We’ve had many requests from men for perms! Pro athletes are sporting longer styles. Patrick Mahomes was blessed with natural skill and curls so no wonder young men want his signature look.😍 This picture was taken last year at Walk the Walk, teammate (and fellow hometown hottie) Travis Kelce’s charity fashion show for his foundation 87 and Running. Patrick’s hair is longer now, but long or short- THIS look is our #1 request from young men. His curl is natural but if your hair is straight, a perm will help!
We took perms off our menu long ago, now this classic salon service is back with Millennial and Gen Z guys. When requests for a service drops, we reserve it for “as needed” situations. We do a lot of natural curl care for men and women, and hair can be inconsistent. A spot perm is a mini version that helps even out hair where curl is less strong. It’s something we offer, but the man perm (AKA MERM) makes sense with long hair trends. People are embracing natural texture, but over time curl can relax. A perm can help!
Perms Can Be Straight or Curly⁉️
“Perm” is an old school term that means permanently change texture, so a relaxer to straighten is often called a perm too. We focus educating on hair texture because hair is hair. It is important for a stylist to be educated on texture first, then decide which approach is best for the desired look. The good news is, nothing is really permanent since hair is always in a growth state.
Man Perms- Not Just for Mullets
Men have been perming for decades, depending on trends. My dad had a Miami Vice look in the 80’s. Not his best style moment but every dad I knew had fluffy hair and a creepy mustache. He passed on the mustache since he’s blonde 😅 but the business in the front- party in the back haircut “The Mullet” was peaking. The original Mullet had many variations and my pops sported what my mom called “The Lord Fauntleroy”. Men completed the look with pleated pants and Members Only jackets. By the mid 80’s the majesty of the Mullet had fully manifested. Later it became synonymous with can beer and muscle cars, why it’s also called the Camaro Hair. A plethora of mullet nicknames followed for a decade.
By the new millennium, memes filled our feed for another decade. Alas, the power of a trend! Like fashion, hair trends recycle. When straight hair became the look for women in the late 90’s, perms went into decline as coloring increased. Salons avoided them because multiple chemical services damage hair. Women made hair color priority since styling products improved as well. A perm is best suited for those who don’t have hair color done. So guys, if you have hair color (especially box color) avoid a perm, or have a consultation.We suggest this for any chemical service anyways!
The Start of a New Long Hair Era
A mini mullet made a small comeback about 7 years ago, but was combined with another retro hit, the mohawk. More conservative than the original, this version was short around the perimeter and faded to length on top. This was when hair trended to this look and now we see it in longer lengths with variations as well. The Justin Bieber cut was worn by teens and pro baseball player Eric Hosmer created a new trend that lasted years. Men asked for the “Hosmer” daily in the salon and by the 2105 World Series even middle aged, suburban dads were asking for this cut too. It is a bit cringe worthy because some trends aren’t for everyone so avoid super edgy unless that’s your normal look! Trends are usually temporary so focus on a style you feel comfortable with. Hairstyles should accentuate features and hair type but life and hair should be enjoyed so do what makes you HAPPY.
This cut craze sparked a shift in our industry and throwback barber shops soon started opening everywhere. Shops catering to men began a barbering renaissance.
✂️ Stylist Versus Barber 💈
I’ve been asked the difference between a barber and a stylist. The clientele is the main difference. I do barber cutting and I’m a stylist, just like some barbers do color and perms. Barbering is a term for cut techniques for short hair. I started out as a cutting specialist so I had expanded cut training, but it’s confusing because there are two different licenses for barbering and a cosmetology. Advanced color work is not common in barber shops because they attract male customers, but specialty work is becoming more common in general. Since hair trends for men are longer, we’re seeing more men back in the salon. If you’re looking for a perm focus on a salon that offers it. Lots of salons stopped doing them BUT they’re necessary for certain looks.
The length, desired shape and tightness of curl pattern determines the rod size used. If a more noticeable corkscrew curl is wanted, we use smaller rods. If open curls for body are wanted, we use larger rods. Longer men’s hair is usually 4-6 inches so we use a small rod so the curl doesn’t relax too soon. If you’ve heard the saying “my perm fell out” that means the curls didn’t last long. This may occur if the hair was under processed, or the hair type itself was resistant solution. There are multiple formulas for multiple hair types but sometimes the hair doesn’t respond well with no obvious reason. I was always one of those people. When I was a kid I begged my mom’s hairdresser for the iconic Kelly McGillis curly bob from Top Gun. I had several perms from 3rd to 6th grade because my fine blonde hair doesn’t hold curl. It didn’t stop me from trying. As a result, Nexxus conditioner was a staple because my hair was DRY.
For Science Geeks Like Me
The process of a perm is done in steps. Make things easier for your stylist by coming in with clean hair. Don’t overly scrub, you don’t want to irritate the scalp. Try to use good products always! If you have a waxy buildup on your hair from cheap products, the chemicals won’t penetrate well. In this instance we would need to do a deep cleansing treatment prior at an additional cost. This is another reason we recommend using quality salon (stylist recommended) products. It’s not that we are product snobs, we know it will save time and money in the salon for your services. Plus, it’s just better for your hair. After a formula and rod size is chosen, we do a prep shampoo. Then we set the rods and follow with the processing solution. This is a drippy and smelly process. The chemical activator in a perm is ammonia thioglycolic. This is what softens down the cross bonds in hair protein. Important to reset texture to the rod shape. You normally sit between 10 to 20 minutes. When the stylist sees a good “S” pattern in the hair, the hair has been re-formed. Then you go to the shampoo bowl where a long rinse is done. For women with long hair and lots of rods, navigating your head in the bowl can be awkward. This rinse is important so hair can absorb the neutralizing solution. We blot rods with paper towels to maximize this. Then the neutralizer, which is hydrogen peroxide and some conditioner basically, is applied. It recrystallizes hair protein to lock in the new shape. We undo or “drop” the rods and do a post chemical conditioner, and voila…your crown of curls awaits.
We then style hair and go over products to use. Try to avoid shampoo for 2 days and skip products that have alcohol. Hair will be dry after any chemical service. Moisturizing products help recovery. The more hydrated curls are, the better they will look.
We added the perm back on our menu but still advise not getting a perm if you have any highlights or blonde coloring. Darker professional hair color is less damaging and we have many ammonia free color lines that would be safe for clients wanting both color and perms. However, box color has metallic salts, which creates a bad chemical reaction with perms. We never do two chemical services on the same day because hair should recover for a week in between chemical treatments. We want you to keep it on your head, not come out in your brush. With the right salon, you can have the curls you want for the look you’re after!