The Down Low On Brazillian Blow-dries

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  • Is it the holy grain of perfect hair? We help you decide.

    So what is a Brazillian blow-dry? In a line? It’s a semi-permanent smoothing and straightening treatment that infusesthe hair with keratin – a protein that naturally occurs in the hair.
    Sounds ace, sign me up. Not so fast, there is a downside and that comes in the form of its toxic blend of chemicals.
    WTF, no way? Yes way. Some keratin treatments or ‘Brazilian blow-dries’ (they’re all the same) can contain formaldehyde, which is linked to all kinds of badness and is traditionally used to ‘embalm’ dead bodies. Gross.
    Ok, should I take the risk? Are you serious? No, no you shouldn’t. And the way to avoid this is by being pro-active and asking your salon what chemicals they do use. The bigger, more respected salons in general won’t cut costs on ingredients and will use nanokeratn ( a potent form of keratin) or chemicals similar to formaldehyde without the toxic effects.
    That means it costs mega buck, right? Yeah, it does, you can expect to pay between £100-300 for a single treatment, depending on your salon and hair length/density. It does last a few months though, so could be worth it if your hair is really out of control.
    So what happens? Firstly, your hair is washed and rough dried. Then the keratin treatment is applied for about 30 minutes and is locked into your hair by being blow-dried in. You can’t wash it for a couple of days, or get it wet (your stylist will tell you how long to wait) and you have to avoid getting kinks (with elastic bands) to keep it smooth.
    And thennn? You’ll have smoother, easier to manage hair. It loosens your curls a little, but it’s not a proper straightening treatment like Yuko (japanese straightening).
    Does it work on all hair types? Yes – but in varying degrees. It does work on Afro hair too – but the change isn’t as noticeable as it is with other hair types. On the plus side, it does work on chemically treated hair that’s been bleached or dyed.
    Ace – what about the aftercare? You need to wait a while to wash it, as I’ve said. And then use a sodium chloride-free shampoo that won’t strip keratin from shaft.
    How often can I do it? Leave 6 weeks between treatments – ideally more. A great time to have one is after you’ve had a colour done – it can help to lock in your colour by sealing the cuticles after the colouring process.
    Ok, so, is it damaging to your hair? Of course it is, nothing is free in this world – and smooth hair comes with a price. That price is a little damage (Jennifer Anniston famously said that Brazillian blowdries ruined her hair and that’s why she cut it short.) But take extra precautions to keep your hair in great shape and you should be fine. Nourishing masks and going easy on the styling are the way forward, and taking breaks between treatments too. My advice as a seasoned Brazillian blow-dry addict? If you don’t do more than two back to back, your hair should stay in great shape.

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