That Never Ending Perm

Articles by Rick Lesser


“That Never Ending Perm”

People have been trying to produce a long lasting curl in the hair that will not wash out since the early Romans and Egyptians. Unfortunately, it was difficult to really know exactly the methods used. It is known however, that earth, clay, and the sun were employed to bake the curl in. Charles Nessler, a German hairdresser invented the first “machine wave” in 1905. It was the first real progress made in perming. The idea was good, but the borax solution and intense heat in most cases burnt the hair and scalp. With the passing of years, there came a better understanding of the process of perms. The physical and chemical structure of the hair was now being studied. Because of this, chemicals were being used in a much wider range. Although the active ingredients are the same, modern perming solutions can be altered by buffers and conditioners to control and feed the hair during processing. Customizing of the perm solution to each individuals hair’s needs now comes down to a science.

Within this method lies another factor. For years it was thought that the chemicals in the perm solution Rick Lesser - That Never Ending Permwere the direct cause of damage to the hair. Damage can result from perm processing. This is due to improper technical information, drying of the hair with solution in it, and the technical execution of the wrap. It is however the stopping process that causes the most damage. The next steps in perming after the curl is obtained is rinsing, then neutralizing. But we have found that the rinsing action swells the hair shaft along with weakening it too much. It can also cause the rods to shift and pull. So, how do you remove the solution and retain the hair’s integrity? The first step would be to apply hot steamy towels to begin absorbing the perm solution. Then follow with dry blotting with paper towels until you have removed as much moisture as possible. The last stage in the perm process is known as the neutralization or sealing of the newly formed curl bonds.

Since oxygen is needed to neutralize the perm, an oxidizing agent would then be applied. Most contain sodium bormate or hydrogen peroxide as their oxidizing agents. One draw back is they can cause discoloring of the hair. Another problem is that its harsh chemicals are sometimes left on too long allowing more dryness and damage. If oxygen is needed to seal the bonds and set the curl, then why not let the hair dry naturally?

The longer you can air neutralize the better. The down side to this is it takes 12 to 24 hours to complete in order to re-form the bonds to their new shape. The up side? A totally natural, lustrous curl lasting until it’s cut out. In most cases the hair quality is better after then before. Making this technique perfect for over processed, fine, or limp hair. Even curly frizzy hair can benefit. Perming the hair to create a softer texture. Of course this doesn’t mean you can’t get great results for conventional perming. Of course you can. This just
offers another choice if you have been searching for better results in your quest for that never ending perm.