The Burn of the Beautiful Blowout
The hair care and cosmetics market is flush with products that cause rashes, burning, bleeding—and perhaps far more serious health effects. So why won’t women stop using them?
One Monday afternoon in the fall of 2010, Jennifer Arce went to her sister Gina Griffin’s house near San Diego to try out a popular professional hair smoother called Brazilian Blowout Açai Professional Smoothing Solution. Most hair smoothers, treatments that get rid of frizz and leave hair smooth and silky, contain formaldehyde, which is noxious when inhaled. Brazilian Blowout was labeled formaldehyde-free.
Arce, who was 36 at the time, had just been certified by GIB, LLC, the company that produces Brazilian Blowout, to administer the treatment. Certification ensures that the stylist knows how the chemicals will react with hair. A hair stylist for almost 20 years, Arce had her first Brazilian Blowout client booked for the following Thursday, but wanted to try it on herself first.
Arce, who grew up in southern California and has blue eyes and blond, curly hair with brown streaks, knew she wanted to be a hair stylist since she was a child.
“I used to play with my Barbi…
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