In the fashion and beauty world, everything old becomes new again at some point and the latest retro look comes courtesy of the perm that sparked many hairstyle regrets back in the day. If you always wanted the 80s hair staple but were too terrified to try, then you’re in luck because the perm is back and better than ever thanks to some modernized tweaking.
It’s crucial to know some dos and don’ts before you rush to the salon to ask for an updated perm (or if you’re brave enough to do it yourself, though we don’t recommend it). The first thing to note is that perms are, well, permanent. So make sure you’re ready for the commitment. If your hair is damaged or extremely thin, the perm process is probably not for you. Salon owner Julianne Cho of Hair by Julianne says, “Your hair has to be in a good condition in order for the curl to come out pretty.”
Modern perms aim for a more natural look than their 80s predecessors. Celebrity stylist George Papanikolas says, “It’s a great look to get an air-dried finish and a great way to give straight hair a soft bend and movement without additional heat and styling time. There are also modern techniques where it can be straighter at the top half with the bend in the hair starting at the mid-length and ends. We’ve also seen a big shift away from the overstyled curling iron waves to a more natural air-dry texture.”
According to stylist/colorist Mia Loughnane, “You don’t have to think of the old frizzy 80s perms, there’s also soft beachy waves. Consult with your stylist on this as the size of the perm rod will ultimately be the end result of your curl. A larger rod will give you that soft tousled look.”
Ready to take the perm plunge? Get inspired by these celebrities who embrace curls, whether natural, temporary or via a perm.