Some hair and makeup looks stand the test of time, never changing but always in style. Well, the perm is not one of them. The voluminous hairstyle, brilliantly demonstrated by your mother in your baby and your big sister in your family albums, has undergone the most drastic transformation. And while it’s more beachy and subtle and wearable and way less Dolly Parton à la Steel Magnolias, it can still be an intimidating hairstyle to commit to, especially because the ‘80s really engrained a vision of volume into our minds.
But if you are intrigued by the concept of having perfect loose, tousled waves all day, every day, there’s a trick that’ll help you figure out if you’ll like what the modern perm looks like on you.
For those that are questioning, celebrity hairstylist Bridget Brager suggests heading to the drugstore and picking up a set of long tube rollers. You can find them at your local drugstore in various sizes and fabrics, though we’ve seen success with Conair Brush Styling Essentials Pillow Soft Rollers.
VIDEO: We Tried It: The Modern Perm
Apply a styling product like Herbal Essences Bio Renew Soft Control Light Hold Crème Gel ($6; target.com) in wet hair and then set your hair in the rollers. "Diffuse it when it’s dry or sleep on it overnight," says Brager.
Then, when you take out the rollers, she says you’ll get to see what a body wave or a loose perm would look like in your hair. Editor tip: Take larger sections of hair to ensure you’re not getting a tight spiral curl, and brush out the style or separate the curls and run your fingers through your hair. "I think for anybody questioning it, they should do it," says Brager. "It only gets better the second or third day of doing that technique with those rods. I’m all for it."
If you like the way your hair looks afterwards, talk to your stylist about setting up an appointment to see if you’re a candidate for the modern perm.