The Straight Talk on Permanent Waves with Paul Labrecque

One of the most common questions Paul Labrecque receives is about making wavy hair without too much fuss and damage. In other words – to perm or not to perm?

Paul says, “The reason I steer my clients away from perms is a simple matter of hair truth about the hair shaft. With color we can see the line of new growth. Not only see, but we can totally separate it from the rest of the hair and only treat that new growth with color. You see, chemicals CANNOT consistently go over the same area.

Because the nature of a perm is a roll, it is virtually impossible to separate the old growth from the new growth. Thus, when the chemical is reapplied because the hair is rolled in a perm roller, it saturates the entire length of hair. That means the first perm is the best, and every other perm is less than satisfactory.

I am not arguing the fact that all chemical services have evolved and have been made less damaging, I am arguing the fact that putting a perm over a perm is damaging. No matter how many conditioning agents we put into a chemical service, it is still the chemical that has a job to do and making straight hair curl needs an amount of chemical strength that is detrimental if overlapped time and time again.

I find that some clients are confused by the media. The size of a wave is directly influenced by the size of the rod. A wave means the rods got bigger. A curl means the rod size was smaller. The pictures we see in magazines are never the result of a rod alone. The basis of a wave perm is to help the iron that makes the beach wave hold longer.

Every picture I am ever shown for waves are the direct result of an iron!

If the rod size is too large or too loose on a perm, the permanent waves barely show. Knowing this, I educate my clients about how they can make waves at home with product and an iron.”

making wavy hairMaking Wavy Hair at Home

For Beach Waves: 

Grab big, vertical sections and start working your way away from the face. Angle your styling rod with the bottom part upwards starting near the root, then twist it 360 degrees going down. At the top sections, start around the cheekbone height. When finished, rub the waves gently with your fingers for an intentionally messy texture.

For Glamorous Curls: Starting at the root, twist your styler 360 degrees, then pull it upwards for root-lift. Pin the curl in place to set. When you take it down, brush gently with a paddle brush.

For more detail on making wavy hair, check out the step by step instructions by Paul here.