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New Perming Methods Bring Back Perms Into the Limelight

November 27, 2018 - Guest post by Jennie Benson

When the word "perm" was mentioned back in the '80s, it translated to the application of acrid solutions to get beautiful curls. Today, an estimated 100 million women in the US can now take advantage of new perm technology without the hair damage that comes with traditional perms. Perming technology that have been recently introduced includes digital perms, Olaplex perms, and cold wave perms.

Olaplex Perm

This perming method is pretty much standard, according hair stylists at Tony & Guy. The only difference is the application of Olaplex formula before the perm itself. This formula is mixed to the perm lotion and right on top of the neutralizer. This formula minimizes damage and a better option for those who want to lighten their hair first before getting their perms done. This formula is often used to achieve loose waves.

Digital Perm

Digital perming or hot perming combines heat and chemicals to break down the natural structure of hair. Digi perms are more like traditional perms with a digital temperature display that aids the stylist. This type of perming produces big, soft, natural-looking curls that are usually more prominent when the hair is dry. Due to the use of heat in digital perms, it is not advisable to be used near the scalp.

Cold Wave Perm

A cold wave perm involves the use of cold wave lotion on dry hair, followed by another solution to set the curls. This is the cheapest perming method around and it produces small to medium-sized curls that are more defined when the hair is wet. Cold wave perms do not cause much damage on the hair but the neutralizer can irritate the scalp.

Should You Get A Perm?

In an era where many women are choosing to go natural, the question of perming one's hair or maintaining its natural form comes to mind when faced with a hairstyle decision. While the emergence of the natural hair movement is culturally relevant and very important in terms of empowerment, a hairstyle change can also do some good mentally and physically. According to Elite Daily, it can help women move on from a break up and may even inspire them to embrace a new perspective in life.

Hair, History, and Race

In recent years, the natural hair movement was specific for black women, to encourage them to flaunt their curls. However, as brands intended for this specific market grew bigger, they started including other ethnicities too. This has caused backlash with members of the African American community as it diminishes the racism associated with changing their hair to fit the European description of "good hair" . An LA Times report in 2017 says, "To better assimilate and achieve a higher status in society, black people developed techniques to straighten their hair."

The Good News

The natural hair movement going mainstream opened up a discussion about beauty standards. In many ways, this inspired women with naturally straight hair to keep their hair straight and women who have kinky hair to stop using their flat irons to straighten their natural curls. With nuanced perceptions about beauty out of the way, women can get a perm because they just like their hair permed. Others can get their hair straightened only because they like it that way.