The Truth: Can I Have a Keratin Treatment While Pregnant?

Keratin hair treatments can smooth and straighten unruly locks, and have exploded in popularity in the past 6 months. Women are quick to want new beauty items, and salons are quick to want business, but as with anything new, there are precautions to take. You want to research both the treatment and the stylist you are considering before taking the plunge. Stay tuned for an upcoming post with details on how to do so!

While there are many questions women have about keratin treatments, one very important question has popped up a few times and there seem to be conflicting answers. That question? “Can I Have a Keratin Treatment While Pregnant (or nursing)?” Manufacturers say no. Salons are split; some will, some won’t. And it’s so new that many OB’s may not yet know what they are or how they work.

The manufacturers’ answer is decidedly no, because it is new and no one has done any tests on how it might affect a baby. But how many women ever contact the manufacturer of the hair color or other products their stylist uses? Why would you? You trust your stylist…right? Not to knock hair stylists; we are talented artists and outgoing professionals, but we aren’t chemists and we certainly aren’t Doctors (even if we sometimes substitute for therapists!). We are eager to see what’s new in beauty and offer it to our clients to make them feel as good as possible. But many salons are advertising these treatments as “all-natural” or “chemical-free,” which is simply not true. They do not chemically change the hair, but as I always say…if they were made of rainbow and butterflies, they wouldn’t last 3-6 months! American Culture, who manufactures Simply Smooth Keratin Treatment, was kind enough to send an ingredient list:

Simply Smooth ingredients:
WATER, HYDROLYZED KERATIN, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, VANILLIN (which comes from vanilla, but is still an aldehyde, is 3-methoxy-4-hydrobenzaldehyde- so much for all-natural!), CETRIMONIUN CHLORIDE, HYDROLYZED COLLAGEN, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, CETEARETH-20, AMODIMETHICONE, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, DIMETHICONE, IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA, FRAGRANCE , YELLOW 5 (CI 19140), ORANGE 5 (CI 15510)

Again, I’m not a chemist, but I’m pretty sure there’s more than apples and honey in there. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad! Keratin treatments have done miracles for the frizzy gals of the world, and are perfectly safe when applied and processed properly in an appropriate environment. However, there are many things women enjoy in moderation or use regularly, but have to hold back from while pregnant. If you’re a reader of A MOM in Red High Heels, there’s a good chance you’ve spent several months of your life avoiding alcohol, OTC medications, soft cheeses, soft boiled or over-easy eggs, sushi and certain kinds of fish, cycling or horseback riding, and after that brilliant maternity massage you pouted and passed up the jacuzzi/sauna. All in the name of love and protecting your baby. And I bet it was worth it.

See what some of the most popular keratin treatment companies have to say about receiving the treatment while pregnant or nursing:

From the Brazilian Blowout FAQ page [http://www.brazilianblowout.com/FAQs]

Q. Can I receive a Brazilian Blowout if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

A. There have been no clinical tests performed on the safety of performing the Brazilian Blowout on pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding. As a result, we do advise against pregnant or breastfeeding women receiving the Brazilian Blowout treatment.

Lisa Loria from Keratin Complex says, “Keratin Complex is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women. We have not done the research or development, therefore we do not put our stamp of approval.”

Doreen Guarneri from American Culture/Simply Smooth replied, “Although no tests have been executed regarding women that are pregnant or breastfeeding, we do not advise using Simply Smooth Brazilian Keratin treatments on them. We must hold that disclaimer until otherwise advised.”

Customer Service at Marcia Teixeira’s Brazilian Keratin says, “The choice to use our product, or any other chemical treatment during pregnancy and/or nursing is a personal one. When in doubt, we recommend that you seek the advice of your physician.” and provided an
MSDS to show the Doctor

And Yariv Ozulay from Global Keratin gets the prize for the least PC/PR and most candid statement: “The answer is very simple. Babies are precious. If there is any doubt, then the answer is “no”.  That’s my answer to that question every time.”

Not much room for interpretation there. So why do some salons offer keratin treatments to women who are pregnant or nursing? Beats me. Maybe they just don’t know any better? Maybe the manufacturers need to be clearer about that subject in the training? The “training” from some companies is just watching a video presentation. In my salon, we have a keratin treatment information sheet which we go over with the client before starting the service, and that is one of the three main points on it (it also includes a chemical history section so we know your hair’s condition beyond how it looks, and a section describing which product is being used). From my own FAQ page [http://bit.ly/cQlGKC]:

“Are keratin treatments safe while pregnant or nursing?
Testing has not been done on this, so the manufacturers suggest waiting until you are done nursing before having the treatment done. Jordana Lorraine takes this advice and your baby’s health seriously, and does not perform the service on women who are pregnant or nursing.”

If you are considering a keratin treatment while pregnant, don’t just take the stylist’s word that it’s safe. Ask for the ingredients and/or brand name and manufacturer, contact them, and run it by your OB. Remember, your OB isn’t a hairdresser either! So it is important to explain how it will be used; tell your Doc the formula will be applied to your hair, blowdried in, then ironed at as much as 450 degrees. During this last step, there will inevitably be chemical fumes. In most cases (all but Brazilian Blowout brand), it is then left in the hair for 48-96 hours.

Of course you want to look your best, even if you don’t feel your best. But please do take this seriously…hopefully they will be able to do some testing (though I’m not sure who would volunteer for that?) and will determine it is safe while pregnant. But in the meantime, if your stylist offers you a “chemical-free” way to straighten your hair…it should be a simple flat iron.

Contributed by:
Beauty Task Force member and Keratin Treatment expert, Jordana Lorraine
Find Jordana at Lorraine Colour Bar in Santa Monica, CA.
www.jordanalorraine.com
contact: 310-922-2645

From the Editor:
This article was put together in response to a question we received from a reader asking about the safety of keratin treatments on pregnant women. Despite Jordana’s warnings against it, the reader decided to go ahead and get a Simply Smooth Keratin Treatment since her salon said it was “safe and chemical-free”. As you can see by the ingredient list above, the Simply Smooth Keratin Treatment is definitely NOT chemical-free. We believe she was misled by her stylist who was perhaps under-educated about the facts herself. It is not our goal to cause fear in you or this reader, but please consider this research put together by Jordana and avoid getting a keratin treatment on your hair while you are pregnant or nursing. The gorgeous hair you’ll enjoy from the treatment is simply not worth risking the health of your baby!

Instead, hold off until baby has arrived or you are done nursing!  Consider it a great gift to yourself for having birthed a beautiful baby and if you nurse, having given your baby a healthy start to life!

For alternative hairstyles to help get you through pregnancy and nursing, consider the style options listed in this post: Are Keratin Hair Treatments Safe for Pregnant Women?

Exciting Update!!  Some of the more newly-developed keratin and smoothing treatments, which are made up of different ingredients, actually ARE safe while pregnant or nursing!  See this post to learn more about the new generation of treatments: http://amominredhighheels.com/comprehensive-guide-formaldehydefree-brazilian-blowout-keratin-treatment-alternatives/

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Comments

  1. As much as I love, love, love my straight and shiny hair, I have to agree with this article. When I was pregnant, I didn’t even paint my nails! Is that why my son is already a gifted little genius? Who knows. But I can’t imagine the guilt I would feel if I hadn’t been extra careful when he was counting on me for 100% of his life support (and then nutrition), and he was born with problems. Besides, when pregnancy and nursing was behind me, it felt so amazing to treat myself to a Brazilian Blowout and know that I totally deserved all that pampering and snazzy shine!

  2. @Fashion Mom in LA

    Congrats on your gifted little genius! I know what you mean…it’s best to take every possible precaution in such a delicate situation.

    BTW I am in Santa Monica should you need any hair help in the future, Brazilian Blowout or otherwise :)

    http://www.jordanalorraine.com

  3. Minerva Graham says:

    Good read on pregnancy care, esp. for me- I’m in my third term. You would like to read another good article for Young mothers at mySKin.com’s blog.

  4. Sue says:

    Great article. I planned on to stop nursing this month after a year and a half. But I plann to get pregnant in the next few months. Do you think it’s ok to get this done before I get pregnant and after I stop nursing? No one addresses this question. Thanks so much.

  5. @Sue Excellent question! I would think it would be fine, so long as you got a treatment that is aldehyde-free such as the Brazilian Blowout:
    http://amominredhighheels.com/big-news-brazilian-blowout-hydefree/

    I suggest this because there is some speculation as to the formaldehyde formulas affecting you as they are bonded onto your hair and can rub on your skin/pillowcase, etc. for several months.

    Regardless, I would still check with the manufacturer and your OB. Brazilian Blowout’s number is 877-779-7706.

    Best of luck!

  6. andriana says:

    I have a question that has not been addressed. I am a hair stylist and my salon just started doing the Keratin Treatment by Coppola. I am pregnant, and in my first trimester and I was wondering what the manufacturer says about performing this service while pregnant!?

  7. @Andriana As displayed in the article, I think better is safe than sorry when it comes to a precious baby. if you are performing the service, you are actually standing above it and breathing in the fumes even more than the client is. And if someone else in your salon is doing it, it is most definitely in the air.

    In my salon, we have addressed this by creating a separate area for keratin treatments to protect pregnant staff and clients. If your salon is unable to do this, I recommend you have a serious talk with the owners and insist you are as far away from the treatments as possible.

    It surprises me that salons don’t seem more concerned about this; a pregnant woman could be in for another service at any time, and be sitting right next to these potentially dangerous fumes.

    I recommend you contact Coppola at 888-409-4445 and then speak with your salon owner. Best of luck!

  8. Natalia rey says:

    Thank you so much… I was considering the “chemical free” version of the keratin treatment but your article and research changed mi mind. There are a lot of other ways to keep your hair frizz free instead of even having the possibility oh harming my baby. You don’t realize often the people that are willing to perform this treatments have absolutely no knowledge of how much our bodies absorb and transfers to our baby. So thanks again for opening my eyes and hopefully other mothers as well

  9. @Natalia Smart choice! And, Congratulations on your baby!

    None of these companies actually say their product is chemical-free, it’s the stylists who are understating the contents in order to sell the service. I agree that it is unfortunate there is so much confusion and misinformation. Good on you for doing research and protecting your baby!

    Once you’re finished nursing..go ahead and indulge in a keratin treatment, but in the meantime, I have heard great things about the Living Proof No Frizz line of shampoo, conditioner and styling products: http://livingproof.com/product/nofrizz/

  10. amy says:

    hi i would like to thank you for opening this topic, actually i m gonna do keratin treatment tomorrow ( qod) and i m thinking to get pregnant soon. and you said it is suppose to be formaldehyde free, i m not sure is qod would be suitable in my case or no? i m afraid that it can have a continous effect that might affect the baby if i got pregnant directly after keratine treatment

  11. @Amy Good question! I would recommend you contact QOD and tell them the exact situation/concern. Ask about not just formaldehyde, but all aldehydes, to be as safe as possible. I wish I had the answer, but the company itself is the best resource! Maybe post their answer, if you have time, so we all can learn too. Thanks!

  12. kristina says:

    I wonder, if it is not considered a good idea for pregnant women, how sure are they it is fine for adults? I would love to do this myself, but worried about health risks they don’t know about!

  13. @kristina You have a valid concern, but do consider (as mentioned in post) that there are many things we do that are harmless to us as healthy adults, but we must refrain from while pregnant: alcohol, OTC medications, soft cheeses, soft boiled or over-easy eggs, sushi and certain kinds of fish, cycling or horseback riding, jacuzzi and sauna…

    Obviously if you are ultra-concerned, the easy answer is just not to do it, but it might be worth contacting the company whose treatment you are considering, to ask about these concerns. Good luck!

  14. Nikki says:

    Hi, I’m a nursing mom and had a Brazilian Blowout yesterday. The stylist told me it contained no dangerous chemicals. Blame it on stupidity or sleep deprivation but I agreed to the treatment and now feel so horribly guilty I can barely breathe. I called our pediatrician as soon as I read this article. He said basically, don’t do it again and pump and dump for a couple days if it makes me feel better. I’m terrified of nursing my daughter now for fear of filling her with toxic chemicals. What should info???

  15. @Nikki I am sorry to hear of your situation! Please do not stress out to an extreme, that is not going to help you or your daughter. I don’t mean to sound dismissive or say “what’s done is done,” but it was a 90 minute experience and it is over. Many women have alcohol, sushi, etc. in their first trimester before they realize they are pregnant, but beating themselves up over it cannot change it. The best thing you can do is be careful once you know. Your Doc’s advice makes sense, and it doesn’t sound like he was overly concerned, so that’s good! I would think your body would metabolize anything you breathed in, within a few days(?) You could ask your Doc to call Brazilian Blowout to discuss it with them.

    Did your stylist ask if you were nursing? Or did s/he know, from your conversation? It sounds like you may have discussed it, and if they knew but didn’t mention that it isn’t recommended, you may consider reporting that to the salon manager and/or BB.

    In all seriousness, this seems to be listed as a precaution, not a warning based on known problems: “There have been no clinical tests performed on the safety of performing the Brazilian Blowout on pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding. As a result, we do advise against pregnant or breastfeeding women receiving the Brazilian Blowout treatment.”

    Because I am a manufacturers’ instructions kind of gal, I don’t do it, but I have heard of other people who do. Nicole Richie had it done while pregnant, and I think again while nursing (not that I’m suggesting she’s a health or motherhood guru.) Most salons offer this service on the main floor, where a staff member or another client may be pregnant and have incidental exposure. I personally use a special air filtration system to avoid affecting others, but this my extra level of service, is not a requirement.

    My point is, I definitely wouldn’t suggest doing it again until you’re done nursing, but I wouldn’t pull your hair out over it either (pardon the pun.) I wish you all the best, and hope you are able to enjoy the results and perhaps have the treatment again in the future.

  16. Nikki says:

    Hi Jordana,

    Thank you so much for your post. It and some calming advice from a friend who is a NICU nurse (she basically said living in Los Angeles has already exposed my daughter to so many toxins, I needn’t stress about something that was on my head for an hour and a half) has gone a long way toward restoring my peace of mind.

    Yes, I did tell my stylist I was nursing. I made a point of it because I needed to get home in less than three hours to do just that! I don’t want to get her in trouble, she’s a very sweet girl but I will definitely let her know what I learned on your site so she can better serve her other pregnant and nursing clients.

    Perhaps when my Brazilian starts fading I could come see you to see what I can do to safely maintain a frizz-free look? I really appreciate the extra care you offer your mama clients!!!

    Thank you again!

  17. @Nikki I am glad you’re feeling a bit better about it! That is a good (or bad) point about Los Angeles! I would be happy to work with you at any time, to help manage your hair with or without Brazilian Blowout :) Hope to meet you soon! (clicking on my name above will take you to my website with all contact info.) Have a great day!

  18. lele says:

    hi
    its a nice discussio
    i’ve just had the brazilian blowout
    and i like it soo much
    but if i am planning to get pregnant
    what can i do to my hair during pregnancy
    i mean ( can i prolong the brazilian blowout effect)

  19. @lele Good question! You can continue to use the Brazilian Blowout Acai product line to prolong your results and keep frizz at bay during your pregnancy and nursing. Many clients who have never had the treatment, still enjoy the Acai Shampoo, Conditioner, Masque and styling products as great de-frizzers!

  20. Lindsey says:

    Thank you so much for this article!!!!! My hairdresser definitely knows I am pregnant and did not hesitate to offer me a keratin treatment. I made an appointment for one in December and just trusted her advice. I went home and searched the internet about it and came across your article. I immediately cancelled my appointment!! My hairdresser is great, and I think she just honestly didn’t know. Thank you again for the time you put into this article!

  21. @Lindsey I am also glad you found this post! It’s good that you canceled your appointment, but you may also consider sharing this information with your stylist. Like you say, she may just not have known, and it would be better if she did. For example, what if she decides to have a baby?! You wouldn’t want her doing the treatments all the time and exposing her baby to potential harm.

    Congratulations on your baby and your good Internet research!

  22. Amanda says:

    Hi – I recd the Brazillian Blowout in Aug 2010 – and now in Dec 2010 I found out I am preg (about 6 weeks) Do you think all is okay???
    I will def not be receiving the treatment again until after my baby is born!

  23. @Amanda it is my understanding that the risk is what you breath in during the process, so even if it’s still in your hair that would not be a problem. Feel free to call Brazilian Blowout to ask for sure, their number is 877-779-7706.

    And Congratulations!!

  24. Amanda says:

    Thank you soooo much Jordana for getting back to me! :)

  25. You’re welcome, congratulations, and Happy Holidays!

  26. Dee says:

    Hi Jordana,

    I do several Coppola Keratin treatments a week in my salon.
    I was pregnant and recently had a miscarriage at 11 weeks. I’m concerned that doing these treatments was the cause of it.
    I’m sure there is greater risks for the stylist than the client as we are breathing right over our clients heads and sometimes i do 2 or 3 keratin treatments in a day, although we keep salon ventelated and i wear a mask when I preform the service.
    I hope to get pregnant again. What are your thoughts? Thank you.
    _Dee

  27. mary says:

    I currently a hairdresser and im about 8 weeks pregnant im concerned about doing keratin treatments on clints ? should i or should i not be doing them ?

  28. @Mary Congratulations! The best thing to do would be to call the company whose product you’re using and ask. (Not the sales rep, but the actual manufacturer.)

    If you decide not to do it, you could also ask for station arrangements that keep you away from the immediate area where they are done.

    Please report back on which product you use and what they say–it’s good for us all to learn!

  29. Paula says:

    Hi! Thank you for posting such a useful article. I just found out I’m five week pregnant… I had no idea that I could be pregnant two weeks ago, and that’s when I had a keratin treatment. Now that I’ve read this I’m terribly worried that I might have harmed my baby in some way. What do you think?

    I would never have done it if I knew I was pregnant. I’m thinking that since I was about 2 or 3 weeks preggers when I did it, it couldn’t have meant any harm. But I’m still worried. I would really appreciate your insight. Thank you so much!

  30. @Paula Congratulations on your pregnancy! Please do not over stress aboout this. Partly because its already done! You might have had a drink last week, or sushi on Valentine’s Day, without knowing you were pregnant. The important thing is to take thr best care possible, now that you know. My understanding is that the concern is during the process itself, so don’t shave your head or anything drastic like that! You could call the company whose treatment you had, to ask if they have any advice, but my guess would be they would just recommend not having it again until you are done nursing.

    I am always researching and testing products, but so far those which state they are safe during pregnancy have had such mild effects that I haven’t found them worth doing. I do hope to try one new product that states this, and you can count on me–if it works, I’ll be here blogging about it!

    Congratulations again, and be well!

  31. Paula says:

    Thank you SOOOO much for answering! I can’t help but feel a little worried, I really wish I hadn’t had the treatment. It upsets me because I’d NEVER had any hair treatment and I can’t believe I chose my first weeks of pregnancy to have one! =( Do you think the baby could have some kind of a problem because of this? I don’t want to over stress about this, but I can’t help it!
    Thanks again!

  32. You’re welcome, Paula. If you read what each company says carefully (and/or contact the company whose treatment you had) you will notice that they don’t say “having the treatment while pregnant or nursing could cause…blank, blank or blank.” They say that no testing has been done and so they don’t recommend it. So now that you know, don’t do it again. But what’s done is done, and while I understand it is disconcerting, it cannot be changed. You had no way of knowing, so don’t beat yourself up over it! Focus on taking care of yourself and your baby, now that you do know. Congratulations again!

  33. Paula says:

    Thank you so much for your anwer!

  34. estelle says:

    i am 4 months pregnant and decided to do the keraten treatment. the stylist told me it’s not advisable, but then again, it’s probably not advisable for her to work with it either – even not pregnant.

    i have lived in a big city my whole life, near a steel plant, a nuclear plant, eat regular food most of the time and eat cheeses, eggs and charcouterie in pregnancy. i don’t smoke, have an occasional half-glass of wine and this is my second pregnancy. my first child is off the charts in terms of height and strength, smart and doesn’t get as sick as often as many of her peers.

    to wait nearly two years to have the treatment was simply too long, especially with the crappy winter weather. i can’t afford a vacation, don’t want to go on anti-depressants (which many pregnant or nursing women do), and since my untamed and frizzy hair definitely affects my mood for the worse, i felt that this and yoga are two reasonable ways to lift my spirits up.

    as far as health to the baby, i try to do what’s best, but in this case, personally, the pros outweigh the cons. i love my hair now and am not regretting having done it.

    in terms of scary things we do to ourselves in our modern-age society, there is also a news item going around about how folic acid increases the chances of breast cancer in women later in life. so as i take my daily dose of folic acid to help fight spina bifida in my unborn child, and brush my silky smooth hair, i say, everything in life is a risk, so you have to make a decision for yourself.

  35. @Estelle While I respect your choice to make your own decisions about yourself and your unborn child, I do feel compelled to jump in and remind readers that this article is about the fact that EVERY keratin treatment company we interviewed advised AGAINST having the treatment while pregnant or nursing.

    I personally, as a stylist, would never do it based on that alone. Stylists who may be reading, should be aware that if you depart from manufacturer’s instructions on any product, your insurance does NOT cover you, so if you are going to do something like this you’d better be ore pared to take the emotional and financial risk upon your own shoulders.

  36. Tania says:

    I had a keratin treatment in late January not knowing that I was one to two weeks pregnant at the time. I miscarried at 5 weeks, which I know is not neccessarily related to the treatment. We decided to wait a few months before trying again and I calculatied my ovulation dates so we could avoid having intercourse during my most fertile week. Despite our precautions I fell pregnant almost immediately.. I miscarried on the 8th feb became pregnant again on about the 14th feb. Having read all the posts I’m now extremely apprehensive that the treatment I had in late Jan will be detrimental to the baby I’m carrying now. Even though I know there is nothing I can do now. If I had known the risks associated with formaldahyde keratin treatments I never would have had it. It makes me wonder how safe in general these treaments are let alone for pregnant women.. I’m sharing my story in the hope I might be able to spare someone else the stress and guilt I’m feeling now..

  37. Tee says:

    I had the treatment 4 months before I got pregnant. I was not aware of the concerns, so I’ve been using the after treatment shampoo and conditioner. Is that problematic too? Or is it just the treatment itself?

  38. @Tee Great question, and congratulations! You are not at risk based on the timeline presented. None of the shampoos and conditioners have been called into question, so continue with those until you are finished nursing. Some brands also have treatment masques, leave-ins and styling products which can help as well. Cheers!

  39. Tee says:

    What a relief! Thank you so much :)

  40. Resh says:

    I am nursing my 11 month old son twice daily (morning and night), and am considering a QOD Keratin Treatment. My stylist is unsure if I should take the treatment or not, considering my long intervals in nursing. Please help!

  41. Lee says:

    Does anyone have any thoughts on possibly getting a keratin treatment done while nursing, but pumping and dumping for a couple of days? Supposedly the issue is inhaling the chemicals during the treatment – so why not dump a couple of days supply (I personally have plenty of frozen stock :) ).

    Wouldn’t that address the issue for nursing mothers or am I missing something?

    Any thoughts?

  42. @Resh and Lee With all due respect, this is an issue to discuss with your Doctor and/or the manufacturer of the treatments you are considering. I have statements in this post from the top keratin treatment companies, and they all say the same thing: Just don’t do it. If the manufacturer, who stands to gain from each service, and a stylist (me), who also stands to gain from each service, both say not to, that should tell you something. If you think you have found a creative way around that advice, discuss it with your Doctor. Make sure you tell them the ingredients and the process (that it will be heated up to 450 degrees,)

    I am working on a new post about the 2nd generation of treatments, which are gentler both chemically and in result, but at least one of which is approved for use while pregnant or nursing. I will post a link to it here when it is done.

  43. Xandra says:

    I too was planning on getting a Keratin treatment but I am no longer
    going too due to this article. I’m nursing a 4 month old baby. I have long extra thick
    course hair and my 12 year old daughters friend gave me lice. The first time I got lice nothing would kill it I mean nothing. I even went to a lice removal salon. I did a keratin treatment and they all died. I suffered for a year until I did the treatment. They would even go near my head after Keratin. Well I have lice again thanks to my daughters friend and I’m nursing so no Keratin till I wean:(

  44. Nicole says:

    I had a Brazillian Blowout in Sept 2010, loved it. (I was not preg or nursing). I was told by the stylist that my burning eyes and scalp during the heating process were rare, and she had not heard that complaint before. Then heard the news around ?Nov 2010? where testing had indicated obscene amounts of ferhmeldahyde were contained in the product. The company had mislead salons and consumers alike by labeling the product free of ferhmeldahyde. My upscale salon discontinued the product “for the safety of the stylists and customers”. I’m glad they did.
    Then, I discussed alternatives with the salon manager. In March 2011 I had a Keratin treatment based on the advice of that manager, that the Brazillian blowout was a very different chemical process. I loved the Keratin treatment. (I was not preg or nursing).
    I am now 10 weeks pregnant, and had hoped to get another after completing my first trimester. I won’t after reading all of this.
    So what is the diff between Brazillian blowout and Keratin treatment? Should i not have trusted that salon mgr about chemicals in Keratin? Has anything changed since this orig article was published in March 2010?
    Also, I would love to suggest Morrocan Oil shampoo, conditioner and oil for frizzy hair.

  45. @Nicole I’m sorry about your confusion and I agree that Moroccan Oil is a great line! It’s unfortunate that salons don’t do more to educate clients; asking the difference between Brazilian Blowout and a keratin treatment is like asking the difference between Coke and soda. One is a brand name product, and one is a broad category that includes that brand, but each is different (Sprite, Root Beer, etc.) Perhaps the most frustrating part of that is that so many salons never tell the client what they are having done, and many even misuse the brand name when it is not what they are using. I am guessing by your phrasing, that you were not told which keratin treatment you were having done? The reason I don’t like this, is that it doesn’t allow the client to research it, contact the manufacturer with questions, etc. which I believe you should have the right to do.

    There is a new generation of treatments, which contain no formaldehyde or formaldehyde-producers, and some of those do state that they are safe while pregnant or nursing. But–they are not always as effective as the original line of treatments. My advice would be to start by asking your salon about which treatments they have, if any of them are safe during pregnancy or nursing, and if they say yes, confirm that with the company (most have contact information on their website.) I am working on a new article about these new treatments, which will include some information you will find helpful. I will definitely post it here when it’s up, and if your salon doesn’t have something for you, maybe they would be willing to get a new system to be able to offer it to women during pregnancy and nursing.

    Oh, and…Congratulations!!

  46. UPDATE: A slew of new treatments have been released since this original post was published. They are gentler formulas, which in most cases provide gentler results, but many of them CAN be used while pregnant or nursing! So if you’re hooked on keratin, you may need to change products during this time, but you no longer have to go without!! Read about these new products, and see photos, here:

    http://amominredhighheels.com/comprehensive-guide-formaldehydefree-brazilian-blowout-keratin-treatment-alternatives/

  47. Desiree Green says:

    I am a hairdresser who started giving Coppola Keratin treatments about 2 years ago. They are so beautiful and kind of life changing for some clients.
    I have noticed that when I do a keratin my mouth may feel a little numb and honestly i feel a little less smart by the end of the process. If I go outside and get some air during the process that helps a lot. The mind numbing effects wear off by the following day. I also noticed when I was doing more than one a week my immune system may have suffered a little. So I decided to stop building that clientele, but still do it when requested. I love it, and it’s not the first time I’ve suffered a little for beauty.
    I would not ever do it on a pregnant woman, and if I were pregnant I would not take it lightly if someone in my salon did a keratin when I was there.
    I did get an interesting phone call from a woman looking for a salon that had never ever done any keratin treatments. She had experienced an intense reaction when she had gotten one, and was actually hospitalized for a week! I think she had a one in a million case of being sensitive to that chemical (it was Brazilian blowout which does have more formaldehyde than Coppola). If you have some chemical sensitivities you might do a 24 hour strand test before getting it done the first time.

  48. @Desiree What you are experiencing (numbness, light-headedness) is called “sensory irritation.” It is the body’s way of telling you that something is wrong in your environment, in this case that you are being exposed to a chemical. This means that in order to work safely with this chemical, your environment needs to change; mainly, more ventilation. The trouble is, most salons are not equipped for the amounts of chemicals we use–but there are options! I have been using the Chemical Source Capture System and Salon Air Purifier from Aerovex Systems for about 2 1/2 years, during which time I have done hundreds of treatments (many brands.) You can see my setup at http://www.SaferBrazilian.com, and learn more about the system here: http://www.aerovexsystems.com/chemical-source-capture-system-for-hair-salons.html

    These units are highly effective at removing fumes as they are created, protecting the clients and well as the staff. New clients who have previously had treatments in other salons always comment about the difference it makes! Please share this information with your salon owner! Not only will s/he be protecting salon clients and staff, but your salon will gain the competitive edge over neighboring salons (I regularly get new clients who come specifically because they have heard I have this system in place.) If you promote this upgrade in your community, the units quickly pay for themselves in new business! If your salon owner is hesitant to purchase, they have leasing plans as well.

    Since this post is about keratin treatments while pregnant, I will take this moment to reiterate that this system, while highly effective, is not designed to make the treatments safe for women who are pregnant or nursing. I still do not perform any treatments during this time, except those shown to be safe. To read more about those, visit this post: http://amominredhighheels.com/comprehensive-guide-formaldehydefree-brazilian-blowout-keratin-treatment-alternatives/

  49. katie says:

    ..I am a hairdresser and currently 8 weeks pregnant, we’ve just started using 40%keratin in our salon, as a stylist I am asked to do these, I’m just worried with me being pregnant, when I’ve applied the keratin my eyes burn as tho I’m cutting onions, can this cause harm to my baby? Please help!

  50. @Katie Congratulations on your pregnancy! I would suggest you contact the manufacturer of the keratin product your salon is using, and also bring the ingredient list and MSDS to your PB and explain the process to her/him. It is important that your Doctor understand that this product will be heated to 450 degrees Farenheit, and also the sensory irritation that you have been experiencing. You should do this ASAP!

    Sensory irritation such as burning eyes or nose, coughing, etc. is your body’s way of telling you that something is “too much.” In most cases, the solution is simple: use less products, and/or more ventilation/filtration. However in the case of pregnancy, you are advised to avoid certain things and these warnings should be taken seriously by you, as well as your salon owner. Station and/or schedule changes may be necessary in order to keep you away from these treatments, and if the the Doctor and/or manufacturer advises not to do them–DON’T.

    Click the link under “Trackbacks” below to read a post about alternative treatments that do not utilize the controversial ingredients. You can work with some of the treatments on that list while pregnant or nursing. I hope this helps!!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] In the past 12 months, Brazilian Blowout and the keratin treatment industry have been under fire over ingredients that could be potentially dangerous.  Methylene glycol, which releases formaldehyde when heated, is present in varying concentrations in most of these products, causing concern over their safety.  The debate continues; although air testing has shown most products to be safely within guidelines, and filtration options have become widely available to salons to help control fumes, many concerned clients, stylists and salons are seeking alternative treatments.  There are now several options on the market that do not contain any methylene glycol, however their efficacy can vary greatly. Some are better for certain hair textures, or add great shine but don’t help much with controlling curl, and while none of them can replicate the exact same results as the original Brazilian Blowout or keratin treatments, they definitely have their place in the salon. Some are safe for children, which is a common inquiry, and some are even safe while pregnant and nursing!! [...]

  2. [...] and post-partum hormones, can make hair more coarse, dry and frizzy.  You can’t have a Brazilian Blowout if you are breastfeeding, but you can have a Pure Brazilian CLEAR treatment to recondition, tame [...]

  3. […] Can I have a Brazilian Blowout while pregnant or nursing? Despite what a certain celebrity and her stylist have recently chosen to do, Brazilian Blowout™ does not recommend their stylists perform the service on pregnant or nursing women.  More on this topic, here. […]

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