We Tried It: A Brazilian Blowout

08/21/2014 at 03:16 PM ET

What is it: Brazilian Blowout, a super-strong hair treatment that uses amino acids to seal and smooth the hair cuticle — and thus straighten my very curly hair for three months

Who tried it: Alex Apatoff, Senior Style Editor

Why I did it: Because Aug. 21 is National Brazilian Blowout Day and I’m nothing if not celebratory

Level of Difficulty: A 4 when you’re in the chair; the chemicals are intense and it’s a time commitment. A -65 when you get home. I never knew haircare could be so easy! (P.S. See the photos below? That’s my curly hair on a good day after two hours of maintenance, at left, and then air-dried post-Brazilian Blowout, at right.)

Brazilian Blowout trialCourtesy Alex Apatoff(2)

More than once, I’ve heard a hairstylist tell me I have “six heads of hair.” It’s thick, curly and often unmanageable (see here, here, here and here for examples), and I’m often a slave to it — planning workouts around my washing schedule, avoiding pools and oceans, and fearing for it whenever the humidity index is high.

And more than once, people have suggested the Brazilian Blowout to me, but I’ve resisted for three reasons: 1) I tried Japanese straightening in high school and will forever be scarred by my curly growing-out roots situation. 2) It’s not cheap — the price at NYC’s very chic Alessandro Mangerini salon is $300. 3) I like my curly hair, despite its quirks. But when the salon invited me to try it out for this noteworthy national holiday, my curiosity got the better of me. After all, it wears off (instead of grows out, like previous treatments) in three months, so if I hated it, it was pretty low-commitment.

Brazilian Blowout trialCourtesy Alex Apatoff(2)

Stylist Lisa DeGiacomo prepped me by clarifying my hair twice, then we went to go sit outside on the salon’s lovely outdoor terrace — something she likes to do when applying the Brazilian Blowout, because the chemicals are intense. (If you’re going to do this at your local salon, ensure the room is properly ventilated — even outdoors on a beautiful, breezy day, the chemicals made my eyes tear and sting. It would be fresh hell to do it indoors without enough air circulation.) She painted the mix on, section by section, until it was all coated, then blasted my hair with the dryer. Once it was fully dry, she sealed the treatment in with a flatiron, resulting in the smoothest blowout I’d ever had (see photos above). Lisa sent me on my way with instructions to not wash, clip, bend or otherwise crease my hair for 24 hours, at which point I could wash it with a sodium chloride-free shampoo. “Your hair is going to dry in minutes,” she told me. [Note: the Brazilian Blowout reps clarified that it’s safe to wash your hair or put it in a ponytail right after the treatment.]

I’ve been burned before, so I didn’t believe her — until, as an experiment, I walked out of my apartment Monday morning with soaking wet hair with almost no product in it. You can see the results at the top. People stopped me to ask if I’d gotten it done: “Your hair looks so good! Did you get a blowout this morning?” Using a hotel hairdryer on it a few days later produced similarly sleek, smooth results, in about a fifth of the time it would have taken me previously. I was absolutely stunned (and delighted!) by the overnight transformation in my texture.

The verdict: I’m a believer. If you had told me that I would be able to walk out of my house with combed-through wet hair and look polished and professional in a half-hour, I would have called your doctor — but now that I can see the results for myself, I’m actually amazed. Between the chemicals and the cost, I’m not sure I’ll do it every season, but I can definitely see this becoming a summer tradition — the hair-related time, energy, stress and planning it will save me in hot, humid weather is absolutely worth $100 a month. Now I’m off to go celebrate National Brazilian Blowout day with a Caipirinha and my killer new do!

FILED UNDER: Beauty , Hair , We Tried It
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Showing 12 comments

SH on

I don’t think you had THE Brazilian Blowout because if you had, you would have been allowed to wash your hair immediately after the treatment. I know…I have had it done at least a dozen times over the years. There are LOTS of keratin treatments out there that call themselves the Brazilian Blowout. But if your stylist told you not to wash it or pull it back or clip it, then you did NOT have THE original Brazilian Blowout.

StyleWatch on

Interesting, SH! The Brazilian Blowout team actually set it up for me to try before today’s “holiday,” so maybe the stylist just was being overly cautious? I’ll ask about it!

rote on

Had two. Both were worthless and not worth the time and money.

Cody Teichner on

So so so so soooooooo dangerous. Not worth it and girl you do not have hair that curly. I know people here in the LA area that have visited Domincan hair salons because they know how to deal with super heavy thick hair- ethnic or not.
I wouldn’t attempt the chemicals. The steam in the shower alone – don’t faint!

jill on

You do a surprising disservice to your readers by not disclosing the serious dangers of this product. The FDA has issued a warning about the dangerous levels of formaldehyde in it. It’s irresponsible not to have included that information in this article.

Laura on

I used to get 2 or 3 Brazilian Blowouts per year, at like $250 each. I have very curly unruly hair as I get older and heard great things about them. After doing it a few times, I was frustrated that it really didn’t do much for straightening and taming the unruly curls, it only helped during the blow drying and straightening process, but honestly it didn’t help that much. After wasting a lot of money on them, I learned the technique for proper blow drying and I bought an Avanti Ultra Flat Iron, which is the best I have found yet. And guess what, I am perfectly straightening my hair for the last few years without any blowouts! I am saving so much money and yeah, maybe it takes just a little more time to get a good straight look but saving $750 per year, it is so worth it! I am happy to let anyone know how I blow dry and straighten my hair, just ask!

Susan on

Hey, are you ok with your suppliers?
Good day!
We supply all kinds of hair products for Arison hair with high quality and competitive price. Hope to cooperate with you!

Qingdao Arison Hair

Faith on

Just got off phone with Brazilian Blowout and they advised that product should be rinsed out and masque put on. They were adamant in saying never leave salon with product on hair .

mega on

I just had a Brazilian blowout done for $300 and guess what– after one wash my hair is completely frizzy again. I went back to the salon and they have no answers for me. I am totally disappointed. I used acai sodium and sulfate free shampoo and conditioner. Its like I never even got the blowout

AR on

I have great hair and get Keratin a couple of times a year to make it more manageable. I’ve not had any issues with the Keratin treatments. It was recommended to me that I get the Brazilian Blowout as I wanted to retain some of my natural wave. It has destroyed my hair. My hair is dry crunchy straw and there is not enough moisture in the world to help it. I’m in a huge dilemma as I’m afraid to do anything but don’t want to wait a year for this to grow out. Yes, some people have great results but you do this at the risk of not and suffering the consequences. I’m seriously thinking of reporting this to the FDA or some other government entity. The salon I went to has trained personnel. It’s discouraging and disappointing though they offer few solutions.

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