January 29, 2023

Hankering for History

Hanker: To have a strong, often restless desire, in this case for–you guessed it–history!

The History of Perms

4 min read
perms throughout history

Do you remember the days of big, bouncy perms? They were all the rage in the 80s and 90s, and women everywhere were going to salons to get those spiral curls. Perms have been around for a long time—in fact, they date back to Ancient Greece! And, while they’re still around today, they definitely aren’t as popular as they used to be. But why? What happened? Well, a lot of things changed over the years, so let’s take a look at the history of perms and find out how they have evolved over the years.

What is a perm, exactly?

Perms are a type of chemical treatment that uses heat, moisture, and chemicals to change the shape of your hair. The most common way to get a perm is with two rods made out of plastic or ceramic that are inserted into your hair; these rods then go through an electrical current, which creates heat for about 30 seconds. The heat opens up the cuticles on your hair so that when it cools down again it will stay open and form curls.

The most common reason is to make your hair curly. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to wear their hair straight all the time, then perms can be a great option for you. They’re an easy way to get some volume and give your hair some extra bounce! Another reason why people love getting perms is that it allows them to have fun with their style without having to do anything themselves—it takes just 30 minutes in the salon and then they can go on their merry way.

A perm is also great for those who want to make their hair look thicker or fuller. It can add extra volume to your hair by opening up the cuticles on each individual strand, allowing it to absorb more water and expand. You’ll be able to see an increase in thickness after just one application.

Now that you understand why people love perms, let’s explore their history.

In the beginning

The history of the perm goes way back to Ancient Greece when women would use olive oil and vinegar to curl their hair. They would let the mixture sit on their hair for about an hour before washing it out and letting it dry naturally, which created tight curls. This was a time before electricity was invented, so it took hours for people to get their hair done.

The revolution starts

The concept of permanent waves was first introduced by a French chemist, Marcel Grateau, in the late 19th century. He developed a hot curling iron that could create curls that lasted for several months at a time. This method was used by some of the most famous stars of the time, including silent film star Mary Pickford and singer Josephine Baker. In the decades that followed, perms became increasingly popular with celebrities such as Brigitte Bardot and Elizabeth Taylor sporting their own versions.

But it wasn’t until the 1960s that perms really took off. The decade saw a huge rise in hair straighteners and curlers, but permanent waves were still considered the best way to get long-lasting waves that changed your look. And so women across the world began spending hours at their local salon getting their hair permed.

Power to the perm

In the 1960s and 70s, chemical treatments made perms much easier to do at home. At-home kits allowed people to buy pre-mixed products and use rollers to get those big curls without going to a salon. But this method was expensive and time-consuming. Home perm kits were also difficult to use because they required mixing, heating, cooling, and waiting between each step. The hair would often be damaged by the heat of these chemical treatments, making it brittle and prone to breakage.

During this period, we also saw the introduction of “Jheri curls” which were made popular by Michael Jackson and his brothers in The Jackson Five. These curls were created by using a new hair relaxer called Jheri Redding. The perm was often given in a salon, but it could also be done at home with the help of a kit. This was one of the first products designed specifically for black people and became hugely popular in the 1980s.

The beginning of the end

The popularity of perms eventually declined in the 1980s, but the style made a comeback in the late 90s. This time around, there was a renewed interest in big bouncy curls that were more natural looking than previous versions. The trend remained popular through today with many women opting for perm kits that don’t require heat or chemicals.

Perms of the present

The popularity of perms has come and gone over the years. Today, they’re making a comeback as more women are looking for alternatives to heat and chemicals. From loose waves to tight spirals, there is a perm style for everyone. With modern technology and products, it is easier than ever to get the perfect perm without too much effort or damage.

So there you have it—the history of perms from Ancient Greece to now! Whether you want big bouncy curls or subtle waves, the perm can give you the look you desire without any hassle at all. Now that you know more about the history of perms, why not try a perm for yourself? You never know—you might just end up loving it!

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