Here’s Why You Should Get Excited About the Return of the Perm

There are quite a few beauty trends better left in the ’80s, namely, mullets, scrunchies, and eyeshadow up to the eyebrows. But we never thought we’d live to see the day when the perm made its comeback — and in a major way!

Game of Thrones star Kit Harrington kicked off the man perm trend with his glossy Jon Snow ringlets. Jenna Dewan Tatum and Gigi Hadid have both recently flaunted their perm pride on Instagram, giving us a serious case of curl envy.

Photo: Instagram

Actress and Dancing With the Stars judge Julianne Hough got a perm in late March, and the results were far from the super-tight, super-frizzy, and super-crunchy curls of the past. Behold, beachy, permanent waves:

A video posted by Julianne Hough (@juleshough) on Mar 29, 2016 at 12:48pm PDT

Video: Instagram

Traditional perms relied on the chemicals thio and ammonia to break down the hair’s bond and manipulate its structure to create voluminous curls that often ended up looking like a poodle’s hair. However, Hough’s modern perm was perfected by mixing the cult-favorite Olaplex, a product that strengthens the hair bond, throughout the entire perm process for a looser, softer wave.

Hairstylists Riawna Capri and Nikki Lee of Nine Zero Salon in Los Angeles learned the technique for doing perms on chemically treated hair from Joe Santy, the “King of Perms.” The perm rod size and placement are also key in achieving soft, unstructured waves, according to Capri. “The condition of the hair, the length of the hair, and your stylist’s judgment play an important role with that,” she says.

Santy told Yahoo Beauty that Olaplex opened the door for people who in the past couldn’t get a perm because their hair was compromised. Without this product, he says Hough’s hair would have been “destroyed,” adding, “Which is why perming went away to begin with. As color grew, the technology didn’t keep up with color and texture, causing a lot of damage.”

Video: Instagram

When done correctly (read: by a professional hairstylist), beachy, permanent waves can last for two to three months, Capri says. Of course, giving yourself a break from the curling iron and blow dryer and allowing your hair to air-dry wouldn’t hurt either. Then you should carefully smooth on a lightweight curl cream or hair texturizer like Tigi Catwalk Curls Rock Amplifier or AG Hair Curl Re:Coil to help define the waves without creating frizz.

Santy also recommends using Olaplex No. 3 at home two weeks after getting a perm, then every other week. “Remember, Olaplex is not a conditioner. It is a bond multiplier, so after using the No. 3, you follow that with a good moisturizing shampoo and conditioner for your hair type,” he explains.


Chemically treated hair beauties, meet your BFF, Olaplex No. 3. (Photo: Olaplex)

Before you take the plunge and get a perm, do your research. Find a hairstylist who has actually done this treatment. Preferably more than once. The stylist will be able to assess your hair’s current condition and determine whether beachy, permanent waves will do more harm than good. And you should work with the stylist to come up with a hair care regimen to ensure your hair remains healthy even after getting a perm.

Would you get a modern perm? Sound off in the comments section below!

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