Hair Answers: soft perms

Posted in Answers, Celebrities on August 22nd, 2010 by Reagan

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Q by Ashley: You mentioned that perms are most always a no-no.  What about body waves?  I have small hair and something that will make it look bigger (I totes want GINORMOUS hair) is really tempting to do.  So I guess my question is do body waves even look good?  Will not doing as much heat styling kind of cancel out the damage from a body wave?

A by Reagan: Ashley, I know you want to look like the picture above, so march right on over to your local beauty parlor this very second! Hehehe. (When someone calls it a beauty parlor, the only thing that I can picture is a bunch of women with tight roller sets and perms. And FUMES from perms!)

In all seriousness, a lot of people have asked this question. Ashley asked it most recently, so I just copy/pasted her Q for the post. Im afraid to say ladies, loose, wavy perms do not really exist. They dont. If you insist on getting a perm (don say I didnt warn you), the closest thing you could get to wave, is bigger rods with very small sections, or small rods with bigger sections of hair. The chances of it coming out the way you want it are very slim, and the chances of it coming out damaged are very high. Especially if you have color treated, or long hair.

Honestly, I rarely do perms. But the fundamental rules for perms havent really changed.the bigger the rod, the less likely the curl will take. But you are still putting a very powerful chemical on your hair, so whether or not the curl takes, that damage will be there. Another honest opinion, I like perms. I like perm-perms. Perms that look like this

I can tell Halles style is done with a curling iron, but it is similar to how a normal perm with normal white or purple rods would look like. And I like it. I almost did it with my own hair, but seeing as how my hair is brittle, and I knew Id grow it out again, I opted to keep my natural instead.

Back to your Qa body wave will give you some damage (that you might actually need), and make your hair a little bigger. But it wont make it ginormous, and it wont make it wavy. I think you should get a small curling iron, wrap big sections around it, and shake it out furiously. That will give you ginormous hair.

Ashley (and others), I think you shouldnt do it. But if your heart is saying perm it, follow your heart. (dont come chase me down when you look like the first picture!)

12 Responses to Hair Answers: soft perms

  1. Becki D Says:

    Interesting!! Ive always wondered about the body wave thing, too. Who uses it then, if it doesnt really do muchI mean whats the practical application for it? (just curious)

  2. kati Says:

    i think it was about 1990, when i was in 7th grade and perms were really popular (thats how i remember it anyway?) and i saw a pic that looked like the halle pic above and asked for my hair like that and whatever the lady did it looked just like that. i loved it. so the next time, i went back and asked for the same thing and got more like the top pic (funny, i think thats a dude). i remember the minute she took the rods out and started brushing my hair right away, i thought ohhh, noooooooooooo. and i was right. i spent about two years dealing with the after-effects. take it from me, dont do it! i like the small iron, shake furiously method. :)

  3. Ashley Says:

    Thanks for answering my question! I already got my small curling iron out to try tomorrow. I think I have accepted my small hair (I have PCOS, hypothyroid, baby-fine hair, and recently had a baby. Its a miracle I even have any left on my head!), but will always be open to trying things to make it big. Except for a perm, that is.

  4. Marie Says:

    After years of begging people under 70 not to get a perm, I finally did it to myself about a year ago. As a stylist I was pretty ashamed of myself for giving in and doing something I KNEW wasnt gonna end up good. I looked embarrassingly similar to the top picture and ended up doing a chemical relaxer to get it out, because at that point I was gonna do ANYTHING to get rid of that perm. My hair was FRIED, had to cut off several inches and is just now feeling semi-normal again! So, thank you for posting about this. If just 1 person avoids a perm because your post Id consider that one life saved ;)

  5. Genevieve Says:

    Thank you! THANK YOU! Im a hairdresser as well and it drives me bonkers when my friends ask for perms because they dont want to curl their hair everyday

  6. blandine Says:

    haha, when I saw the first picture it immediatly reminded me of that time my sister went to the hairdresser, and the lady said (and she was serious!) sure, like a poodle, sort of.
    AND my sister did get the perm -can you believe it?

  7. Jennlm Says:

    Thank you for always being so HONEST in your posts! I used to get a perm every 6 months or so when I was a teenager (it was the 80s, so it was required). I would always ask for a soft, body wave perm and the hair dresser would say sure, sure, we can do that. I cant tell you haw many times I ended up looking like the top picture. Now that I know they dont exist, I can move on :)

  8. Julia Says:

    I had a spiral perm years ago put into my stick-straight hair (well it was before the grays started growing in) and loved it But I think because my hair is really thick & heavy (and it was super long back then, down to my waist) that it weighed the perm down enough so that it looked like pretty, wavy natural curls.

  9. Julia Says:

    P.S. it would take literally HOURS for me to use the small iron & shake furiously method, even though my stylist thins my hair big time every appointment. Any tips for those of us with thick, straight, curls-fall-out-as-fast-as-you-put-em-in hair?

  10. Michelle Says:

    SORRY, I DID IT. I have dead straight asian hair, and I like to shower and go. I had the perm done by the stylist whod done my hair with curling irons twice for me before, so she knew the look I was going for. The first time went awesome. I had gentle waves for 3 months. The second time I wound up with some burnt ends, so I got a trim a month later. Either way, even when it fell out I had a good bit more volume and some motion at the ends. I might skip a cycle or two to keep my hair from getting too fried, but would go for it again.

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  12. Maggie the Cat Says:

    I am getting one tomorrow. I dont understand all the hate for perms. I got them growing up and my hair wasnt fried, and after having stick straight hair for years Im going back for more. Of course, this time Ill be getting larger curls no 80s kink for me, lol. I think the most important thing for people to remember is that a perm is not an magic solution to not fixing your hair. It aids in fixing your hair. I will rarely just leave it plain, always takes a few curls w/the iron here and there to get the waves just right, but when you have hair that WILL NOT hold curl otherwise, a perm is great! I could never ever do the curl all over and shake it out thing mentioned above it would be a giant waste of time and be nearly stick straight again in 5 minutes. A perm fixes that. Minimal curling w/rollers or an iron w/a perm and it looks awesome AND stays that way all day long.


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