Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Perm Spacers

Q: I've had several perms done on my hair and some stylists put spacers between the band of the perm rod and my hair, and some don't. Whenever the spacers are used in my hair, my hair seems to have a lot more breakage than when they're not used. I'm guessing this is because when the spacers are put in, my hair ends up being pulled really tight.
I've asked my recent hair stylist if the spacers have to be used and she told me if they're not used that I will end up with marks in my hair from the band. Is it really necessary to use the spacers? When the spacers haven't been used I never noticed any perm marks, but that was also with different stylists.

A: Spacers were initially used with antique perming machines in order to protect the scalp from being burned by the equipment used to impart curl and process the chemical service. In most salons today, however, spacers are rarely used.
The reason you encounter the "some do" and "some don't" situation is that stylists get their training from a variety of sources. There are independent cosmetology schools and cosmetology programs as a part of technical colleges, plus a variety of salons and stylists who are licensed as instructors to have apprentices whom they teach. Aside from the curriculum surrounding the examination process, a given individual may learn countless variations of standard processes.
But to answer your core question: No. Generally they aren't an absolute necessity, and the perm rods shouldn't leave marks when properly used. What I recommend is that the next time you are in the salon for a perm service, ask the stylist NOT to use the spacers. If he or she cannot wrap a perm rod without causing "marks", I would look for another stylist.
Related posts:
How to prevent or get rid of perm rod marks
How to remove perm rod marks without damaging your hair