Ah, the Brazilian straightening: you’ve heard about it, you’ve seen the results, you may have even pondered sitting down in the chair yourself to receive the much-talked-about treatment. But do you really know exactly what it is and how it works? Or if it’s safe?

For starters, the Brazilian straightening has become notorious for its transformative (and dare we say, life-changing) qualities, eliminating frizz and promoting intense shine. So how does Brazilian straightening make your hair so miraculously shiny and is it something you should take the splurge on? Let’s be honest, the Brazilian straightening treatment is not exactly cheap.

Plus, there are actually a few similar treatments out there, so before committing to one, you’ll want to make sure the original Brazilian Blowout is what your salon carries

What you need to know about Brazilian straightening

brazilian straightening

The smoothing treatment originated in Brazil, and uses ingredients indigenous to the country including camu camu, annatto seed, and açai berry.

The technique has many variations and is known by several other names and brands, including Brazilian Blowout, Breezilian straightening, Brazilian Keratin Treatment, BKT, and Keratin Cure.[citation needed] It is called Escova Progressiva in Brazil and Alisado brasileiro in Portugal.

The original formulation included formaldehyde or methylene glycol H. The two products readily interconvert, and coexist in chemical equilibrium, when dissolved in water or body fluids. Since formaldehyde is a known health hazard, the compositions have been banned in several countries including Canada and the European Union. It is still performed in the United States, though there are regulations and have been controversies regarding the treatment.

The Brazilian straightening hair treatment is a liquid keratin formula that bonds to your hair to create a protective layer around each strand, effectively diminishing frizz, sealing the cuticle, and protecting against any external damage. After applying the treatment, the hair is blow dried, straightened, rinsed out, and blow dried again. The heat causes the chemicals to activate and bond to the shaft.

Will the Brazilian straightening make my hair really, completely straight?

Not unless you want it to. Your stylist will seal in the treatment by passing a 450-degree flat iron over your hair, and the more your stylist flat irons, the straighter your hair will be. If you like to wear your hair curly, but just want to tame your frizz, this will help make your hair smooth. Just be sure to tell your stylist exactly what you want, and they can tailor the treatment to either preserve the texture of your hair, or make it smoother. The overall goal is to make your strands less of a burden to work with, but keep in mind that if you have naturally curly hair, it won’t air dry to a pin-straight texture.

At the same time, however, it will cut your styling time way down. If you are used to needing to flat iron your hair on a day to day basis, the Brazilian straightening treatment will save you almost all of that time.

How long does it take to get the Brazilian straightening treatment and how much does it cost?

Bring some snacks so you don’t get hangry, as the Brazilian straightening treatment can take up to an hour and a half to two hours. The longer your hair is, the longer the process will take on your hair. As for the cost, it all depends. There are several different lines of Brazilian straightening products that will come at different price points. Check with your salon before booking your treatment, as it can cost anywhere from $150 all the way up to $600.

Is there a maintainance routine to follow after getting the Brazilian straightening treatment?

Yes, there is, but it’s quite easy really. Once you finish the treatment, you’ll need to be careful not to get your hair wet or bend it for a day or two. Bending the hair (like putting it in a ponytail, or behind your ears) will put a dent in your newly straightened hair. You’ll also need to wash your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo.

How long does the Brazilian straightening last?

Provided that you don’t use shampoos that contain sulfates and chorine, your treatment should last anywhere from three to four months — possibly longer if you don’t need to wash your hair as regularly as some. Once it wears off, your hair will return to its natural curl pattern. Even if you don’t get it touched up right away, there’s no obvious line of demarcation between the previously treated hair and new growth, unlike with other relaxing or straightening methods. The Brazilian straightening will last for 10-12 weeks if the correct maintainance products are used. The Brazilian straightening is a cumulative treatment, in that the more you receive it, the healthier the hair will be and the longer the result will last.

Is the Brazilian straightening safe?

It is a safe treatment for most people. However, people with textured hair should take precautions because the treatment could potentially be damaging. These people should be mindful with the amount of heat they’re applying to textured strands because of the different ways certain parts of the hair may react.