Hot Hair Trend: Digital Perms, the Curling Revolution

WRITTEN BY: Elizabeth On 11/23/2011 • Hair

Hot Hair Trend: Digital Perms, the Curling Revolution

Perms. We all tried it - or at least thought about trying it - in the 80s and 90s, right? And for a the majority of us, it probably turned into a frizzy nightmare that we regretted a few years down the road.

But perms are making a comeback this year - they're just not the kind of perms that you remember.

Submitted by Elizabeth on 11/23/2011 - 11:00

They're called hot perms or digital perms, and while they've been around for awhile in places like South Korea and Japan, they're starting to crop up in Europe and the U.S. these days, too.

And unlike the old-school perms that either gave you tight, wild spirals or nothing at all, digital perms provide a great deal more flexibility and variability. So instead of frizz, you get anything from beachy waves to loose curls, turning your locks from bland to Hollywood style that lasts for months.

So how does it work? Well, unlike traditional cold perms that use just rollers and a solution, digital perms use heat the set the curl. There's still a solution, but it's a different kind, and you have more options regarding where you want the curl to start. Do you want it root-to-tip? At the cheekbones? At the chin? Then the hair is rolled up in different sized rollers depending on how much curl you want, and the rollers are plugged into a machine that digitally controls the heat and sets the curl.

Best part is that, while chemicals are still involved, the whole hot perm process thermally reconditions the hair, so your locks are softer, smoother and shinier leaving the salon. The curls stay through blow drying and generally don't even need to be touched up with curling irons or hot rollers.

Sound too good to be true? Well, for some people, it is. If you take a look around the Internet, you'll find some stories of digital perms gone wrong - where the curl didn't set in so all the customer is left with are the chemicals. Stylists are cautioning that women with bleached or heavily processed hair probably shouldn't shell out for a digital perm. Our best advice if you want to give this a shot is to make sure you hunt down an experienced, licensed cosmetologist who is fully trained in performing digital perms.

Keep in mind finances, too. It's not a cheap procedure, running anywhere from $200 to $400 depending on the salon, and it takes a chunk out of your day, too. It has to be repeated, too, every 4 months or so as your hair grows out.

Still, we got to say that we're excited about a new kind of perming system that doesn't leave us looking like poodles. We can't wait to see how other hair innovators refine and evolve the hot perm process in the coming years.