About Permanent Waves

A Permanent wave is a service that creates permanent curl, waves, or body. To achieve this, hair is wound around small plastic curlers, called rods. Once every strand is rolled, locks are saturated with waving lotion. This lifts the individual tiles that comprise your hairs cuticle layer, seeps into the hair strand, and breaks down the bonds that give your hair its individual shape.

This lotion is sometimes called "reducing" lotion because it actually reduces the interlocking ability of hairs bonds. Following a perm, it takes up to 48 hours for your hair's keratin to completely re-bond and your cuticle layer to close. That's why you are not supposed to wash, wet style, or brush your hair during this period. When the hair's bonds have been broken apart, the hair is then doused in neutralizer; this forces hair's bonds to re-form according to the configuration of the rods the hair is rolled on.

This neutralizer is often called an oxidizing liquid because it contains either hydrogen peroxide or sodium bromate. These ingredients inject oxygen into the hair, which in turn combines with the hair's natural hydrogen molecules to form new hair bonds. There are two types of permanent waves: alkaline and acid. Each type has its own pros and cons: Alkaline permanent waves These are standard permanent waves. Their waving lotions use a strong, alkaline chemical called ammonium thioglycolate, hence their nickname "thio perms.

" They work quickly, give strong curl, and are great for hair that is resistant to permanent waves, such as coarse or Asian hair. The bad thing about alkaline perms is that they do not offer subtle, soft results, and can be very damaging. In addition, they are not recommended for those with artificial color in their hair or for people who have very dry or damaged locks. Acid waves These are gentler than alkaline perms; their waving lotions use a kinder chemical called glyceryl monothyioglycylate.

If you have fragile, colored, or damaged hair, acid waves are your perm. Unfortunately, acid perms are more likely to give subtle ripples, or lots of body, rather than firm, crisp curls. Note: Endothermic acid waves require an application of heat; exothermic acid waves don't. A combination of ammonia and ammonium thioglycolate is what gives a permanent wave its telltale odor.

Full perms For a full perm, or standard perm, an alkaline or acid formula product can be used - it's the way hair is rolled that gives the service its name. The hair is sectioned in five forehead-to-neckline sections - the center section up top is rolled away from the face, while the rest of the hair is rolled under horizontally. Depending on the hair's length and the size of rods used, the resulting curls can be loose and jumbled, tight and kinky, or bigger up front and smaller toward the back.

Partial perms If you're like me, hair on different parts of your head does different things. Perhaps the hair at the back of your head is curly, while all other strands are stick-straight. If you'd like the straight locks to match the curls, ask your stylist for a partial perm, also called a spot perm.

As the name implies, the perm is performed only on specific areas - the remaining hair is left untreated. Got a cowlick? When perming your hair, roll affected strands in the direction you want them to fall.

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