Hoping to add volume to fine hair... only to be disappointed by hairstylists who tell you that your hair can't be permed?
We have good news for you! While older perm lotions and machines are unable to creating lasting curls on fine hair, perm technology have advanced so much so that what was previously impossible can now be achieved.
Perming fine hair is one of them... and among the many technologies that can do so, airwave perm is one of our favourites!
Unlike usual perm machines that merely heats up the curls, the Takara Airwave Vita Machine is a state-of-the-art perm machine that produces consistent air circulation to promote the creeping process AND forces ozone into the hair cortex to set the curls.
It comes with a whole new set of perm lotions that work together with the machine to minimize stress to the hair during the perming process.
It is also one of the first to use ozone to lock in the treatment ingredients, allowing curls to be created at lower temperatures and hence lower damage.
So while typical perms would require temperatures as high as 120 degrees, the airwave vita uses only temperatures between 53–60 degrees.
As you can see, this makes it perfect particularly for ladies with fine hair as it creates bouncy curls without making your hair too frizzy.
All those are merely scientific facts but how does it perform in real life? We follow Agent C to Flamingo Hair Studio, one of the few hair salons in Singapore offering the authentic Japanese Airwave Perm.
I don't know whether it's obvious to you yet... but I miss Japan! When I was in school, I had the opportunity to visit Japan when I was on exchange.
I had such a good experience there, I decided to scour through the best Japanese hair salons in Singapore. And guess what, I stumbled upon Flamingo Hair Studio on Beauty Undercover after googling.
I thought that prices here would be out of my reach but I was surprised by how prices are NOT out of the world.
I decided to give it a try... and was just blown away by the experience. From the very first time, my stylist is Marco. I loved the warm brown he gave me and have been going to him since 2017.
You know how some of your friends would gather and gossip about them having bad hairstyle after visiting the salon. In the 4 years I've been here, it has never happened to me. Every time I visit him, Marco has been unfailingly courteous and professional. He definitely knows what he is doing and even though he is a Japanese, Marco speaks really good English. It was really nice chatting with him in a place as instagrammable as Flamingo Hair Studio.
He used to be at the Tanjong Pagar outlet but I followed him to Tiong Bahru when he moved over. Other than colours though, I've always wanted to get my hair permed. Before I came to Flamingo Hair Studio, a lot of people told me that my hair cannot be permed... or that it wouldn't last long permed because my hair was too fine.
Well, I did a perm here with Marco two years ago and here's how it looked like now.
Two years on and you can still see the remnants of my curls!
So... I don't know what the other stylists were talking about.
To give them credit though, Marco explained that his perm is special as he uses an airwave perm vita machine that allows him to make those natural big waves even on fine hair.
As my curls have mostly straightened out, Marco asked if I was keen to perm my hair a second time. As much as I'm a makeup artist and that styling is not a problem for me, having a perm is much more convenient so I don't have to worry about styling first thing in the morning.
So, it's a yes for me!
Want to know what it's like? Read on!
Flamingo Hair Studio is not exactly near the MRT but luckily for me, the bus stops right outside the salon.
It may look ordinary from the outside but stepping inside always transports me back to Japan. Whether its the pink flamingoes, vintage furniture, beautiful murals, fresh flowers.. there's always something about Flamingo that makes me happy when I enter.
As usual, Marco starts the entire experience with a consultation. He shares that he will have to trim away the damaged hair ends a little
The perm will however make the hair look a little shorter.
My hair is pretty long now, so I'm okay with it!
As with any perm, the first step is the haircut. Marco divided my hair into sections before trimming the hair ends.
Next, he created layers in the hair, an important step because it determines where the waves start and end.
Once done, he applied the SHERPA Conditioning Mist as a pre-treatment before starting the curling process. This helps to repair any hair damage before starting the perm process!
The next step in the airwave perm is the winding process.
This is different from the normal digital perms when the perm lotion is applied.
There are three sizes of rods and they are differentiated by colours: yellow, orange and pink.
As you can see, there are a lot of holes on the rods itself. This helps to increase air circulation within the rods so the hair can be heated up more evenly at lower temperatures.
Marco started the curling process by rolling my hair on the yellow rods. They are size 20 and are the smallest.
These sections of hair will be the curliest and hence produce the volume required to prop up my hair on the inside.
Next, he repeated the process using the orange rods as the next layer. These rods are in size 22 and used to produce medium sized curls.
Finally, he used the big pink rods in size 24 for the crown of my head.
This layering process is a Japanese technique used to create more natural-looking waves.
To secure the rollers without causing rubber band marks, Marco inserted yellow sticks into the hair.
Marco would constantly check out my hair in the mirror to ensure the rolls are balanced on both sides. Once satisfied, he wrapped my hairline with a towel. He tied the rubber band which was attached to a hook, to hook it to the back of the towel.
A few more sprays of the pre-treatment before he kickstart the process and there we go.
This is the first agent applied to the hair. This opens the hair cuticles and changes the CMC to a rubber-like state, preparing the hair for the creeping process.
Once done, lukewarm water at 36 degrees was dripped on my hair to rinse off the first agent.
The next step is the creeping process. Here, the machine circulates hot air around the rods, creating a new shape for the hair.
To minimize damage, my hair was attached to the machine at 53 degrees for only 15 minutes.
Once done, the machine performs the next step of locking in the new shape and treatment ingredients into the hair. It does so by forcing ozone into the hair cortex, removing water from the hair and reducing temperature of the hair back to normal. This turns CMC from a rubber-like state to a glass-like state, setting the curls instantaneously.
When it seems like my hair is almost dry, Marco reduced the remaining time left from 5 minutes to just 3 minutes and at the same time reduced the temperature to minimise any damage to my hair.
As you can see, there are a lot of things the stylist can customize for the hair, so I'm glad to have someone as experienced as Marco to take care of all the details along the way.
Finally, the post-treatment agent was aplied to fix the new bonds that are created. It was left on my hair 10 minutes.
Instead of leaving me alone, Marco gave me an amazing shoulder massage while waiting for the liquid to be processed.
Finally, we're done!
That's not all.
Marco escorted me to the basin where he gently rinsed off the treatment agents.
To make sure that my hair is in the best condition possible after the perm, Marco applied the set of Milbon treatment at the basin.
He even steamed my hair afterwards to make sure that the treatment penetrates more deeply!
The process was so shiok, I just fell asleep.
Back at the seat, Marco blew my hair dry with his fingers (no round brush) and taught me how to do the same back home.
Keen to see the final result?
My hair used to be like that but about 4 hours later, this is how my hair looked like now.
Yay to curls, yay to volume!
I'm so glad that all I need to do now is to twirl and finger dry, and my hair will turn out like this.
Thank you Marco for giving me these gorgeous curls, despite my fine hair!
No matter what state of hair I enter Flamingo with, I always leave feeling good about myself. This is a reason why I've been recommending friends and family to Flamingo Hair Studio since 2017, whether for perms, colours or haircuts!
Based on my many experiences here, I can confidently say that this is a decision you will not regret!
Hope to see you at Flamingo the next time I'm there.
Have fine hair and am interested to see how the airwave perm can help create lasting curls with low damage? Flamingo Hair Studio is having the following promotion:
Alternatively, they are also having 10% off all customers for stylist Shuya! For more promotions and reviews on the stylists at Flamingo Hair Studio, read on here.
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