The Perm Rage: Brief History of Perms
Perms have come a long way since the 80s, where these bouncy curls were all the rage. The word “perm” is short for “permanent wave,” which means that the hair is treated with a chemical solution to break down the natural bond.
After that, the hair is wrapped around rods and rinsed with an oxidizer, forming a new bond that keeps its shape even after washing. The first known evidence of perming comes from the ancient Egyptians who used wooden rods covered with mud to create curls in their hair.
Fast forward to the 1900s, when Marcel Grateau invented a curling iron that could heat up and curl hair from different angles. But it wasn’t until a few years later that German inventor Karl Nessler created a machine that used chemicals to create permanent waves.
During the 1970s, perms became more accessible for home use, leading up to their peak in popularity during the 1980s. Nowadays, perms are still trendy among people looking for stylish and low-maintenance hairstyles.
The Science Behind Perming: How It Works
Perming essentially breaks down disulfide bonds present in each strand of hair using chemicals like ammonium thioglycolate or cysteamine hydrochloride. The hair is then reshaped around perm rods or rollers into whatever shape or size desired.
Once shaped, another chemical called hydrogen peroxide is applied to reformulate those broken-down bonds into new ones that hold their form even after shampooing.
There are different types of perms depending on how tightly you want your curls and what type of solution you use. Acid perms use glyceryl monothioglycolate as its active ingredient while alkaline perms use ammonium thioglycolate.
The type of perm solution you choose will depend on your hair’s natural texture and the desired outcome. Perming can damage your hair if not done properly, so it’s essential to have it done by a professional stylist who can recommend the best solutions and techniques for your hair type.
Types of perms based on the size of the curl
Perms come in all shapes and sizes, with various types of curls that can change your hair’s look and texture dramatically. The most common types of perms are body wave, loose curl, and spiral perm.
1. Body Wave Perm
The body wave perm is perfect for those who want a natural-looking wave with a soft bounce. This type of perm creates a larger curl pattern than the other two, making it ideal for those with longer hair who want to add volume and movement without going too extreme. The process involves using larger rollers or rods to create more space between each curl.
This gives the hair a relaxed and flowy look without appearing too tight or defined. Body wave perms typically last around three to five months before needing to be redone.
2. Loose Curl Perm
A loose curl perm creates smaller curls than a body wave, but still offers more volume and shape than natural straight hair. This is a popular option for people with fine or thin hair as it gives the illusion of thicker locks.
The stylist will use smaller rollers or rods to create tighter curls that are easier to manage than tight spiral curls. Loose curl perms usually last between three to six months depending on how well you care for your permed hair.
3. Spiral Perm
Spiral perms are perfect for those looking for defined curls from root to tip. It’s an ideal choice if you have long hair since it shows off the length while adding texture and movement.
This type of perm involves wrapping small sections of hair around narrow rods from top to bottom, creating long spirals all over your head. Spiral perms give your locks an elegant look that’s perfect for any occasion but require more maintenance than other types; they tend to last between four to six months before needing another touch-up.
Types of Perms Based on the Method Used
Perms can be classified into different types based on the method used to create them. Understanding the differences between these methods can help you choose the right type of perm for your hair type and desired results.
1. Acid Perm
Acid perms use a mild, acidic solution to break down and reshape the hair’s internal bonds. These perms are often recommended for people with fine or delicate hair because they are less damaging and harsh than other types of perms. Acid perms generally produce smaller, tighter curls compared to other types.
The process for getting an acid perm is similar to other types of perms, but with a different solution. The stylist will start by applying a protective cream around your scalp and ears to prevent chemical burns.
Then they will wrap your hair around rollers or rods, apply the acidic solution, and cover it with a plastic cap to allow it to process. The processing time varies from person to person but usually takes around 20-45 minutes depending on how tight you want your curls.
2. Alkaline Perm
Alkaline perms use a strong alkaline solution that has a high pH level to break down and reshape the hair’s internal bonds. Alkaline solutions are stronger than acidic solutions, which means that these types of perms generally produce bigger, looser curls that last longer than acid perms. The process for getting an alkaline perm is similar to getting an acid perm.
However, instead of using an acidic solution like in acid perm, an alkaline solution is used in this type of perm application. This makes it possible for people with naturally straight or limp hair to achieve long-lasting curls without having any damage done by harsher chemicals or heat styling tools.
3. Exothermic Perm
Exothermic perms use a solution that generates heat during the processing time. This heat can help speed up the process and create more defined and long-lasting curls. Exothermic perms are generally recommended for people with thicker or coarser hair because they can handle the harsher chemicals in these solutions.
The process of getting an exothermic perm is similar to other types of perms, but with a different solution. The stylist will start by applying a protective cream around your scalp and ears to prevent chemical burns.
Then they will wrap your hair around rollers or rods, apply the exothermic solution, and cover it with a plastic cap to allow it to process. The processing time varies from person to person but usually takes around 15-25 minutes depending on how tight you want your curls.
Choosing the right type of perm depends on your hair type and desired results. Be sure to discuss these options with your stylist before getting the perm done so you can achieve optimal results.
Types of perms based on hair texture and length
1. Digital Perm for Straight Hair
Perms aren’t just for those with curly or wavy hair. A digital perm is a type of perm that’s perfect for individuals who have straight hair but are looking for a more effortless, beachy wave look.
This type of perm uses heated rods, which are controlled digitally and can be adjusted to create various wave patterns. The difference between a digital perm and a regular perm lies in the way the rods are heated.
With traditional perms, the rods are heated from the outside using chemical solutions; however, with digital perms, heat is generated from within the rod by using an electric charge. Once the rods are placed in your hair, your stylist will apply a solution that helps break down the natural bonds in your hair.
Then they will apply heat using a specialized machine to set the curl pattern. After some time has passed, your stylist will rinse out the solution and neutralize it before removing the rods.
2. Stack Perm for Short Hair
If you have short hair and want tight curls that last long without any frizz or damage to your locks, consider getting a stack perm. This type of perm involves wrapping small sections of hair around thin rods close to your scalp at an angle so that it creates layers upon layers of curls stacked on top of one another.
A stack perm is perfect if you’re looking for something dramatic as it gives volume and body to short hairstyles without making them look outdated or too 80s. It can also work wonders on fine or thinning hair types as it adds thickness and texture.
The process of getting a stack perm is quite similar to other types of perms. Your stylist will first assess your hair type and determine which size rod would be best suited for creating tight curls close to your scalp that cascade down towards the ends of your hair.
They will then apply a perm solution to your hair and wrap it tightly around the rods before setting it with heat. After the solution has been rinsed out, your stylist will style your hair with a diffuser or let it air dry naturally.
3. Multi-Textured Perm for Layered Hair
A multi-textured perm is perfect for individuals who have layered hair that’s in need of some definition and volume. This type of perm creates different types of curls on various layers of hair, which gives the illusion of more fullness. To create this look, your stylist will use different-sized rods to wrap small sections of hair around them.
The size and position of each rod depend on the layer they are working on, creating texture throughout the entirety of your locks. This type of perm takes a bit more effort and time as the stylist has to carefully consider which layers need what type of curl pattern and how it will look once finished.
However, if you have layered hair and want to add bounce without any harm to your locks, this could be an excellent choice. These are some types of perms that can be suited based on individual needs such as straight or short hair or layered locks.
Before getting a perm done, consult with a professional hairstylist for their opinion on which type would work best for you based on several factors like color-treated or damaged tresses and desired outcome.
A well-done perm can give you effortless curls without much maintenance; however, it is crucial to take care of permed locks with proper aftercare like using sulfate-free shampoo/conditioner or avoiding heat styling tools.
The Process of Getting a Perm
Consultation with a Stylist
Before getting a perm, it is important to have a consultation with your stylist. During the consultation, the stylist will assess your hair type and condition, as well as discuss your desired outcome for the perm. They may also ask about any previous chemical treatments or allergies to ensure that the process goes smoothly.
It is important to be honest with your stylist during this consultation and communicate clearly what you want from the perm. They may also offer suggestions based on your hair type and face shape to help you achieve the best possible results.
Preparing the Hair for Perming
In order for hair to hold a perm, it must be in good condition and free from any product buildup or residue. Prior to perming, your stylist will likely shampoo your hair with a clarifying shampoo to remove any buildup.
Next, they will section off the hair and apply a protective cream or lotion around the edges of the scalp and ears to prevent any chemical burns or irritation. The hair will then be combed through and divided into small sections in preparation for wrapping.
Applying Solution and Wrapping Hair
After preparing the hair, it is time for application of solution. Your stylist may use either an acid-based perm solution or an alkaline-based solution depending on your hair type.
The solution is applied carefully onto each small section of wrapped hair using rods that are chosen based on desired curl size.
Once all sections are wrapped tightly around their respective rods, another layer of protective cream or lotion may be applied over everything before leaving it alone for some time.
Processing Time & Rinsing Out Solution
Depending on which product was chosen by you & your stylist (acid vs alkaline), processing times can vary greatly but usually range anywhere from 15-45 minutes. It is important to keep in mind that over-processing can lead to hair damage or breakage.
Once the processing time is complete, the stylist will help you rinse out the solution thoroughly while hair is still wrapped in rods.
They may also apply a neutralizer to stop the chemical reaction and lock in curls. When everything is rinsed out, they will remove the rods and gently comb through your hair with a wide-tooth comb.
And voila! You have luscious curls ready for styling!
Aftercare for Permed Hair
Getting a perm is like getting a new haircut: you want to take care of it to make it last as long as possible. Perms can be high-maintenance, but with the proper aftercare, you can keep curls bouncy and beautiful. Here are some tips on how to care for permed hair:
1. Using Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner
Sulfates are ingredients commonly found in shampoos and conditioners that produce bubbles and lather. While this may seem like a desirable trait in hair products, sulfates can strip hair of natural oils and dry out the scalp.
Since permed hair is more fragile than non-permed hair, using sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner is important because it helps prevent damage from harsh chemicals. Opt for gentle formulas that will hydrate your curls without weighing them down.
Some great sulfate-free options include OGX Quenching Coconut Curls Shampoo & Conditioner or L’Oreal Paris EverCurl Hydracharge Shampoo & Conditioner. These products contain nourishing ingredients such as coconut oil, shea butter, and glycerin that provide moisture and define curls without causing frizz or tangles.
2. Avoiding Heat Styling Tools
Heat styling tools such as blow dryers, flat irons, and curling irons can damage permed hair by weakening the bonds that hold curls together. The heat causes the curls to loosen up over time, making them harder to maintain without additional styling products or treatments.
If you want your perm to last longer, avoid using heat styling tools as much as possible. Instead of using heat tools every day, try air-drying your hair by letting it naturally dry in a towel turban for 10-15 minutes or letting it dry loose.
If you must use heat styling tools, use a heat protectant spray to minimize damage. A great option is TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray and John Frieda Frizz Ease Heat Defeat Protective Styling Spray that offer thermal protection so you can style your hair without worrying about damaging it.
3. Regular Trims to Maintain Shape
Over time, perms can lose their shape due to factors such as humidity, rain, or wind. In order to keep your curls looking fresh and bouncy, regular trims are necessary.
Trimming every 8-12 weeks helps maintain the shape of your perm while also preventing split ends and breakage. During the trimming process, make sure to communicate with your stylist about how much hair you want cut off.
It’s important not to cut too much off because you don’t want to lose the curl pattern that was created by the perm solution. Trim only what’s necessary for healthy hair growth while maintaining the shape of the curls.
Common Misconceptions About Perms Debunked
Perms Always Look Unnatural or Frizzy
One of the biggest misconceptions about perms is that they always leave you with unnatural and frizzy hair. This couldn’t be further from the truth! The key to avoiding frizz and achieving natural-looking curls is to choose the right perm for your hair type and texture, as well as finding an experienced stylist who knows how to work with different types of hair.
For example, if you have fine or delicate hair, a body wave perm may be a better option than a spiral perm. Body wave perms create loose, natural-looking waves that add volume without appearing too curly or tight.
On the other hand, spiral perms are great for those with thicker or coarser hair who want more defined ringlets. It’s also important to take good care of your permed hair after your appointment.
Using sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner can help prevent frizz and maintain your curls’ shape. Additionally, avoid using heat styling tools like flat irons or blow dryers on your permed hair as these can damage the curls and cause them to look frizzy.
Perms Are Only Suitable for Certain Ages or Face Shapes
Another common misconception about perms is that they only look good on certain age groups or face shapes. In reality, anyone can rock a perm regardless of their age or facial features!
With so many different types of perms available, there’s bound to be one that suits you perfectly. For example, digital perms are great for those with straight hair who want some added volume without looking too curled up.
This type of perm can look great on people of all ages and face shapes. Alternatively, stack perms are perfect for those with short hair who want some added texture and volume without sacrificing length.
When it comes down to it, getting a perm is all about finding the right style for you and your hair. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of perms until you find one that makes you feel confident and beautiful!
Say Yes to Perms: A Conclusion
Perming Done Right: A Reminder
Before we end this article, let’s reiterate that perms can be a great way to add volume, texture, and style to any type of hair. However, it is essential to get your perming done right. Be sure to choose a skilled hairstylist with expertise in perms.
Discuss your hair goals with them and ask for their recommendations on which type of perm would work best for you. It is also crucial to follow the aftercare instructions given by your stylist.
Avoid using heat styling tools and opt for sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners instead. Get regular trims to maintain the shape of your perm.
Debunking Myths about Perms
One common myth about perms is that they always look unnatural or frizzy. This couldn’t be further from the truth. With the advancement of technology, perming solutions have become more refined and less harsh on hair than before.
A well-executed perm looks natural and bouncy without any signs of damage or frizz. Another myth is that perms are only suitable for specific ages or face shapes.
This could not be farther from the truth either! Anybody can get a perm as long as they have healthy hair without any chemical treatments until at least two weeks before getting a perm.
A Final Word on Perms
Perms are an excellent way to add dimensionality and interest to your hair while giving you more styling versatility than ever before! Whether you’re looking for tight spirals or loose beachy waves, there’s a perm out there waiting just for you. So say yes to perms today – you won’t regret it!