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Curly Nikki

FDA to Brazilian Blowout: Stop Misleading Consumers

By January 27th, 202113 Comments


WASHINGTON — The notorious hair straightening products company, Brazilian Blowout, has received its first official warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has stated that the products are ‘adulterated’ and misbranded. The company has until Sept. 12 to comply with the FDA’s directives, otherwise the products could be taken off U.S. shelves and further injunctions could be filed against the company. The FDA is asking Brazilian Blowout to reduce the level of formaldehyde from its products and change its misleading labels and advertising, which state that the products are formaldehyde-free.

The FDA conducted their own sample analysis of the product, and found dangerously high levels of the liquid form of formaldehyde, ranging from 8.7-10.4 percent. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires an occupational hazard alert at levels higher than 0.1 percent. Formaldehyde, commonly found in a number of “Brazilian style” keratin-based hair straighteners, is extremely dangerous and a known carcinogen. The FDA reports that salon workers and consumers have already reported a number of injuries to the FDA, including eye disorders, nervous system disorders, respiratory tract problems, chest pain, vomiting and rash.

Michael Roosevelt, acting director in the FDA’s Office of Compliance states in the letter to the company, “Brazilian Blowout is an adulterated cosmetic because it bears or contains a deleterious substance that may render it injurious to users under the conditions of use prescribed in your labeling.” He continues, “Brazilian Blowout contains the liquid form of formaldehyde, methylene glycol; however, the product label declares that the product contains ‘No Formaldehyde’ or is ‘Formaldehyde Free.’ This declaration renders your product misbranded because it is a false and misleading statement.”

Since the beginning of the controversy almost one year ago, the National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance (Alliance) has called on the FDA to take swift action with a national recall.

“We thank the FDA for issuing this highly anticipated warning. Stylists need to know about the dangers of using this toxic product on a day to day basis,” said Women’s Voices for the Earth’s executive director Erin Switalski, on behalf of the Alliance.

“Brazilian Blowout can no longer lie to the public about their contents and continue to claim their product to be safe. Brazilian Blowout has until Sept. 12 to make this right, or else the FDA can and should serve an injunction against the company for willfully endangering public safety,” said Miriam Yeung, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.

Brazilian Blowout and similar products have been banned in Australia, Canada, Ireland, France and Germany, U.S. OSHA has issued a national hazard alert, and the cosmetics industry’s own safety review board came out with an opinion critiquing the safety of hair straighteners using formaldehyde. This year the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released its long-awaited report on formaldehyde, confirming the EPA’s determination that formaldehyde causes cancer in humans. Yet, manufacturers have done little to address these concerns.

“If consumers have been wondering why they’ve still been able to get Brazilian Blowouts despite so much troubling news, the answer is because our regulatory system is broken,” says Anuja Mendiratta, a representative of the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative. “Laws that are supposed to protect consumers and workers simply aren’t enough. Even when a product has clearly been shown to poison people, the FDA has little authority to take immediate meaningful action in the case of cosmetics.”

The National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance has demanded that the FDA immediately recall Brazilian Blowout and similar products. However, the FDA can only issue a “voluntary recall,” meaning that the government cannot mandate the removal of dangerous products from the market. These lax regulations are under scrutiny, and are being rectified in the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011, which is currently being debated in Congress. The new law would set safety standards for chemicals used in personal care and salon products before they reach the marketplace, and phase out toxic ingredients such as formaldehyde found in the Brazilian Blowout.

With all the coverage concerning the Brazilian Blowout, what do you think?
Would you do it?
Do you think they will respond to the FDA? Do you think women will still request the process?

Let us know what you would do!


  • Anonymous says:

    The FDA should be sued for not enforcing this mandate more strictly. Us women of color who don't know about this could develope cancer from the product and the FDA's apathy could be fatal to many black women. May God bless us!

  • Anonymous says:

    I am grateful that the health of black women is being so scrutinized but I believe in the power of money and the power to banish products that may affect a multi-billion dollar industry. It would not be the first time……

  • Annie L. says:

    @Nikia – exactly!

    The FDA has a history of hiring representatives from industries they regulate (Splenda, aspartame, the pill) and of being prosecuted by congress! That the FDA can not enforce, but only suggest, recall speaks volumes and the lack of oversight at their testing facilities is cringe-worthy. We're on our own. The people have to act collectively to source and distribute information in order to put power back in the hands of the many.

    Also, the image of gas masks in the quest for straight hair illustrates such a contempt for women's health by regulators, corporations and society (especially women) at large. I imagine others seeing Good Hair thought the same of Black women.

  • Anonymous says:

    @anon 7:24 p.m. I agree with this as well. No one is researching the effects of relaxers. Although Chris Rock came rather close with that soda can scence in Good Hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    I thought about getting a BB a few months after I went natural. My hair was at a funky length…not a TWA but still short. I was fighting frizz and looking for styling options which is the same reason I had texturized my hair in the past. I thought the BB would tame the frizz and improve styling flexibility. I would never spend $300+ on my hair without careful thought and research, so after I started researching and read about the hazards, I put the brakes on. I did some soul searching in regards to my feelings about my natural hair and I realized how much I loved my curls and I didn't want to do anything to damage them. So instead of a BB, I decided to be patient with the growth process and look for products that work for my hair. After a lot of trial and error, my friend turned me on the CN and the online natural hair community. The wealth of information helped me remain vigilant in my commitment to embracing my natural, God-given texture. I found products that work for me and a zillion style options and tutorials. Now I'm 16 months in. I love my length and I love my beautiful curls…frizz, shrinkage and all!

  • Willnotbefooled says:

    I can't believe one would risk their health for beauty! I mean the fact that the stylist themselves have to wear a mask is a big NO NO and a clear sign to runf for your life…….. LOL
    Seriously i think the Brazilian Keratin has gone too far and we saavy and smart headed consumers CANNOT and WILL NOT be fooled in an age where we have infor at our fingertips literally!

    We cannot be fooled anymore by the Beauty/Cosmetic?Food industry so the better tey realise that the better. *rant finished* LOL 😀

  • Annabel says:

    Safe Cosmetics does wonderful work enlightening the public about the dangers of certain products and challenging the FDA to investigate those products. It's about time we, as consumers, demand the corporations stop poisoning us and our families with chemical-laden products. As one commenter stated, the same investigation and research needs to be done for relaxers. Especially kiddy perms, which can in no way, shape or form be safe for a developing child.

    I am transitioning now, however, I do believe if there was a published study showing a correlation between relaxers and risk for cancer, developmental problems, etc. I would have stopped relaxing my hair much sooner.

    Unfortunately, I think the power of advertising is very strong. If someone reads on a package that a product is safe and organic, many believe it to be true.

    I myself thought about having a Brazilian Blowout after my transition, because I saw videos on Youtube and ads discussing how safe and healthy it was b/c it adds keratin to your hair. Then I read a bit further into it and read about the negative aspects and knew right away it wasn't for me.

    Marketing can be really deceptive and the FDA really needs to crack down on it! This is not just concerning beauty products, but other domains of life as well. Don't even get me started on things like "organic Fig Newtons"– those things are drowned in high fructose sugar and disguised in an organic costume. Kids are being feed with chemicals and fake forms of sugars… and we wonder why there is an increasing amount of Attention Disorders and Autism… just sayin'.

    I'm afraid when it comes to companies making money, consumer's health is obviously not a priority.

  • Unknown says:


    I couldn't have said it better myself!!! FDA seem does pick and choose it's battles and today the Brazilian Blowout is the new battle. I wonder if BB's attempt at creating the Brazilan Blowout Zero has lower levels or is it the same as the original? Either way, folks will probably still use it but it's better to have the info out there so that they know all of the pros and cons… if they would like to know 🙂

  • Smply Swt says:

    @ Nikia……
    Girl, You are Truth-Telling All Day Long with that statement you made right there!!!
    FDA thinks everybody's ignorant to their deceptive ways – NOT!

  • Tracey says:

    this method of hair straighten was never an option for me.

  • Nikia says:

    oh NOW the FDA wants to get froggy. I don't see them taking a stand against GMO foods, mercury laden vaccines, or hormones in dairy products. I'd bet my whole paycheck that somebody at Brazilian Blowout owes them money. All they have to do is break them off a piece and they'll let them freely distribute that toxic mess. Pfff.

  • Anonymous says:

    I wonder what they'll discover about relaxers if they ever bother to look closely at them. Since black women are the main consumers of relaxers, unlike the Brazilian Blowout, I guess we'll never find out how harmful it is for our health.

  • Yirssi says:

    What bothers me about this is the lack of personal responsibility these manufacturers have. These manufacturers, like tobacco manufacturers, only care about the bottom line. They don't care about what their products do for us.

    That's another reason we need to be as educated as possible when we buy things. People like this won't look out for our health. That's why we have to make sure we know what we are buying.

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