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Brazilian hair straightening: information and opinion

It's Japan vs. Brazil in the Hair-Straightening Wars

My best friend has thick, very wavy hair, but you'd never guess it from looking at her. That's because she goes in for Japanese thermal conditioning, a treatment that leaves hair straight for months. Now I have to tell her about a newer process from Brazil called escova progressiva. According to the New York Times, it can be used on most hair types, even color-treated hair. And now it has migrated from South America to the States.

"Right now, it’s blowing everything away," said Meryle Nemeth, the nuBest stylist who administered Ms. Epstein’s treatment, one of about 500 she’s done since February, when it became available at the salon [in Manhasset, NY]. "I've never seen anything take off like this as far as relaxing hair."

For details on this treatment,

Brazilian hair straightening takes up to four hours and costs between $150 and $600. The Times explains the process, which truthfully sounds a little... un-fun:

A stylist applies a solution made with active keratin, a protein akin to a component of human hair. Using a 450-degree iron, the hairdresser seals the formula onto the outer layer of the cuticle. The formula adheres to the cuticle’s inherently rough edges. Thus, it is said, it traps moisture, hydrating the hair, and adds a glossy veneer.

Buried deep in the article is this little nugget: "The formula often contains formaldehyde, a known carcinogen that can irritate the eyes and lungs if the fumes are inhaled." Yikes.

Are you interested in getting this treatment done, or are you happy with your curls and waves?


Join The Conversation
Bella14732126 Bella14732126 4 years
@Rebekah - Could be that a full on Keratin straightening treatment will stress your hair even more. I'd suggest some deep penetrating Keratin conditioning treatments and maybe Argan or Coconut Oil prods to build up strength, elasticity and resilience.
Rebekah2989481 Rebekah2989481 5 years
i was wondering. my hair gets damaged really easy and breaks off. if i get the brazilian, or even the japanese process, will this cause breakage? because i want my hair long and straight... someone who has actually had experience with this process, some feedback please?
Laura2795214 Laura2795214 5 years
I'm looking forward to trying out one called Cocoa Keratin Smoothing treatment. From what I've read it has no silicone, sulfates or parabens and it's much gentler on all hair types, plus it comes with its own pre and post treatment shampoos and conditioner.
samanthabrinton samanthabrinton 7 years
I'm wondering how this works on chemically processed hair. I cant get my hair chemically relaxed because it would fall out. (I am a natural dark brunette and I have gone platinum.) Im wondering what kind of result I would get from this. If anyone knows please respond!!!
christinapeeples christinapeeples 8 years
thats cool..and it sounds like it would be cheaper than japanese straightening
reginosky reginosky 9 years
Does anyone know why it is exactly that the formaldehyde is necessary in the solution? Is it there to make sure it "takes"?
linawtf linawtf 9 years
I'll stick w/ my straightening iron instead.
lindaloo lindaloo 9 years
I already have stick straight hair!
Tari007 Tari007 9 years
I have many friends with curly hair that would love to receive this treatment. Thanks for sharing!
faydong faydong 9 years
I wish I could afford it to do it at every 5 months.....I have natural curly hair, everyone said I look much better with sleek straight hair~
lambs lambs 9 years
i have really, REALLY curly hair. i get it relaxed (affirm) every six months or so to loosen the kink just enough so that it's manageable. besides, formaldehyde is for when your dead.
stormynite03 stormynite03 9 years
seriously, why would you do something with formaldehyde? That stuff can cause all types of wackiness in your body
danig danig 9 years
I love my super curly natural hair.
veronicaraye veronicaraye 9 years
pretty hair.
prinzes3006 prinzes3006 9 years
interesting. It looks so beautiful. I'd like to get rid of my flyaways.
JessNess JessNess 9 years
Allure has a really good article about this in this months issue . It basically talks about the risks of this and how many salons are not really aware of the chemicals in the Brazilian version. They even talk about people using like military grade gas masks while getting it done..
julliadarc julliadarc 9 years
Facts about Brazilian Hair Straightening: 1. It does not damage your hair, even if it's highlighted or colored/dyed. 2. It has to be done by a well trained/expert hair stylist. 3. It lasts months. 4. Your hair will look amazing. 5. You should definitely try it! I have wavy hair and do this treatment every 6 months. Results: My hair is less damaged than it was when I used to blow dry it every day. After this treatment will no longer need a hair dryer, you will walk out of the shower, towel dry your hair and comb it as usual.
almostloli almostloli 9 years
i smoothen my hair every 6 months
diorbaby diorbaby 9 years
I want to try this, I have wavy hair and a chi, but it takes so long!
uniquefem uniquefem 9 years
It's little bit expensive.. but it does look awesome ! i like sleek straight hair.. i did hair straightening, my original was big wavy and sooo think that made me looks like simba the lion if i dont wansh it for more than 2 days !!!
alexlopes alexlopes 9 years
Brazilian hair straightening is the way to go! I offer it here in South Florida and the girls (and guys) love it! I used to get the japanses hair straightening but t didn't last too long. The brazil style lasts on average about 3 months. I have some before and after photos on my website at It's crazy to see the difference once it's done. It looks awesome! - Alex :)
bizzybee bizzybee 9 years
I remain a fan of the Japanese technique. I wish I had great curls or waves. But I don't. If I do not blow dry my hair (45 minutes - 1 hour) and flat iron bits of it around my hairline, I do not have any kind of style at all. My hair is thick and coarse so the ends prick my skin. In humidity, even if I've used product to smooth and relax my hair, it frizzes up and gets 2-3 times bigger. I envy people who can do nothing, even a ponytail, and go. Yeah, that's right ponytails, braids, buns - don't work on my hair. I've tried cut after cut, invested in all kinds of products and nothing helps except straightening and blowdrying and flat ironing.
ishop2much ishop2much 10 years
As much as I hate straightening my hair, and would love to go to the beach and actually be able to get my hair wet, I'd have to say NO! 1) The fumes could kill you 2) 600 dollars is rather expensive when you think about the upkeep. I can't imagine getting it done and then constantly have to retouch it because it's starting to grow out. That has to cost a ton!
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