Brazilian Blowouts: Everything to Know About the Smoothing Treatment

  • A Brazilian blowout is a type of keratin treatment.
  • Brazilian blowouts smooth hair, reducing frizz and adding shine.
  • A hairstylist explains how long Brazilian blowouts last, how much they cost, and more.

Brazilian blowouts are often lauded as the be-all and end-all treatment for smoothing frizz and adding shine. Yet, even if you know its benefits — or know someone who swears by it — do you really know what it is, how it works, or if it's safe?

If you have curly, wavy, or just frizzy hair, you may have even considered getting a Brazilian blowout or another type of keratin treatment yourself, despite being a little fuzzy on the details of what exactly you're signing up for. Many people who get the service regularly couldn't imagine their lives without it, but they probably couldn't tell you how it works exactly.

Keratin treatments have come a long way in recent years. The original formulas started to gain popularity in the early 2000s, but they weren't regulated and contained formaldehyde. They lasted a few years on the market before the government stepped in and pulled the treatments entirely.

The next round of keratin treatments created was formaldehyde-free or contained a very small amount of it, and those are the keratin and Brazilian blowout treatments that you can get at the salon today. No matter what type of hair treatment you're considering — be it a new hair color, a dramatic cut, or another specialty, like velaterapia — it's always best to do your research ahead of time.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Brazilian blowouts.

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What Is a Brazilian Blowout?

The treatment originated in Brazil — hence the name — and is a temporary smoothing treatment for hair. "This treatment works by binding to the hair to form a protective layer around each strand, which eliminates frizz, seals the cuticle, and protects hair from damage," Nelson Vercher, a stylist at Rita Hazan in NYC, tells POPSUGAR.

Brazilian blowouts not only help with frizz but also add that coveted supermodel shine to hair. While some keratin treatments focus solely on straightening hair and reducing frizz, a Brazilian blowout is customizable based on your desired results — curls or straight, but no frizz either way. It works for almost all hair types. "Clients with hair that is very straight, fine, and limp, but want a lot of volume or body should avoid this treatment," Vercher says.

It does have minimal amounts of formaldehyde in it, but this helps it work better than other smoothing keratin treatments that are completely free of it.

How Long Does a Brazilian Blowout Last?

While it depends on your hair type, Brazilian blowouts typically last 10 to 12 weeks — or about two and a half to three months — "depending on how often you shampoo your hair," Vercher says. This is because shampooing slowly rinses out the coating from your hair.

How Much Is a Brazilian Blowout?

The cost of a Brazilian blowout ranges depending on your geographic location and the salon itself. On average, prepare to pay anything between $200 to $500 for the special keratin treatment.

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The Process: What It's Like to Get a Brazilian Blowout

When getting a Brazilian blowout, you can expect to sit in the chair for about an hour to an hour and a half — it all depends on how thick and long your hair is. The process goes like this:

Step 1: Your stylist will wash your hair with a special shampoo, like the Brazilian Blowout Ionic Cleanser, and towel-dry it.

Step 2: After dividing the hair into sections, they'll apply the Brazilian solution starting at the nape of the head and working up to the top of the head

Step 3: Next, using a brush, your stylist will apply the smoothing solution to the roots of the hair in ¼ to ½-inch sections. Then, they'll comb the solution through to the ends of the hair.

Step 4: After the keratin treatment has been applied to the entire head, your hairstylist will blow-dry your hair to make it as "sleek and smooth as possible."

Step 5: Once your hairstylist is finished blow-drying, they'll use a straightener to seal the treatment to your cuticle. "Flat-iron hair [at a] minimum of 380 degrees F and a maximum of 450 degrees F, depending on how smooth you want it and how thick or fine the hair is," Vercher says. Your hairstylist should use approximately four to five passes with the straightener at 380 degrees to reduce frizz and seven to 12 passes to semipermanently straighten the hair.

Step 6: Next, they'll rinse for one to two minutes without shampoo to wash the treatment out of the hair.

Step 7: An ionic bonding spray is then applied to the hair and combed through to finish sealing in the treatment.

Step 8: After one final blowout and styling session, you're done.

How to Maintain a Brazilian Blowout and Make It Last

There aren't any post-treatment restrictions with a Brazilian blowout like there are with other keratin treatments. You can put your hair up in a ponytail or bun, work out, and even wash it immediately if you want.

Here are some other things to keep in mind:

  • Your shampoo habits determine how long your treatment will last. You should use a sulfate-free shampoo on keratin-treated hair and wash as little as possible to prolong the results.
  • Hair color and keratin go together if you do them in that order. By applying hair color immediately before keratin, you're priming the shaft of your hair to absorb the keratin solution, meaning the color and the keratin should last longer.
  • Avoid saltwater with a Brazilian blowout treatment. Salt is the enemy of the keratin treatment, so you'll want to keep your hair out of the ocean water or saltwater pools. Try keeping it covered with a hat or scarf while you're at the beach, and as soon as you get home, wash it to ensure all traces of saltwater are removed.
  • Treat hair gently. For as shiny and healthy as your hair looks after a keratin treatment, it's important to remember how much it has been through to get there. Your hair is delicate and more likely to break in this weakened state: keep it dry as much as possible, don't use clips or rubber bands on wet hair, and use a heat protectant when styling with hot tools (which you should be doing all the time, keratin treatment or not.)

Additional reporting by Rebecca Gruber