Sunday, August 8, 2010

Brazilian Blowout: Go for the cheap deal, or splurge for the experienced Specialist?

As you probably already know if you are my client, read this blog, or know me at all...Brazilian Blowout is one of my favorite things on the planet. It has changed my life dramatically, both as frizzy-haired girl (can you saw Jew-fro??) and as a hairdresser. So it BREAKS MY HEART to hear some of the tragic stories I have, about other stylists either doing it wrong, and/or misleading the client as to what product is being used on them. I've said it before, and I'll say it again...if the price seems TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, it probably is. This product is expensive, and doing it properly (and well) requires special training and equipment, extra time and personalized care (Halle Berry and Lindsay Lohan have both had it...but should their hair be treated the same? No...duh?) So ask some questions, such as, how did the stylist get certified? Did you know this can be done by simply watching a 5 minute video? Or, a more professional stylist may have taken an actual class or workshop. Unfortunately, BB salon locator will not tell you which method someone trained by, and everyone is given the same certificate. So how can you know? Research and interview the stylist. Some tips can be found here at A Mom in Red High Heels.

When looking at the price, also consider the cost of the stylist's time; if she charges $30 for a haircut, what does that say about her skill and experience even prior to learning Brazilian Blowout? (Sorry, Kansas...I am going by city standards, which generally bill a good haircut from an experienced stylist at $75-100.)

This is a relatively new service, and everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon, but you don't want someone from the bandwagon messing up your hair! Even if your Mom's friend owns a salon and has been cutting your hair since your were 2, and you trust her implicitly, but she just learned how to do BB, she may not be the one to go to for this.

Allow me to share some examples of what I've seen and heard:

"My co-worker got it done for half the price."

A long-time color and haircut client of mine (let's call her Jenny) had a Brazilian Blowout with me in December. She wanted another one to help her beat the summer heat (and humidity, ick!) but it wasn't in her budget. A co-worker of hers said she's had it done for really cheap, and curiosity set in. Jenny called the salon, asked a few questions and made an appointment. They jumped right in and shampooed her hair, then she saw the stylist pull out a purple bottle (the Brazilian Blowout bottle is bronze, as she had seen in my salon where we proudly display the products we are using.) Jenny asked the stylist, "What is that?" and was told it was "The Brazilian Blowout solution." Not one to have the wool pulled over her eyes, Jenny asked to see the bottle. She engaged the stylist in a conversation, in which the stylist claimed the product was "just the same as Brazilian Blowout," but when asked about details the stylist fell short on knowledge of her product, and it became more and more clear to Jenny that it was definitely not "just the same as Brazilian Blowout" (3 day wait to wash hair, for one thing.) In the end, she left without having the service done. I don't even know what they were trying to use on her; I have searched and searched and not found any keratin treatment that comes in a purple bottle.

"I got Brazilian Blowout with a friend, and hers looked great but mine got fried."

A client I've seen a few times for BB was telling a friend she was visiting how amazing it was, and a local place had a "bring a friend" deal, so they both got it. The friend's hair (curly/frizzy, fine, colored) came out great; nice waves when air-dried, easy to blow straight, as it should be. My client's delicate, heavily-highlighted hair on the other hand, literally melted. It looked like what I've seen when someone uses a flat-iron overseas without a proper converter. Seriously! Several areas of her hair were absolutely MELTED. Please note that heat damage is virtually irreparable; it can be re-moisturized, but really needs to be cut off. When she asked the stylist what happened, he guessed that 'maybe he used too high of a heat setting for her hair condition.' YA THINK???

"The salon down the street is offering it for a lot less."

Scenario 1: There is a salon about a mile away from mine, which always has some kind of Groupon or other 'deal' going on.  I have recently learned that not only is the owner not Brazilian Blowout-Certified, but she doesn't even have a CA Cosmetology license!  She does do them herself, as well as her other stylists, but guess who else?  She has hired a beauty school student, also not certified (you must have your stet license before BB will train and certify you,) to do these BB deals.  This makes my head spin!  It is not 'in' me to rat her out to any of these regulating boards/companies, but I have seen several clients who have had bad experiences there.

Scenario 2: A salon down the street has a dry-erase board out front saying they do Brazilian Blowout. So, I pop my head in and ask to buy the BB shampoo. They don't have it. That's weird...I ask a few more questions and it turns out they don't do Brazilian Blowout at all, they don't even know it's a brand name, they're just advertising something they've heard is popular. I ask what would be done on my hair if I made an appointment there for "Brazilian Blowout," and the guy says, "A Brazilian Blowout." I reply, "I thought you just said you don't have Brazilian Blowout? So what would they be doing to my hair?" The poor guy doesn't have a clue how to answer my question. Awesome.

Scenario 3: Another salon in my general area has been advertising BB for a super-low price, but I've heard from three clients now that "theirs doesn't work." Once again...there is only ONE Brazilian Blowout! There's no "mine" or "theirs," but there is proper application and execution. After interviewing these clients, I have learned that this salon is basically using the BB solution (maybe? Not sure really) as a conditioning treatment. They shampoo the hair, pop it under the dryer, and rinse it out. In other words they skip all of the important steps; light, consistent application, blowdrying, flat-ironing at a high temperature to seal it...they just put it on and rinse it out. This does soften and defrizz the hair, maybe for a week or two, but it certainly won't give the amazing results that a true Brazilian Blowout will. Why would the salon do this? Lots of money for virtually no work, I

"I love my hair, but it burned my scalp and caused flaking, sores, hair loss..."

Brazilian Blowout is not intended to be applied to the scalp. While there may be some incidental contact, it is meant to be applied to the hair only, not slathered onto the scalp like color. It doesn't shock me that doing so would irritate or suffocate the skin...after all, the treatment is designed to fill in and seal off cracks in the hair, so it could presumably do the same to the skin or follices if improperly applied to the scalp. Wanna bet this stylist got "certified" by watching a 5-minute video, rather than taking a live class where they could see it done start to finish and ask questions? Yes, unfortunately, this is an option.

"I tried Brazilian Blowout before, but I hated waiting several days to wash my hair. I was so excited to read on your website that yours doesn't have a wait time."

This poor client has either been bait+switched, or straight-up lied to. I handled it more delicately when discussing it with her, but here's the deal: There is only ONE Brazilian Blowout. It says all over their website that it has "No Downtime." You can wash, style, pull back, even braid your hair that same day and it will not hurt the treatment's results. Most other keratin treatments make the client leave with the product ironed into their hair, and it cannot get wet, sweat on, clipped, bent or ponytailed for 24-96 hours. That's FOUR days! Ick. Anyway, if you have to wait before doing any of these things, it's NOT BRAZILIAN BLOWOUT.

I'm sorry to get so worked-up over this, but it really is emotional for me. I LOOOOVE my Brazilian Blowout, but if any of the above things happened to me, I'd be PISSED. How do these things happen? The false advertising and trademark infringement can be difficult to track down and pursue legally, especially when it is spoken and not written. There are various levels of training for this service, and the certification process has become rather simple. This leaves it in the clients' hands to research the stylist and make a wise decision. For tips on how to do so, I will once again refer you to this blog post from A Mom in Red High Heels.

No comments: