Hair trends

Is the Perm Making a Comeback?

by sophieh / last updated February 3, 2021

perm comeback

Many hairdressers have seen a rise in demand for the service. According to perming brand Hairflair, Karine Jackson Salon is receiving 85% of new enquiries about perming, and the service is up by 6%, day bringing in £72k of additional revenue in the last 12 months.

But this time around, the perm comeback is taking form in a more pared-back form from its buoyant eighties’ heights.

Is the perm making a comeback?

“Yes, there is a movement towards perming however it’s in a more modern, conventional way,” says Richard Darby for Mark Leeson. “Clients are used to loose waves with the aid of styling devices, so are looking for an easier option.

“There is also an element of clients who just want relive their ‘89 vibe, although it’s a very different world in terms or perming. Root volume perming is and always has been popular and again is a kind option on the hair still permitting certain colouring techniques,” adds Richard.

Martin Crean from MODE Hair, Chipping Campden, Artistic Team of the Year, agrees. “Perms are definitely more popular than they were a year ago. But it’s not necessarily about adding curl anymore – modern perms are about adding and enhancing natural movement. Layering is popular with styling at the moment and combined with a perm, adds softness and movement to the hair – perfect for short bob styles,” he says.

“Technology and product innovation is incredible right now and the results are amazing. It’s a great service to boost revenue in the salon,” he adds.

What clients are asking for perms?

Those behind the perm comeback might be surprising. “Right now the biggest rise in perms is coming from men,” says Daniele De Angelis, TONI&GUY, London Hairdresser of the Year. And many others have also noticed a rise in men looking for a perm.

“We haven’t seen a huge rise in requests from our female guests, but there is definitely a trend that young guys are enjoying, as it allows them to leave their hair pretty natural without too much styling,” says David Corbett, David Corbett Hairdressing, Bothwell, Glasgow. Within our consultation with guys, we always suggest they buy a diffuser as it allows them to put product on the hair before drying, but prevents hair getting too big during the drying process.”

Clients with curly hair are also seeking perms to perfect their look. “Many female clients, who already have curly hair, are using perming techniques to reduce frizziest and control curl. More technology is being created, such as keratins for curly hair, or perm with keratin built in,” says Daniele.

Tiff J at ThreeThirty, a salon that specialises in naturally curly hair, has also seen a rise in requests from those with natural curls. “We have a lot of enquiries requesting curly perms. People embracing their natural curls has been popular over the past few years, it’s now seen more and more in the media and at last, curly hair has become a fashion statement,” she says.

How to perform a good perm consultation

Nailing your consultation with the client is key to getting the outcome your client is looking for.

“Like with every service in our salons, it’s best to manage clients’ expectations and to educate the clients on how to maintain their hair investments with the right home care products and styling tools,” says Danilo Giangreco, Danilo Hair Boutique, London.

“We’ve been perming crazy this last quarter in the salon,” adds Mark Creed at Idlewild. “It’s great for business and can be such a great creative medium once you’ve mastered the basics. Get the phone/tablet out – pictures, pictures and more pics are the key to a good consultation,” he advises.

During the consultation, it’s also important to consider the client’s cut, and talk through how this will affect the overall result. “Shape is key, as is having the correct haircut to get that look. This is where the clarity should be in the consultation,” advises Sharon Cox, International Education Director, Sanrizz.

However, it’s important to highlight that perms require the correct aftercare when they walk out of the salon door. “A perm involves communication and commitment,” says Daniele. “If the client believes they will wake up every day looking like she has a beautiful bouncy blow dry, she won’t be impressed! Just like natural curls, you need to use styling produces and tools. We can only implement the texture change – the style is down the clients,” he adds.

Equally, the hair condition is also imperative to assess. “We would always recommend a thorough consultation with the client and conduct a compatibility test to eliminate any contradictions and to make sure the hair is at a healthy standard to be able to process the treatment,” says Tiff J.

Will the perm comeback last?

While it may be a fleeting trend, it’s bound to resurface again in the future.

“Although perming isn’t seen as an essential skill within NVQ level 2, we have always kept it as part of our training for our apprentices and team – you never know when a technique is going to come into fashion and you always need to be ready to offer whatever the guest wants,” says David Corbett, David Corbett Hairdressing, Bothwell, Glasgow.

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