Everything You Need to Know About the Brazilian Blowout

Ah, the Brazilian blowout: you've heard about it, you've seen the results, you may have even pondered sitting down in the chair yourself to receive the much-talked-about treatment. But do you really know exactly what it is and how it works? Or if it's safe?

For starters, the Brazilian blowout has become notorious for its transformative (and dare we say, life-changing) qualities, eliminating frizz and promoting intense shine. So how does it make your hair so miraculously shiny and is it something you should take the splurge on? 'Cause let's be real, it's not exactly cheap.

Plus, there are actually a few similar treatments out there, so before committing to one, you'll want to make sure the original Brazilian Blowout is what your salon carries — you can find a comprehensive list of locations at brazilianblowout.com.

To get the low down as we turn up the heat, we asked hairstylist Jennifer Matos of New York City's Rita Hazan Salon and Jennifer Lord, hairstylist and founder of Natural Hollywood, to give us a crash-course on the hair-straightening treatment.

So read on for your cheat sheet on the Brazilian blowout and find out if it's the right treatment for you.

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Getting a Keratin Treatment

What Are Brazilian Blowouts?

The Brazilian blowout hair treatment is a liquid keratin formula that bonds to your hair to create a protective layer around each strand, effectively diminishing frizz, sealing the cuticle, and protecting against any external damage. After applying the treatment, Lord says the hair is blow dried, straightened, rinsed out, and blow dried again. The heat causes the chemicals to activate and bond to the shaft.

The smoothing treatment originated in Brazil, and uses ingredients indigenous to the country including camu camu, annatto seed, and açai berry. After getting the treatment, your hair will be left hydrated, less frizzy, and more resilient to heat styling — not to mention, with an insanely glossy mirror-like shine.

RELATED: Brazilian Blowout vs. Keratin Treatment — Which One Should You Get? 

How Is The Brazilian Blowout Different From Other Keratin Treatments?

Although both end results are similar, the Brazilian Blowout has a mild formula that can be tailored to your hair type, and is a little less delicate post-treatment. "After you get a keratin treatment, you don't have as many options," says Matos. "You can't tie it back in a ponytail or clip, you can't style it, and you can't wash it for the three or four days that follow. With the Brazilian blowout, you get it done, your stylist rinses it out, and that's it. You're back to your normal life again."

Lord adds that it's also not quite as permanent as other treatments and can be completely customized to your hair and your wants.

Will The Brazilian Blowout Make My Hair Completely Straight?

Not unless you want it to. Your stylist will seal in the treatment by passing a 450-degree flat iron over your hair, and the more your stylist flat irons, the straighter your hair will be.

"If you like to wear your hair curly, but just want to tame your frizz, this will help make your hair smooth. Just be sure to tell your stylist exactly what you want, and they can tailor the treatment to either preserve the texture of your hair, or make it smoother," Matos explains.

The overall goal is to make your strands less of a burden to work with, but keep in mind that if you have naturally curly hair, it won't air dry to a pin-straight texture. "You'll still have voluminous body with waves if you air dry it, but if it normally takes you 30 minutes with a blow dryer, this can help you cut down the time to just 15 minutes," she adds.

If you do desire completely straight hair, again, be sure to inform your stylist. "It truly depends on the clients request," says Lord. "Your hair will be completely straight if you use the treatment for that purpose along with adding the proper amount of heat afterwards."

How Long Does The Brazilian Blowout Last?

Provided that you don't use shampoos that contain sulfates and chorine, your treatment should last anywhere from three to four months — possibly longer if you don't need to wash your hair as regularly as some.

Once it wears off, your hair will return to its natural curl pattern. "You'll start to see it around the hairline first," Matos says. "That's your indicator of when it's time to get it redone." Even if you don't get it touched up right away, there's no obvious line of demarcation between the previously treated hair and new growth, unlike with other relaxing or straightening methods.

Is The Brazilian Blowout Safe?

While Matos says the treatment is safe on most hair types, Lord warns that people with textured hair should take precautions because the treatment could potentially be damaging. She suggests being mindful with the amount of heat you're applying to textured strands because of the different ways certain parts of your hair may react.

"The differences between hair strands on textured manes means that heat will hit one area more intensely than another causing damage and breakage," Lord says. "The impact of the first treatment may not be observed by the naked eye but it is very likely damage has been done by the formaldehyde in the [formula]."

The bottom line here is before throwing caution to the wind, you should consult your stylist to find out if the Brazilian blowout is safe for your hair. Sure, we all want smooth and shiny hair, but if it turns out damaging you hair locks in the long run, it's probably not worth it.

RELATED: I Tried a Keratin Straightening Treatment and Honestly, Life Will Never Be the Same 

How Long Does The Brazilian Blowout Take?

"Overall, the process takes an hour to an hour and a half," Matos says. "The longest I've ever spent doing a Brazilian blowout was around two hours, so it all depends on how much hair you have and how thick it is."

Your stylist will begin by shampooing your hair three or four times to remove all the product and create a base for the treatment to adhere. Working section by section, the Brazilian blowout formula will be applied from root to tip, then blow-dried smooth. A flat iron heated to 450 degrees will seal it in, then it's back to the shampoo bowl to rinse out the treatment, followed by a deep conditioning mask. Finally, your hair will once again be blow-dried smooth.

VIDEO: Beauty School: How to Use a Round Brush for a Perfect Blowout

Can You Get a Brazilian Blowout if You Have Colored Hair?

The Brazilian blowout is typically safe on color-treated strands, says Matos. In fact, since it completely seals off the hair shaft, she says there's a chance your hair will stay vibrant for longer. "We've had clients who have gotten color done and followed it up with a Brazilian blowout in the same day, and that would be the perfect time to do it since the cuticle is already open from the color," Matos tells us. "If you're doing this, just be sure to let your colorist know since doing one treatment after the other can make the color a bit brighter."

What Should I Do After Getting the Brazilian Blowout Treatment?

Unlike the post-keratin treatment routine, there aren't any restrictions as to what you can and can't do in terms of activity, so you won't have to skip out on your hot yoga class. Additionally, since the treatment is rinsed out in the salon, you can wait as long or as little as you'd like to wash it, but again, just be sure to use a sulfate- and chlorine-free formula to preserve it.

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