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
Contact Paula

Amelia Santaniello

Comments (10)
  1. Dawn says:

    Formaldehyde is poison. Any amount of formaldehyde is toxic. Period!!!

    I was poisoned with formaldehyde. My exposure was caused by a neighbor’s accident, not by doing something stupid like putting poison on my hair and skin. My entire life changed.

    Don’t expose yourself to poisons that you can avoid (personal products, cleaning products, laundry, lawn care). If you do, you will regret it.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Try the Keratin Express treatment which sounds alot like the Keraspa Keratin treatment, except it’s only 4 steps, wash, apply, blow dry and flat iron. It lasts 4 weeks, is much, much less expenisve and I my results usually last at least 8-10 weeks. It’s a good option if you just want to try something without spending so much. I do mine at Sakada Studio in Minnetonka.

    I’ve always wanted to try the Brazaillian Blowout, but I’m too afraid my thin curly hair would fall out.

    1. m london says:

      Sounds Interesting! But does your hair stay smooth and straight when the weather is warm and humid???

  3. Neilie says:

    im pretty sure you need a shampoo that is free of sodium choride with these treatments.

  4. pat says:

    I have had frizzy hair all my life and I am currently in Houston, you think there is humidity in Mpls, it is crazy down here, I am going on Friday for a blowout wish me luck!

    1. Sarah in Outstate MN says:

      Pat, one of my closest friends lives in Houston, TX and she has said the same thing about the humidity. Good luck on Friday.

  5. Sara says:

    There are other blow out procedures that are much safer than the Brazilian Blowout that work better than the “organic” procedures such as the KeraSpa Treatment in this segment. I personally feel that the Keratin Complex by Coppola is the best treatment available and it has 6 times less formaldehyde than the Brazilian Blowout. No smoothing treatment can be 100% formaldehyde free otherwise it wouldn’t work. Proper ventilation while the treatment is applied is key. You still pay the same price for the KeraSpa treatment and get poor results. Personally, if I shell out hundreds of dollars for a smoothing treatment I would want it to work. I have had 5 Keratin Complex by Coppola treatments and they have exceeded my expectations. I use sulfate shampoos and conditioners. I also use Keratin Complex styling products to extend the life of the treatment. On average I can get 4-5 months from one treatment alone. I have not used a flat iron in 2 years. For a salon go to I go to John Charles Salon for mine.

    Just a note on the very bleached blonde in the beginning of the segment. If you bleach your hair as much as this woman appears to do, ANY blowout treatment would have fried her hair. The heat applied when curing the solution is 450 degrees and passed over 7-10 times. This is not suitable to bleached, damaged hair and would break the hair off even without the treatment.

    Here are some links to information on Keratin based treatments:

    Good Luck!

    1. Lisa the Hairguru says:

      i got sick from performing over 50 Keratin Complex by Coppola. i agree they workd great. BUT not at the expense of my health! the product is on the HOT list of whats caustic and poisonous. it is at 1.9% -2.3% high FORMALDEHYDE. and anything above .20% is poison.according to OSHA. the Coppola Express is also bad @ 1.2% …that is 5x excess exposure limits. read all the forums. theyr currently illegal to buy or use in Australia, Canada, and California even has a class action lawsuit against them. the absolute only safe one is the KeraSpa for now- who cares if u gotta flat iron here and there. also- anyhtime u continue to use Coppola, u keep getting gas release in a steamy shower and hot tools when syling for even more exposure on a monthly basis!

  6. Shawnee Braufman says:

    I am warning everyone not to go to the spa in Lifetime Fitness! Life-spa in Minnetonka ruined my hair to the point of completely falling out. Thank god I found Jason Deavalon. No matter what you tell some of these salons,( about meds, allergies, health conditions…) they don’t care if the process is dangerous. My eyes burned and throat was burning so bad that I did not get to see her burn my hair right off until after the solution was out. The salon took no responsibility and in my opinion should pay me the 15,000 dollars that I have spent to restore my hair aND WELL BEING. Don’t go to Lifespa!!!! My stylist was Tara. They all lie to back each other up. Corporate believes them as it become 3 to 1. Their eyes need to be open because I was screwed mentally. physically, and emotionally !!! They assumed NO responsibility, corporate told me to have a lawyer call them. They even had the pictures in their hands of the disaster. It was one of the worst experiences that I have ever suffered. Your hair is a part of who you are. I am so happy that Jason came into my life. He really has the potential to make someone feel whole again. He did that for me!

  7. karrencrawley says:

    This treatment is good as it makes ny hair smooth and shiny for longer time.

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