80s Reboot: It's The Return of The Perm

Published 22nd Mar 2024 by hjiadmin

The perm is creeping back into salon conversations, but not as we once knew it. Images of over-permed celebrities in the 80s can rattle your clients, picturing a frizzy-haired Kylie Minogue or the rock star cut of Jon Bon Jovi circa 1980, but the perm has undergone a 21st-century rebrand. Simmering away in popularity for the past five decades, the style has chopped and changed with the times. Once characterised by enormous body, tightly-wound curls and endless volume, the perm now takes on a range of faces – all far softer and more maintainable than perms were in their heyday.

The Return of The Perm

If you aren’t up-to-date with the types of waves and curls you can create and your limitations today, your client most likely doesn’t either, so here’s what you should know about the return of the perm.

Which Clients are Perms Best Suited To?

“For clients who spend a lot of time either using a curling iron or sleeping in plaits to create texture, perms are a great way to add volume and movement. Perms are also great for those who have wavy or curly hair, and whose curl pattern has dropped over time. Perms work amazingly for putting the bounce back into the hair. Can you tell I am a fan?” says Anne Veck. “Perms will work for any hair type or length, provided the hair isn’t damaged from either chemicals or heat styling.” Another great thing about the perm is its versatility. This style suits a range of cuts, from short, choppy bobs, to pixie cuts and wolf cuts

The Modern Perm

"Key advances in perm technology are based around the development of conditioning agents. Condition now comes before style, so the new perm products are full of caring and strengthening technologies that allows the shape to hold whilst protecting the integrity of the hair," says Andrew Barton. “We've all been traumatized by the over-perming of the 80's but products and technology have moved on and there’s a big difference between modern perms and the ones from the 80's,” adds Anne. “The latest perm solution technology is much softer on the hair. A personal favourite of mine is the Balance Curling system from Davines. This perm liquid is ammonia-free with ammonium thioglycolate and contains plant-origin active ingredients to protect and nourish the hair, maintaining shine.” Matrix artist Ambassador Terry Longden says: “The great thing about perming now is that we now have the technology with supporting products to help with conditioning and the internal integrity of the hair. I would recommend Matrix OPTI Curl Extra Body Acid Wave Perm which will help maintain optimum pH levels of the hair."

"A perm can be discussed during a consultation as a solution to a variety of issues. For instance, a perm can be used to create volume and lift at the crown or address uneven curl formations in naturally curly hair," Andrew advises. 

What Does a Perm Look Like Today?

These days, you can transform your client’s hair into effortless beach waves (Blake Lively-esque) or a blow-dry salon style. "The tools used to create the movement can now offer curls, waves, or a root lift, as well as falling into natural hairstyles. Permed hair can be left to air dry for softer results, diffused for bouncy curls or blowdried with a brush to create fullness to a style. A perm is a pro skill that can give clients the hair they have dreamed of," adds Andrew. “I like using flexible foam rods, which come in all different sizes. This results in curls and waves that are less uniform. The result is much more natural and believable. No two curls or waves turn out the same,” says Anne.

How Long Does it Last?

The perm is a very low-maintenance style – a big client-win. For clients with shorter hair, they may be wanting to come back in after three to four months, but those with longer hair may be able to wait between six and eight months – although the curls near the root may drop by this point, as celebrity hairstylist Anthony Cole told Good Housekeeping magazine.

Styling and care

The best way to care for new curls is for clients to let their hair air-dry most of the way, and finish off with a diffuser. They should be wary of using heat styling, but a lower heat shouldn’t damage the hair. 



Published 22nd Mar 2024

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