Formaldehyde-free Brazilian for hair

When I was a teenager it was all about curly hair. I remember begging my mother to allow me to get a perm. She refused, on the premise that it was a)chemical and dangerous and b)too expensive. Rather than embracing my silky, smooth, straight hair, I went to the drugstore where I picked up those foam thingies that were easier than traditional rollers. I washed my hair, spend an hour rolling it around my foam sticks, waved a blow dryer over it, and then went to sleep with them still in my hair. The following morning the hair was sorta wavy, certainly not straight and smooth anymore.

Today, it’s all about straight. Apparently those beautiful curls are not what anyone really wants. The Japanese, the Brazilian, the hair iron, the blow outs – everyone wants smooth, straight hair. I still think curls are really pretty, but I understand the desire to have sleek, straight hair. I wish I still did. Sadly, the move to Florida, 3 kids and who knows what other aging hormones in my body, mean that my hair is no longer the silky smooth show stopper it used to be. These days, if I want my hair to look like it used to, I have to spend a long time with the blow dryer, straightening iron and serums. Time I don’t have.

To be perfectly honest, I probably would never have considered getting a Brazilian keratin treatment, had it not been for a connection at Marcia Teixeira’s M&M International, the original founder of the Brazilian Keratin Treatment. M&M International is currently perfecting a new, formaldehyde-free formula of the Brazilian Keratin Treatment and they needed models. The new formula will be available nationwide next month. I certainly would not  have considered a treatment containing formaldehyde. I don’t even use nail polish unless it’s formaldehyde free.

I met Marcia before my treatment began, and we talked a little about the fact that I don’t like using chemicals in general, specially not in my hair. I don’t even color my hair with dye, but prefer to use real henna powder imported directly from a shuk (market) in Israel. The henna is mixed with lemon juice and the mixture is applied to my hair and left for up to 3 hours. The results are fabulous – my hair turns from a medium brown to a shiny reddish brown, with bright red highlights where there were sliver and white hairs. Henna also acts as a nutritional treatment to the hair and leaves it shiny and healthy.

The process for making my humidity frazzled hair look like it used to, began with the ladies at the salon washing it with a special shampoo that smelt faintly like chocolate. So far so good. After washing, they towel dried it, and then ran a blow dryer over it very quickly, so that it was now mostly dry, but very frizzy. They then sectioned my hair and began putting the formaldehyde-free keratin treatment on. They sprayed each section at the roots and then combed it through until my whole head was saturated with the stuff. It is worth noting that that there was no chemical smell at all, no burning feeling or anything like that when the solution touched my scalp or the one time a bit dripped on my neck. My scalp is extremely sensitive, so this was good news. It’s also worth noting that neither of the ladies working on my hair wore a mask, only gloves.

The next step was once again quickly drying my hair with a blow dryer. This was followed by the tedious use of a straightening iron over my entire head of hair in tiny sections, with both ladies working until it was totally straight. This seals in the keratin. Even with the intense heat from the irons, the smell was minimal, and it was more a smell of hair than chemical fumes.

From what I understand about the original Brazilian treatment, one of the down sides was that once the treatment was applied, you could not wash your hair or even wear it in a ponytail for at least 3 days following the treatment. The plus with this new, formaldehyde free version, is that not only can you wash your hair immediately, they wash it for you at the salon, right after the treatment is sealed in. Once my hair had been washed, they ran a dryer over it, without using a brush or anything else, just to dry the outer layers. I honestly couldn’t believe what I saw in the mirror. No frizz. No puffiness. Nothing at all. Just the same silky smooth hair that I used to have before moving to Florida.

The treatment will be available nationwide at salons starting next month. Prices will be around the same as the original Brazilian Keratin Treatment, ranging from approximately $200-$400 depending on hair length and thickness. I totally understand now, why people say it is worth the money, and I can’t wait to see my hair after I step out of the shower tomorrow morning!

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