California orders Brazilian Blowout to take their toxic product off the market!


Credit: Richard Perry/New York Times

In October we brought you the story “Brazilian Blowout violates California air quality law” in which we explained a settlement was reached in January between the California Attorney General’s office and GIB LLC, the makers of Brazilian Blowout. The settlement required the company to use “CAUTION” stickers, cancer warnings and to stop deceptive advertising claiming their product was “safe” and “formaldehyde free”.

The final issue required additional testing to determine if Brazilian Blowout Solution could even be sold in California because it violated the air quality law by exceeding the states smog forming pollutant limits.

Both parties agreed through a Consent Judgment to terms that were clear. Three bottles of Brazilian Blowout were to be tested at three separate laboratories, two labs chosen by Brazilian Blowout and the third was the California Air Resources Board. If all three labs reveal the product exceeds the states Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) limits, then GIB must immediately cease all sales of the product in California until it was reformulated to comply with the law. The test results by all three laboratories came back unanimous: “The product violates California air quality law!”

End of story right? Well, not so much. Nothing ever seems to go “smooth” when dealing with this company, nor have they ever been known to follow rules (oh…and by rules I mean the law). Brazilian Blowout refused to stop selling their Smoothing Solution in clear violation of the Consent Judgment and has been selling it for months against the law.

This defiance brought the Attorney General’s office back to the California Superior Court in October, where they asked to enforce the Consent Judgment and stop all sales of Brazilian Blowout in California. The court date was set for November 13, 2012.

Well of course Brazilian Blowout didn’t just show up without a little drama. Right before their day in court (night before perhaps?) they issued a press release stating they moved their production from Brazil to California and that the “U.S.-manufactured product is compliant with all California VOC standards”. This caused a delay in any final decision as the judge ordered the parties to figure out an agreement on testing this new product for VOCs.

After it took two long years for the state to fight this company and after so many salon worker’s lives have been completely turned upside down, we here at Pretty Toxic are very excited to announce…..

The Superior Court has ordered Brazilian Blowout to take their toxic product off the market! Best news I’ve heard in two years!

According to the Attorney General’s office, GIB has 30 days to stop all sales of their current product and the California Air Resources Board will be testing the new reformulated product by the middle of December to see if it falls within the state’s VOC limit, in this case it’s 6% VOCs.

Unfortunately, we won’t know how much formaldehyde is in the new product because the state is strictly testing for VOCs. The way our current (severely outdated) law works a salon product is allowed to contain formaldehyde as long as they let us know it’s there, even though formaldehyde at any level has been declared “unsafe for use in Hair Smoothing Products” by the industry’s very own body of scientific and medical experts, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel (CIR).

Sadly, 6% VOCs doesn’t exactly = safe and healthy for salon workers and their clients, it means the product doesn’t produce as much smog. It’s unfortunate it was smog that ultimately got this toxic product off the market, NOT all of the countless salon workers and consumers who have suffered irreparable damage to their health and now have complicated medical issues. But hey, we’ll take this win however we can get it!

Luckily, Brazilian Blowout is sold from California so this judgment should also affect the product being sold to the rest of the country. Great news for stylists who have suffered in other states, like our very own Dawn Marino, Natalija Josimov and the woman who started this controversy…my hero…Molly Scrutton.

Of course we can’t end this story without a crazy quote from the company’s CEO Mike Brady! In the press release he says:
“All of us at Brazilian Blowout have strong ties to California. We first introduced our product in Los Angeles five years ago and we are pleased to be able to secure additional jobs in this state.”

Secure jobs Mr. Brady??? That comment almost made me choke as much as the formaldehyde in your product! We’ve got a stack of letters from salon workers across the country that were forced to QUIT their jobs, including Dawn and myself, because of the health issues we suffered by being in the same room as this product. These letters are from stylists, manicurists and receptionists….even from estheticians in their own facial rooms unable to escape illness because the toxic formaldehyde fumes creep under their door and into their rooms.

Beyond medical issues, this product has also wreaked havoc on our careers as a whole by dividing an entire industry, turning happy fun salons into sheer battlegrounds behind closed doors and turning friends into complete and utter enemies.

Stylist's eye

Stylist’s eye after applying Brazilian Blowout.

So to all of our fellow salon workers who have spent the last couple of years suffering from bloody noses, blistery rashes, eye damage, breathing problems, severe migraines, vomiting, heart palpitations, coughing up blood, blisters and scabs inside their nose, raw sore throats, chronic sinus infections, bronchitis and pneumonia….to those who are now on inhalers, require breathing treatments, endured cat scans, nose probes, chest and sinus x-rays, all while so many in this industry have no health insurance….to those who have had to quit their jobs, been bullied by coworkers, threatened to be fired by your boss, or threatened with “legal ramifications” for not being able to give a “30 day notice” to a salon owner who knew several of her staff members were getting sick (oh wait, that last one was me and my coworkers)….we finally have the right to say….I TOLD YOU SO!!!!

To everyone at the California Attorney General’s Office….THANK YOU!!!

To view the court documents click here.

11 thoughts on “California orders Brazilian Blowout to take their toxic product off the market!

  1. I can’t believe it took this long to get toxic Brazilian Blowout off the market! I used to be healthy until this product came into my salon and now I have problems with my health. I started having to use an inhaler because this literally takes my breath away. I’ve had scabs in my nose for months at a time and started getting bloody noses. My throat swells up and feels like it’s on fire and I have gotten a rash a few times now. I am not the only one in my salon that gets sick either!
    Hopefully our bodies can heal from this someday.

    • Thank you for sharing your story Amy! Unfortunately so many people in our industry have had to suffer because of this product. We can only hope our bodies can eventually heal from all of this!

  2. I have suffered ALL of the illnesses you listed and more. I can’t believe how long this judgement has taken and I really don’t understand how they are not in jail. They are getting rich at our expence. Our symptoms have not gone away because of this long awaited verdict. And so many of us live in fear of what is to come where our health is concerned. I am happy that you have kept us updated on this up hill battle. Not all of us have the choice to switch careers and get out of the buisness. Especially in this economy. Thankyou for all your hard work!

  3. Thank you for your comment Gina ~ Dawn and I know all too well how you feel! It’s very scary to think of what our future holds as formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. Unfortunately the damage has already been done to our health and this verdict does not take away all of the medical issues we are still suffering from because of this product.
    I am so thankful the California Attorney General’s office never gave up on this fight! This product never should have been on the market in the first place!

  4. If Brazilian blowout was required to take their product off the market, how come there is a full page ad in the January 2013 issue of American Salon for B B on page 56? This is all very contradictory don’t you think? I guess money talks as the saying goes!!!
    I think someone needs to write a letter to the editor don’t you ??

  5. 3/26/13 …Last week my wife had her hair straightened out at a salon using this product. Yesterday i took her to the ER because she was suffering flu like symptoms including nausea, severe cough, high fever, and trouble breathing. She has been diagnosed with pneumonia and is now on antibiotics. After she told me how strong the chemical smelled and the reaction it caused in her eyes and throat when it was being applied, I looked online to see if her sickness was in anyway related to the hair treatment and after finding your blog and reading through I was wondering if even though this was her first treatment is it so toxic that it caused her her health at one treatment? Should I contact the salon and make them aware? Why are they still using/selling this to customers? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  6. En Perú lo están introduciendo, no hay mucha información, yo me lo hice y no quede conforme con el tratamiento, y al indagar para saber si realmente me habían aplicado bien el producto descubrí lo dañino que puede ser para la salud. La forma más práctica de contra restar esto es masificando la información por las redes, al menos en mi país que no se lo conoce tanto.
    Adriana Barcés

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