Brazilian Blowout, the popular keratin hair treatment brand that claims to be formaldehyde-free, has been under fire lately with the Oregon division of OSHA claiming they tested the formula to contain 10% formaldehyde.  Here is the latest in official statements from Brazilian Blowout:

The Oregon division of OSHA’s (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) recent claims that samples of the Brazilian Blowout Professional Smoothing Solution contained between 4.85% and 10.6% Formaldehyde has been proven to be incorrect.

Doug Schoon, a leading scientist and expert who works with state, federal and international regulators to develop beauty industry related standards and regulations with regards to ingredient safety, consumer testing and cosmetics registrations/regulations, says that the test methods used by Oregon OSHA do not properly measure Formaldehyde in water based cosmetic products. The tests conducted by OSHA actually measured a completely different substance called “Methylene Glycol,” and incorrectly referred to this substance as “Formaldehyde.” Methylene Glycol is the key functioning ingredient used in most professional hair smoothing treatments currently on the market.

Schoon reports the following:

It is important to understand that Formaldehyde is not a cosmetic ingredient and never has been; it is a gas that cannot be added to cosmetics, and only exists in tiny trace amounts. Misunderstanding the nature of Formaldehyde has led to the incorrect belief that 37% Methylene Glycol is the same as 37% Formaldehyde, when in fact, 37% Methylene Glycol contains only trace amounts of Formaldehyde; less than 0.05% to be precise.

Flaws in the testing methods used by Oregon’s division of OSHA actually cause the creation of additional Formaldehyde that is not normally found in the product, which led to Oregon OSHA erroneously reporting levels of Formaldehyde that cannot possibly exist in the product, especially given that Formaldehyde is a gas. Once again, what OSHA is actually reporting, is the amount of Methylene Glycol in the product, not Formaldehyde.

The only method that accurately measures Formaldehyde in water based cosmetic products is called “13C-NMR,” and OSHA did not conduct this particular type of testing. Had OSHA performed this test, they would have discovered that only tiny traces of Formaldehyde are detectable in these products, usually well below 0.0045%.

When heated to very high temperatures, Methylene Glycol can release small amounts of Formaldehyde gas into the air. Research that I have performed on Methylene Glycol containing hair smoothing and straightening products has shown, however, that as long as these types of products are used properly, and in well-ventilated areas, both Cosmetologists and their client’s exposure to the Formaldehyde gas are well below the safe levels established by OSHA.

Many of you are voting that you believe Brazilian Blowout does contain formaldehyde based on information you hear in the news and online.  Does this statement change your mind?

Check the Brazilian Blowout website for all of their official statements.

Follow the testing done by Oregon OSHA on

UPDATE 10-6-10: OSHA responds to Brazilian Blowout: Oregon OSHA advises continued caution by salon workers

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TAMMY GIBSON, founder of A Mom in Red High Heels, is a God-loving, coffee-drinking, heel-wearing, wife and mom offering up her best tips to help women look and feel fabulous so they can achieve their biggest dreams.


  1. No. Schoon has been debunked on this site before. (See Tina’s comments in

    Schoon is a consultant for the beauty industry; clearly he is neither neutral or unbiased.

    Finally, look at the first thing Google turns up when I searched Methylene Glycol:

    Occam’s razor: which scenario seems more likely?

    A) Government agencies in 2 countries tested the product improperly
    B) A scientist-for-hire is releasing statements designed to minimize the impact of negative press for one of his clients.

  2. At this point, I’m going to have to take two government agencies in two different countries over one beauty industry scientist. As Rachel mentioned, his work in this area has been discussed before.

  3. Brazilian Blowout should of hired a PR company. I can’t believe the amateur nature of their press releases. So far they only statement they should of released should of been “we are working with the Oregon OSHA”

    Instead what they are doing is antagonizing OSHA look at the response from Oregon OSHA to the latest drivel from BB

    To de-PR this release. The head of Oregon OSHA is pissed and he/she has just told the team to “Bury” Brazilian Blowout.

    Brazilian Blowout is a “Dead man walking” at this point. All these press release’s can and will be used against them in court of law. This is why you shut your mouth and don’t say anything. If Brazilian Blowout had a lawyer or a PR company advising them they would know this.

    Of course it certainly is fun to watch the train wreck that is BB.

  4. The formaldehyde standard adopted by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration refers to both “formalin” and “methylene glycol” as synonyms for formaldehyde (specifically referencing formaldehyde in solution). This is in direct conflict with what Doug Schoon has claimed that, “It is important to understand that Formaldehyde is not a cosmetic ingredient and never has been; it is a gas that cannot be added to cosmetics…”

    When I spoke to a representative directly from Brazilian Blowout they claimed that their product contains no formaldehyde or any ingredients that turn into formaldehyde or any kind of aldehydes in general. This too is in direct conflict with Doug Schoons comments that, “When heated to very high temperatures, Methylene Glycol can release small amounts of Formaldehyde gas into the air.”

    Then there is this statement: When heated to very high temperatures, Methylene Glycol can release small amounts of Formaldehyde gas into the air. Research that I have performed on Methylene Glycol containing hair smoothing and straightening products has shown, however, that as long as these types of products are used properly, and in well-ventilated areas, both Cosmetologists and their client’s exposure to the Formaldehyde gas are well below the safe levels established by OSHA.” This also conflicts with Oregon OSHA statement of, “Oregon OSHA has done air monitoring during the hair smoothing treatment. Initial results indicate formaldehyde levels that could produce medical symptoms for exposed Oregon workers. The levels found were also higher than exposure limits recommended by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists. Such levels also would require disclosure on material safety data sheets accompanying the product.


    For the full news update from Oregon OSHA read this link:

  5. antony white

    not to mention that scientist when they look at his claim over formaldehyde
    they can`t believe that he is actually a chemist.
    One of them asked him directly in a mail if it ever opened a chemistry book.
    He is claiming thay formaldehyde is a gas and cannot be an ingredient.
    How dumb is this.
    Formalin or Methylen Glycol like he likes to call it it is water, methanol and surprise surprise
    I am not a chemist but even me I could understand this.
    So formaldehyde can indeed be an ingredient is just that they have to add it in a different form.
    I am actually glad that this guy came forward with his claim so once and for all scientists and chemist can all get toghether and call him what he is,an amazing IDIOT.

    FYI OSHA did not wait to came out and respond to Dough Shoon.

    Now I can`t wait for his response to this.

  6. Interesting that Salons in Manhattan are pulling this off the Menu. Their still offering Brazilian Keratin Treatments with Safety Precautions. However, I believe the lying and dancing coming from the Brazilian Blowout Company is the reason for the NY highend salon backlash.

    Quote from the Mark Garrison Salon:
    “My issue is not the formaldehyde. But if it’s there, don’t say it’s not there,” said Mark Garrison, owner of the upscale NYC salon of the same name, who stopped offering the Brazilian Blowout last week after discovering through his own tests that the treatment contained close to double the levels of formaldehyde that is considered safe. His salon still offers the Brazilian Keratin treatment

  7. I say it looks bad for Brazilian Blowout, but I still keep an open mind and I will wait until the dust clears and we see the final result of all that is going on. Let’s not forget that OSHA is a government agency and our government is well known to make mistakes and over react to problems. Not saying BB is good to go, but I for one would not be surprised if the whole thing got turned around and OSHA issues a retraction. Don’t assume that will not happen. I have seen our government agencies screw up more than a few things. As far as the class action lawsuit, that is obviously just the scum of the earth lawyers trying to make a quit dollar. I love when they say it will cost you noting to join the lawsuit! They just take half the money if they win something and each of the stylists, clients involved will get $3.00. Let’s not believe a bunch of scumbag lawyers and let’s not be 100% positive that OSHA is correct until the dust clears. I stopped using the product and so not recommend it to anyone…I do not defend Brazilian Blowout….I just say let’s wait this out and see who comes out on top.

  8. antony white

    Ok Amanda
    wait,wait wait.
    Just don`t do BB in the waiting period.
    You know it has formaldehyde and a lot in it.
    You know it.
    So you also think health Canda is making a mistake ,right?
    I got a news for you dear,when the dust settles BB will be dead.
    Better them then you and your clients.

  9. Patty Molina

    I don’t know why Brazilian Blowout took this part out of this press release from Doug Schoon. I think stylst should be aware of this. They had it up before but this got cut out because that’s where I got this from but you can also get it from Doug Schoon’s website.

    When heated to very high temperatures, Methylene Glycol can release small amounts of Formaldehyde gas into the air. Research that I have performed on Methylene Glycol containing hair smoothing and straightening products has shown, however, that as long as these types of products are used properly, and in well-ventilated areas, both Cosmetologists and their client’s exposure to the Formaldehyde gas are well below the safe levels established by OSHA.

  10. I did Tammy I got it sent to me from Jeff the ceo of the aerovexsystems and he directed me to Doug Schoon I am talking about what Brazilian Blowout the statement they have from Doug Schoon on there website. It’s so so funny how everyone regardless of Brazilian Blowout smoothing treatments and other companies alike with safe levels are willing to put there health at risk with prolong use of any of these products without proper ventilation. I don’t see why that is so wrong he actually cares about the stylist and trying to educate you on how to protect yourself. In the end everyone can choose what to believe and hope and pray your right with your health. Maybe some people just don’t care what they inhale in the salon. After 20 years having my license in cosmetology and worked actually for only 10 years in the salons I myself am very sensitive to chemicals and have developed allergies to any chemicals and have to be very care with anyone of these products. I did start doing the Brazilian Blowouts the beginning of the year and that’s all I was doing again and I did I admit overused the products but eventually learned to back off on it and still I am recovering from an allergic reaction to this slowly getting better since I haven’t done one for about 1 month so I am just being cautious. Blessings to you all who will get wisdom and discernment on deciding what is best for you!

  11. Lisa Johnson

    Interesting – I had the process done about a month ago for the second time; the first time was smooth sailing – not so lucky the second time. The first time I washed my hair after the process, all of a sudden, my eyes were burning so bad that I ripped my contacts out and starting rinsing them furiously, wondering what was happening. My whole face and lungs felt like they were on fire! I called the salon, thinking perhaps the stylist did not rinse the product out correctly. And this happened each time I washed my hair for about a month after the treatment. Having already lived through cancer once in my lifetime, I am furious that I have been exposed to such a toxic product – especially since Brazillian Blowout went to great length to convince us all it was so safe…. thought I would share this with everyone to get the word out – consumer beware!!

  12. I am happy to report that I have learned that 3 more very high end salons have taken the Brazilian blow out off their list of services. More to come…let’s watch! I urge everyone to talk to their stylist about the possible dangers of this product. Many I find have no idea what’s going on but when you tell them the findings or print out the statements from Oregon OSHA and health Canada they smart up and should atleast consider to pull the service till it’s cleared to be 100% safe or till it’s pulled from the shelves. I refuse to sit back and watch my fellow stylist drown in a sea of misconception only to sacrifice their health and safety for a miracle buck! It’s also satisfying to hear that there is finally a class action law suit coming that includes hundreds of people and will probably lead thousands of people who have experienced negative symptoms. I’m not praising ambulance chasers but I am glad that thus yet no one has died from the Brazilian blowout to get the lawsuit going. Usually it takes many deaths or irreversible diseases to promp a lawsuit like this. Now that’s called being proactive!

  13. Well Jaime, I’m happy to report that it’s obviously all BS. lol It’ was never called being “proactive”.. you’re confusing it with “paranoia”.

  14. You know what sean? I’ll tell you what isn’t “bs.” The fact that I had talked to dozens and dozens of stylists and clients in different salons that have had terrible side effects while this product was being used. Further more a good friend and co worker of mine who was pregnant spontaneously and unexplainably lost her baby while multiple Brazilian blow outs were being performed throughout the course of the work week. The fetus attached itself outside of her uterus and she almost died because of the complications. This may only be a coincidence but she reported to me that she had severly burning eyes and other symptoms that many have experienced while this product was used. So if I sound a bit paranoid well frankly its because I have reason to be concerned. I had a severe sore throat for weeks where I had difficulty breathing and even speaking, till I limited my exposure to the product then it went away. It felt like I drank acid while a marble was stuck in my esophagus. I don’t need a questionable scientist or a paid Independent science lab hired by the company in question to tell me that what me and many others are experiencing is all made up. At this point I don’t even care if it’s formaldehyde or not there is something in that product that is putting our Heath at risk, I’ve never in 13 years worked near or around a product that makes me as ill as the Brazilian blowout.

  15. Angry Canadian Stylist

    I had exactly the same feeling! A weird lump feeling in my throat and a sharp feeling in my esophagus every time I swallowed! It has gone away since our salon stopped doing them last week. I went to the doctor over a month ago and asked him about it and he was stumped and said it must be acid reflux…but it wasn’t. As for your friend…that is just awful and so very sad. You guys should join the class action suit….who cares if we only get 3 bucks…the point is to make them pay for our suffering.
    I am so tired of this ridiculous Brazilian Blowout nightmare! I just finally yesterday stopped having headaches. When are people going to realize how freakin bad these things are???How many more government agencies need to issue health warnings?? Health Canada is testing a bunch of other ‘Brazilian Keratin’ treatments now as well so we will know if any of them are even safe. Right now our salon has stopped all Keratin treatments until we do know. Especially since all of them claim to be “formaldehyde free”!!! I have experienced a few others and had the same symptoms as I did with the BB.
    I have been in the industry for 10 years and there has never been anything that has made me so ill as the Brazilian Blowout. I knew from the first time that I did one that there was something weird and very wrong about them.

    This was on Brazilian Blowout’s website NOT Osha’s!!
    I have now been in contact with the FDA for 2 days now. They are definitely in the middle of a very thorough investigation and are urging people who have gotten sick from Brazilian Blowout to contact them. They have already been in contact with 2 of the girls who have gotten sick from my salon and are now waiting to hear from the other 2 girls on Monday.
    @ Jaime, @ Lisa Johnson, @ Angry Canadian Stylist: I have been in this industry for 17yrs. now and there has NEVER been ANYTHING that has made me this sick…EVER!!! I still am having problems with my health and it’s going on 4 weeks now since I got this done. I strongly urge you to please get in contact with the FDA & tell them your story, you will be very surprised at how helpful they are to you. Click on :
    to find the nearest FDA and call that number. I just left a message and they called me back within 2 hours. PLEASE let everyone else that you know who got sick to do the same thing so we can get this stuff off the market before somebody actually dies from this stuff!!
    I had a client on my books to get this done & I canceled her immediately after I got sick from this because I knew there was something wrong. She came in last week for a haircut and told me she had just got out of the hospital because she was having problems with her lungs…can you imagine if I would have done this on her? I could have killed her!!
    It doesn’t matter if you are a hairstylist, a client, or just happen to be in the salon…if you got sick call them!!

  17. Angry Canadian Stylist

    I agree with Jen. The latest press release says that Brazilian Blowout has independently tested their products again and found that they were within OSHA’s acceptable range of exposure. NOT that OSHA has said they are safe! They never said that!!!! No government agency is going to release test results that haven’t been confirmed and rechecked!!!