Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Good Comment...

I want to share this comment I received today as well as my response.

Comment:
"Dear Lynn, it's great to know that there are some conscientious professional's in the hair care industry such as your self, willing to take the time, to avoid unseen dangers from carcinogenics in the products were often exposed to.
I also have a great deal of concern regarding manufacturers promoting their hair product's with out any significant and honest data to back their claims. Ultimately leaving the consumer, and operator as well as our environment at risk.

Still though, I can't help but wonder how someone, generally speaking... Of whom may be lacking that degree necessary in chemistry would be able to safeguard them self's from falling prey to using such alternative based product's known of making safe claims? Only to later find that NOW (a year later), a NEW study has deemed them dangerous as well?

There is allot that schepticism envolving how the FDA and other governing bodies regulate what is considered safe for human concumption, and that doesn't end here.
I believe that even being a chemist isn't always enogh to be able to distiguish what some chemicals are, or how they may react under certain conditions.
Take for instance that... There are chemical that when they combine with other factors, will morph into, or mimic particular chemicals that would inadvertently might at some point in time may be deemed unsafe, but since they cannot be categorized the same, they manage to slip under the radar, that is until eventually someone raises a red flag.

One of these so called alternative based chemicals know as Aldehyde [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldehyde[/url] may be just that, and is often found in many of the Keratin based thermal straightening systems.

So when is safe really safe?"

My response:
Dear xxxxx:
You raise an interesting question. When is safe really safe? I am not a chemist, that is true. And I only have the information provided to me by the companies I choose to work with – which are very likely biased.

Personally, for me – it was the smell of formaldehyde I was most concerned with. I had many people ask me about “Brazilian Straightening” and I was really uninterested in investing in it because I did not want to be around the smell. When I heard about a formaldehyde-free product, I was very interested because I knew there were many people who wanted this service. Also, as an added bonus, it’s pretty fun to do on someone because it can make such a dramatic impact on their appearance and in their lives!

As a hairdresser who works with chemicals every day, I have made a choice to expose myself to certain risks. I inhale fumes from hair color, perms, this procedure and other types of relaxers on a regular basis. Anyone who colors their hair or pursues other chemical means of altering their appearance is making a similar choice. I think the best I can do is be as informed as I can and know the answers to questions people may have (hence I know what the product contains and, in a general way, how it works). I have written a lot about my experience with the product/procedure because I think it helps people make their own choices. I will reiterate: I am not trying to push this product.

I was just telling a client the other day that I don’t solicit this service. She was sitting in my chair and someone came in to Josephine (in the next chair to the left) whom she had done the Keratin Smoothing on. The hairdresser to the right of me asked the client how they were liking it so far. I was in the middle of these two stations so my client overheard the whole conversation and asked what they were talking about. Jim, explained to her that that the client had had this “new smoothing treatment’ done to their hair and what is does etc. etc. Later on, she said to me it sounded exactly like what she wanted for her hair and to set up an appointment right away. Then she told me that I should tell her about new treatments like this, and she said it in a way that made me feel she was disappointed I had not.

I thought about it for a minute and when I had it straight in my own head I explained to her that personally, I feel really uncomfortable suggesting an expensive treatment like this to my clients (unless they ask me about it) because I don’t want them to feel like I am ‘pushing’ the service on them. I may by hyper-sensitive about these things, having worked at Aveda in the beginning of my career and deciding that pushing products is not what I got into hair to do, but that is an aside.

I explained to her that this treatment is something that I talk about extensively on my hair blog and that people who want it, seek it out. In general, I find that to be the best way because the people who want this service have done a lot of research on it and know what it will and won’t do and what to expect. It varies from person to person depending on the hair we are starting with, but people who have sought it out on their own tend to have a realistic expectation of what it can do for them. I try and make sure they know that it is not going to be like a Japanese relaxer (which I used to do) and make the hair pin-straight, and that it will be something that reverts back to natural over time. To make a long story short (too late) I told her that I perform this service several times a week and that is without “selling” it to people – they find me and I like it that way.

When I do hair, and when I perform this service, I do a very meticulous job. I don’t cut corners. I take my work ethic very seriously and it is my personal philosophy that this is what will bring me referrals and keep clients coming back. I do hair because I love to do it and it’s fun. So far as I can tell, this philosophy has served me well.

I chose Keratin Smoothing by Coppola because it is the best alternative (that I am aware of) for the desired results and it does not contain formaldehyde (which is a smell I don’t want to be around). If people have concerns about the safety of this or other chemical services, I would suggest they check with their doctor before having them done. I don’t know if people use the links much on the left side of the page, but you can see all the photos of the before-and-after of some models as well as feedback on their experiences. I hope that this information helps people in making their decisions and has some useful information.

Thank you for your well thought-out comment, I am going to post this dialog as a post in the blog especially because you give some interesting information about aldehyde and it can help people in making their decisions.

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