Not Your Mother’s Perm: New Texturizing Solutions
According to Darby Shields, associate artistic director
for ISO, there are two four-letter words in hairdressing:
bang and perm.
When it comes to perms âWe now say âbodyâ or âmovementâ
or âtexture,ââ explains Shields.
Whatever you choose to call themâtexturizers, waves or
permsâthe technology has come a long way.
ISOâs Option Wave is free of thio and delivers results clients want.
Accommodating the Curl Craze
Demand is on the rise as texture has become increasingly
The whole process of creating curl has changed dramatically
from the days of strong chemicals, perm rods
and end papers.
Pravanaâs Beach Wave uses soft âblocksâ to create a natural, beachy finish.
In 1938, Arnold F. Willatt invented the
cold wave. It used no machines and
no heat. Hair was wrapped on rods
and a reduction lotion containing
was applied, breaking open the
disulfide linkages between the
polypeptide bonds in the keratin
(the protein structure) in the
hair. The disulfide bonds give hair
its elasticity, and can be reformed
with chemicals. Next, an oxidation
lotion was applied, (hydrogen peroxide),
to close the disulfide
bridges again and the hair
was reformed to the shape
of the rod. The entire process
took six to eight hours
at room temperature.
A Kinder, Gentler Perm
The new generation of perms are much gentler, with lower pH and low ammonia. ISOâs Option Wave, for example, is completely free of thio, the activator found in many traditional perms, and also has a damagefree, low-ammonia formulation. The application also has changed dramatically from perm rods and end papers. Todayâs tools are flexible and soft or no tools at all. âYou can make pin curls and process that, if you want,â Shields says. âYou can do just about anything you want.â âThere is so much variety now, and that carries over to the textural spectrum,â says Steve Goddard, president and founder of Pravana Naturceuticals, the company that created the Beach Wave. âItâs not just about different cuts today. Itâs about different textures.
Zotosâ Bain de Terre perm is gentle and thio-free. Illustrations by J. David McKenney
A Perm Primer
Need to brush up on your perm terminology?
Hereâs a quick guide to the lingo.
- Root Perm: The root perm adds volume at the root of the hair to give lots of body. Itâs also perfect for already permed hair thatâs looking for a little pick-me-up. Because only the roots are treated, it saves the rest of the locks from another treatment.
- Body Wave Perm: Creating big, bouncy curls, the body wave is for curl lovers who want a more modern look. Because this perm uses larger perm rods than traditional perms, the length of your clientâs hair will determine how curly it will be: the shorter, the curlier.
- Weave Perm: Because youâre curling only partial sections of the hair, the weave perm will give your client a fusion look with both textured and straight pieces in her hair.
- Stack Perm: The stack perm is made for women who have a one-length cut. The treatment creates soft, layered curls for a natural look and is achieved by the use of differently sized rollers to the middle and bottom sections of the hair. The top is typically left fl at to look more natural.
- Acid Perm: While it sounds harsh, the acid perm is actually gentler than the traditional alkaline perm as it has a lower pH level. It is specifically made for those with sensitive, fragile, or damaged hair.
- Exothermic Perm: Referring to the gentle, internal heat that is characteristic of this treatment, the exothermic perm speeds up the processing time. The heat allows the lotion to absorb quickly into the hair, conditioning and strengthening the cuticle from the inside.