Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Cosmetic Industry The strange case of Dr. Braids Pomades and Mr. Brazil

  • The strange case of Dr. Braids Pomades and Mr. Brazil

    Posted by Lab on March 21, 2023 at 12:11 pm


    Hey guys! First of all, sorry for the bad pun in the title of this topic (I’ve always been into gothic literature) ????

    Well… Recently, my Brazilian homeland is going through a cosmetic crisis when it comes to hair pomades (what terrible timing, I’ve worked on a lot of them in the last few months), and I’d like to get your opinion from you chemists from other countries. I’ll summarize the situation…

    Not so long ago, cases of temporary blindness, eye irritation, itching around the eyes (among other side effects) began to appear in people who had made use of braids pomades. It started with one case, a while later another appeared, and another, and another, and we reached more than 100 people who reported adverse effects after using this type of product. Obviously, the health surveillance agency responsible for the cosmetic sector and all its regularization (ANVISA) became aware of the fact and began to position itself (with some delay).

    The first directive (which took a while to come out) was a temporally ban on ALL braid pomades in our country. They could no longer be marketed while surveillance was carrying out its studies and investigating the case (the estimate was 90 consecutive days until a decision was made). It was very abrupt, entrepreneurs and salon owners were very confused and angry. But the agency held a conference with several of these people to listen, understand and seek solutions.

    Well, after some time (even before these measures) a fact was noticed: the adverse effects occurred in people who somehow wet their hair in some situation (beach, pool, rain). It was said that the product “dripped” into the eyes and caused such an effect. Okay, it makes sense.

    This week, ANVISA announced that these adverse effects are PROBABLY caused by an ingredient called (let’s see if you get it right) …………………………….. Ceteareth-20 (I literally went “????” with this for real). However, not every product containing Ceteareth-20 caused these effects, so the investigation concluded that the irritating products contained this ingredient in a percentage GREATER THAN 20%. Well then. They updated the guidelines and now all ointments with MORE THAN 20% CETEARETH-20 are banned until the end of the investigation (ie this is a stopgap measure).

    ANVISA also published a list of products that were considered safe under these circumstances so that consumers can use them again (and it is being updated periodically). That is, until the end of the investigation, only the products on this list can be marketed, distributed and used. Recommendations were made and guidelines issued for consumers to use them safely, especially on avoiding contact with water and, while rinsing the product, preventing it from dripping under the eyes when tilting the head.

    Anyway. Long story, no definitive conclusion yet.

    So, what is your opinion, more familiar chemists, about this? What are the Ceteareth-20 concentration restrictions in your countries? Could the agency be mistaken or does this really make sense? Other ideas?

    Keep in mind that this type of product has been very popular in Brazil for many years and there have never been case reports like these. Below is the link to a more complete report on the subject, in Brazilian Portuguese:


    Thanks so much for your time and contribution to the discussion (:


    ketchito replied 1 year, 3 months ago 2 Members · 1 Reply
  • 1 Reply
  • ketchito

    March 22, 2023 at 5:06 pm

    Hi! I actually talked with a brazilian cosmetic scientist, and he mentioned that consumers, because they wanted to make a specific hair style, they used a lot of the product. At higher concentration than usual, many products can have some irritation potential.

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