Brazil has brought us several beauty trends that we now consider the norm. The Brazilian wax and straightening keratin treatment are just two examples, but the latest trend from Brazil has struck many as a bit more risky: it’s called velaterapia. A procedure meant to fix dry and damaged hair, velaterapia involves separating the hair into small sections, twisting it, and placing it under a small flame. Weird, right? We dug a little deeper to find out whether this is a beauty trend worth trying.
How Velaterapia Works
When the sections of hair are put under the candle flame, the burning causes the damaged parts of the hair to stick out. These parts are trimmed and the rest of the hair is given a deep conditioning treatment. The burning treatment supposedly opens up the hair follicles to make them more receptive to nutrients. The entire process takes about three and a half hours.
How Velaterapia Became a Trend
You may be wondering how something as off-putting as burning your own hair became something many of us are actually considering doing. As it turns out, Victoria’s Secret models such as Alessandra Ambrosia and Barbara Fiahlo have posted on social media about velaterapia. Fiahlo was one of the first to get people talking about the trend, but a few months ago Ambrosia posted a picture to her Instagram (pictured) of her receiving the treatment.
Despite its novelty and slight shock factor, velaterapia isn’t a very new practice: the unique hair treatment has been popular in South America since the 1960s. And it isn’t limited to salons: however potentially dangerous and the presence of the seemingly obvious “don’t-try-this-at-home” warning label, women there try to perform velaterapia on themselves at home all the time. Is this trend safe and worth the risk?
Risks of Velaterapia
The experts overwhelmingly say the trendy hair treatment is not worth the damage it can cause. Elizabeth Cunnane-Phillips, veteran trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Clinic in NYC, says there are other alternatives that won’t risk nearly as much for your hair.
“While burning split ends might remove the split in the hair, you are also creating a potential vulnerability to the fiber itself, which results in weaker strands,” she says. “There are a lot more effective ways to remove split ends than to burn it off. I would say, don’t take the risk.”
For those who are still interested in the potential benefits of velaterapia, the treatment costs $160 at the high-end salon Laces and Hair (where Victoria’s Secret model Allesandra Ambrosia had hers done). Several salons in New York will also perform the service.
So what do you think? Is velaterapia worth the possible risks or will you be keeping your locks clear of the flame? Have you had any other out of the ordinary hair treatments? Let us know in the comments.