Pretty Price Check (10.08.10)

The Pretty Price Check: Your Friday roundup of how much we paid for beauty this week.

photo of Brazilian Blowout Solution

Get ready for a souped-up Price Check today, people. Big things are happening. (Seriously. Read to the end, or you’ll miss the best part. And I’ll be sad.)

First up: Formaldehyde. On your head. I have a whole post about this lined up for next week, but the plot keeps thickening on this one, so I figured we better dive right in.

For the full back story, check out the piece I wrote on Lemondrop earlier this week. The nutshell version is that the supposedly “formaldehyde-free” Brazilian Blowout hair straightening treatment has tested positive for — you guessed it —  formaldehyde. As in, the stuff that causes nosebleeds, migraines, asthma attacks and is a “probable carcinogen” associated with myeloid leukemia and other diseases.

And — breaking news time! — this morning, we’re learning that Brazilian Blowout isn’t the only formaldehyde-containing straightener on the market, says Nadine Jolie, who has been all over this business, and just posted these lab results.

So let’s Price Check that:

  • 0.2 percent: The max safe level for formaldehyde in any beauty product, according to the industry’s safety experts, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel. (Yes the industry. Don’t you love that their voluntary standard is the only safety standard we’ve got for using this probable carcinogen? Because I do.)

  • 6.5 percent: The amount in Brazilian Gloss32.5 times higher than the safe limit.
  • Up to 12 percent: The amount found in Brazilian Blowout, the “formaldehyde-free” category leader whose test results started all the fuss, and who is now being recalled in Canada. (The company’s own testing found no formaldehyde, but I’m gonna go with the unbiased scientists on this one.)

Again, big love to Nadine for sharing these lab results. Bottom line? This stuff is making salon workers sick and it’s not going to do your head any favors either. Stick to flat ironing, sans chemicals. (Or even better, just go wavy!) And consider this case-in-point as to why we could sure use some actual chemical safety regulations in this country.


  • 57 percent of consumers say they are “somewhat” or “very” concerned about the ingredients used in their beauty products. See above. Where do the other 43 percent of you find your unflappable confidence? (Via Cosmetics Design.)
  • $15,572: How much more skinny women (25 pounds less than the norm) earn compared to average-sized women.
  • $13,847: How much less heavier women (25 pounds over the norm) earn compared to average-sized women. (Both via Jezebel.)
  • 81.8 percent of the models used in New York’s Fashion Week were white. Believe it or not, that’s a smidge of improvement on the diversity front over spring’s Fashion Week. (Via Jezebel.)

That’s a depressing note to end on, I know, but this will cheer you up: Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of Beauty Schooled! Yes, it all started last October 9, with this post.

228 posts, over 1000 comments, 122,000 page views, and oh yeah, 600 hours in beauty school later, I’m awfully happy to be here and thank you all so much for reading, commenting, and generally being great. To celebrate, I finally got around to creating a Beauty Schooled Facebook Page, which I’d love for you to head over and like, comment, etc. Blog posts get cross-posted there now, plus there are lots of FB-only links and what not, so enjoy!

Now go enjoy the long weekend — I’ll see you back here on Tuesday. xoxo

[Photo: Brazilian Blowout Solution, from over here.]

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  1. Posted October 8, 2010 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Congrats on your One Year Blog-iversary!

  2. miss-trixie
    Posted October 8, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Permalink


    Re: Formaldehyde…honestly I don’t understand why it has to be an ingredient in anything at all, and it’s most disappointing that products being labeled as F-free aren’t! It is in permanent hair color as well, which many more women probably use than brazilian blowout products. (Hair color…nasty stuff, that. Full of highly toxic stuff.)

  3. Rebecca
    Posted October 8, 2010 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations on your anniversary!

    I don’t know anyone who’s gotten that Brazilian Blowout, but every time I turn around another celebrity is raving about how wonderful it is. It seems like every celebrity who used to wear their hair curly in the late 90′s is doing this to their hair to wear it straight or loosely wavy. I can’t remember who, exactly, but it was something like: Debra Messing, Julianna Margulies, Andie MacDowell, Keri Russell, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Julia Roberts, Lauren Graham, Nicole Richie, etc.
    The only ones I can think of who still wear it curly are Alex Kingston and sometimes Sarah Jessica Parker.
    I wouldn’t wish toxic chemicals on anyone, but maybe this formaldehyde news will encourage people not to torture the curls out of their hair so much. Come back to the curly side, people. We miss you! :o )
    Although I did read an article recently that says straightened hair is viewed as professional and put-together while curly hair is viewed as wild and hippie-ish. So if you want to work in a law firm you should straighten your hair to be taken seriously . . . That and lose 25 pounds, apparently.

    Okay, that was a bit of a rant. Sorry. :o )

5 Trackbacks

  1. [...] know where I’m going with this, because we got into it a bit last week on the Price Check. Several super popular chemical hair straightening treatments, including the allegedly [...]

  2. By A Flapper Daughter Responds. « Beauty Schooled on October 21, 2010 at 6:28 am

    [...] when skinny women earn $15K more than average-sized women and almost $30K more than heavier women, when beautiful people will earn [...]

  3. [...] also the rule that says formaldehyde is safe for use in cosmetics as long as we keep it to below 0.2 percent. That would be the memo that Brazilian Blowout lost when it put up to 12 percent formaldehyde in [...]

  4. By Breaking Brazilian Blowout News on January 31, 2012 at 7:24 am

    [...] in 2010 when the supposedly “formaldehyde-free” Brazilian Blowout hair straightening treatment tested positive for — irony alert! — [...]

  5. [...] we’ve known officially that supposedly “formaldehyde-free” Brazilian Blowout off-gasses formaldehyde since California OSHA published lab tests confirming thus in October [...]

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