Hair Perm 101
Things to Think About Before You Get a Hair Perm
Want to change your hairdo? Aside from a mohawk, one of the most exciting ways to alter your look is with a “perm” or permanent wave. It can increase the fullness of soft, fine hair, put a curl or wave into straight hair, or simply make your hair easier to style
Growing up with a long, tangled mass of corkscrew curls, I would have done anything for the stick—straight styles so many of the other girls had. They, of course, coveted my curls. Why do we always want what we don’t have? Never mind, that is what salons are for.
If you yearn to change your hair texture, try not to make it too drastic. The greater the difference. the more obvious it will be when it grows out, which puts you into the high—maintenance zone. Perming your hair is something that you should approach with caution and only after a good understanding of the downsides of how to perm hair. If you retexturize your hair, you’ll need to be diligent about touching up the roots and take more time to condition and care for it.
Perming relies on chemical processes to break the bonds in the hair’s structure and reestablish them in the shape of a curl (permed) or straight (relaxed), But if you’re already using blow—dryers, curling irons, hot rollers, and flat irons to retexturize your hair on a daily basis, you’re already damaging your hair. So you may as well get the look you want, avoid the daily wear and tear on your hair, and save yourself some time and trouble. Besides, there are new products and methods available (especially in the salon) that are not as harsh and damaging as they used to be.
Perms have come a long way since they were first developed in 1902, when quicksilver, nitric acid, and heat were used to wave the hair. The wet hair was wrapped in treated papers, dried and greased. The perm lasted for around three weeks.
Today, stylists can control not only which part of the hair they want to perm (such as a “root perm” to add body to fine, limp hair) but also the softness of the curl, Show your stylist a picture of the type of curl you want so she can choose the right—sized rods, Almost any type of hair can take a perm, but some hair types take more skill. If you are an Asian American woman with thick, heavy hair, for example, or an African American with fine hair, it may he hard, to get your hair to take the perm. You will need to find a stylist who is experienced enough with your kind of hair to know how to wrap it. When you’re creating an artificial curl, you have to work with the weight of the hair and see what the density of the hair will handle.
The stylist will apply one chemical solution to break the bonds in the hair and another, a neutralizer, to reform the bonds and change its texture. The tightness of the curl depends on the size of the rods used. If you want a tighter, curl, your hair will be rolled around smaller rods while it processes. For a softer, looser: curl, the rods are bigger, A perm lakes 48 hours to settle; you won’t have the full style impact until then.
Choosing the Right Hair Perm Product
There is no such thing as a chemical—free perm. (Don’t be misled by “botanical perms”, these contain added plant extracts, but they also contain chemicals!) Traditional perm solutions contain ammonia or the sulfur-based chemical thioghycolate. Not only do they smell bad, they can wreck your hair . The gentlest, top-quality perm solutions . . . Zotos Distinctly Different, Helene Curtis Insite, Senscience Inner Strength Waving Lock, Système Biolage Style Support Wave, can be found only in salons, which is where I recommend you perm your hair anyway. At-home treatments take longer to process, the technique is difficult to master, and misuse of the chemicals can result in frizzy, fried hair.
But if you want to do it yourself, look for ‘thio-free” solutions, which contain conditioner to soften hair, and don’t roll the hair too tightly, If you want a loose curl, forgo the curling rock altogether, divide the hair into sections, wrap each section around a piece of cloth, tie the ends together, and apply solution, For a really : subtle look, divide your hair into four or six even sections, twist the hair into Princess Leia buns, clip to the head, and apply solution.
Prepping for a Hair Perm
If you make sure your hair is healthy before you perm, you’ll avoid broken, brittle hair afterward. In the weeks before, use a protein conditioning treatment, as well as a moisturizing conditioner after you shampoo, But do not deep-condition your hair for at least 24 hours before the process . . . it may interfere with how well your perm takes hold. And do not shampoo for at least 48 hours afterward to give the process time to “set.”
After your perm, shampoo with ammonium, rather than sodium—based shampoos with keratin or wheat amino acids, which strengthen the hair fiber. Matrix Perm Fresh and Nexxus Rejuv-A-Pernm are a couple of good choices. Products with silicones and dimethicone make combing easier, Avoid polyquaternium or resin listed in the fìrst few ingredients because they weigh down the hair.
Once, anything other than a professional salon perm put you at risk of looking like someone fro the Walking Dead. But today, there are excellent, easy-to-control home perms for every type of hair. The key to success in home perms is choosing the right product for your hair.
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