Texture: Not Your Mother’s Perm
by Michelle Breyer on Wednesday, September 1st, 2010
According to Darby Shields, associate artistic director for ISO, are two 4-letter words in hairdressing: bangs and perms.
When it comes to perms “We now say ‘body’ or ‘movement’ or ‘texture’,” says Shields.
Whatever you choose to call them—texturizers, waves or perms—the technology has come a long way. Unlike the poodle perms of the past, today’s perms have the ability to deliver sexy, fashion-forward texture without sacrificing the health of your hair. They are definitely not our mothers’ perms.
Demand is on the rise as texture—from beachy waves to curls—has become increasingly fashionable.
The whole process has changed dramatically from the day of strong chemicals, perm rods and end papers.
In 1938, Arnold F. Willatt invented the cold wave, the precursor to the modern perm. It used no machines and no heat. The hair was wrapped on rods and a reduction lotion containing ammonium thioglycolate was applied. This chemical breaks 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 6–8 hours at room temperature. These treatments evolved into perms using ammonium thioglycolate, and then sodium thioglycolate, which cut processing time.
The new generation of perms are much gentler, with lower pH and low ammonia, giving the stylist more control over the outcome. ISO’s Option Wave, for example, is an award-winning professional perm system completely free of thio, the activator found in many traditional perms. It uses ISOamine, an exclusive technology that allows for deeper and more even penetration into the hair’s cortex with minimal swelling of the cuticle. Minimal swelling means hair’s internal and external structures and condition are maintained.
And the application also has changed dramatically from the day of perm rods and end papers. Today’s tools are flexible and soft, or no tools at all are used.
“You can make pin curls and process that, if you want,” Sheilds says. “You can do just about anything you want.”
Steve Goddard was working at Redken in 1994—“the day perms died.” He recalls working with chemists to come up with a new type of permanent rave. While talking to a focus group of 12 young stylists, he asked them for feedback on names and positioning.
“I started the presentation and notice that they’re all looking at me like I stepped off the moon,” says Goddard, president and founder of Pravana Naturceuticals.
“They all said ‘We don’t do perms,’”Goddard recalled.
Goddard asked, “None of you do perms?”
“None of us do perms,” they replied.
“Absolutely none?” he asked.
“We don’t do them and we don’t want to do them,” the stylists replied.
For the next 14 years, stick straight hair was the trend. But two years ago, he started to notice celebrities wearing soft waves. Goddard started looking and listening, and realized this trend was different than the perm trend that had caught fire in the 1980s. These waves were longer and less defined—beachier.
Goddard decided to create a product that could give women this beachy look—the Pravana Beach Wave. With that mission in mind, he realized he would have to create a formula different than the alkaline waves, which create a firmer, crisper curl than he wanted for this look An acid wave would provide the softness, but wouldn’t be firm enough for longer hair.
“We would lose the wave because of the weight,” he says. “We realized we needed to come up with a hybrid in terms of a wave solution. We developed a wave that uses amino acid technology to replace thio, giving the firmness of a wave without the crispness and definition.”
In addition to the actual solution, Goddard wanted to create an easy-to-use way to wrap the hair that wouldn’t leave marks The answer was to use wave blocks. Rather than the 70 to 80 rods used for a traditional perm, a stylist can use as few as 18 wave blocks to wrap up the head in a matter of 10 minutes.
“There is so much variety now, and that carries over to the textural spectrum,” Goddard says. “It’s not just about different cuts today. It’s about different textures. It’s our job to find out what people are doing and what they want, and then come up with a way for them to do it easily.”
In 1938, Arnold F. Willatt invented the cold wave, the precursor to the modern perm. It used no machines and no heat. The hair was wrapped on rods and a reduction lotion containing ammonium thioglycolate was applied. This chemical breaks 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 6–8 hours at room temperature. These evolved into perms using ammonium thioglycolate, and then sodium thioglycolate.
But stylists still have some image hurdles to overcome to get the word out about this new generation of perms.
“People do come in for perms, but they don’t want to say it,” Shields says. “They may bring in a picture of Taylor Swift or Kate Hudson, and I tell them I can make their hair look like that chemically.”
Shields also having some examples by your chair of the results that can be achieved with texturizers. She suggests wrapping hair pieces with different tools and have them hanging around your station to show the different types of waves and curls you can create.
“It’s a huge opportunity,”says Shields. “Judging from the way people are asking for texture on both coasts, I’m sure it will permeate the rest of the country in short order. To be on the leading edge of that can be a huge advantage. You can really build your business if you become known for this new generation of retexturizers.”
The chemicals being used also are much different, with less ammonia and lower pHs. ISO’s Option Wave, for example, This award-winning professional perm system completely free of thio, the activator found in many traditional perms, and also Damage-free, low ammonia formulation. It uses ISOamine™, an exclusive technology that allows for deeper and more even penetration into the hair’s cortex with minimal swelling of the cuticle. Minimal swelling means hair’s internal and external structures and condition are maintained.
And the application also has changed dramatically from the day of perm rods and end papers. Today’s tools are flexible and soft or no tools.
“You can make pin curls and process that, if you want,” Sheilds says. “You can do just about anything you want.”
A Perm Primer
A savior for those with short, flat hair—the root perm helps add 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 lady’s locks from another treatment.
Body Wave Perm
Creating big, bouncy curls as opposed to tight, spring curls – the body wave perm is for curl-lovers who want a more modern curly look. The goal is to inject body and a little curl without adding a ton of ‘poof’ to the hair. 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.
Because you’re curling only partial sections of the hair, the weave perm will give your client a fabulous, fusion look with both textured and straight pieces in her hair. She’ll be treated with great versatility by choosing how much of her hair is treated for this modern look.
Finally a solution for women without layers, 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 flat to create a more a more natural look.
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. This perm will still create beautiful curls without as much damage to the hair follicle.
Referring to the gentle, internal heat that is characteristic of this treatment, the exothermic perm helps speed up the processing time. The heat helps to allow the lotion to absorb quickly into the hair, conditioning and strengthening the cuticle from the inside. Your client will walk out with beautiful, bouncy curls from this innovative treatment.
by Rachel Peters on Monday, November 2nd, 2009
New trends are like waves. From the newsstands and gossip blogs, trends barrel down to us, knocking us to our feet and leaving us scrambling to discover how they are created. Our clients come to us asking for the new look and we do our best, secretly thinking to ourselves, “There’s got to be a better, easier way to do this.” The trend evolves and each new style of it is more interesting and intricate than the next. We study the red carpets and buy the latest styling tools to try to catch up with the wave. And as it ebbs back, giving us time to take the class or practice the technique, we notice just ahead in the distance another wave is swelling, this one more innovative and beyond our scope than the last.
This series is dedicated to keeping you, the stylist, up to date on the latest trends and techniques. We want to make it easy to acquire, share, and critique. We’ll provide you with the tools and give the links to classes and tutorials, making it easy for you to be in the loop.
New Trend: Soft, beachy waves without the damage or commitment
Think of Nexture as a temporary perm. It adds soft, beachy waves to the hair and lasts about twenty shampoos. It infuses sodium bonds into the hair shaft, swelling it to create more bounce. Unlike traditional perms, it does not alter existing bonds in the hair nor does it rely on harsh chemicals to create a curl pattern. Nexture is recommended for clients with fine, limp hair — 1s and 2s. See NaturallyCurly.com’s hair types.
ISO’s texture expert, Francie Sorem, sat down with CurlStylist to talk about Nexture. Her recommendations? Wrap hair in large magnetic rollers, fasten with standard metal clips, and apply Nexture as you would any perm. Avoid using Nexture on hair that is overly processed or damaged. ISO does make a Nexture treatment for color-treated hair, but it should only be used on hair that has been lifted with high lift color, not overly bleached or processed. Sorem says Nexture is an easy service to recommend to a client wanting wavy hair without the damage or commitment. Daily heat styling with irons or rollers can cause long-term damage, and traditional thio perms wreck the hair’s integrity. Nexture gives the curl without ruining the hair. Average cost: $200
For clients with more curl, ISO created Manetamer, a gentle straightener containing no thio. It relaxes the hair by adding protein. Just comb in the straightening solution followed by the neutralizer. It takes about 15 minutes and makes a great add-on service in the salon. Both Manetamer and Nexture can be found online or in professional beauty supply houses.
Ouidad’s Softening System
Famous for her work with curly hair, Ouidad has once again created a solution for clients looking to manage tightly wound curls without straightening or damaging hair. The softening system loosens curl patterns and re-forms curls without using chemicals. It uses about half the processing ingredients as other straightening systems and lasts about 3-4 months. Ouidad recommends using the treatment all over or as a “spot softener,” evening out a client’s curl pattern.