Create Waves

Wave iron
Q: I have long, straight hair and would like permanent curls/waves. I had a perm years ago (the 80s). I heard there is something called "waves" these days. Is this true and what is it? Is it softer than a perm?
A: Well, most of the references to “waves” found these days refer to styling techniques that create temporary wave patterns in the hair.
The wavy styles can be created by using a specially designed waving iron (like flat irons but having curved heating plates to create soft wave patterns) or by finger-styling the hair (wrapping the product treated hair around the fingers and pinning it into place until it dries).
For permanent changes to the hair’s wave pattern, you still need to use a “permanent wave” formula and processing. Now, the chemistry of the permanent wave has advanced considerably since the 1980s and now offers softer hair, with longer-lasting waves and curls. The newest formulas of permanent wave solutions are much gentler on the hair and often contain agents to leave the hair in better condition than before it was permed.
The thing to do is to discuss with your salon’s chemical services specialist the specific results you want from your “permanent wave” service. He or she will be able to give you a detailed account of specifically what you will need to achieve the look and the aftercare steps you will need to undertake to maintain the hair.
Now, unlike the traditional “perms” of previous eras, many salons now offer “specialty waves” to help a client get a unique and customized look. These “specialty waves” may use unconventional tools in the perming process. These can include things like extra large tools or oddly shaped tools. The goal is to customize the results to create the desired look.
See also:
How to create finger waves
The scientific processes during perming & relaxing
A guide to permanent waves
Roller styling techniques