Dr Oz did a segment called “Hair Straighteners: What’s Safe & What’s Not” where he spoke about three common techniques that women use to straighten their hair – Flat Irons, Relaxers and the Brazilian Blowout. Are the ways in which you straighten your hair safe? Would you be willing to wear a gas mask or risk a nose bleed in exchange for beauty – or straight hair? Doctor Oz was joined by Cheryl Kramer Kaye, Beauty Director of Redbook Magazine, to explain the dangers of these popular Hair Straightening Methods.
Dr Oz said that Brazilian Blowout treatments can cost $500 and are one of the hottest trends in hair straightening. Famous stars like Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Lindsay Lohan, Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Richie, and Halle Berry have had Brazilian Blowout treatments. However, State officials in California, Connecticut, and Oregon have become concerned about unexplained nosebleeds and breathing problems in women after getting a Brazilian Blowout. Tests were performed on this hot product and found that it contained 10% Formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen and allergen.
Dr Oz: Formaldehyde in Brazilian Blowout
Mark Garrison, a hair salon owner, used to be a believer in the Brazilian Blowout, but now he has banned it from his salon after reading that the Formaldehyde levels came in above OHSA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) levels. The maker of the Brazilian Blowout products says that their products do not use Formaldehyde and that the claims are nonsense. Mark Garisson now uses a different product with only trace amounts of Formaldehyde, and he has added extra ventilation to his salon, as well as now requiring both the client and stylist to wear gas masks when doing the Hair Straightening Treatments.
Dr Oz: Keratin Treatments vs. Brazilian Blowout
Dr Oz asked Cheryl Kramer Kaye about Keratin Treatments, because most of them also contain low levels of Formaldehyde. Cheryl said that the levels in Keratin Treatments are low and generally not considered harmful. Brazilian Blowout claims to use no Formaldehyde, even though testing shows that this is not true and that the levels are much higher than what the government considers to be safe levels. If you still intend on having a Brazilian Blowout, even knowing all of this, make sure the salon is properly ventilated – an open window or a fan is not enough. Frankly, even if you are not getting a Brazilian Blowout, if your salon offers the treatment then you should make sure there is good ventilation so that you are not effected by someone else’s toxic treatment during your next visit to the salon.
Dr Oz: How Brazilian Blowout Works
Dr Oz showed a demonstration of how Brazilian Blowout and hair straighteners work. There is a protein that wraps around each piece of hair that holds everything together. The protein is held together by Sulfide Bonds. If you apply a chemical to your hair that cuts these Sulfide Bonds, then your hair strand is released and straightens out. So you are left with beautiful straight hair.
Dr Oz: Relaxers – DIY Hair Straightening
Dr Oz moved on to DIY Techniques for Hair Straightening, like Relaxers. Cheryl Kramer Kaye said that Hair Relaxers can be dangerous. They are generally marketed to African American women and are sold over-the-counter at drugstores. The active ingredient in most Drugstore Relaxers is Sodium Hydroxide, also know as Lye, and also the active ingredient in Drain Cleaners. There are some No-Lye Relaxers, but these are similarly bad for you. One marketing technique that companies have been using is to say their product is organic and uses natural ingredients, but Dr Oz says this makes him very mad because there is no way to produce Lye that is organic.
Dr Oz: Are Relaxers Safe?
Dr Oz did a demonstration to show how dangerous Relaxers can be. He poured the liquid found in the product onto a piece of paper, and then he added powder which is like Lye, and you could see the chemicals burning right through the paper. The paper represents your scalp and the damage that can be done if not used correctly. It is very dangerous to leave relaxers on for too long. Cheryl said that if you are going to use Relaxers, follow the directions very carefully and do not use them more than once every 8 weeks. Use a protective coating on your scalp and wait a couple of days to shower to help build-up natural oils in your scalp. The best bet though is to go to a salon and have it done professionally.
Dr Oz: Hair Straighteners & Flat Irons
Dr Oz’s last product was Hair Straighteners (or Flat Irons), where the biggest risk is that you could fry your hair. Cheryl Kaye said that you should not use a blow dryer or a Flat Iron more than 2-3 times a week. Also, look for a Hair Straightening Iron that has ceramic coated plates because it will distribute heat more evenly. And look for a Flat Iron that has a digital thermometer or a dial thermometer because you do not need 450 degrees to straighten most hair. 350 degrees should work for most women’s normal hair and, if you have fine hair, do not go over 300 degrees.
We’d love to hear your stories and experiences with hair straightening!