Every couple of years, something comes on to the hairdressing scene and just doesn't go away. A few years back it was the Brazilian Keratin Treatment, sometimes referred to as the semi-permanent blow-dry. Then we had ombré, which somehow mutated into several forms that claim to be different, including dip-dye, balayage and flamboyage.

And the lastest one comes, once again, from Brazil, although it'll take more than intrigue to book yourself an appointment. Called velaterapia (literally 'candle therapy'), the process involves taking a naked flame to twisted sections of the hair, with the aim of removing and cauterising split ends in the process.

A couple of weeks back, Victorias Secret model Barbara Fialho told fashionista.com that she gets the treatment whenever she returns to hometown Sao Paolo, but apparently also frequents Brazilian salon Maria Bonita in NYC.

The process is as follows:

  • First, the hair is twisted into sections and the flame run up and down the midlengths several times. Not the eds, though, because they are too fine and would instantly just bur to nothing.
  • This both 'cauterises' the split ends and the heat opens the cuticle and softens the hair, allowing a conditioning treatment to sink in better.
  • The hair is then wet and the treatment is applied, and developed under heat for 10 minutes.
  • The treatment is rinsed off and the hair is blow-dried.

Before rinsing. What you  can see are the burned split ends and bits of candle wax that have fallen onto the hair.

An example of the effect velaterapia can have on hair condition.

That is actually all there is to it.

This treatment at Maria Bonita will set you back $150-200, though. It's a lot to pay to have somebody attack you with fire, but it is getting increasingly popular with even American women and may just be the next must-have treatment that you'll be the last of your friends to get.