There are so many home perm products available in grocery stores, drug stores and beauty supply stores. The way the rods are wrapped, though, make a huge difference in the quality of the permanent wave. Learn how to wrap hair in perm rods for the best curls.
Shampoo the hair and rinse thoroughly before wrapping. It's important to use a shampoo that removes buildup from styling products and vitamins. Some prescription medicines can also leave a residue on hair that affects the way hair reacts to chemicals; that is why professional hairdressers have patrons sign a chemical release form. Stylists use special clarifying shampoos to remove the residue and excess oils. Do not use conditioner or detangling spray.
Comb hair to remove tangles. Use a wide-toothed comb and manipulate the hair gently to prevent damage.
Divide the hair into 5 to 6 sections, with a "mohawk" section that stretches from the forehead to the crown of the head, two "side" sections that begin at the mohawk and continue down to the edge of the hairline on the sides, and 2 to 3 "back" sections, depending upon the width of the person's head. Use a clip to tuck away all but the mohawk section and get ready to roll.
Use the end of the comb to remove an individual section of hair to be wrapped. The section of hair should occupy no more room on the scalp than the width of the rod you're using, unless the hair is very long and will be spiral wrapped.
Comb the hair out to the ends and place an end paper around the ends of the hair to prevent them from folding. The end paper will keep the ends together. If hair is layered or thinned, you might need to use more than one end paper, sandwiched together. Do not allow the hair to "fish hook" when you roll the perm rods because it creates very ugly ends that often break off after you perm hair.
Keep spraying the hair with water as you roll to prevent fish hooks and to keep strands smooth.
Wrap the side sections next, being careful not to allow the area near the scalp to be stretched too tightly. Secure the elastics firmly but gently. The chemicals that perm hair make the cuticle layer swell open and can cause breakage if the rubber band is too tight.
At the nape of the neck, if the hair is longer, consider leaving it a little bit loose on the scalp for easy rinsing and comfort.
When the hair is wrapped completely, spritz the drier areas with water, so that none of the hair is more damp than the rest. This will ensure that the hair doesn't absorb the chemicals more on one side than another.
Apply protective gel to the skin around the edges of the hairline. This serves two purposes: it protects the tender hairline skin from the harsh chemicals, and it helps adhere the cotton strand so that the chemicals don't drip into their face.
Each of you should be holding a hand towel as the chemicals are applied, following the manufacturer's instructions. Sometimes they want the hair to be covered, sometimes uncovered, sometimes at room temperature and sometimes under heat. It's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Remove the cotton when the hair is done curling and rinse thoroughly. You simply cannot rinse too much. Rinse for 5 full minutes at the very least. The chemicals have a slimy feel, so make sure you don't feel any chemicals. Sometimes, the rinse water will be bubbly, and you should make sure there are no more bubbles. When you think you're done, do it again.
Blot the entire head with a towel, or even paper towels, to remove as much of the moisture as possible. The next step is the last chemical you'll apply and it works best if the hair isn't sopping wet. Some professional stylists will even put the patron under a heat dryer before applying the neutralizer.
Squirt the neutralizer on the hair rods and allow it to sit for 5 minutes before rinsing. Professionals often unwrap the hair while the neutralizer is on, but if you're going to be slow about it, it's best to just rinse it off. Make sure you use all of the neutralizer and protect the hairline with cotton.
Rinse the hair one last time when all of the rods are gone. This should be a gentle rinse with lukewarm water. Comb the hair out and do not shampoo for 48 hours.
Lisa Russell has been a writer since 1998. She's been published in Rethinking Everything Magazine, Playdate, AERO and Home Educator's Family Times. She has a Bachelor of Science in business marketing management and a professional background in marketing, education, cosmetology and hospitality.
taliesin at morguefile.com