Brazil is known for its beautiful cities, beaches and music. And the South American country's latest export is helping women here have beautiful hair.
The Brazilian Blowout is a keratin-based hair treatment that makes hair behave for up to 12 weeks.
Although the treatment has been around for a while in fashion hotbeds such as Los Angeles and New York - you know how long it takes for trends to make it here - the Brazilian Blowout is finally making its way to local salons and seducing women with the promise of care-free grooming.
"It is a fabulous product," says Tamara Smith, hair specialist at Salon Capri in South Tampa. "It eliminates frizz, so you don't have frizzy hair. You just have shiny, healthy looking hair. Everybody and their mom is doing it."
Smith says the treatment is especially helpful for those with dry, damaged hair, because it puts keratin and protein back into the hair. It's also perfect for people who have a tough time styling their own hair.
Flo LaBrado, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, is on her third Brazilian. After researching several keratin treatments, she settled on the Brazilian Blowout.
"Rheumatoid arthritis can make it very difficult for me to get dressed, tie my shoes and do my hair," says LaBrado, who has thick, black hair past her shoulders. "It makes life so much easier. It reduces my hairdo time, and it allows me to maintain my hair without dealing with a lot of the complications of the disease."
"It looks full when you first get it done," says Jackie Downer, whose short hair was full of body after taking a swim a week following her treatment. "Thin hair is something that runs in my family. And unfortunately, the older you get the thinner it gets. (With the Brazilian Blowout) you can curl and go, wash and go. You don't even have to blow dry it if you don't want to, and it's still manageable."
"I just got out of the pool and rinsed my hair," she marvels.
Unlike traditional chemical treatments, the Brazilian works on any hair type, even those with bleached, color-treated or permed hair, Smith says.
And unlike some popular keratin treatments on the market, the Brazilian Blowout doesn't contain dangerous carcinogens, such as formaldehyde.
"When you have formaldehyde, the hair has to cure for three to four days before you're able to put any water or anything on it," Smith says. "This is a keratin complex with amino acids and protein. It's not going to chemically restructure your hair."
The Brazilian takes about 90 minutes to apply. Your hair is washed, the solution is applied, then hair is blow-dried and flat-ironed. A second rinse removes any residue; then you're free to style your hair anyway you like.
The treatment isn't cheap. The service can cost $200 or more, depending on the length of your hair (and the zip code of the salon you visit).
Some cosmetology schools have begun offering the Brazilian at big savings. At the International Academy of Cosmetology and Barbering in West Tampa, the treatment costs $100 for 2 ounces (that's enough to cover hair that goes past the shoulders). Each additional ounce is $20. And the treatment is applied by a teacher.
To make the Brazilian last, stylists recommend you use a sulfate-free shampoo.
You can read more about the Brazilian Blowout and get a list of salons in the area that offer the treatment at TBO.com, Keyword: Hot Pursuits.