Perms are fantastic for creating curl, texture and controlled foundation for styling. If you suffer from hair which is prone to flopping and not holding a curl - changing the hair's internal structure and memory will enable roller setting, blow-drying and general styling to hold in the hair between washes.
Here are 10 facts you might not know about perming:-
1. A perm uses a lotion which softens the keratin fibre in the hair and breaks the interal structure (shape). When the hair is wound around a tool (be it curler, rod or other) the shape of the hair will reform to match the tool. A second lotion (a neutraliser) is then used to affix the hair bonds in their new permanent shape (typically the curl).
2. Traditional perms were created over 100 years ago, however their purpose was to change the texture and allow the hair to be roller set or styled without the result flopping or falling out. Women would never be seen with their hair in it's wet perm state and would always set and style.
3. It was hair icon Vidal Sassoon who created the 'wash and wear' perm in the late 1960's. When cutting a models wet hair, he liked the wave and texture he was noticing (from the perm foundation) and made the radical decision (back then) to not roller the set the hair. This was the first time a perm foundation had been displayed in the hair without it being set on larger rollers.
4. In the 1970's the wash and wear perm became very fashionable and women stopped roller setting their hair and instead went with loose curly texture. By the mid 1970's Barbra Steisand's then hairdresser (now producer) Jon Peters created the iconic bubble perm look - whereby the perm was created on very small rods to create a tight effect, this was the birth of the curly perm.
5. The tight curly perm remained very popular into the mid 1980's, when Trevor Sorbie created the 'Scrunch Dry'. Until this point it had been very difficult to blow-dry curly perms without smoothing them out. However, Trevor created a method of scrunching the curls in the hand (as the hair was dried) and using hair mousse. Later diffusers would produce this same effect. The scrunch perm allowed much looser perms to be produced and was sported by many famous women including Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Demi Moore.
6. The negative misconceptions around perming happened at this time, because along with scrunch
perms came heavy use of both bleach and heat (to create the effects). No heat protection products were available in these days and the hair began to look dry and frizzy. The perception was the perm had caused this, but in most cases it was the combinations of two many chemical and heat processes which caused the hair to be compromised and in most occassions over bleaching.
7. Whilst the desire for curly hair went out of fashion in the 1990's (when straight looks begun to appear), many famous women continued to use perm foundations to retain blowdries and curl sets as the technical treatment had been used for decades prior. Julia Roberts famous spiral perm in the 1990 film Pretty Woman was retained by many women well into the straight hair era of the 1990's.
8. In the 2010's, the issues women are now facing with their hair have gone full circule and we are back to the principles of 1960's styling. Women want volume, movement and roller set looks - but are finding these looks do not hold.
9. Another unknown fact about perms, is they should also be applied on very curly and unruly hair. Applying a perm structure to naturally curly hair will create a smooth controlled curl that can be washed and worn. The perm foundation often encourages the hair to grow in a more unform hair pattern.
10. Perms remain in the hair based on the length and size of curl. A loose body curl could be expected to last in short hair for around 8 weeks, whilst a long spiral perm will remain in the hair beyond 18 months.
Despite popular misconception, perms are not scary, nor dangerous but they are often misunderstood (even by today's hairdressers). If you are considering a perm be it for wash and wear curl, beach wave, curl ombre or style retention you need to absolutely understand what look you are aiming for and then research the best type of perm method for you.