB’s Smoothing Solution; (2) the failure to warn workers that ordinary use of the product exposes them to a chemical KNOWN TO CAUSE CANCER [caps mine]; (3) the failure to report the presence of formaldehyde in the product to the Department of Public Health; (4) the false and deceptive advertising of this product as formaldehyde-free and safe; and (5) the business practices surrounding the vending of this product.” Now that’s some bad behavior!

—Then the Environmental Working Group released its much-anticipated report on these hair straightening treatments. There’s a ton of info in there, including a catalog of complaints filed with the FDA. And speaking of complaints…

Mary Louise Parker had one of her own. She told T Magazine that her hair fell out from doing the “Brazilian Straightening Treatment.” In her own words: “Don’t do it!”

So there you have it. What exactly will come of these developments is still something of a mystery. Will laws change? Will these blowouts be banned? Will more celebrities speak out? A girl can hope.

What do you think should happen?

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