Entries in Haircare (26)
IT SEEMS the business of straightening unruly follicles a la Brasileira is coming clean about its dirty little secret. The formaldehyde-free Brazilian Blowout? Possibly not as free from the cancer-causing chemical as you've been led to believe.
A month ago, while chatting with the creative director of Tela salons during Fashion's Night Out, Nadine Jolie, said creative director and I had a hushed discussion about the Brazilian Blowout's dirty little secret. Actually, it was more like Jolie and the creative director had a discussion about it and I listened intently, having been cursed with stick-straight hair (read: FLAT, FINE and THIN... grass is not always greener, ladies. Naturally straight hair is often lifeless too), I've never ever given straightening treatments a first thought, let alone a second. In fact, I generally give them a wide berth all together, fearing that even physical closeness to shelves of products like John Frieda's Frizz Ease will further flatten hair that seems to cling to my scalp for dear life.
Jolie wrote about the possible formaldehyde in the Brazilian Blowout a couple weeks ago (released into the air during the treatment, to be inhaled by customer and stylist alike) after an independent test in Oregon found – after a stylist administering the treatment complained of adverse reactions – that the formaldehyde-free treatments actually contained – gasp – upwards of 10% formaldehyde!
Jolie further points out that those claiming to be Keratin treatments are betting on the ignorance of the customer? Because, as she points out, “Keratin does not straighten hair; it’s a fortifying protein which can make the hair look shinier, but will in no way produce the dramatic, very long-lasting straightening and sleekifying results common to the Brazilian. Keratin, in fact, requires a reactive agent to bond to the hair…like formaldehyde.” Dr. Jessica Wu says the same thing with regards to Keratin's lack of straightening power in an article about the pros and cons of the treatment. Which brings me to yet another claim that needs debunking. Such blowouts cannot (contrary to what the company claims) restore your hair to health. By their very nature they're weakening the protein structure so that strands can be trained into a different shape (e.g. straight instead of curly). Last time I checked, making something weaker – other than my evening cocktail – was not health restoring.
Brazilian Blowout has issued two releases standing behind their products. But we wonder if, like Jolie touches on, it's a matter of verbiage? For example, their releases stand behind their products as being formaldehyde (in name) free but they don't claim that they are free from formaldehyde derivatives or formaldehyde in varying states (which take on different names). Sort of sounds like carefully crafted legalisse, doesn't it?
Why don't you want formaldehyde in your hair treatments? Let's make a list, shall we? It might be naturally occurring (and in everything from smog to facial tissues) but that still doesn't make this aldehyde something you want in your haircare:
Known (key word here) carcinogen in humans as per the EPA and WHO
Associated with sinus and throat cancers and possibly Leukemia
Can make asthma worse
Irritates eyes, skin, nose and throat
Because there are few to to no regulations on ingredients in or claims for many cosmetic products
Because OSHA suggests using goggles and even respirators if you deal with more than .1% Formaldehyde in the workplace
And, really, you won't believe it, but all of us naturally straight-haired girls would give anything -- particularly our limp locks -- to have your voluminous, sexy curls.
Image taken from Beauty Blitz.
Originally written by Jessica Teas for the Smarter Beauty Blog. Text has been altered.
I WANT young skin. Don't we all? But it's a fact that the one thing we're not getting as we age is younger (don't believe the commercials!). That said, you can give good skin even as it matures over the years, genes and nature be damned. Sometimes it seems we can't be bothered to put in the ground work to keep it in top form though.
Which brings me to the streak of all things French that I've been on lately. My eyes have been re-opened to the military precision with which French women are rumoured to attack their daily skincare regime. A recent Mintel study stating that French women spend more on their skincare than their European sisters – by a lot – isn't surprising. Sure, they discreetly dabble with the old jab of Juvederm later in life, but, true to the stereotype, their skin seems to age better (with and without cosmetic surgery) than that of their US and UK counterparts, if my eye-witness, anecdotal evidence – and spate of articles (New York Times et al) – has anything to say about it.
So when France's top-selling organic (ECOCERT) beauty brand Melvita (owned by L'Occitane) was rumoured to be coming to both the US and UK, I nearly melted into an agitated puddle of anticipation. Melvita (honey + life for the linguists out there) is now in standalone shops in the US (San Francisco, Seattle and Newport Beach, Manhattan (opening winter 2010)) and available most readily at Whole Foods and John Lewis in the UK.
Founder and Biologist Bernard Chevilliat started his career in beauty as a beekeeper, much like Burt Shavitz of Burt's Bees. Re-locating to south-central France in the late 1970s, he started an apiary that ended up several hundred hives large. They made honeycombed soap from the bee byproducts and, what do you know, it snowballed into a range of certified organic skin care products like skincare, bodycare, fragrance, plant oils, floral waters and haircare that use ethically sourced and harvest ingredients (full ingredient lists are featured online) to do everything from fight acne to clean baby and fight the ravages of time.
To paraphrase a well-known saying – an ounce of preventative (in this case organic) skincare is certainly worth a pound of facial fillers later.