The Unexpected Hair Trend of 2021: The Perm

The Unexpected Hair Trend of 2021: The Perm

The full menu of perm 2021 trends awaits



They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, and that’s exactly what’s going on with hair transformations. The quarantine has resulted in overgrown, un-dyed, extremely low maintenance hair—and god, I don’t think we’ve ever collectively ached for physical change this badly. With salons open again, people are jumping at the opportunity to switch up their looks. And like clockwork, pixie cuts are back in the trend rotation. Curtain bangs, and perm 2021. Blonde is having another moment, thanks to a little push from Selena Gomez’s transformation and K-pop’s current representatives of the full blonde spectrum (Jeonghan, J-Hope, Chaeyoung—the list goes on).


In the center of it all is a trend that has been out of the local limelight for a few years: the perm 2021


The last time perms were a thing, I was in college—which is short of saying that it’s been ages. Back then, perms all kind of looked the same, utilizing heat and chemicals at the ends of the hair to create classic, princess-like curls. But with the resurgence of the trend, we’re having a little more fun this time around. 


RELATED: The Hair Bleaching 411 with Fashion Photographer Andrea Beldua


The Style

With K-beauty at the core of many skincare routines, it was only a matter of time until hairstyles followed suit. The return of the perm sees us taking inspiration from the soft, natural finish of Korean perms. Some versions for your consideration:


C-curl perms are all about subtlety—in fact, all of the action happens at the very ends of the hair. Depending on the look you’re going for, C-curl perms make the ends of the mane curl slightly in or out. Think Song Hye-kyo’s hair from Descendants of the Sun, so natural it blows the typical perception of perms out of the water. To achieve that smooth, C-curl signature swoop, this perm often comes hand-in-hand with a rebond.



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A post shared by Ted & Celina (@chicsalon2006)


A tip: C-curls are also very cute when paired with layers.


While we’re talking about subtlety, let’s go right into the cold wave perm. Unlike digital perms, these don't use heating machines. Instead, hair is sectioned, coiled around plastic rods and soaked in cold wave solution. A setting solution (which also helps neutralize the chemicals) is then applied afterwards, leaving small, natural waves in its wake.



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A post shared by Ted & Celina (@chicsalon2006)


This works especially great on pixie cuts and men’s hair, too. Case in point:



Also on the 2021 perm menu: the S-curl. Like its name suggests, the S-curl modifies hair strands to fall in the shape of an S. A swoop out, then back in. This style, in particular, is a great match for folks who are looking for more body (and less time spent styling their locks in the AM).



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A post shared by 01 (@zero1story_)


When we say there’s a perm for almost everybody, they mean it. Even if you don’t want any curl added to your mane, a root perm can give your hair a little bit of a life. Thicker hair types will see a more dramatic result, while those with fine hair can expect to see just a subtle lift. Either way, root perms are an express ticket to anti-flatness.



Learn more about the process by watching YouTuber Tina Yong’s review!


The Salon

The crucial decision-making doesn’t end with deciding what style of perm you want. Finding a salon you can trust with your carefully selected peg is arguably even more important.


We’ve searched high and low for the best, and found two authentic Korean salons you can pay a visit to. Not only are they experienced with perms, they also enforce strict COVID-19 protocols.


perm 2021 perm 2021


Chic Salon

Location: #47 Annapolis St., Greenhills, San Juan. Contact Number: (02) 8721 1359, 0966 634 1008. Hours: Monday to Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Instagram: @chicsalon2006


Chic Salon has been around for a while, and used to be a well-kept secret of Greenhills. However, the salon has gained newfound traction, what with influencers vlogging their perm transformations. Chic Salon is helmed by Korean stylists Celina and Ted, and have extremely friendly price points. I got a cut and perm for just P3,500!


Zero1 Story 

Location: 2/F Uptown Parade Parking, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Contact Number: 0905 570 2697. Instagram: @zero1story_

Zero1 Story is a new player on the salon scene and a celebrity favorite. Their feed is flooded with pictures of local artists, from Kathryn Bernardo and Liza Soberano to Maris Racal and Ivana Alawi. They do a mean cut and color, too.


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The Aftercare

Perms aren’t nearly as difficult to take care of as bleached hair, so you can rest easy knowing you won’t have to schedule your workouts around your washing schedule. The exact parameters may depend on the perm you’re getting, but a general rule relatively rules them all. 


In the wise words of Reese Witherspoon’s Elle Woods, “Isn't the first cardinal rule of perm maintenance that you're forbidden to wet your hair for at least 24 hours after getting a perm at the risk of deactivating the ammonium thioglycolate?”



In all seriousness, just let your hair dry for 24 to 48 hours post-perm to let the curls set. And once a week, treat yourself to a DIY hair treatment or deep conditioning session!


In terms of styling, the whole idea behind a perm is to cut down on styling time. Just air dry or blow dry. For healthier, bouncier waves, use some leave-in conditioner and a lightweight wave lotion and call it done.



Art Matthew Ian Fetalver


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