“Pretty Toxic” was created by Jennifer Arce and Dawn Marino, two hair stylists whose lives have changed after contracting formaldehyde poisoning from the hair smoothing product known as the Brazilian Blowout being used in the salons they worked at. The site serves as an educational and informative tool for stylists, consumers and the general public in an attempt to protect others from toxic exposure to chemicals in beauty products. 

Jennifer Arce and Dawn Marino joined together in creating “Pretty Toxic” after the most unusual and unfortunate of circumstances brought them together.

Jennifer, a California hair stylist for almost 20 years, became sick from formaldehyde poisoning after her first exposure to the toxic product known as the Brazilian Blowout. Her life as she knew it was drastically altered as a result, so she started a crusade to spread awareness about harmful toxins in hair products, and to reach out to other salon workers in the country about these dangerous products on the market.

Meanwhile, across the country in New York City, Dawn had been a hair stylist for only a few years before she also became sick from formaldehyde poisoning after repeated exposure to the Brazilian Blowout. Devastated by the negative impact and the way her life was permanently altered from the exposure, she started a blog, “Tousled,” to increase attention to the dangers of this product, and try to unite hair stylists regarding the damaging toxins in hair products.

As Jennifer went along in her research and activism, she stumbled across a blog about a hair stylist whose life had changed from exposure to formaldehyde due to the Brazilian Blowout. Jennifer read the blog multiple times, affected by the words that she could so closely relate to from her own experience. She was determined to try to find “the girl with the blog” and went searching for a way to contact her. Little did she know, that girl was Dawn, fighting her own fight on the East Coast and wondering about Jennifer, whom she had read about during her own research.

Months later, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance were gearing up for a Salon Week of Action in Washington, D.C. The goal was to try to protect salon workers and consumers from toxic chemicals while lobbying for the Safe Cosmetics Act. While reaching out to relevant workers who had been affected, both Jennifer and Dawn were contacted by the Alliance. Upon emailing each other, Jennifer realized she had finally found “the girl with the blog.” The two were excited to meet up in D.C. and once they returned home, remained in contact to continue with their efforts to bring forth knowledge about the cause.

Across the miles, Jennifer and Dawn convene regularly over the phone, working around the time zones, hectic salon schedules and the daily obstacles of life. They collaborated together on “Pretty Toxic” to create awareness, and protect people from the harmful toxins that are so regularly used in the beauty industry, most notably that of the Brazilian Blowout. Together, they hope that this site serves as a platform to make a difference, unite stylists and educate consumers while constantly updating and informing the public. Please join them as they untangle the beauty industry one step at a time.


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  1. hey ladies , my heart goes out to you . been through hell and back with the use of the Brazilian Blowout. . I used it Oct 1 2010. I have dealt with many losses as my life spiralled down since. physically ,psychologically etc , I was a successful hairstylist for many years and then I got breathing problems, burnt scalp raw throat, voice hoarseness which developed into getting sensitive to many other things . I don’t work back in the salons so economics have taken a hit. This product was so toxic and should absolutely be banned and I believe it is. No beauty is worth your health, but it was deceptive and people had no clue how what they were getting into, . Let me know if you need my help about this. You are not alone !

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