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For Better Or Worse - The '80s Perm Is Back

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For Better Or Worse - The '80s Perm Is Back

It's safe to say the 1980s are long behind us - but like it or not, the decade revolutionised fashion forever.

Almost 40 years later, and we still draw influence from the likes of Princess Diana, Janet Jackson and Brooke Shields. You might find the very same items in the wardrobes of a 1980s socialite and a 2020s TikTok teen.

With that in mind, however, not every trend needs to make a comeback. How many of us have walked out trying to channel Glenn Close, but have ended up looking like a Poundland Kath Day-Knight? We regret to inform you that the '80s perm is back with a bang. But, there is a 2021 twist.

Glenn Close was the master of her perm craft. [Credit: Alamy]
Glenn Close was the master of her perm craft. [Credit: Alamy]
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So, how have we left the 2021 perm feeling shiny and new?

To answer this, we must first establish what a perm actually is. Those with naturally curly hair might want to look away now.

Perms are specifically designed to give a new bounce and refresh to typically straight hair. Chemicals are used to break the hair, and bond it back together into beachy curls and waves. Your hair is then wrapped in order to set the perm, before a lotion is applied and rinsed out.

The modern perm isn't quite the same as a Kath and Kim-special. [Credit: Unsplash]
The modern perm isn't quite the same as a Kath and Kim-special. [Credit: Unsplash]
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According to Stylist, perm technology itself hasn't actually moved on for a long time. While it probably isn't a great idea to get a perm if you - say - also have a mullet (you do you, though), your perm will look extra modern if you have an updated haircut.

So, choppy bobs, pixie cuts and layered waves are all green flags!

It's fairly simple to achieve the timeless look sported by Julia Roberts, Cher and Sarah Jessica Parker. We spoke to former hairstylist Kerrie Jayne about all things perm care.

"The key is to always cut after the perm has been finished," she says.

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Sarah Jessica Parker's curls are timeless. [Credit: Alamy]
Sarah Jessica Parker's curls are timeless. [Credit: Alamy]

Experts say that you shouldn't be perming your hair if you've already bleached it. "Perming your hair is about as damaging as bleaching or colouring your hair," Kerrie tells us. The chemicals used in the process are harsh, and can cause breakage. In other words, perms are "most suitable on virgin hair".

It's best to take good care of your perm, as the process can leave it feeling dry. Moisturisers, deep conditioners and hair masks are your new best friends - get to know them! "I'd always advise a good conditioning treatment once per week to prevent damage, and always use a heat protectant," says Kerrie.

Always use heat protectant to avoid damage. [Credit: Unsplash]
Always use heat protectant to avoid damage. [Credit: Unsplash]
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You should be able to get roughly half a year's wear out of a fresh perm. "How long you'll have your perm for really varies from person-to-person," Kerrie continues. "Some people can go six months until they need a top-up. Although I've had clients whose perms have only lasted around a month."

Plenty of time to learn what makes your new hair tick!

Featured Image Credit: Credit: Alamy

Topics: Style, Hair, Beauty

Hannah Van-de-Peer
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