In the ‘80s asking someone whether or not they recently got a perm wasn’t met with a difficult answer. Most women were opting for a very curly or permed look. Then the ‘90s came on the scene. The television show Friends ushered in the era of the Jennifer Aniston shag cut and stylists put away the perm rods. Today we are starting to see waves and curls flowing on the streets again. Women are picking up the curling iron more often to create texture. However, perming is another option that hairstylists are starting to use again and many are now calling it a texture service. I am convinced that abolishing the word perm on stylist menus is meant to prevent a client from conjuring up 5th grade images of Annie. Perms have come a long way and are not nearly as stinky and damaging as they once were.
My number one tip is consultation. Nothing is better than talking about the look you are seeking and finding out if and how it is possible to achieve it. Try to find a picture of a curl that you want. Visual aids are the best way to make sure you and the stylist are thinking of the same type of curl. Many women will choose curls that have been created with a curling iron and no perm can create that look. But a soft, wavy perm may help give a woman body in her hair so she can recreate the look and have it last all day. There are many different perm rod sizes which control the amount of curl you will have to work with.
Over the last 20 years women have been adding body and texture with color and highlighting. This creates a new issue for stylists to consider when a client shows interest in a perm. During a perm consultation the stylist will want to know the history of your hair color. It is important to be aware of the “layers” that are in your hair. Old highlights do not disappear just because you have covered them up. Perming over old highlights is a completely different process than changing to a solid color. The stylist may do a strand test to see if you hair is strong enough to take a curl. If I test someone’s hair and see that the porosity or elasticity is lacking, I will not perform a perm, at least not that same day. If necessary, a stylist may insist on a serious home product regimen to get the hair healthy and ready for the perm. If the cuticle and cortex layer of the hair are weak or damaged and a perm is given, hair can look like droopy noodles or a fuzzy mess. A series of bad hair days will follow if your hair is permed when it is in bad condition and many haircuts will be the only therapy that works. A few other areas to consider are how your hair color, if you use it, will hold up to a perm and how you can recharge your hair color so that it doesn’t fade.
If you change styles often you may want to know how long the curl will last. That usually depends on the length of your hair and how often you get a trim. But the perming chemical has now been added to the history of your hair whether or not you are still scrunching it up or have started smoothing it out in a few months.
If you and your stylist have decided that you are a good candidate for a texture service, you will need to have a short lesson on the care of your hair. With your newfound waves or curls comes the need for new styling techniques. A new product line may be needed to keep your curl as bouncy and healthy as possible. New brushing, scrunching and blow-drying techniques may need to be learned. In today’s “world of hair” it is all about the finishing products, which can make all the difference in keeping your look current.
Perming may or may not be the way for you to have luscious curls. If not, dust off the curling iron and rollers because texture is coming back. tpw