For years I struggled with my curly hair. I could never embrace the curl, and instead, I fought it. I would blow dry my hair for at least an hour to tame the curls. The end result was a shoulder length, stick straight bob. Years later I finally embraced the curl and it was so liberating. My hair was big, bold and curly and I had much more time on my hands.
Years ago I remember everyone getting a Brazilian Blowout or some form of a keratin straightening treatment. I have to admit that I loved the look. So silky smooth and straight. I never tried it myself, but I was tempted.
Then came the bombshell-Brazilian Blowouts and other keratin hair straightening treatments were found to contain high levels of formaldehyde.
According to Women’s Voices for the Earth: “Formaldehyde gas is a dangerous pollutant that can be severely irritating to the eyes, nose and throat, and long-term exposure to formaldehyde in the workplace has been associated with an increased risk of cancer.”
After this news, many made the switch to formaldehyde-free hair straightening products. Unfortunately, there’s more bad news. Many of these “formaldehyde-free” products aren’t much safer.
Here’s the scoop: many of the “formaldehyde-free” straighteners don’t technically contain formaldehyde as an ingredient, but they do contain other chemicals that release formaldehyde when in contact with high heat. For those of us who have struggled with straightening, we know that high heat is an important ingredient in the process. Using a hair dryer and/or a flat iron (both use high heat) is critical for these straightening treatments to work.Are formaldehyde-free hair straighteners safe? The answer might surprise you… Click To Tweet
Even if you straighten your hair at home and use a straightening spray chances are you’re exposing yourself and those around you to formaldehyde. Cyclopentasiloxane, a chemical that emits formaldehyde at high heat, is a common ingredient found in flat iron sprays (also called thermal protection sprays).
In case you’re wondering, there’s less formaldehyde released from the “formaldehyde-free” products, but remember there’s no safe level of formaldehyde.
Here’s what you can do (thanks to Women’s Voices for the Earth for these great tips!):
Read labels! If you’re straightening your hair either at a salon or at home avoid heating products containing these chemicals:
- glyoxylic acid
- glyoxyloyl carbocysteine
- phenyl trimethicone
- Tell the FDA to put an end to Toxic Brazilian Blowouts & Ban Formaldehyde in Cosmetics HERE
Do you straighten your hair? What products do you use?