Getting A Perm In 2019: A Love Story Or A Nightmare

If you’re like me, you’re the type of person who likes to change their look literally every week. Well, this time, my irrational spontaneity mixed with my boredom, fear of commitment, and Pinterest pins may have gone too far because I, a 19 year old girl in 2019, have decide to get a perm. Yes, I know. When most people think of perms they think of cringe-worthy prom pics of their parents, dads with mustaches in dolphin shorts and Aquanet. However, thanks to the help, or perhaps the devious influence, of the internet, I found that a perm may be just the thing for me. Having straight hair all my life, I decide that a perm would not only give me luxurious volume but also bouncy, cute and lively curls. So with my high expectations set, I set out on a journey back in time to get a perm, and now having it for 3 months, here is the account of my personal journey.Image result for hair gifThis particular perm was not like any other; it was a “body wave” (name courtesy of Pinterest). According to my internet searches and my stylist Maria, a “body wave” is similar to a perm, uses the same smelly chemicals and everything, but it uses larger rods, which allows for looser, more relaxed, and more “beach wave” curls than your mom’s cringe-worthy aggressive prom curls. In short, I was assured I would look amazing and no one would know I got a perm. So, next thing I know, Maria had me in her chair and the chemicals were in.

Immediately, the pressure started to set in, and the blindfold did not help. That’s right, the chemicals were not only stinging my nostrils with their toxic scent, but they were dripping down my face to the point where I had to use a blindfold so that they would not touch and burn my eyes. And of course right when I thought it was over, new chemicals were placed on my head, rods were weaved into my hair, and the blindfold and I were reintroduced for a second, but thankfully it was the last time. Finally, however, after what seemed like hours in the chair, it was time for the reveal.

My hair was curly. Unlike what I expected with the “body wave,” it had tight spirals and the same amount of volume as when I had entered, but most surprisingly, it had frizz. My hair was a sight to behold. I looked like a prized poodle who just had a doggy spa day and was ready to have a bow placed on her head. Maria assured me it would loosen up with time and the smell, oh the smell, would go away when I washed my hair. And oh, I couldn’t wash my hair for 4 full days. Great. Soon, it was the second day and things got worse. The hair was not only becoming more frizzy, but it was hot, heavy and uneven. By uneven, I mean it looked like I curled my hair two days ago, left it and then tried to redo it with a limited amount of time so only some were perfect curls while others were 2 day old curls. But, I remained hopeful (AKA there was no going back)Image result for bad hair gifFinally, the day of the wash came. I scrubbed, massaged and lathered my hair like my life depended on it. Then, once the hair was dry, it remained frizzy, a problem I never faced with straight hair, but it also pleasantly resembled a voluminous “beach wave”. Ultimately, the wash made all the difference. Perhaps the perm was not the worst idea! However, months later, my thoughts changed.

I enjoyed the curls for about 3 months. I learned to use products to help with the frizz, and it was nice to wake up with a “ready-to-go” head of hair. However, certain curls began to fade while others stayed, which led to me either choosing to straighten my hair or curl it everyday. The volume stayed, but the pain of not being able to brush my hair in fear of the curls turning into frizz led to tangles and the loss of my once soft hair. The perm became more work than I had imagined, and after being told it could stay for up to 6 months, I came to regret my decision.

Ultimately, it can be said my journey is still continuing as I enter my fourth month of the perm cycle, but I can confidently say that I will not be pursuing this hair endeavor again. Not only did I give up my soft and unproblematic straight hair for frizzy curls, but I did so under a 6 month commitment. Although my experience was bad, I do not discourage everyone from getting perms. I do believe that if I was consistent and more knowledgeable about my products, put my hair up less, and knew not to wash my hair everyday (a habit many people tell me is bad for my hair), I do believe I could have maintained the curls I became so fond of during my “honeymoon” perm period during the first 3 months of the process. But nonetheless, I think I’ve always been a straight hair girl at heart, and there is no changing the heart, no matter how smelly the chemicals.