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Are Permanent Curls Right For You?

      Perming you hair is a big deal. No matter what anyone else tells you, it is! If you've never done it before or it's been a decade or two since your last one, listen up because "perms" have come a long way. One important thing to remember is that it is a chemical treatment and it can take its toll on your hair, so be informed and use caution first!
 
      You can do a lot of things with perming solution. Perhaps you want long, lustrous spirally curls. Or maybe you just want some body. Maybe you have obnoxious natural "wings" that you have to straighten every day. Perming solution can solve that problem too. Here are some possibilities of what you can "permanently" do to your hair:
 
Perming hair       • straighten curly hair
      • straighten difficult sections of hair (bangs etc.)
      • weave perm (permed hair mixed with straight)
      • root perm (it adds lift to roots only)
      • stack perm (great for one length hair)
      • spiral perm
      • body perm
      • spot perm
 
Before deciding what you want to do to your hair, first consider three things.
1) What type of hair do you have?
2) Are there any physical things that would affect whether or not the perm "takes"?
3) Do you really want a big change or just a little help with what you already have?
 
      Your hair type will only determine how long the perming solution stays on your hair. Dark and coarse or light and thin, all types can take a perm. your stylist will just alter the time and/or rod size to suit it. Also in considering your hair type, think about your current hair cut. Some perms work better for hair that is all one length and others are designed to work with hair that has layers or existing curl. Be careful of deciding to perm you hair immediately after a new cut. Cuts are usually not done to suit a perm afterward unless you specifically tell your stylist you may want to perm your hair. Frequently only a light trim will be required before perming and many stylists prefer to trim hair after the perm to remove any "fishhooks" or to perfect the shape.
 
      Things that may affect your perm results are important to discuss with your stylist. Recent surgery, medicines you take, and past drug usage can influence how long your curls will last. Make sure you tell your stylist if you have had anesthesia, iron supplements, Retin-A, and some narcotics (particularly methamphetamines). All these can dramatically inhibit the ability of your hair to hold a curl. Also, certain hormonal activity like pregnancy and menopause can reduce the length of time required for your perming solution to be successful.
 
      How much change do you want? Some people are fairly happy with their hair except for a few "wings" or other difficult spots. This is where hair straightening can be very useful. We all know that wavy and downright curly hair can be straightened, but your stylist can also "pull out" only your difficult spots if desired just by combing perming solution through your hair! (This won't actual pull out the hair, it just pulls out the wave or kink, etc.). The reverse can be done by having a spot perm in which only certain areas are curled. Some nice curls around the face are easy, or you may find this desirable only at the roots for short hair styles. This type of root perm, usually produces no visible curl, it is similar to the volume created when your hair is blow-dried upside down. If your hair is mostly one length and you just want some curls at the ends, a stack perm may be perfect for you. With this method, the hair on top of the head is left untouched and just the bottom and middle sections are rolled. A body perm is great for one length hair or layered looks as well. It is a pretty loose roll that results in very little curl but lots of lustrous body (think big hair, but not 80's!). A weave perm is probably the most difficult of all perms and likely the most unknown. This technique will require a lot of skill from your stylist in determining which sections should be curled and which should not. The results of this can be very dramatic. Be careful though, this type of perm will usually require a good amount of prep time before going out the door. Ideally, you would curl some of the straight sections with a curling iron and if all goes well, you'll look like a million bucks coming out of a top notch salon every day!
 
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