Um... why is Alessandra Ambrosio lighting her hair on fire?

Where Victoria’s Secret models go, beauty fanatics often follow. The latest adventure a wing-wearing runway stalker has taken us on is down to the salon, to get our hair set on fire.

Recently, Alessandra Ambrosio shared a photo of herself (above) perched in a salon chair… while a stylist holds a candle to a twisted segment of her hair. And yes, we do mean a lit candle. The model captioned the snap “Friday treat”, leaving followers to wonder what exactly was going on.

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For the uninitiated (so… most of us) this technique is called ‘velaterapia’, and it aims to keep the hair free of split ends and flyaways by burning them off with a naked flame. Ambrosio’s not the only model burning her split ends away — last year, Brazilian model Barbara Fialho told Fashionista she also undergoes the treatment.

Velaterapia takes a couple of hours, and costs over $160 at the high-end Sao Paulo salon Laces and Hair, where Ambrosio’s photo was taken.

However, it turns out Brazil isn’t the only place you can get your split ends singed off.

The treatment has been popular in South America for decades, and some women even do it themselves. You can also get velaterapia done in New York, as one intrepid Daily Mail journalist discovered. And yes, it absolutely does smell as bad as you imagine.

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Fans of the treatment say it works by ‘cauterising’ the hair. They also say the heat from the candle helps the hair absorb conditioning treatments better. (Post continues after gallery.)

This explanation is about as realistic as a unicorn jumping over a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow – but with more chance of setting your whole head on fire.

Unlike broken skin, hair does not need to be ‘cauterised’ since split ends cannot become infected.

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Moreover, if putting a naked flame to your hair really did ‘cauterise’ it, that would leave the hair strand less open to absorbing moisturising treatments, not more open.

Brazilian model Barbara Fialho also swears by 'velaterapia' (via Instagram)

Burning split ends off might work as a temporary fix - like cutting off broken cuticles - but in the long term, like any form of heat damage, it will leave your hair strands in a weaker condition.

Unlike other forms of heat damage, it also comes with the risk of SETTING YOUR HEAD ON FIRE. Hair is highly flammable. Even if you're going to a trained expert, there's still a huge risk.

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A risk that really doesn't seem worth it for very briefly smoother strands.

What's the weirdest hair treatment you've ever had?