80s hairdo style the perm is making a comeback
IT'S time to unfurl the curls - the perm embraced by '80s music stars, trendy teens and grandmothers alike is making a return to the fashion fore.
After two decades dominated by straightening irons, the retro treatment is being resurrected with Hollywood stars such as Emma Stone, Olivia Munn and Jaime King leading the way.
But finding salons able to perform the process - which involves putting the hair in rollers and applying an alkaline setting treatment - is not easy.
Today's hairstylists often lack training in the almost-forgotten art. Once a compulsory part of Toni&Guy Education's curriculum, it became an elective two years ago due to a lack of demand - and the perm's damaging effect on hair.
However, Toni&Guy's Elizabeth Shedwick said that would change as customers requested tight, curled manes typified by models such as Montana Cox and Roberta Pecoraro. "In the early 2000s GHDs came out and everybody went straightener crazy, then it went into your Cheryl Cole blow-dry with a smoother curl, but even in fashion we've seen an '80s revival, and the reinvention of the perm is likely a follow-on from that," Ms Shedwick said.
But hairdresser George Giavis said today's perm was a far cry from the frizzed, fried and fluffed poodle-like do's of years past, sported by the likes of Olivia Newton-John, Jane Turner in Kath & Kim, Jon Bon Jovi and Cher.
"There's more knowledge and awareness of the health and condition of hair, and chemical treatments can now be less damaging, so the end result is more natural waves and healthier hair," he said.
Pecoraro said she had not been asked to straighten her naturally curly mane in two years.
"When I first started modelling I would always straighten my hair and it was only two years ago I decided to embrace my natural curls and I'm glad I did, because my career really kicked off," the 23-year-old said.