As soon as the topic of perms comes up, it usually elicits sniggering remarks about the MTV stars of the 80s. Yes, it’s true, there was certainly room for improvement, but as top hairstylist Mara Roszak pointed out in an interview with Elle Magazine:
“The 80’s were a very bold time. Women were bold and expressed that in many ways and weren’t shy about it. Beauty is a form of expression, it’s about how we want to feel and not about anyone else.”
This perhaps explains why so many artists and celebrities – including Emma Stone and Olivia Munn – are currently rocking the perm. According to Roszak, it is a way for them to reclaim that expressive space, “it is about taking ownership.”
We all need to challenge ourselves to new things from time to time, to find the courage to own our needs, wants and desires. And if a perm happens to be a hairstyle that’ll help you embrace this new attitude, then you should absolutely go for it.
Just remember that maintenance is key to healthy curls and a fabulous modern perm that will never come to liken the hair calamities of the eighties. This means finding nourishing products and conditioning, conditioning, conditioning. And then conditioning some more.
You’re basically going to want to start conditioning the minute you return home from your initial perm-appointment and your subsequent strut through town to show off the new look, so be sure to fit in a stop at the nearest drugstore or supermarket for supplies.
You’re going to need more than a stellar shampoo to keep that perm prim and proper, think: quality, natural (leave-in) conditioners, hair masks and, dry shampoos and, if needed, heat protectants, though it is strongly advised to lay off heat-based styling a perm.
Here are the X best products to maintain a beautiful head of curly permed hair.
TRESemmé Moisture Rich Shampoo with Vitamin E
What do you usually do when you feel like you’re coming down with something? You pump on the Orange Julius at breakfast and pop a few vitamin supplements after lunch to get you over the hump and back in top form.
Don’t worry, your hair is not trying to fight off your fresh perm but it is going to feel stressed by the chemical changes it has undergone, especially for the first 24 to 72 hours, when they are still working at their hardest.
During this stage, you shouldn’t wet, let alone wash or style your permed curls. It all sounds a bit intimidating at first but once you make it through that initial post-care waiting period, you’re good to start on a nourishing shampoo regime.
The TRESemmé Moisture Rich Shampoo with vitamin E is going to be exactly what your hair needs after its perm treatment: a super hydrating experience that is designed to last and leave your curls touchable soft and visibly shiny. Some might say, salon shiny.
This is a gentle shampoo that will keep moisture locked in and potential frizz at bay and is suitable for daily use. It also makes a great addition to eco-friendly households dedicated to widely recyclable product packaging.
Davines Essential Haircare LOVE Shampoo
The entire line of Davines Essential haircare products can be – literally – traced back to a Slow Food Presidium in Italy, where its ingredients were grown on small traditional crops. The brand’s LOVE Shampoo comes from Ficarra, a municipality in the city of Messina.
Made with almonds grown on Mr. Carlo Assenza’s farm, this shampoo looks the way it smells; purple in colour, its scent evokes a field of wildflowers. For those who are sensitive to smells, it may be a bit overpowering, for anyone else it is truly divine.
It works up a great lather and cleanses your hair deeply and efficiently without stripping it of moisture or natural oils. On the contrary, it has a softening and conditioning effect that protects the hair against breakage and strengthens your curls.
Super gentle and highly recommended by Roszak, Davines LOVE Shampoo won’t wear down your perm or fade your colour treated hair. What it will do is, feed your hair the nourishment and hydration needed to thrive and maintain a stylish and healthy look and feel.
Though this product is on the pricier side at £16.00 per 250ml, it is well worth it considering it its effectiveness, durability and the brand’s sustainable, slow-food based business model.
Cantu Shea Butter Hydrating Cream Conditioner
Just as every fridge should be stocked with fresh food and vegetables, and your bedside table should always feature a glass of refreshing water, every curly girl’s repertoire of hair care products should feature the Cantu Shea Butter Hydrating Cream Conditioner.
Cantu has been a loyal friend to curls for a long time, and it does not judge – it will pay your hair the same gentle and loving attention whether its natural, permed or colour-treated. This deeply moisturizing conditioner prevents brittle hair and reduces split ends and breakage.
Winner of the 2015 Curl Box Awards for Best Conditioner, you know you’re working with a star treatment here, the creamy feel of which you and your curls are going to come to love.
Free of parabens, mineral oils, sulphates and silicones it helps to retain moisture and will keep your perm looking healthy and defined. This product works across all curl types and is particularly effective for denser, textured curls.
African Pride Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioner
Maintaining curly, permed hair is always going to require a commitment, but with this African Pride Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioner, you can at least rest assured that, any time spent on your curls will be stress and pain-free.
The hydrating properties of the aloe vera extract and coconut oil will leave your hair feeling irresistibly soft. In fact, once you’ve detangled your hair without much to-do, you won’t be able to stop yourself from constantly twirling your silky curls around your finger.
Featuring ginseng and rosemary extract, this conditioner strengthens your hair and acts as a welcome growth booster for greater volume and length. The rosemary promotes blood circulation and soothes irritated and itchy scalps with its antifungal properties.
This leave-in conditioner with shea butter – otherwise known as, “nature’s superior detangling moisturizer” – is not only fantastic for perm maintenance, it also works great for transitioners going from perms or relaxers to natural.
It keeps your hair hydrated during periods of heat-based styling and will tame your curls into submission should you decide to go natural – regardless of your curl type. This leave-in conditioner works across all types, from wavy to kinky-coily.
Simply adjust the amount you use according to your curls, to guarantee the right amount of bounce and definition.
TIGI Bed Head Urban Antidotes Resurrection Hair Mask
The fact that our hair is permed is not the only reason our curls need quality protection; we need to keep them resistant to the daily environmental impurities they are exposed to as well. If you want an effective treatment, it’s always best to the best in the biz: like TIGI Bed Head.
TIGI Bed Head’s Urban Antidotes Resurrection Hair Mask will not only keep your perm looking salon-styled on a long-term basis, but it will also repair damage in the process or gained from product build-up and free radicals.
This hair mask is the perfect choice for curls that suffered under the stress of getting a perm and are now feeling fragile and vulnerable to breakage and split ends. It strengths your strands from root to tip and hydrates them evenly and thoroughly.
Its amazing Papaya Chill Pill fragrance will keep you feeling as cool and collected as your permed curls look, whilst the nourishing Silico Shield Treatment and Core Repair Technology penetrates and smooths the hair noticeably and sustainably.
Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque
What does your body most need when it finds itself waking up to a monstrous hangover on a Sunday morning? That’s right, a greasy lunch followed by plenty of water and all the antioxidants you can possibly get your hands on.
If your curls are experiencing a post-perm hangover, you can skip the grease, but you are going to want to give it a hydrating, antioxidant treatment that will get them back to their energetic selves.
And there’s one ingredient that will happily provide this service for your hair: macadamia nut oil. Combine this nourishing oil with the healing, soothing and moisturizing properties of argan, tea tree, chamomile oil and algae extract, and you’ve found yourself a winning hangover cure.
The Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Mask offers long-lasting, deeply nourishing, ultra-conditioning that improves your hair’s elasticity and will have your curls shining like little halos.
This hair mask works across all hair types but does its best work on dry and damaged hair. Just leave the product on for five to ten minutes longer than recommended for normal hair and give it the time to truly absorb the moisture your curls need to get their bounce back.
Argan Oil Thermal Shield Protector Spray
While you should try to avoid styling your permed hair with heat-based tools and products, there will always be an occasion on which you wish to style your hair differently, and that’s OK – as long as you used a heat protectant to avoid causing any damage or breakage.
By exposing your permed curls to heat without taking the necessary protective measures, you could end up with extremely frizzy, dry and brittle hair. Not only that, but your curls also risk losing their beautiful shape too.
So, if you are planning to make an exception and heat-style your hair for a special occasion, make sure you use the Argan Oil Thermal Shield Protector Spray to keep your perm safe and satisfied.
Made with all-natural ingredients, this heat protectant spray keeps your hair moisturized and facilitates the detangling process, whilst offering your curls the thermal shield needed to withstand heat-based damage.