CROET Finds Formaldehyde in Brazilian Blowout


The Oregon Health and Science University has issued a public health alert warning of high levels of formaldehyde in Brazilian Blowout.

Brazilian Blowout is a product used for hair-straightening. The website states the product “smooths the hair through the use of a proprietary polymer system that bonds amino acids to the surface of the hair. This treatment is 100% salon safe.”

Oregon’s Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology (CROET) was contacted by a number of stylists expressing concern about health effects they report having experienced while using both of the hair formulations. The stylists complained of eye irritation, nose bleeds and difficulty breathing after they used the products.

CROET tested two samples of Brazilian Blowout received from Portland area salons and found the two formulations of the product contained 4.85% to 10.6% formaldehyde.


If a product used in a workplace contains more than 0.1% formaldehyde, OSHA requires the manufacturer to list it and address safe work practices on the material safety data sheet
accompanying the product. OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard requires employers to share this information with their potentially exposed employees through training.

Everyone is exposed to small amounts of formaldehyde in air and some foods and products. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says low levels of exposure can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat. burning of the eyes, tearing (laceration), and general irritation to the upper respiratory passages. Higher exposures may produce coughing, tightening in the chest, a sense of pressure in the head, and palpitation of the heart. Prolonged exposure has been associated with squamous cell carcinoma of the nasal turbinates.

The makers of Brazilian Blowout defended their product. A statement on their website states, “At Brazilian Blowout, the safety of our products, stylists and consumers is our number one priority. We stand behind the integrity of our product, and affirm that our professional solution is indeed formaldehyde-free.”

Brazilian Blowout doesn't come cheap. Treatments can range from $200 to $500, and the results can last from 10 to 12 weeks if clients use the after-care product line, according to the company's website.

CROET recommends salons using this product to contact the manufacturer to request material safety data sheets that accurately identify any hazardous ingredients, and consider evaluating less toxic alternatives. CROET recommends that consumers become informed about the possible toxicities of the salon services they are requesting, and learn about healthier alternatives.

Oregon Health and Science University
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Brazilian Blowout