If you thought perms were reserved for the noggins of cringey 80s acts like Richard Simmons and Lionel Richie, then wake up and smell the curling chemicals girl, because perms are back in a big way. It's time to ditch the straighteners, because what's more perfect for summer than no-muss-no-fuss curls?
Perms can be intimidating, though. There is always that fear lurking in even the most optimistic of minds that it could end up like a 1980s disaster 'do, but don't let that fear settle you into a life of frying the hell out of your hair with ghds to achieve a similar look. "I think the word perm brings up connotations of that super curly, old-style perm, but today's technology - and taste - has moved on," says stylist Karine Jackson, who won London Hairdresser of the Year in 2007 and was a finalist in 2016, who tells us that the look is becoming so popular she's currently doing up to four perms a day.
And that technology means that you no longer have to surrender to a super tight curl. "We use different sized rods to curl on now - the larger ones are basically rollers so you aren't getting a super tight look - and the solution we use is ammonia free and gentle on hair," Karine tells us. So whether you're looking for a tight curl a la Julia Roberts circa Pretty Woman or just a beachy wave with loadsa volume, then there are now ways to get the look you want.
But getting a perm is not something that should be chosen on a whim - as Karine points out, a perm can last anywhere between eight weeks to six months, so you have to be sure that you're ready to deal with all of that hurrr for the foreseeable future. Here's some more things you need to be aware of when considering getting a perm.
1. Do your research
Karine suggests that when on the hunt for the perfect perm, you shouldn't jump the gun and get straight to it before you've ever tested your hair compatibility. "Do your research and book a consultation in-salon," Karine says. "Your curl specialist should test your hair for its suitability as well as managing your expectations on the results. This entails cutting a small section of your hair off and perming it so we can see how it takes."
2. Your hair might not be compatible for a perm
There are a few different reasons that your hair might not take to a perm - one being a build-up of product. "If hair has a barrier on it from a build up of silicone product (many high street shampoos contain this for example), the solution won’t be able to penetrate it and you’ll need to use a good clarifying shampoo for around a month to break the coating down," Karine advises. The same applies to hair that's been bleached: "It’s one to avoid if your hair is bleached or stressed as it may not be strong enough to hold a curl." But Karine also notes that sometimes, you might just not have the right kind of hair for a perm. "In some people’s hair, the bond just doesn’t break down sufficiently, so it simply won’t take - this will be apparent with the perm strand test."
3. Anaesthetic can affect how your hair reacts
Weirdly, if you've been under anaesthetic around the time of your perm test, it can change how your hair may take to the curl. "If you’ve had an anaesthetic recently, or are on heavy medication such as antibiotics, they change the composition of the hair. This means your hair could react one way on one day, and completely differently 3 days later, so it might be worth waiting until everything’s left your system."
4. A perm isn't as easy to maintain as it looks
So much for our wash-n-go theory on perms. Turns out your curls will need some serious maintaining. "I think the most common misconception with perms is that you’ll wake up with beautifully perfect curly hair everyday - in reality, you’ll still need to look after the hair properly and style it to an extent to keep it in check," Karine tells us, smashing our dreams of waking up with perfect locks everyday and gaining an extra few minutes in bed. In reality, you need to be really careful with your curls, because they can easily be flattened. "It needs to settle in in the morning, it will look straight if you lay on it, it will go frizzy if you brush it, if you wear a scarf all the time that will flatten the area it’s sitting on. Most of it is rectifiable by wetting down and adding mousse but it is important to know how to style it." That's right - even a scarf can ruin your 'do.
Check out these perfect Pinterest perms for the ideal look to take to your hairdresser:
Are you considering a summer perm? Let us know! @sofeminineUK
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