Brazilian Blowout Settles Class-Action Lawsuit for $4.5 Million

by , 03/06/12   filed under: Eco-Fashion News

Brazilian Blowout, California, eco-beauty, eco-fashion, ethical fashion, formaldehyde, green fashion, National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance, natural beauty, sustainable beauty, Sustainable Fashion, sustainable style, toxic chemicals

A new kink—pun fully intended—has emerged in the saga of the Brazilian Blowout. The hair-straightener manufacturer, mired of late in a slew of health complaints and government inquiries, agreed on Monday to settle a class-action lawsuit for $4.5 million in damages. Under the terms of the agreement, consumers who claimed they were harmed by the product will receive $35 per treatment for up to three treatments, while stylists get to pocket $75 for every bottle they purchased, according to Elizabeth Pritzker, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. The settlement follows $600,000 in penalties and fines to the state of California after it emerged that two of the formulations emitted formaldehyde gas, a human carcinogen.

Brazilian Blowout, toxic chemicals, eco-beauty, sustainable beauty, natural beauty, formaldehyde, California, National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


Despite reports of nosebleeds, respiratory problems, and eye irritation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration appears no closer to banning Brazilian Blowout, which until recently claimed that its products were formaldehyde-free. (The bottles now sport stickers that warn of the potential exposure to formaldehyde.) Other countries are less forgiving: The treatment is verboten in Australia, Canada, Ireland, France, and Germany.

Brazilian Blowout is banned in Australia, Canada, Ireland, France, and Germany, but not the U.S.

Michael Brady, Brazilian Blowout’s chief executive told the New York Times that his insurance company would pay for the proposed settlement, describing it as an “unpleasant episode” for his company. “We get to sell the product forever without reformulation,” he said. “In my eyes, that’s the acquittal we’ve been waiting for.”

Brady also compared Brazilian Blowout to aspirin—”make sure you only use it as directed,” he said. In an investigation by Good Morning America just last week, however, undercover reporters found that 12 of the 16 salons it visited insisted the products involved very little formaldehyde. Another four didn’t know it contained or released the chemical. All of them maintained they had zero safety concerns.

Stories from the National Healthy Nail and Beauty Alliance paint a different story. “I had lung scarring from the pneumonia…developed scabs in my nose that will not go away,” one stylist said. Another was diagnosed with “possible chemical poisoning” by her doctor. “It has affected my life and business,” complained a third stylist. “I have an extremely hard time being around the product when someone has applied it in our shop.”

At $300 for a 90-minute process, a Brazilian Blowout doesn’t come cheap. A bigger question looms, however. Is straight hair really worth the cost of your or someone else’s health?


[Via the New York Times]

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4 Responses to “Brazilian Blowout Settles Class-Action Lawsuit for $4.5 Million”

  1. anon says:

    Someone please examine Old Navy jeans for their level of formaldehyde. I think it is possible they exceed the safety levels.

  2. Regina Macko says:

    It would be helpful if you would get the facts. Formaldehyde is a gas and not an additive in Brazilian Blowout. The gas is emitted when the product is heated. If you use too much, like OSHA did in their testing, it can be hazardous. The same is true if you use 8 times (which is what OSHA did) the amount of vanilla in you cookies. Certain preservatives contain in most chemical smoothing treatments are known to release formaldehyde gas when heated. If you are unsure of any chemical service and its possible health risks get the facts and don’t spread the hype.

  3. Jasmin Malik Chua says:

    @Regina Macko: Thanks for your comment. All our facts come from the FDA or OSHA.

  4. Pat Simpson says:

    The question to ask you stylist is: Why go through all the drama offering a FORMY based treatment when safer alternatives are avaliable?

    Solution: /

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