The Brazilian Keratin Treatment has been demonized a lot in the media and hair universe since it was first released onto the market a few years ago. But I’m not here to defend it, not at all.
For those of you that don’t know, formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical that is used in building materials, for embalming the dead and to produce numerous beauty and household products.
Formaldehyde is classified as a known human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer with links to several cancers including nasopharyngeal cancer and leukemia.
The worrying trend in manufacturers lately has been to ‘hide’ it from labels by using synonyms that only their scientist buddies can decipher as being formaldehyde.
In fact a lot of BKT’s that claim to be formaldehyde free have actually tested as having worryingly high levels of the chemical.
Even though I have dabbled with BKT (formaldehyde free of course) in the past myself, I would not readily recommend it as viable hair treatment until the manufacturers clean up their act. Not to mention the horror stories we’ve heard of women not getting their curls back after the treatment but I digress.
Of course there are a few hair smoothing products out there that are genuinely formaldehyde free but since we have so many bad apples ruining the party for everyone else, it’s just not worth trolling through the literature to find out what safe to use or not.
It’s funny however that we complain vehemently when we discover that our hair and beauty products contain formaldehyde when in fact we are ingesting this very chemical in large amounts daily anyway.
I bet most of you don’t even know that aldehydes are produced during the digestion of Coca cola! I don’t know about you but I think that it is invariably worse to get aldehyde directly into my body by consuming soda than applying formaldehyde topically while using BKT.
I’m not saying that formaldehyde is great, on the contrary I’m just saying we need to be more aware that it is not just in our hair products. It’s in many nail hardeners, varnishes, household cleaning products, lotions, bubble bath, glues, plywood, soap bars, body wash, toothpaste and chillingly in baby wipes too.
Be wary when you see any of these names on your product labels as they could be synonyms for formaldehyde:
- Phenol Formaldehyde
- Quaternium 15
- Formic Aldehyde
- Methylene Oxide
- Oxomethane Formalin
- Dmdm Hydantoin
It’s should be obvious by now that the Brazilian Keratin Treatment is not even close to being the biggest source of formaldehyde in our daily lives. So next time before you turn your nose up at that ‘natural’ sister who has been using BKT and imagine that she is doing herself a harm with all that forma-whatchu-call-it, think about the lovely bubble bath you treated yourself to before the pedicure appointment that you enjoyed while sipping cola. Uh huh.
Manufacturers hiding formaldehyde in their products is wrong on so many levels. My advice? Stick with natural hair products.