The fashion magazines are filled with images of models sporting curly hair and everyone is asking if perms are making a comeback in 2018.  Perms lost their appeal a few decades back and has tried unsuccessfully to regain it popularity several times since.  Many clients, however, prefer straight than going this route.

Perms, or permanents, as they were called originally, were all the rage during the age of Micheal Jackson, Prince and the famous wet sofa scene in “Coming to America”.  Who can forget  the hours it took to complete the process; who can forget the smell of freshly permed hair in the salon?  Over time, hair companies tried and somewhat succeeded in reducing the strong smell and oily feel, but by that time, many had been turned off and refused to come back.

Nowadays, perms (called curls on super curly textured hair) are back with some adjustments.  Where in the early days the curls were tight and hugged the head, today it is much looser and carefree.  The rods used are bigger so the curls give more of a wave than a curl.  There are still those that like the tight curl, but most prefer the new look.  The  greatest change to the process was the reduction in the smell and oiliness.  Now, clients could safely touch the hair or lean back in a chair without fretting they would leave a wet shadow behind!

I am not sure the method ever really left since there are still clients that want this look.  It is an ideal look for someone who wants something done to the hair that keeps it soft with minimum upkeep.  The look lasts up to 3 months for some and takes up to 3 hours to complete.  On straight hair it varies depending on wrapping time and the length of the hair.

Are perms making a comeback in 2018 then?  I think some will try it but not to the extent it did in the ’80s.

By Paula Barker (

Buy my e-book:  Dreadlocks:  A Hairstylist’s Manifest (

***This post has affiliate links to products/services I feel are relevant to you.  I may be compensated for purchases through these links.  Thank you for your support.

Call (613) 789-2179 to book your appointment if you are in the Ottawa, Ontario area.