Perming your hair is a great way to create light or bouncy curls that will last months without daily styling. A lasting effect is achieved by a combination of chemical compounds that change the structure of the hair. Modern chemistry differs from 30 years ago, but the hair is still injured. And until a new length grows, radically correcting the situation will not be possible. We understand what types of perms exist, whether they suit everyone, and how to care for hair afterwards.
What is a Perm?
Perm hair is one way to create curls, curls or light waves. Another name for it is “permanent waving”. Unlike conventional styling (for example, with a hairdryer or in the style of a Hollywood wave ), the result of chemistry lasts up to several months and does not require daily correction. This is possible thanks to special chemical agents, which destroy the old hair structure and then fix the new one in the form of a curl.
Perms have been used in hairdressing for over 100 years. Karl Ludwig Nessler is considered to be the author of the method. He spent several years looking for a formula, and all this time, his wife acted as a model. Over the years of experimentation, the woman survived scalp burns and probably ruined her hair. Nevertheless, the desired composition was found. The first public demonstration took place at the beginning of the 20th century. Nessler used sodium hydroxide and a special device with brass rods on which the hair was wound for curling. A heating block was located in the centre of the installation. The entire procedure took at least five hours.
Modern perms are very different from what Nessler came up with: there are hot and cold methods and more gentle ones with the prefix “bio-” or even digital. However, the principle of operation remained the same. Special liquid agents weaken the disulfide bonds in the hair, and the curlers give it a new shape, which is fixed with a neutralizer.
Advantages of a perm
Long result. Depending on the type of composition, curls can last up to six months, retaining their shape after shampooing or bathing.
Curl variation. At the client’s request, the master will select the desired curl type – from elastic to light, giving a natural wave.
Availability. The procedure is performed in almost all salons; if desired, a perm can be done independently at home.
Cons of perm
Suitable, not for everyone. Perm has several health restrictions.
Ruins hair. Despite all attempts to make chemistry more gentle, it still injures hair in one way or another.
Irritates. Some people may have individual allergies and reactions to the formulations if they get on the scalp.
Types of perms
All chemical perms differ in composition. These can be agents close to the natural components of the hair or more aggressive, providing a longer effect. They all act similarly: first, a liquid reagent is applied to the hair, which destroys disulfide bonds, and then the effect is fixed with a neutralizer.
Types of perms by composition
Alkaline. As the name implies, it uses compositions with a high alkalis content. Its second name is “cold perm” since no external heat source is required to start a chemical reaction.
Acid. In this case, the hair is impregnated with a special liquid of high acidity. The hair is additionally heated under a special dryer or wrapped with a film and a towel to consolidate the effect. Another name for this type of curl is “hot”.
Neutral. This is a type of curl in which the concentration of the active substance is below the standard. It is considered less aggressive, but the result is not so persistent.
Biowave. A class of curls in which natural or similar ingredients are used to break disulfide bonds (this can be keratin or cysteamine hydrochloride).
Chemical perm by winding method
To create curls, special curlers are used – bobbins. They differ in diameter, relief and material. There are plastic bobbins, and foam or fabric rollers are also used. There are more advanced methods, like a digital perm. Hair is wound on self-heating metal rods connected to a digital control unit. It controls the temperature and heating time, displaying information on the display. In all cases, the final result depends on the technique.
Here are some types of perms.
Horizontal. The curls are wound from the ends, placing the bobbins horizontally about the base of each strand.
Vertical. Curlers are distributed vertically throughout the head, wounding the strand from the base to the end.
Spot. For winding, choose individual strands or ends of the hair. The master can also wrap in a checkerboard pattern.
Double. In this case, two bobbins are used on one strand at once. The first is wound from the base, the second – from the end.
How long does a perm last
Most perms last from three to six months, but the exact time depends on the hair’s composition, length and condition. For example, long strands are more difficult to curl, and curls lose definition as hair grows.
In addition, post-procedure care plays an important role. To do this, use special cosmetics and follow daily rules. In particular, you can’t wash your hair for some time after a perm, visit swimming pools, saunas and solariums. The average interval between perms is six to eight months.
How is a perm done?
Perm consists of two stages: the destruction of the old structure of the hair and its fixation in the desired form. To do this, use the main agent and the neutralizer; it is also a fixer. The step-by-step process of perm is as follows.
- The master examines the hair, evaluates its structure and type, and selects the most suitable composition.
- Hair is washed with a special shampoo for deep cleaning.
- They start wrapping in one of the techniques, which will give the desired look and elasticity of the curl.
- With the help of a foam rubber sponge, the main composition is applied to the twisted strands – alkaline or acidic. This is done carefully to avoid getting on the scalp, face and neck.
- After the right time, it is washed off with warm water without unwinding the strands. Curlers remain on the head all the time. Residual moisture is removed with a dry towel.
- Then another liquid reagent is applied with a sponge, which neutralizes the action of the first and fixes new disulfide bonds in the hair structure in a given position. The neutralization time determines the thickness of the hair.
- After that, the bobbins are removed, and the hair is washed with warm water.
- Ultimately, the master washes his hair again with a special shampoo, applies a mask or balm, and then does the styling.
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