Perm: Would you? (And, Loose Curls How-To)

Earlier this year, Stylelist touted the return of the perm, which is easy enough to smile at knowingly and then stay far, far away from, but when they suggest the treatment as a base to a whole new set of hairstyles, we do a double take.

The idea is that rather than being stuck with the single Curly Sue slinky spirals, you start with big loose curls that you can then either enhance or unravel for a less ‘done’, free sort of wave:

“Perms are not meant for that tight curl look anymore,” Anthony Linzalone, a celebrity hair stylist at Pierre Michel Salon, tells StyleList. Instead, get one for body and the option to wear it curly or to blow it out and just have soft waves, which are much more in style right now.”

I also really liked Linzalone’s advice to let the curls “drop” with long layers and looseness, rather than trying for tight curls. I discovered this technique a few years ago and am actually doing it today. Inspired by:

For loose curls:

  • After hair is dry (the day of or day after washing, which means curls are in full effect): take thick sections of hair (2+ inches) and twirl (imagine bored hair-twirling).
  • Holding the end of the twirled section, spray lightly with heat protectant, hairspray or your favorite styling spray and then run a flat iron down the section. This will stretch out the curl, tame frizz and, my favorite part, add length.
  • Do as many or few sections as you like. I prefer to focus on face-framing pieces, underneath and near the roots for an Olsen twin shape.
  • Pin front sections or leave free:

The fact that the perm trend is riding in on the wave of keratin treatments and brazilian blowouts makes me imagine armies of curlies vs. straights. Who will win?

And, the real question: would you get a perm?

    • Natalie
    • August 10th, 2010

    I want the brazilian on the top portion of my hair, and a perm on the bottom layers – like the Kardashians!

    • Amy
    • August 11th, 2010

    I wonder what perms are like now, as opposed to the several I had in the 80s and 90s? They were never quite what I expected them to be. My hair is wavy now, so I would never get a full perm, but my stylist suggested perming a few less wavy sections to even out the texture. My mom (who was a stylist in the 80s) says it is a really bad idea to get a perm if you have color treated hair because it’s just too many chemicals and too much damage – is this still true?

    • adrian
    • August 13th, 2010

    interesting technique – do you run the flat iron all the way down the hair section? Might try this…thanks for the how to’s!

    • I run the flat iron at least half way down the hair section. Usually all the way, but if you want to leave the lower parts of your hair fuller, flat ironing only halfway creates a fun shape.
      Glad you appreciate the tip. Lemme know if it works for you!

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