Welcome to our perming
section. The term "perm" comes from the word "permanent" because
your hairdresser is basically changing the structure of your hair
to make it permanently into a new shape. The reality of a "permanent"
service is, that as your hair grows so your perm grows out. A
perm will also soften or lose some of its shape over time, but
rarely will it go back to what it originally was.
What a perm can do:
Perms can be used to create a bend,
curl or even to loosen curl for those people who have naturally
tight curls. The image of the eighties "tight perm" or the "granny/woolly
head" look is hopefully disappearing forever. You can now get
a "perm" that will do nothing
more than give your hair some volume, direct it in a certain way
or prevent it from making a parting where you don't want one.
The type of curl effect you can get
varies depending on what the hair is molded around during the
perming process. Normally this is a curler but some hairdressers
will use anything from a pipe cleaner for a really tight curl,
to a "bendy" stick for a spiral effect. Yes, we are
about to suggest a consultation again as it's all down to the
skill of the hairdresser and the suitability of your hair.
Be prepared to have your hair cut
when it is permed. This is good for two reasons; out of condition
ends can frizz and look dry, doing your new look no justice or
be in too poor a condition to perm. Secondly the shape of cut
that worked for straighter hair will not work for curly hair in
achieving the effect you want.
It is important to get your hairdresser
to show you the effect your perm will have on the length of your
hair if this concerns you. Hair that has a curl to it can appear
much shorter than straight hair of the same length.
What a perm won't do
The main thing to know is that a
perm is not the answer to never having to style your hair again.
Don't assume you will wake up every morning with a perfect hairdo
just because you've had a perm. In fact the opposite can be true
as it is like having someone else's hair and you will need to
learn a whole new set of skills to be able to look after it. Perms
are really a good foundation to build the style you want to create.
Many of the looks that you may think are permed are actually blow-dried,
tonged or set on curlers and will only last until the hair is
Some types of hair will perm exceptionally
easily and last a long time:
- Already curly hair
- Asian hair
- Coarse hair
Some types of hair won't hold a perm
at all or will react badly to the chemicals in perm lotion, you
would be best advised not to perm your hair in these circumstances:
- If your
hair is treated with henna colours that are metallic based:
This is not all henna colour products just those that are usually
brought or imported from India and Asia. If at all concerned
get your hairdresser to do a "strand test" to insure
your hair is OK.
- If your
hair is treated with spray leave-in lighteners that lighten
your hair when in the sun. The result of perming your hair if
you have used this type of product can be that your hair and
you part company! Again if at all concerned mention it to your
hairdresser and get a "test strand".
- Silky smooth or glassy fine hair
has such a strong outer surface that a perm lasts only a short
period of time. I have often heard hairdressers say "lets
perm it really curly so that when it drops it will be what you
want"! Don't go there it's not worth it and you will never
seem to get exactly what you want. Stay straight is our advice.
factors that can affect how successful a perm can be:
blood pressure tablets or having had a general anesthetic recently
can cause a perm to loosen or drop out. Consult a
trichologist in this case as they can use certain treatments
to help prevent this problem.
the first 2 months of pregnancy a perm can also not be as successful
as normal due to chemical changes in the body.
- If you
are still in the growing stage of life you may have such healthy
hair that it won't take a perm on the first attempt. The second
normally works better as the hair has already had a chemical
process making it more successful.
Perms and how they effect your
The resulting condition of your hair
following a perm is dependent upon the condition it was in before
hand. If your hair is in bad or poor condition a perm will only
make the situation worse. If your hair is in good condition your
hair may feel a little drier but no damage should take place unless
done by someone who is not an expert.
Permed hair is chemically treated
however and will require appropriate shampoos and conditioners
to maintain its condition at home. Ask your hairdresser for advice
or consult our diagnosis section for more information.
Perm and coloured hair combined,
is it a good idea?
We are often asked whether it is
O.K. to perm and colour at the same time. There is no definitive
answer to this question as it is all down to the condition of
your hair. Neither process will harm your hair on its own, but
when two chemical processes are repeated on the same hair over
each other, damage can occur.
Here are some points to consider
before taking the plunge:
- It is often best to use a semi-permanent
colour with the perm rather than a permanent one to maintain
- Perms will fade your coloured
hair and a semi-permanent colour can be done on the same day
as your perm to refresh your look, whereas you have to wait
a week between a perm and applying a permanent colour.
- If you have highlights, the lights
themselves will often look dry, detracting from your look. There
are special perms out there for highlighted hair. Ask your hairdresser
about this option.
Always remember that large amounts
of time spent swimming or in the sun can be regarded as a chemical
process on your hair and it is definitely not a good idea to then
combine with both a perm and colour. Check out
to use in the sun
to help protect your hair.
Had enough of that perm? How to
get rid of it without tears.
If you are not keen on cutting out
what is left behind leaving you with "no" hair then try:
- Blow-drying the remaining perm
straight using a
round natural bristle brush
and a special non-chemical
help it last.
- Blow-drying the new hair curly
to blend the two types of hair until your hair is long enough
to cut out the perm without leaving you bald. If you have a
bit of a wave it may be possible to scrunch your hair to blend
the old perm into the new growth. Check out
drying for curl
for the technique and tips on how to do this.
- Get a "perm" that is not a perm
but simply a "bend" in the hair. Once again this will blend
the new and old hair whilst you grow your perm out. There are
several specialised perming systems that can provide you with
enough bend to lift the roots of your hair and give that bit
of volume. These only work for about 6 to 8 weeks and are designed
to be so gentle that they slowly revert back to your natural
look. Not always suitable if you have highly coloured hair as
the effects of lots of chemical processes over others can be
damaging as we have said. As with any professional processes,
get a free consultation from your hairdresser to see if this
is an option for you.
Here are a couple of tips from one
of our top industry contributors, Sharon
Blain of "The Art of Hair in Sydney Australia:
"When your hair is permanently
waved, its structure is altered, which makes it slightly more
vulnerable if not properly cared for, follow these simple guidelines
to keep your wave looking beautiful and your hair in the best
- Do not wash your hair for 48
hours after you have a perm.
- When washing your hair, only
use professionally recommended products to maintain the curl
and condition of your hair. Products that are not specifically
designed for permed hair may dry out or over stress your wave.
- When blow-drying your hair,
use a low heat setting, and fit an air diffuser to your hair
dryer. This will help avoid drying out your hair.
- When styling your hair, use
a vent brush and styling products specifically designed for
permed hair. These products help protect your hair and make
it easier to manage."