If your only idea of what perms look like on long hair is the heavens-high, voluminous hairstyle, complete with feathered bangs that Dolly Parton and Sarah Jessica Parker used to wear, it’s time to expand your knowledge of what the signature ‘80s treatment can really do. As you’ve probably heard, the perm is back and it got a modern makeover. Now, thanks to updated it’s less about larger-than-life body and tightly wound curls and more focused on imparting a loose beach wave, or something a twirl with a wide-barrel curling wand can give you.
But that’s not your only option. The first step in pulling off a perm with long hair is figuring out if you want curls or the previously mentioned waves. Damian Santiago, a hairstylist, perm expert, and co-owner of Mizu salon in New York City says most haircut shapes won’t limit your options.
"If the client has long hair, I approach the perm process exactly like any other perm," he says. "Paying important attention to each and every step and detail of the process to achieve the desired results."
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Today, larger rods are used to create an undone, soft wave to the hair and Santiago says that beach waves are definitely in demand. However, many of his clients also ask for super tight curls, so it call comes down to preference and understanding what the finished product will look like. Bringing in photos can help your stylist decide what barrel to use to get the desired effect.
How long it lasts with long hair? That depends. "The looser the wave the quicker it can drop," says Santiago. "Although many of my long-hair clients perm once or twice a year, depending on how firm a texture you opt for."