Velaterapia – safe or loco?

Velaterapia – the latest Brazilian beauty craze

With all eyes firmly placed on Brazil currently, should we be following their hair and beauty crazes as well? Model Barbara Fialho revealed that she’s an avid fan of a procedure called ‘Velaterapia’ which uses an open flame to burn off split ends. Apparently fellow Brazilian beauties Alessandra Ambrosio and Isabeli Fontana are also fans of the treatment. But is it really the best way to rid your hair of split ends?

Barbara Fialho

Barbara Fialho

Ian Carmichael, personal hairdresser to the Queen and a senior top stylist at Trevor Sorbie, says “The concept was first created in old barber shops, to seal the ends of the hair and is often done to this day but by professionals. But today’s techniques to seal and protect the ends of the hair have moved drastically forward with the help of treatments, serums and products, while modern day cutting techniques such as twisting the ends and removing the split ends with freehand cutting are more reliable.

Velaterapia being used

Velaterapia being used

Former London Hairdresser of the Year and Organic Colour Expert, Karine Jackson says, “It’s an incredibly old fashioned technique dating back to the 16th century – they believed that hair was a living thing that bled and needed sealing, which is why they did it! In fact it’s a tradition best left with the leeches… Burning off the split ends could singe the healthy ends of the hair and will dull the colour. Hair should be treated like a fabric. Once it starts to fray you have to cut it to keep it in optimum condition or the damage will spread.

Three times winner of Wales and South West Hairdresser of the Year and ghd Ambassador Ken Picton agrees, “Whilst there are benefits to trying to seal hair to retain its moisture and condition there are products out there that do these things better and are less risky. As a professional hairdresser I’d say when putting an open flame anywhere near anything flammable there’s a high level of risk involved. To be honest, if it worked that well it’d still be used widely but it’s not something you see in the industry. It won’t take off in the UK where we can make better use of heat and products: I would recommend using Kerastase Fibre Architect as it seals and repairs split ends, especially if you use the heat of straightening irons to lock the product in.”