Today’s buff buck frequents the gym and pumps iron. He frowns on fatness — except when it plumps up his hair shafts. A new hair craze, the Brazilian straightener, performs magic on unruly frizz. This treatment gives a guy virtual keratin in a bottle. Keratin, a natural protein in hair structure, is packed with amino acids that leave a man’s locks soft, silky and luxurious. After the keratin blowout, hair lies flat against the scalp or sways in the direction it is finger- or comb-styled. Unlike harsh chemicals that penetrate a shaft, keratin hugs the shaft and seals the cuticle. Easy to apply, it puts frizz temporarily on the fritz for three months until a guy decides to wash it out with a sodium chloride shampoo.
New Zealand biochemist Lyn Dowsett explained that curls, waves and frizz originate with the chemical bonds in the protein building block of human hair: alpha-keratin. This natural protein has more than 300 amino acids that connect like a chain of beads to form a helix. The helix chains twirl and wrap around one another to make four-chain structures that compose the hair filament. The more a filament comes in contact with another filament, the tighter the hair’s coil winds. Brazilian straightening contains keratin protein which sticks to the hair coils making them heavier and causing them to relax or straighten.
Brazilian Straightening Method
South Florida hairdresser Carlos di Carlos explained how to apply the Brazilian treatment to men’s hair. Shampoo and towel dry hair. Section and clip hair into segments. Apply the straightener to the hair with a comb or coloring brush, without touching the scalp. Blow dry and follow with the comb to straighten strands. Continue to use the comb to guide a flat iron throughout the hair and seal in the keratin. Then cut the hair and style it.
Frizzy hair in Hollywood is an outdated look for males. Celebrity African American, Hispanic and Italian males embrace the Brazilian blowout look. “Jersey Shore” actor Pauly D sports the Brazilian look and shows how to apply the treatment in a YouTube online video. “Growing Up Gotti” sons Carmine, Frank and John wear Brazilian blowouts proudly. Matt Herrero, a West Hollywood stylist, gave no specific names, but said many ethnic celebrity men come in for this hair technique.
Formaldehyde is the chemical culprit in Brazilian hair straightening. Hair protein keratin needs formaldehyde to not only activate it but to make it last longer than one week. At dangerous levels, formaldehyde is a human hazard. Not only is it carcinogenic but hairdressers and clients also report respiratory problems, skin reactions, eye irritation and headaches when using it. OSHA recently ran tests on Brazilian keratin formulas and found formaldehyde still present even though manufacturers advertised it as formaldehyde-free. Here’s the problem: Different keratin formulas claim to have no formaldehyde but they contain other aldehydes like urea that can be potent like formaldehyde. Although the original formulas don’t technically contain formaldehyde, the at-risk compounds change into a form of raw, unrefined formaldehyde when heated. That’s why better Brazilian hair straightening salons outfit the hair stylist and client with bioterrorist accessories like masks and goggles and have a special ventilation system installed in a separate salon room where the Brazilian keratin treatment is done.