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Relaxers & Brazilian Blowouts: What are you really putting in your hair?

The Brazilian Blowout Allegedly Contains A Lot of Formaldehyde…

Hmmm. While I know that US relaxers don’t have formaldehyde as a main ingredient, I wonder, if one of the ingredients really was carcinogenic (which still could be a possibility) would they tell us? I mean sodium hydroxide (aka lye) was a pretty terrible main ingredient in relaxers for a LONG time—a chemical that while I was in chem lab, you’d have to be SUPREMELY cautious never to get on your skin because it’s corrosive. Non-lye relaxers are better, but what do we really know? Women have been told that formaldehyde is carcinogenic but they’re not planning on stopping the Brazilian Blowout anytime soon, because their natural hair is just not as desirable for them as silky smooth straight hair.

I just don’t know what to think anymore. I try and be supportive of black women who want to chemically alter their hair, to be clear that they’re free to do whatever they want with their hair, and to not be THAT natural-haired girl who tells every black woman that they need to free themselves from the chemicals–the “creamy crack.” HOWEVER, after all the hours spent in biology and chemistry labs, and knowing just how thin the skin on our scalp is and how it can be a vehicle for chemicals entering our body through absorption, I’m becoming less concerned with being perceived as one-of-those-preachy-naturals and more concerned with making sure black women (in particular) are well-informed about the potential health risks of putting that stuff on your scalp; and especially with putting it on the scalps of children.

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