After more than 10 years of recovery time, however, it might be time to try something new. These days, that means texturizing your hair, either to make it sleeker, add some waves or go for extreme curls. Unlike traditional perms, new techniques won't fry your hair and won't take six months to grow out.
Bennett says there are four different techniques routinely used to give hair the desired texture: cutting, color, retexturizing and straightening. "With every guest, texture gives their styles a uniqueness," she says.
Texture: From the Sublime to the ExtemeThe simplest way to create a more textured look for your hair is to ask your stylist to try a new cutting technique such as chipping, razoring or notching. All of these create texture, as well as transform blunt cut lines into a soft, wispy look, explains Bennett.
Meanwhile, coloring and highlighting different areas of the cut can also create a pattern and hair texture that will bring a style alive. "Adding color to the different textures of the hair really can create a lot of dimension and contrast for the style," says Laurie Kovacs, manager of Fusions of Westlake.
But when people decide they would like to change the natural bent of their hair more extreme measures need to be taken. Chemical retexturizing treatments several steps improved from the dreaded perm create natural-looking curls.
"Retexturizing uses different types of rods of various shapes and sizes to create different looks and give the hair varying forms of texture and blend," explains Bennett. The result is a hairstyle with more versatility and a fuller look, a goal often desired by those tired of trying to find ways to style long, straight hair. And, as the hair grows, retexturizing provides a very faded-out look rather than the telltale appearance of a grown-out perm.
Hair Type Dictates TreatmentAudrie Gonzalez, a hair stylist at Today's Headlines West in Lakewood, recommends body waves for people with limp hair. "This is the same basic technique as the perm, but uses larger rods," she explains. The treatment takes two to three hours, depending on hair length and thickness.
At the other end of the spectrum, people with curly or frizzy hair can choose straightening treatments as a way to alter their style. "Chemically straightening the hair should not be combined with any other chemicals such as coloring or highlights," warns Scott Fisher, founder of Pamplemousse, a studio for beauty and wellness located in Chagrin Falls.
For those wary of chemicals who still desire a smoother and straighter look, Gonzalez says straightening products and a flat iron will do the trick. Whether you cut, color or straighten your hair, though, stylists say specialized hair products are the finishing touch needed to keep your locks looking good.
For a sleeker appearance, Bennett recommends using a smoothing shampoo and detangling lotion. Then, finish off with straightening gel, which consists of little protein beads that will help support your new style. Gonzalez says straightening lotion, as well as straightening balm will also do the trick. Likewise, Fisher suggests the use of straightening gel to give the hair a smooth, glasslike appearance. "A quarter-size amount ... will smooth the hair and protect against the frizz caused by humidity," he says.
If, on the other hand, you'd rather go curly, there are certain styling techniques and products designed to give a boost. "We use a unique system while styling curly hair," explains Fisher. "With the use of styling lotion to structure and hold the curls, you wrap individual sections of the hair around your fingers." After the finger-wrapping technique, you blow-dry the hair as usual. This is something that can be easily done at home, but Fisher strongly recommends first going to the salon to see the technique demonstrated correctly.
As far products specifically suited for curls, Bennett suggests uplifting foam because it gives the hair body at the root, lending the style more lift. Meanwhile, defining gel helps hold the curls created by scrunching hair or looping it around your fingers.
For those who already have natural curls to contend with, Fisher suggests a holding spray or styling lotion. "These products will help keep frizz to a minimum," he explains. But just because someone has naturally curly hair, that doesn't guarantee them "Will and Grace" star Debra Messing-type curls without any work. To bolster limp waves or curls, Gonzalez recommends the use of texturizing creams and curl enhancers.
Whether your hair is limp, frizzy, straight, curly, fine or thick there are ways to drastically change your look. As for taking some of these bold steps, Bennett says there is really only one rule for your hair: "Smooth, shiny and healthy is the key."