Saturday, 21 May 2011

Brazilian Blowouts and "Keratin Friendly" Shampoos. Do You Need Them?

It struck me as a convenient swizz the first time I heard that not only do you have to pay £200 or something to have your Brazilian Blowout (which, even if it is "formaldehyde free" is actually no safer - read my earlier post to get the facts on the chemistry behind this), you then get to buy special shampoo, conditioner and whatever else they've got going at £20 a bottle or so to maintain your treatment.

What the heck is a Keratin Friendly formula?

I struggled to get hold of any ingredients lists for these products short of buying them outright, and frankly I've got better uses for my money (nice hair accessories, for one!).

However, I uncovered a *clue* while trawling the internet.

Someone mentioned somewhere that these products are important for maintaining your treatment because they don't contain sodium chloride, or salt.

In my last post I explained why salt shows up in shampoo and so many other personal care and hair care products, and its role mostly as a thickener in liquid formulations.

In one of my books that I got in my recent thrilling parcel from Amazon, the definitive Chemical and Physical Behavior of Human Hair by the undisputed expert Clarence Robbins (you think Philip Kingsley is an expert? Bah!), I uncovered the relationship between salt and quaternised cellulosic polymers (or commonly used hair conditioners).

I was innocently reading about conditioner formulas, as you do of a weekend when you're a saddo like me,  when to my total delight I found an entire section entitled "Effects of Salt."

Salt, Conditioner and Your Hair

I've already written briefly before about how conditioner works and what it really does for your hair in my free series of Healthy Hair Care articles. Do sign yourself up to get these and give it a read if you're interested.

The presence of salt has a large effect on the ability of the frequently used conditioner polyquaternium-10 to basically stick to the surface of your hair.

If you've just used a bog standard main brand shampoo in your hair and not thoroughly rinsed your hair afterwards, it is wholly possible that some salt has remained behind, clinging to your hair.

If you then try to condition your hair, as little a presence of 0.1% salt solution (whether sodium chloride, lanthanum or calcium, to name just three) reduces "pickup" of the conditioner by at least two-thirds. That's a massive reduction.

Given that the Brazilian Blow Out has (can I be totally straight with you here?) literally cooked your hair, the only way you can "maintain" your keratin shield purchased at great expense is to cover it as completely as possible with water-resistant conditioners.

If that conditioner can't stick to your hair, your keratin coating will break down quickly and you'll probably storm to the salon and demand your money back because your hair's gone all frizzy.

Keep Your Money. Don't Get A Brazilian Blow Out

The bare fact is that the Brazilian Blow Out blatantly produces an unregulated amount of poisonous gas (whether it uses formaldehyde or any other aldehyde) so it seems a kinda not good thing to subject yourself, or your poor stylist, to it.

Second, you have to buy styling products that cost 4 to 10 times that of a perfectly good main brand option in order to get your money's worth out of the original treatment.

I could practically retire already if I got a pound for every irate email and comment telling me how "good" the Blow Out has been for their hair and made it "so much healthier," but could I just explain why they've started having a breakage problem. Could it be their shampoo?

Um, not likely.

Personally, the whole shebang is a swizz.

Just as I thought.

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