The perm: why classic haircuts are experiencing a renaissance

For people of a certain age, the word alone is enough to send a whole body shivering: permanent.

Those who witnessed the peak of the hairstyle’s popularity in the 1980s will never forget the classic spiral perm of the time, which was huge, both figuratively and literally.

The perm: why classic haircuts are experiencing a renaissance

Now the perm is experiencing a renaissance among a younger crowd, but this time, hairdressers say, less is more.

Camera icon singer Whitney Houston. Credit: Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty ImagesCamera IconKhloe Kardashian with a perm blowout. Credit: Khloe Kardashian/Instagram

Forget Kylie’s masses of curly blonde hair in her Neighbor Day when she still needed a last name or the gravity-defying “dos” of Cher, Whitney Houston, and Brooke Shields back in the day. As praised by Vogue and Elle, the modern perm is an old-school perm with the volume down.

Dressed by celebrities from Khloe Kardashian and Selena Gomez to Cara Delevingne, it can sometimes be found under several different names, from body wave to curly shag, possibly to avoid those still traumatized by iconic permed bouffants from the Swedish 1980s. Band Europe scare.

Techniques may vary, but for a traditional perm, the basics remain the same: the hair is treated with chemicals to change the bonds of the hair, which can then be curled with rods. The practice of perming hair dates back to the late 1800s, but the modern method, faster and less dangerous than what preceded it, was not invented until the 1970s.

The name “permanent” comes from the word permanent, although permanent in this context means more like three to six months.

Daniel Yap, creative director at Tao of Hair in Perth’s upscale King Street, said his salon had always done perms for some older clients, but lately, there has been a revival of interest from younger women.

“Over the past year, the trend has shifted to everyone wanting perms again, which I think is cool,” he said.

“It’s coming back. We regularly have clients in their 80s who come to us, which is fantastic, and for younger kids, it’s a cool thing – all the cool kids are getting perms now.”

Camera Icon Brooke Shields circa 1983 in New York City. Credit: Images Press/Getty Images

The salon specializes in “thermal perms,” ​​which use specialized heated rollers to achieve a softer result than some perms.

“Thermal perms are very different from what everyone assumes 1980s perms would be,” he said. “It looks a lot like a hair dryer.”

He said that while the perm was coming back in Western countries, it had never gone out of style in Asia.

“In most Western countries, the perm has traumatized everyone since the 1980s and 1990s, but the beauty of the perm in Asia is that it is constantly evolving,” he said.

“There are always a lot of misconceptions (that) if you do your hair permanently, it automatically feels unhealthy or dry. That is no longer the case. The hair feels amazingly soft and bouncy even in the last five years.”

Camera icon Daniel Yap & Page Lin, spouses, and owners of Tao for Hair in King Street, Perth. Credit: Ross Swanborough/The West Australian

Get to know #perm for five minutes on the social media website TikTok, and it’s clear that perms aren’t just for women. Young men, too, embrace the perm as if it were 1985 again.

Marjorie Harris, the owner of Perth’s Jts Group, says it’s a trend across her five salons.

“The biggest trend is young guys,” she said. “The footballers set it on fire; they all follow the football boys, whatever they do.

“It’s always been something we’ve always done and stuck to. Now we would do quite a few perms a week.”

Lori J. Kile
I love to write and create. I love photography, design, travel and art. I am a full time freelance writer and photographer.I am very excited to be creating new content and opportunities for my readers.