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Brazilian Keratin Treatment

Tags: hair
QOD Max Brazilian Keratin Reconstructor.

I first heard about the 'Brazilian Blowdry' whilst leafing through my glossies whilst back in the UK. The cost at the time was horrendous so I didn't even think about it.

After moving to the humidity of Kawazulu Natal in South Africa however, my once well trained locks started behaving extremely badly. During the summer over here, you cant help but sweat, and with long, thick Hair like mine it's not going to be pretty. Chuck in the humidity and my kinky hair was frizzy, fluffy and definitely not giving me any respect any more!

I heard that a local salon had started doing the Brazilian and checked it out. R1600 (around 160 pounds/400 dollars) and the price still wasn't doing it for me.

Before I tell you my new hair secret, let me explain about this miracle product to all you Brazilian virgins. In a nutshell, it's like a semi permanent straightening/smoothing treament. I'm reluctant to descibe it as a straightener, because on a curly girly, you're still going to be left with waves. On my slightly kinky hair, yes, it's dead straight, but it all depends on the curl you have in the first place. What it does do is give you shiny, manageable hair that is 100% easier to style. Thats everyone, regardless of curl! The product itself is a lotion that puts keratin (What our hair and nails are made from) back into the hair and laminates it.

Basically, the hair is washed with a clarifying shampoo to get rid of any residue or buildup. No conditioner.Then it's dried til about 20% moisture is left in the hair. The product is applied to the hair, leaving 1-2cm at the roots and left for 15 mins. Then it's blowdried, and then a hot iron is used all over, going over each section 4-5 times. The hot iron must be one of the really hot ones, like GHD's which reach 200 degrees celsius.

Now tell me, does that sound like something you couldn't do yourself? No, which is exactly what I did. There was NO WAY i was going to pay a hairdresser that amount of money for something that easy! So, I bought an applications worth from Ebay and off I went! The results were awesome. No frizz, shiny hair, no split ends. What more could a girl want? I literally wash my hair, rough dry it or leave it to air dry and I'm done. No heat damage from repeated hot ironing or blow drying so your hair is in better condition for longer. Another bonus, is that because the hair isn't damaged or porous, it doesn't absorb as much water and takes less time to dry.

The downside? It only last 3-4 months. I did mine 2 months ago and it still looks fabulous, but you have to use a special sulphate free shampoo. Getting hold of it is a pain in the bum but I'll tell you how to do that, and there's the formaldehyde factor which I'll also explain.
Ooh, and you have to leave it for three days before you wash it, tie it up or clip it with anything! Can get a bit greasy and smelly, but it's definitely worth it!


In most shampoos, even your expensive ones like Kerastase or Redken, you will find sulphates. On the label they'll appear as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate. These aint good. They use these products in carpet cleaner - they do the job, but they will strip colour from your hair and in this case, your lovely Brazilian treatment. You need Sulphate free shampoo. You dont have to, but it will make your Brazilian last much longer.

Your hairdresser (if you do go the con artist route) will try and sell you some ridiculously priced concoction to do the job. Dont buy it. There are some perfectly good sulfate free shampoos on the market. In South Africa, I've found CHI Ionic Colour Protect Shampoo (blue bottle, Dischem) They do this in the States and UK too. In the States there are lots of sulphate free brands to choose from. Dont worry about conditioner (your hairdresser will try and stuff you for this too) as it's during the shampooing process that the naughty sulphates strip colour and treatment molecules out of your hair. Look on Makeup Alley for reviews of sulphate free shampoos



There have been lots of scare stories about this stuff, which is found in Brazilian treatments in small amounts. Its necessary to make the product work, but some brands have more than others. During the blow drying and hot ironing process, a lot of steam comes off your hair and you breathe it in, that's the bit everyones making the fuss about as it's believed to be carcinogenic. In Brazil, (and I believe in the US too) they have a law that says all the keratin treatment products must have levels of formaldehyde below 0.02% The product I use, QOD max, has less than that and the company is legally allowed to advertise their product as formaldehyde free, but they choose to declare it and educate the consumer about the substance.

Personally, I believe that if you are a hairdresser and are using a product that does not have the recommended levels of formaldehyde, then you may well be concerned. Me, I'll use it maybe 3 times a year and I'm using a negligible amount so I'm not bothered. I do use latex gloves when applying it and I do the blowdry/hot iron thing outside cos it is a bit fumey.

Where to get it

My first application , about 10 oz, was bought on Ebay, but it's getting more popular and the sellers are hoicking their prices up. I looked online and found a company in Brazil that will Fedex it to you. A litre (you'll get around 10- 15 applications which will last you years!) cost me $160 including shipping. This is less than one treatment would have cost me at the salon! You see why I'm touting the DIY route?!

Any questions? email me!

This post first appeared on Stuff I Like, please read the originial post: here

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Brazilian Keratin Treatment


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