New texturizing solutions for clients with limp locks.

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 “We now say ‘body’ or ‘movement’
or ‘texture,’” explains Shields.
Whatever you choose to call them—texturizers, waves or
perms—the technology has come a long way.

Not Your Mother’s Perm: New Texturizing Solutions
ISO’s 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.

Not Your Mother’s Perm: New Texturizing Solutions
Pravana’s Beach Wave uses soft “blocks” 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
ammonium thioglycolate
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. ISO’s 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. Today’s
tools are flexible and soft or no tools at all.
“You can make pin curls and process that, if you want,”
Shields says. “You can do just about anything you want.”
“There is so much variety now, and that carries over
to the textural spectrum,” says Steve Goddard, president
and founder of Pravana Naturceuticals, the company that
created the Beach Wave. “It’s not just about different cuts
today. It’s about different textures.

Not Your Mother’s Perm: New Texturizing Solutions
Zotos’ 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?
Here’s a quick guide to the lingo.

  • Root Perm:
    The root perm adds volume at the root of the hair to give lots
    of body. It’s also perfect for already permed hair that’s 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 client’s hair will
    determine how curly it will be: the shorter, the curlier.
  • Weave Perm:
    Because you’re 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.