Would You Put Your Flyaways to the Torch?
When it comes to beauty, Brazilians have set the standards pretty high. From blowouts to waxes, everyone tends to follow Brazil’s lead—the country where some of world’s most famous supermodels hail from—Gisele Bündchen, Barbara Fialho and Alessandra Ambrosio. And currently, these unofficial spokeswomen for all things Brazilian beauty are obsessed with lighting their hair on fire… wait, what?
Ok, so they’re not setting their beautiful tresses ablaze, but the latest in-demand service called Velaterapia comes pretty close. Velaterapia involves holding a candle’s open flame to the hair to singe off flyaways and split ends. The stylists separate and twist off sections of dry hair. Due to the twisting, split ends will stand out prominently from the twist. The stylist will then grab a candle and run the flame up and down the twist to burn the flyaways off.
According to Lace and Hair, a high end salon in São Paolo that offers the treatment to clients like Barbara and Alessandra, it is 100% safe and effective. Their website describes the procedure as “a process where a flame cauterizes the hair, leaving behind a passage of nutrients to its interior, removes split ends and the impermeability of the hair caused by brushing and other chemicals.”
Another less flammable (but still flammable) option involves running the open flame along the twists just enough to get the hair follicles to open and make the split ends stand out. The stylist will then cut off all of the split ends followed by deep conditioning treatment. As many of Lace and Hair’s model clients have attested, their hair is left shinier, smoother and healthier for far longer than the ordinary trim. And who are we to argue with models about beauty?
If you’re Josue Perez, celebrity hairstylist to the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker and Cameron Diaz, you’re more than ready to argue. “I would not recommend this procedure to anyone. Although the Brazilian stylists claim to use this as a method to get rid of split ends, it would only dry out the hair even more. Burning hair at such a high temperature will completely dry out the hair, leaving the ends stripped of moisture,” says Perez. And he’s right—hair is as flammable as paper. One mistake could completely send one’s hair up in smoke.
For the same results without the risk, Perez recommends patience over a quick burn. “Instead of taking such a drastic measure, you could ask your stylist to cut your hair when it’s dry so that the stylist can clearly see the difference between the split, dead ends and your healthy hair, and ensure to only polish off the unwanted dead ends,” offers Perez.