What Is Velaterapia? Discover The Secret Behind The Brazilian Hair Burning Split End Treatment

I promise it's not as scary as it looks! Find out what Velaterapia is and discover the secrets behind the Brazilian hair treatments that literally burns off your split ends! Latin Times

Fire and hair don’t normally mix. Most stylists warn you to keep blow-dryers on a moderate heat, just in case anything decides to spark up. And while I wouldn’t recommend for you to start walking through fire in order to obtain awesome hair, there is a new hot technique to eliminate split ends and leave you with long, flowing, smooth hair: Velaterapia. Never heard of it? Well, admittedly, I hadn’t either until very recently, and don’t even get me started on how to pronounce it correctly. But what I learned is that Velaterapia is the answer to most women’s conundrum -- I want to grow my hair, but I have horrible split ends. Velaterapia, which is also known as candle cutting, is a technique in which a trained hair stylist uses the flame of a candle to burn split ends. The process is simple enough, but I warn you to not try this one at home because you will set your head on fire and it will be a disaster. Velaterapia begins with the stylist sectioning off dry hair, then twisting small sections until fly aways. The split ends then come poking out of the main hair twist. The hairs that are left out are quickly burned away with a candle flame.

Sound crazy? Well, Brazilians have apparently been burning their split ends off for generations. The hair treatment only recently became well known internationally after Victoria Secret model Barbara Fialho revealed just how she keeps her hair supple and smooth. In an interview with Fashionista, Fialho explained that due to the constant stress and torture she puts her hair through, Velaterapia keeps it manageable and healthy. When in her native Brazil, she visits Laces and Hair Salon in São Paolo and undergoes the treatment. “They burn the hair to get rid of split ends,” she explained. Laces also does “embroidery” therapy, where they meticulously cut only split ends throughout all the hair length. "It's unbelievable. You don't get shorter hair, but if you touch the treated side it feels so much smoother and healthier!”

After doing some further investigation, I discovered that Fialho also receives the candle cutting treatment stateside, and I was pleasantly surprised that she frequents Maria Bonita Salon in New York City to undergo Velaterapia treatment. Despite my fears, and considering my intense desire to have Brazilian model hair, I decided to undergo the candle cutting treatment myself. I was pleasantly surprised with the results. At the invitation of Fernanda Lacerda, owner of Maria Bonita, I went to undergo the process with my camera crew in tow. Maria Bonita is the only salon in New York City that specializes in Velaterapia, and stylist Ricardo Gomes is the only hair guru at the salon who knows just the right amount of hair to burn off.

After giving me a quick lesson in pronunciation and assuring me I would still have hair, Ricardo began twisting the small sections of my hair. He then burned the spilt ends section by section, leaving my hair ashy with rather smelly dreadlocks. My cameraman found that amusing. After my hair was burned with the candle, Ricardo washed my hair thoroughly and applied a deep conditioning treatment. This, he explained is the most vital step to the process. Velaterapia utilizes the flame and essentially cauterizes the hair. After the ash and dead split ends are washed away, the freshly flamed hair follicle is more receptive to nutrients, hence the deep conditioning treatment. While I was admittedly wary of Velaterapia, I was so shocked by the results. My hair was incredibly soft to the touch and completely smooth!

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Donovan Longo

Donovan Longo, staff reporter, joined the Latin Times team in February 2013 and has quickly become our resident pop culture expert. As a native New Yorker and Fordham University alumni, Donovan has always had her finger on the cultural pulse and is here to get you in the know.  As a follower of Donovan’s writing you will undoubtedly win a game of thrones, survive a zombie apocalypse, fall in love with a vampire and outsmart the CIA.