The Perm VS Hot Tools

Many of you have been asking questions about, or are even considering trying a perm.

After many lengthy consultations, we have noticed a common theme regarding the desired outcome – soft, loose waves. And most are surprised and even disappointed when we are reluctant to do this service, because the look they want can be, and often is created with a large barreled curling iron, or wet set on large rollers.

We decided to take time to really break down this service – the perm. We hope to explain exactly what it is and does, and give you a little bit of it’s history. Also, we will share the most common reasons people request a perm, expose it’s myths, and hopefully educate you on how to create the look you want, without the use of chemicals. (We are not intending to discourage you from getting this service. We want to really explain the pros and cons of a perm for this particular style).

A permanent wave, commonly called a perm, has been around in one way or another since 1872. This service involves the use of chemicals to break and reform the bonds of the hair. The hair is washed and wrapped on a perm rod and waving lotion is applied with a base. This solution creates a chemical reaction that softens the inner structure of the hair by breaking some of the cross links within and between the protein chains of the hair. The hair swells, stretches and, then molds around the shape of the perm rod.

There are two parts to a perm: the physical action of wrapping the hair, and the chemical phase. Both of these can affect the result. Important physical variables involved are what type of rod is used, how the hair is wrapped and how end papers are used.

The two most common types of rods are straight and concave; each giving a different curl effect. The wrapping method is either spiral or croquinole, and various types of the positioning of end papers can be used with any combination of the above. Generally, smaller rods will produce smaller, tighter curls and increase the appearance of shortening the hair. The chemical solution used in the perming process is determined by the client’s hair type and the pH of the solution.

Clients will often show photos from magazines of beautiful, loose, soft waves, hoping a perm will achieve this look with minimal effort. Often times this look is created with a large curling iron or other temporary curling techniques, requiring no chemical process. With the proper products, tools and education, this soft wave can easily be produced and with minimal to no damage to your hair.

Many people think that if they get a perm, they will “never have to style their hair” again. What they are wanting is “get up and go” hair, hoping to save hours of time each week. But in reality, this will likely require the same amount of styling or more, and the client will still need to use salon products. The client may even need to “re-learn” how to do their own hair, since their normal regimen may make the perm look frizzy. With the right products and proper education following a perm, you can have the best possible experience with your new curly hair.

If you are unsure of how to get the look your going for, first schedule an airwave with one of our stylist’s, and be sure to have them to show you the latest techniques to get the look you wish to achieve.

(Thanks to Liz Bennett, and Laura Ruldholm for their collaboration on this article)

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