Like a Spandau Ballet reunion, curls – and, wait for it, perms – are experiencing a modern revival
There’s no girl quite so effortlessly cool as the Isabel Marant girl. Perfectly unkempt, yet seamlessly put together, she’s nonchalant French style personified. When Isabel sent her fall/winter 16/17 collection down the Paris Fashion Week runway, with models’ hair styled to suit their natural texture, eyes were instantly drawn to the Pre-Raphaelite honey-hued locks of Danish beauty Frederikke Sofie.
That texture! Such perfect fuzz! Her curls were the envy of straight-haired women everywhere. It’s a swift 180 from days spent agonising over every strand with a straightening iron.
“All the girls I know that have straight hair want curly hair now. It’s the first time in 10 years,” says Kevin Murphy – a man who needs no introduction when it comes to hair. “Everyone says perms are coming back,” he adds, though as far as an uptake in permanent curling treatments, it seems we might still be a little conservative.
“The perm isn’t quite a trend yet in New Zealand, but we’re starting to see it on the runways, so it might not be long before it reaches our shores,” says Stephen Cockle, creative director at ASC Salon in Parnell, Auckland.
According to Kevin, Asian women have the ideal hair type for perming, as the thicker texture takes the chemical process well. Those with fine straight hair have the least success.
Thinking about taking the plunge? Read on…
Here are the need-to-knows:
How does perming work? The hair is curled before a reducing agent is applied. This breaks the bonds of the hair and frees its natural keratin molecules, which move to take the shape of the curl. A product is then added that reverses the effect of the reducing agent, effectively forming new bonds so the keratin molecules are locked into the shape of the curls.
How long does it last? “The answer is in the name – it’s permanent!” says Stephen. “You have to wait for it to grow out. If you already have curls, I’d recommend learning how to shape and wear those before committing to a perm.”
Can you perm coloured hair? “You can colour over a perm but you can’t perm over colour,” says Kevin. “You have to start with virgin hair for it to be successful and even. There are special perms for coloured hair, but if you have highlights, some of the perm can take to the ends and some hair can be left fried. You’ve got to choose your poison.”
What are the best products to use post-perm? Kevin recommends using products for coloured hair, because perms create a similar level of dryness in the hair. Switch to colour-specific shampoo and conditioner and use a curl enhancer to style. “Whether your curls are real or fake, it’s important to use products that will define them and keep them looking fresh,” adds Stephen.