The Crazy-Interesting Reason Women Are *Literally* Setting Their Hair on Fire

Don't try this at home.

Candle Hair Burning - Velaterapia Hair Treatment
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We, like all humans, assume that Victoria's Secret models are blessed with miraculously long, silky manes. But as one of their best-kept secrets continues to garner interest, we're learning that their Pantene-Pro-V-commercial-worthy hair is actually hard-earned. In fact, their best-kept secret could be a fire hazard.

Velaterapia, or "candle-cutting," is a technique born out of Brazil in the 1960s that involves using a lit candle stick to literally burn split ends off your hair, which is said to open the hair follicle and help it retain moisture.

Favored by VS Angels (and non-pyros) like Alessandra Ambrosio and Barbara Fialho, the trend has taken off on the internet, with more and more women subjecting their strands to a naked flame. But Angel endorsements aside, is it wise to make like Usher and let it burn?

Here's how it works: First, a stylist separates your hair into small sections, twisting it so the dead, split cuticles stick out. Then, she takes a candle stick and glide it up and down each section, singeing off the breakage. Afterwards, the hair is given a deep conditioning treatment, packed with vitamins, proteins, amino acids, and keratin.

"It's more effective than a normal haircut when client wants to keep hair length and get rid only off the split ends," explains Fernanda Lacerda of the Maria Bonita Salon in Soho, one of the most well-known Brazilian salons for the treatment. "With the hair twisted, only the split ends are burned off, so pretty much all length is kept."

Candle Hair Burning - Velaterapia Hair Treatment

(Image credit: Marie Claire)

In addition to preserving length while banishing frayed ends, it will make your hair look and feel healthier, silkier, and shinier, says Lacerda. But while the treatment is said to work for all hair types, even chemically treated hair (although we'd advise you to tread lightly in this arena), your hair should be *at least* collar bone length, and curly hair should be blow-dried straight beforehand. The whole process can take as long as four hours and ranges in price from $150 to $200.

While it goes without saying that you shouldn't try this at home, it's also important to make sure that you're going to a salon that specializes in this treatment. If that's not readily available, just stick to a good old-fashioned trim. Or, better yet, book a trip to São Paulo, and buy a ticket for us too?

Lauren Valenti
Beauty Editor

Lauren is the former beauty editor at Marie Claire. She love to while away the hours at coffee shops, hunt for vintage clothes, and bask in the rough-and-tumble beauty of NYC. She firmly believes that solitude can be a luxury if you’ve got the right soundtrack—that being the Rolling Stones, of course.