A Complete Guide to Brazilian Blowouts
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It’s seem as though ever since we were mini Mane Addicts, we knew exactly what a Brazilian Blowout entailed. Our understanding of the holy grail hair treatment, however, was, well, proven skimpy after we chatted with 8-year Andy Lecompte Salon stylist and Brazilian Blowout expert, Anthony French. Contrary to popular belief, Brazilian Blowouts and keratin treatments are synonymous. Gasp. We know, it’s hard to believe we thought otherwise for all the locks-loving years of our existence thus far. But chill, because with Anthony’s help, we’ve dissected the treatment known for softening and strengthening strands, for your sake and ours. Keep reading for the skinny on everything you ought to know about Brazilian Blowouts.
Brazilian Blowout vs. keratin treatment—what’s the difference?
Simply put, there is none. “A lot of people ask me if they should get a Brazilian or a keratin treatment. A Brazilian Blowout is a keratin treatment—it’s just a brand name,” Anthony tells us. One other basic bit of info you must know before we proceed? The Brazilian’s purpose. As Anthony notes, while the Brazilian acts as a “straightener” it isn’t a straightening treatment per se, adding, “As a stylist, I can try to manipulate it to try to get it as straight as it can be, but it’s not a straightener, which is another thing that people don’t realize.”
Note to self: If you have naturally curly hair, you’re still going to have curly hair post-Brazilian Blowout, and the same applies to wavy-haired girls—the Brazilian merely moderates curls and waves, respectively, depending on how curly and/or wavy your hair is.
What exactly is a keratin treatment?
When protein attaches to the hair and seals down the cuticle, producing a more manageable mane. “Every single keratin treatment contains formaldehyde—it’s the only thing that bonds the keratin to the hair. I have clients who’ve ventured off and tried keratin treatments other than a Brazilian, but their biggest complaint is that it only lasts 2-3 weeks.” The culprit? Anthony says [those treatments] contain less ingredients, ones that don’t keep the keratin bonded to the hair as solidly as a Brazilian would.
Who is the perfect candidate for a Brazilian Blowout?
People who have a difficult time managing their hair. Or, as Anthony puts it: “If you wear your hair in a bun all the time.”
Who is NOT a good candidate?
According to Anthony, “People who have really fine hair, even though they might have texture or frizz, I feel like it’s too much for them.” Though they’re not as long-lasting, keratin treatments that work better for fine hair textures do exist.
What are the styling benefits?
A faster, smoother blowout. “For people with coarse, thick hair whose hair takes awhile to blow-dry, [a Brazilian Blowout] cuts the time in half,” Anthony says. Having quickly become a Brazilian Blowout Boss and hence garnering a celeb clientele, Anthony is used to treating manes that are being styled and touched by hot tools daily, and considers Brazilian Blowouts somewhat of a hair band-aid for the hair cuticle-ouchie. He explains,”I think of the cuticle of the hair shaft as a scale on a butterfly—if you damage it, you’re putting little holes in it, and the keratin is a temporary fix, a patch-up.” Additionally, those who are trying to get their over-processed hair to grow can benefit from a Brazilian Blowout.
How long does a Brazilian Blowout last and how do you maintain it?
On average, your treatment will last three months, but its staying power is dependent upon your care for it. For example, Anthony says the more you wash your locks post-Brazilian Blowout, the faster it will break down. This means a way quicker erosion of treatment for the gym-rats who wash their strands everyday. “Shampoo is a detergent, so if you’re washing your hair every single day, you’re drying your hair out no matter what,” Anthony tells us.
So what’s a diehard yogi or spinner to do? For the keratin to last longer, Anthony recommends wetting your hair before your workout. “Your hair’s like a sponge so it’s going to hold all that salty sweat (which dries out your hair and breaks down the Brazilian faster) unless you get your hair wet with fresh water—the fresh water will soak up instead of the sweat,” he advises. Uhm, we’re pretty sure that tops our list of genius hair hacks. Anthony assures that his tip can benefit those who don’t have a Brazilian Blowout too.
While it’s true that sulfate-free shampoos prolong Brazilian Blowouts, from the feedback Anthony has gotten over the years from clients and other hairstylists, he thinks Brazilian Blowout Acai Anti-Frizz Shampoo is the best shampoo to use. “Some people will do a sulfate-free [shampoo], but then when they start to feel like it’s breaking down in a couple months, they’ll switch to the Brazilian shampoo just to give it a little extra charge,” he adds.
A surge in the rainbow colored hair trend comes with it lots of lifting and bleaching for Mane Addicts, and just as Anthony says, when people switch rainbow colors, it’s really hard for them grow out their hair. That’s where Brazilian Blowouts come in to the rescue. But be mindful of the timing of your Brazilian.
Anthony’s rule of thumb when it comes to the correct order: Always after bleaching and before a deposited color. With deposited color, he’s noticed that the keratin treatment will lift to a shade lighter or two. So if he’s bleaching a client’s hair, he does the Brazilian after the bleach; but if coloring the hair, he does the Brazilian before a deposited color.