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by Alexandra Nicole Nuralam

Here’s A Super Useful Guide To Getting A Perm, Just in Time for CNY

Perms are making a comeback—but we’re not talking about Diana Ross curls of the ’80s. Think softer, looser, beachy waves, a modern incarnation of the tight, poodle spirals forty years ago. With the Lunar New Year fast approaching, you might be thinking of going for a fresh new hairstyle (maybe even something a little similar to your favourite Korean actress). Below, we turn to veteran hairstylist Daisuke Kasai of HaLu Hair Design for all our perm hair questions.

First things first, what is a perm?

Short for “permanent hairstyle”, a perm is a chemical treatment to make your hair curly or wavy, depending on the style you desire. Contrary to popular belief, they can actually make styling your hair in the morning easier and are a great way to make the effects of your hairstyling last longer, explains Daisuke.

What are the different types of perms and how do they differ?

“There are many different types of perms, but most of them are variations of a hot and cold perm,” notes Daisuke. The main difference between the two is the process; a cold perm uses water-based chemicals, while a hot perm or a digital perm, as it is commonly known, is done using heat and a cream base.

“A hot perm tends to create more waves as it dries compared to a cold perm, but with a hot perm, you cannot create volume close to the scalp,” says Daisuke. For cold perms, more styling such as applying gels and curling cream is usually required to achieve the same effect. 

Does getting a perm damage your hair?

According to Daisuke, it really depends on the style you choose. “The curlier your hair is, the more damage that was done to it. This is why we do not recommend it for people with damaged hair,” he explains.

Virgin hair, or hair that has not been coloured, makes the best candidate for a perm, but innovations in technology mean pretty much anyone can get a perm. Daisuke notes that while you can perm dyed hair, you might still want to consult your stylist. The last thing you want is dry, brittle hair that breaks off in chunks!

If you’re still worried about hair damage: “We have the Care Perm at HaLu, which uses industry-leading low-damage perm lotion to create waves without too much of a curl,” explains Daisuke. He adds that the process is similar to the hot perm but uses a special chemical to treat the hair, cutting the time required for processing in between.

How long does a perm usually last?

“It lasts between 3 to 4 months, depending on how you care for your hair,” says Daisuke. But take note: unlike hair colour, a perm won’t wash out and can’t be chemically reversed. 

When it comes to perms, maintenance is key. Treat your hair as you would if your hair were naturally curly. “Keep styling it every day to make sure it maintains its shape and try to avoid using a straight iron on your hair, as it can undo the perm,” recommends Daisuke. You should also avoid any immediate hair colour treatments immediately after a perm. Steer clear of parabens, alcohol, and sulfates in your hair care products, as these ingredients can strip your hair of moisture. Instead, opt for products with buzzwords like replenish, moisturise, nourish and hydrate


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