Wednesday, August 09, 2006

To Perm, Or Not To Perm: A Very Important Question!

Most of us have had the memory of a bad perm. It is the equivalent of a mental scar, and a deep one at that. Do you have any idea how long it takes for one of these to grow out? I was scarred emotionall for many years (OK I am exaggerating) 'cause of a bad perm and 6th grade is not the time to get experimented on by your beautician great aunt. Yes, I said beautician. Egad! Here are some tips with which to educate the masses before they go down the same road I did. Also included: tips on straightening (relaxing).

  • WARNING! Don't do this yourself, period. I mean it! If you do you run the risk of losing hair, damaging your hairshaft irreversibly and otherwise suffering for months to come. Go to a professional technician, some stylists still can't pull this off.
  • Perming and Haircolor: Choose to Perm or Straighten the hair BEFORE you color! Besides, most stylists refuse to color (especially bleach) after a client has a perm. It simply damages an already damaged cuticle more so. Semi-permanent coloring is suggested.
  • Perming by Definition: Your hair is tightly wound (depending on the desired result) around curlers of various sizes. A harsh chemical is applied to the hair to "pen the shaft (or to rough it up) and break down the rods in your hairshaft. Then a second chemical is poured on that actually closes the rods or makes the hair retain whatever shape it is in (the curlers). It is kept in for a bit to process and then rinsed out. They carefully unwind the curlers from your hair and you don't get to wash it for days. It is best to wait for as long as you can without getting it wet. Plus even though the formulas have been improved, it still stinks! Straightening works the same way but minus the curlers. They comb your hair straight and if it starts kinking up again they comb it some more, forcing the hairshaft to straighten in addition to the weight of the water and chemicals.
  • Pre-Perm: Treat your hair to a few Clarifying shampoos beforehand (especially if you use a lot of products) to strip the hair of its greasy and sticky build up from products and hard water (mineral deposits) can prevent the perm chemicals from penetrating evenly.
  • Haircut/Perm: Cut AFTER you perm. That way the style and cut will be designed with the new texture and shape (curl) of the hair. However, if you are going to go dramatically shorter then the stylist should cut your hair a little longer than the desired end result and then process, cutting after the perm is complete.
  • Risks: First and foremost, these are chemicals. They can burn and irritate the scalp. Do not subject your scalp to chemicals if it is scratched, sunburned or whatever. Also, your scalp (if you're a woman) is more sensitive right before your period and it can absolutely drive you nuts to have chemicals on you scalp. You will be climbing the walls, itching your head with the point of a pick or comb. you run the risk of losing clumps of hair, especially if your hair is chemically processed prior to getting a perm. You can loose hair if the solution is left on to long as well.
  • Processing Time: Beware of the stylist who does not use a timer for perms or forgets how long you have the chemicals in. Ask what time and how long it will be processing for and keep track yourself. Don't hesitate to alert the stylist when your time's up.
  • Re-dos: How I wish this didn't happen. There are quite a few times that a perm or coloring does not take place. If your perm does not live up to your standards you should really wait a while before getting a new one (a re-do). You could REALLY damage your hair. It simply isn't worth it.
  • Perm After-care: Take care of your hair. It is bad enough you cannot wash your hair until a few days afterward, the longer the better. Use a gentle shampoo, a stronger conditioner and protect your hair chlorine, the sun and excessive heat from curling irons and blow-dryers.

below: Scarlett Johansson & Beyonce Knowles

1 comment:

Lady M said...

I think i would try!