Perms transform you, for better or for worse - A good one turns you into a superstar, a bad one into a dated auntie.
But if you get one of the latter...don't lose hope - it turns out that there are fixes to take the 'permanent' out of 'permanent waves'.
A skilful haircut transfigures the way your hair looks. If the problem is not that your locks have been over-processed and badly damaged, but more that you don't like the overall shape of your mane, some artful snipping and layering can convert as a mass of coils into a divine 'do.
If you've decided that the problem is you just don't like wavy locks, a straightening solution such as rebonding or Keratin treatments can help you iron out the issues. Just remember you don't necessarily have to straighten your entire mop - sometimes taking the curl out of a targeted section can help you get a really lovely look.
Keeping your tresses straighter at the top, with curls left closer to the bottom, will result in a style that has always been favoured by fashionistas.
A perm is essentially breaking down your natural hair structure and creating a new one. If you don't like the structure that has emerged from your previous perm, a new perm can help reshape that too. Just remember that each perm comes with some level of chemical damage- If your tresses are too traumatised, your new stylist may say that you have to wait.
But if your crowning glory is still in acceptable condition, then the question is whether you want to return to the stylist who did an unsatisfactory job in the first place, or find someone else to fix the problem! While the first option might mean you get your hair service at a discount or even free, you may no longer trust them with your hair. Also, whoever you go to, it's a good idea to ensure that they can provide low-damage perm options so that the cumulative trauma from the treatments will be minimised.
In general, we'd recommend reading reviews about salons and stylists to see what other people say about them before you decide. BU.sg has a great database of trusted hairdressers, along with client appraisals...check us out!
Meanwhile, we'll leave Agent E to tell you about her experience of surrendering her hair to a stylist before doing research, and what she eventually did to remedy the result.
Hi! I'm Agent E, and I'm an air stewardess with Singapore Airlines. It's stricter than some other organisations when it comes to what the air crew can do with their coiffs, meaning I have limited experience getting chemical treatments - In fact, the only hair services I've had in the past few years have taken place at six-month intervals, usually during stopovers in Korea, or Taiwan.
Of course, the pandemic happened, meaning flight schedules were drastically affected. On the bright side, hair restrictions were lifted too, and I decided to forget about job worries for a while by treating myself to a bleach and perm at a Tampines salon recommended by a friend.
This was the result after a week.
My worst dream has come true: AUNTIE HAIR.
Granted, it doesn't look as curly when my hair is dry but i assure you that the amoebic shape is just as horrifying.
I initially blamed myself for not knowing how to manage wavy locks, but quickly realised from examining the 'do that my specific request for large soft curls had gone completely unheeded.
What I had were tight, uneven, damaged coils that frizzed up messily, to the point where my hair's always tied up so I see as little of it as possible. I even avoid mirrors when I have to leave my hair down, and while I've tried straightening tools, it always takes me hours to get my hair coiff in a presentable state - Not a sustainable solution.
I decided to ask Beauty Undercover's Chief Editor, Agent G, for help. She mentioned veteran stylist Leslie, from The Beauty Emporium by The Urban Aesthetics @ Raffles City. Beyond being a popular celebrity choice, the guy supposedly has comprehensive experience with perms, and would likely know if there was a way to fix my frizzy mess. So off I went to seek my style salvation.
As someone who misses the stimuli of going to other countries, I love that The Beauty Emporium is located at the heart of the scenic city area, and just above the MRT too! With the numerous wings in the mall, locating the salon was a little tricky, but didn't take me too long. The establishment itself was spacious and looked very chic and modern - this meant the people in charge had a good sense of aesthetics, which was important when they were supposed to be fixing my hair. I was also offered a private room, an option which I quickly took. I'm aware that not every salon has this facility, so I was grateful this option was available here so I could have my distastrous 'do fixed in comfortable solitude.
Then it was time to meet the fabled Leslie himself. He was a very friendly man that was really easy to chat with, and as a flight attendant I recognise a good customer service attitude when I see it. Despite the mask, I could always spot the smile in his eyes.
To show him the full extent of my damage, I took off my hair tie that hid the pile of hay I call hair.
He didn't say it out loud but his eyes told me everything.
Permed Hair on Korean Pop Star IU
All I wanted to achieve was this.Is it too much to ask?~ Agent E
Sensing my desperation, Leslie gave me his word that he will fix it, by hook or by crook.
After hearing what I was looking for, he suggested going slightly shorter to snip off the overly damaged ends, frame my features better and make me look younger. He assured me that with haircut alone, he can actually provide a shape that would tame quite a bit of the existing puffiness.
Achieving the effortless perm we see on IU would however require him to re-perm my hair. I hadn't thought that this was possible at first - hadn't perms hurt my crowning glory enough? Leslie explained that the new Advante Perm is unlike any other perms I've experienced. Instead of opening up the hair cuticles like other perm products would - causing roughness and exposing the hair's inner shaft to further trauma - the low pH value of this mixture actually imitates treatment ingredients to close the cuticles for increased smoothness and shine. At the same time, it would still be able to effectively break up the disulphide bonds in my locks, softening them to be reshaped.
He had previously used this new lotion to perm customers whose hair is a lot more damaged than mine... and the results have been amazing!
Don't worry, I have a game plan.First, I would give you the cut to trim off the damaged hair ends and give you the shape I want it to have.Next, I'll apply the Tokio Inkarami Pre-Treatment to strengthen and give your hair the extra boost.Then we will go ahead with the low-damage Advante perm and you would be out of here with your dream hair in less than 3 hours. ~ Leslie
You have no idea how relieved I am to hear that!
On top of making my hair look presentable again, Leslie can actually help me get the hair I wanted at the very beginning?
Since that's the case, what are we waiting for?
Finally the makeover begins, this time with a haircut.
Leslie very carefully trimmed off the overly damaged hair ends to the length he believed best framed my face.
Once the desired hair length is achieved, its time to look into the details as he created layers without overly thinning the hair.
Sorry but I don't miss you.
Wow, my hair looks so much better after just the haircut!
Can I go off now?
Just kidding. I'm not about to miss out on the biggest makeover of my life!
I was escorted to the wash area where he proceeded to give my hair a thorough wash.
While my hair was wet, Leslie gently pulled a lock of my wet hair taught to expertly assess its elasticity,. This will allow him to decide how long he should apply the perm lotion for. Having made his appraisal, he then escorted me to my salon seat for further perm-prepping.
To restore my crowning glory to a healthier condition, Leslie deployed the Tokio Inkarami 0 as a pre-treatment.Tokio Inkarami provides a variety of miracle mixtures, but this was specially formulated to rescue very damaged locks. And all it took was a series of spritzes from the bottles below to generate instant moisture and protein CPR on my dry 'do.
As effortless as it sounds, Leslie made sure every inch of my hair got a generous dose of these elixirs.
Once everything was nicely saturated, he left my hair to absorb the nutrients for about 10 minutes.
Next, it was time to apply the perm lotion.
Leslie explained that timing was crucial at this stage if I wanted to get the perfect texture and structure.
Because he believes you can't be too careful about hair health, Leslie chose a few slim locks of hair, and wrapped them around a small roller.
This will enable him to do the hair test later on.
For now though, my mane is placed under a gentle heater for just a few minutes.
When the estimated time is up, the assistant helped with the elasticity test. She gently stretched a strand taut to test if it still retained its elasticity, and if, when released, it would return to its newly-coiled shape.
Since my hair passed the test with flying colours, it was now time to curl the rest of the hair.
Wrapping each section of hair in thin foam to protect it from heat, he then proceeded to deploy the rollers and curl my locks.
The rollers were connected to a heating machine...
...And stayed that way for 20 minutes.
Once the rollers were extracted, my hair was left to cool. They had obviously taken on the shape of the rollers quite thoroughly. I snapped a photo because it looked funny. This is not the first time I go for a perm though, so I knew that this wouldn't be permanent.
Soon after, the middle section of my hair between the roots and wavy ends were being straightened.
This will help to smoothen any kinks around the edges, making the perm look all-natural.
To seal the new sleekness in, Leslie then applied the neutraliser to set my current hair shape.
He then applied it to the curls, to lock in the shape in for that as well.
My hair certainly seemed to have memorised its new structure! But to make sure, Leslie left the mixture in for ten minutes.
My locks were placed in a basin to prevent the precious neutralising cream leaking out and being wasted on the ground, and also so gravity wouldn't weigh down the curls before they had properly set.
After ten minutes, the neutraliser was rinsed off and a final express treatment applied to nourish my hair.
Finally, it was time to blow dry my crowning glory.
Assessing the new do, Leslie finished it off with minor trims to my fringe and the rest of my strands...
Then, it was time to see the result of his hair rescue.
Me likey very much.
The shorter, re-permed 'do is bouncy and effervescent, but sleek in the right places, and super stylish.
It feels smoother too! After my previous salon experience, I wouldn't have imagined that hair condition could improve post-perm. Now though, I'm a convert.
I love the balance of slick straightness closer to the top of my tresses for manageability, with the charmingly cheeky curls at the ends. This is an example of what a skilfull, strategic perm should look like.
And despite the chemical treatments on my hair, the colours - that I did like from the previous salon - were perfectly preserved.
Aside from the IU makeover I could only have dreamed off, I was given abundant maintenance tips. The one I found most useful is this: When blowing my hair dry, I should use my fingers or a brush to twirl my hair ends outwards for a more natural looking effect.
Overall, I loved my virgin experience at The Beauty Emporium by The Urban Aesthetics @ Raffles City.
It was private, luxurious, and I learned a lot about hair from the generous Leslie, including how different types of cuts and layering can change the way your coiff looks from various angles. Now that I've met this stylist, I don't feel I have to plan my hair treatments to coincide with stopovers in Taiwan or Korea when flights eventually resume (fingers crossed).
I'm so glad he managed to save my coiff and far exceed my expectations! Also, from my 'do debacle, I've learnt that hair is really important to the way you look in general. After all, you can use easy filters for your face and makeup (guilty as charged), but you can’t filter your hair...goodness knows I've tried.
My advice to everyone out there: Make sure you choose a good stylist instead!
Ever had your hair rescued after a bad hair service? Let us know at BU.sg!