How To Do Permanent Waving And Straightening Of Hair?
Perming and Straightening, even more than coloring, are potentially dangerous to the hair’s health because they alter the basic, natural structure of the hair shaft. It is absolutely vital that the processes are done with immense care and great expertise. When hair is wet it is in a relaxed, pliable state and can sometimes be stretched to as much as one-third more than its original length before breaking — but it shrinks as it dries and will have returned to normal length by the time it is completely dry.
If you want to curl it temporarily, it is necessary to wet or dampen it and wind it around rollers or pipe-cleaners, tie it in rags or secure it in flat pin curls. When it has dried, the hair will be curly and remain so until wetted again — either intentionally or in a rainstorm, a humid climate or a steamy bathroom. Wet hair is obviously very vulnerable to breakage — which is why it should never be brushed — and should be treated with the greatest care and just coaxed into shape. The alternative to this method is to use heated rollers, which force the hair to accept a new direction, but the curl will still fall out when it becomes wet or damp. The disadvantage of this method is that it dries out the ends of the hair shaft, but it is very convenient. Permanent waving takes the temporary curling process a huge step further by sealing the shaft’s new direction with the aid of chemicals so that it doesn’t disappear the next time the hair is soaked. These chemicals penetrate the cuticle of the hair shaft, enter the cortex and alter the natural line of the hair to a soft wave or tight curl, depending on the size of the roller the hair is wrapped around when the perm solution is applied. A soft, wavy result is often called a body wave, medium curls a straightforward term and the frizzy variety an ‘Afro’, but they are all achieved by the process of permanent waving and will grow out as the hair grows from the roots and the ends are cut off. The danger of permanent waving lies in timing. Whether the term is done at home or in a salon, precise timing is essential if the hair is not to be damaged by over-processing. This means that it can be literally dissolved by leaving the perm solution on too long, break off at the roots or become over-dry, not only at the ends but right down the hair shaft. Total concentration is required from the person doing the perm — kitchen timers are very useful to make sure the process is stopped at the appropriate moment. If perming at home is chosen, read every word of the manufacturers’ instructions and follow them in every detail. No hair should be permed more often than every three or four months; if tinted, it should not be permed within two weeks either way of the coloring process; and hair that is in any way damaged already should not be permed at all.
Straightening is probably the most drastic thing that can be done to hair — it employs the perming process in reverse, i.e., instead of allowing the hair to shrink into a sealed wave, it stretches the hair straight and seals that straightness.
Because hair breaks even more easily when wet and stretched, straightening must only be done by an expert and only on hair that is strong enough in both texture and condition to take the strong chemicals employed. Instead of winding the hair around rollers when the perm solution is applied, the hair is gently combed straight from as close to the roots as possible, relaxing it and easing it into straightness. This combing must continue until the desired shape is achieved and the solution rinsed off.
The result will last until the hair is cut, but the straight effect will be reduced as the new hair shafts grow naturally curly from the root. Straightening is therefore not so successful as perming from a long-term point of view.
Straight to Curly: Perming your Hair
- The author discusses her cut and shape with her hairdresser.
- Pre-perm shampoo and conditioning.
- Haircut: volume removed with reverse layering technique — starting at the front with straight fringe to get the right length, and not have it fall too heavily or square on top — and moving straight to the back, leaving the longest hair behind the ears and at the nape.
- Hair examined for texture, correct perming lotion chosen.
- Hair curled section by section, using the normal method with curling rods and papers.
- Hair curled from the front backward, as hair is to move back off the face.
- Forty minutes later, over to the backwash for ten minutes of neutralizing with the curlers in.
- Five minutes more with curlers removed and hair loose.
- After thorough rinse and condition, hair rough-dried with a towel.
- Dried with an Air-Stop attachment on a hand dryer to avoid static electricity, and give maximum body.
- While being dried, hair is shaped with fingers.
- A completely new look, as hair is lifted away from the face, the perm giving it body and movement.
Curly to Straight
- OPPOSITE, TOP LEFT Model’s hair in its natural state, curling tightly back from the face.
- OPPOSITE, TOP RIGHT The hair is to be straightened: first, a ‘relaxer’ cream is painted onto the hair, with a brush.
- The cream is combed carefully through, and the hair is wrapped in a towel to warm the relaxing process.
- The hair is thoroughly shampooed.
- Then neutralized for ten minutes.
- Finally, it is thoroughly conditioned and rinsed.
- Hair is blow dried.
- BELOW The newly straightened hair looks thicker and a richer brown because the light was not getting through the curls. It also lengthened out to a head of hair to the shoulders with a full fringe.