3 Treatments, 3 Salons: The Best Brazilian Blowout Value?

By Amelia Santaniello, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Straight, sleek, shiny. That’s the promise of a Brazilian Blowout. Trouble is: Some straightening treatments contain formaldehyde.

The dangers are great enough, the state health department is warning salon owners and customers to be careful.

So what can you do if you’re like those women who have hair out to here? We took them to a salon to try some of the newer, safer ways to get that smooth look.

Shawnee Braufman knows how bad a Brazilian can be.

“She’s been sitting here watching me give other people Brazilians and wishing that she would have had me do it,” said Jason Deavalon of Jason Deavalon Salon.

She came to stylist Deavalon for help after a Brazilian at another salon caused her hair to fall out.

“It was a really bad experience, yeah,” she said.

Deavalon held up a short strand of Braufman’s hair, all that remains after her botched Brazilian.

“Her hair is literally only this long, on her whole head,” he said. ” I have replaced her hair with these extensions, for now, until her hair grows back.”

WCCO-TV’s Assistant News Director Angela Benson has wavy hair, not that we see it much.

Benson straightens her hair, almost every day.

“I have five kids running around my house, so an hour in the morning is what I spend on my hair, and that’s crazy. If I can get that hour back, it’s worth so much money to me,” she said, with a laugh.

Benson went to Spalon Montage in Edina. They were one of the first salons in town to stop using Brazilian Blowout products last fall.

“It’s more of a smoothing system, it’s not a relaxer,” said Kathy Larrabe, director at Spalon.

Larrabe is going to give Benson the Keraspa Keratin smoothing treatment. It’s a six-step process –washing, applying the product, blowdrying, flat ironing, rinsing and drying again.

Larrabe said she remembers how the old treatments hurt her eyes and nose.

“If I have to wear a mask, and my client has to wear a mask, then pretty sure it’s not a good thing for you,” she said.

She styles Benson’s hair, without any protection.

The cost — $200 for Benson’s hair, $250-plus for longer hair. The duration? Around 12 weeks. Time saved? More than you can imagine.

“This is like different hair.  It’s not my hair, in a good way,” Benson said, after her new ‘do.

Jackie Woller decided to try out Jason Deavalon Salon in Uptown.

Deavalon gives her an organic treatment called the Simply Smooth. It contains a food grade preservative called beneldaline.

“And they use it to, like for example, in like semi-sweet chocolate to harden the chocolate, they use beneldaline to set it up,” Deavalon said. “This is perfect for people who want to still have the option to wear their hair curly.”

This treatment costs $350 and lasts for 36 washes.

“It almost even makes my face look longer, maybe even thinner,” Woller said, with a laugh, “which is kind of amazing, I love it.”

Woller’s twin sister Jen Jimenez is WCCO-TV’s managing editor. She went to Uptown Hair District, where they still offer Brazilian Blowouts, with formaldehyde.

“Within our organization, we had the product tested,” said Kimberly Erickson, a stylist. “In this particular lab, they performed three services in a row wearing a patch that would monitor and it read as still within safe levels.”

Erickson said a lot of her clients swear by the Brazilian Blowout.

“It really makes it so much easier for them to get ready and look finished,” she said. “I think there are a lot of women who are really nervous that this won’t be on the market anymore.”

The process is a lot like the others, with a notable exception.

“It can get a little bit irritating, so I can kind of stand back away from it, you don’t have that,” Erickson told Jimenez.

The bill this time? $300 for a treatment that should last 12 weeks.

“I’m super excited,” Jimenez said. “It’s just, it’s amazing.”

All three stylists said after the treatment, it’s best to use sulfate-free shampoos. Do that — and shampoo less often — and the smooth look will last a lot longer, they said.

It’s been a couple weeks since we went to the salons. Benson still flat irons her hair in the morning, just a little around her face. Jimenez loves her new hair and her twin sister Jackie, who had the organic treatment, said she wishes she would’ve had a different process, something that would make her hair even straighter.

Paula Engelking, Producer
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