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Blog: Dangers of Brazilian Blow drying and Chemical Hair Straightening

Thursday 03rd Nov 2011

In our previous article on making a compensation claim after hair dye injury or beauty treament thats gone wrong we looked at the dangers of hair dye and treatments that have hit the headlines in recent weeks. One of the new treatments that hasn't been grabbing the headlines, but that we are seeing an increase in the number of claims about and have recently helped clients to make compensation claims for, is Brazillian Blow Drying - the process of having your hair chemically straightened.

Fashions trends come and go, but one that seems to be here to stay and increasing in popularity is the process of having your hair chemically straightened so that it remains straighter for longer. In Many cases this treatment is done safely and properly, however there are an increasing number of products used to carry out this process that are in fact very strong and have the potential to be very dangerous, even if the treatment is carried out by professionals in hair salons.

Colemans-CTTS Solicitors are assisting several victims who have suffered as a result of these brazillian blow dry treatments gone wrong and are now claiming compensation. One such client used the brand Brazilian Keratin Treatment; this, along with some other brizillian blow dry treatments, have recently been subject to a Rapex (Rapid Alert System for Non Food Products) from the European Union’s Department of Consumer Affairs because they found that they contained unsafe levels of Formaldehyde

Such products are explicitly advertised as ‘safe to use’.

They had a Formaldehyde content over the 0.02% legal limit, in some cases they were found to have up to 50 times more than is permitted under the European Commission Cosmetics Directive.  This should cause all salons to withdraw these products from their shelves.

However it is alleged there is very little direct policing by trading standards and Environmental Health due in part to the potential widespread nature of this problem. Many salons potentially still have these products on their shelves and there is concern they are being used on unsuspecting customers.  There are also fears that some of these products, banned under EU Law, were still being illegally imported and sold to salons. It appears there may be a possibility for Formaldehyde to be released into the air as a gas when the product containing the same is heated, reported side effects have been noted as irritation to eyes, nose and throat, blistering, bald patches and more worryingly breathing difficulties.

A Client of Colemans-ctts Solicitors, who is pursuing a personal injury claim, had her treatment, a Kerastraight straightening product applied at a Salon. It is alleged that the product which was used on her hair should have been washed off the same day, however it is all eged that the salon failed to follow the instructions correctly and presumed that is was to be left on for three days and so did not wash it off. Due to the frequency of new products coming to market, it is thought they may have confused this product for another. It is alleged this caused extensive damage to her hair, resulting in excessive breakage.

The psychological effects of such an incident cannot be underestimated, the Client in question feels that has had a vast effect on her “ I get up in the morning look in the mirror and get angry with myself over my hair as it is all wrong in my eyes, my hair is broken. I hate my hair and it was the one thing I could control about my looks, I loved my long blonde hair and now it is gone”. This highlights the need to ensure more stringent regulation is introduced for hairdressers, as currently their is no legal requirement for specific qualifications or training, meaning that anyone could set up a salon and could be using potentially dangerous products on unsuspected customers. Further vast numbers of salons do not have any public liability insurance in place, so when things go wrong customers are left with no recourse. 

How can I Protect Myself:

  • Always ensure you visit a hairdresser you trust.
  • Think very carefully about using any such products yourself at home, just because you can get it online does not mean it is safe for you to use yourself. 
  • If you are especially concerned you are entitled to ask the hairdresser to see the packaging and read the same so that you can mention to the hairdresser as soon as possible if you notice any unusual or worrying side effects and seek medical assistance.
  • Think very carefully about having such treatments especially if you have bleached, weak or damaged hair as it is thought such hair is much more likely to suffer further damage to its condition and potentially severe breakage.

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