Digital Perm

As a girl who’s born with stick-straight hair, I have grown envious of those who have luscious waves and curls. I find wavy/curly hair sexy, don’t you? I’d have my hair curled during events like prom and our yearbook photoshoot, but the curls would last less than a day. I wanted something more permanent.

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Every time I watch Gossip Girl, I lust over Serena’s (Blake Lively’s) hair. Her sexy beach waves are always unkempt, giving off an effortless kind of sultriness. I love that.

Over the summer, I was contemplating about getting my hair permed since I wanted to make a drastic change before school started. I was asking my friend I-ann about digital perms because she’s had her hair permed a few times before. I was concerned about curls being difficult to take care of and being the lazy and low-maintenance person that I am, I simply did not have the time to apply product on my hair. I-ann told me that digitally permed hair is very easy to maintain. You just have to condition it regularly and leave it to air dry. No blow-dryer and numerous hair products necessary.

Digital perms are expensive, being priced at around P 5,000. The cost seemed very steep for me. Lucky for me, there was a Groupon on http://www.beeconomic.com.ph/ for Digiperm + Treatment at Azure Salon for only P 1,499 (regular price is P 5,050). Azure Salon is this quaint salon along Katipunan Avenue, beside Cravings. It’s just 2 minutes away from where I lived. I considered it a sign to have my hair permed at last.

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Before the stylist will perm your hair, he/she will ask you about previous treatments or procedures done to your hair, whether it be dying or rebonding. This is to check your hair’s condition prior to the digital perm. My hair just came from a trim and a home dying procedure. This’ll be my hair’s first major chemical treatment. My hair was a chemical treatment virgin.

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I was in the salon for at least five hours. That’s the longest I’ve spent seated on a salon chair ever. Anyway, the entire procedure lasted for almost five hours. From what I remember, the stylist put a solution on my hair and kept checking up on me every five minutes, twirling a few strands of hair on a stick and checking if it’d stay in place or not. When it didn’t he said, “Five minutes pa, ma’am.” I felt embarrassed for my hair’s stubbornness.

Sidebar: I found my stylist interesting. He had dreadlocks tied with rasta ponytail (red, green, yellow) and arms covered in tattoos. He had two very interesting tattoos: Bob Marley’s face and one of a marijuana leaf. Rastafarian hair stylist! Hahaha! Completely badass, in my opinion.

What I was excited about was the part wherein he started segmenting my hair and rolled each grouped strand to the curler and secured each roll with a rubber band. He then put multiple heat protection pads on my hair then connected the curlers to the hot rods of the perming machine. Longest… wait… ever.

When the curling process was done, he applied a “neutralizer” to my hair. He said that it was for the curls to stay. He then washed my hair, applied the treatment, blow-dried it a bit and applied styling cream. I was advised to only use a wide-toothed comb (showing me the one they used on me) and scrunch or twirl my hair. My hair was looking good, all curly and styled. I felt pretty. Finally, no more stick-straight hair for me!

The head stylist approached me and told me that I could wash my hair Thursday morning (I was there Monday afternoon). That was a good 60 hours.

Post-Perm:

It felt weird not being able to wash my hair for a few days. On the last 8 hours, my head started to itch but I stuck to their instructions because I didn’t want my first perm to be a failure. My paranoia made me even think that my strands would lay flat after the first wash! But, that didn’t happen. Whew. My curls just became softer as to compared to the first few hours of perming. I felt so good when I finally got the chance to wash my hair. Clean hair at last!

I was aware of the chances of my hair becoming dry after the procedure and the necessary actions to be undertaken for maintenance. Yes, I did a lot of research because I’d be devastated if I ended up with a head of damaged and frizzy hair. I’ve heard of a lot of horror stories about digital perm mishaps. I’m glad my hair came out well.

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My hair after its first wash

I conditioned my curled locks with Human ♥ Nature 100% Natural Moisturizing Conditioner in Lush Vanilla. My mom swears by this brand (we have the Strengthening variants, as well) and I’ve read other reviews that suggest this for permed hair. Permed strands end up being dry and “crunchy” and will be prone to frizz. Conditioning pampers your strands as well as strengthens them. I bought Monea Curl Defining Milk Hair Lotion from Watsons. I’ve read good reviews about it and it’s very affordable, being just P 99. It doesn’t make my hair feel heavy and it makes my curls look good. A little goes a long way so I don’t feel the need to try out other curl defining products that cost a lot more than this.

It’s been almost two weeks since I had my hair permed and so far, it’s looking good. I am loving my new hair and I’ve received a couple of compliments for it. :”>

I have noticed though that the curls have loosened quickly. Some of the curls have disappeared. I don’t mind having big curls, because that’s what I really wanted but I’m worried that my curls won’t last 6-9 months. I don’t know if it’s just my hair being stubborn when it comes to styling (as always). Hopefully, they’ll last for a couple of months. I’m browsing through online aftercare tips to help make my curls last longer.

If you have any digital perm aftercare tips, feel free to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

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6 thoughts on “Digital Perm

  1. Hello Heidi! I’ve had my first digiperm at Toney & Jackey December of 2011. I came across your blog looking for reviews on Azure Salon since I plan to get my 2nd digiperm there instead.

    Anyway, you mention Human Nature in your blog. After I had my first digiperm, I used Human Nature’s Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner. At the time, they had avocado. Now I use Mandarin scent.

    I think the loosening of your curls after the first 2 wks is normal. But it may also be caused by your hair. The healthier the hair, the harder it is to treat. But I would suggest you also try Human Nature’s Hair Serum. It’s at P50 off until end of August so you may want to buy it from their branches. It’s a great serum, which is not heavy on the hair like most oils that tend to straighten hair out. This serum is much better and feels like a softer and milder version of spray nets. You should try it.

    I am also an advocate of Human Nature products. Would you believe it’s because I had my hair digipermed that I came across Human Nature? Like you said, perming dries the hair a lot. So I researched first for a moisturizing shampoo that will not cause skin irritation or aggravate my then pimply face. I found it. Human Nature. My curls have gotten much looser (it’s been almost 2yrs) but it has been the best curls I’ve ever had. I also no longer have any pimples and the scars are diminishing (just sharing) because of my shift to Human Nature products.

    If you happen to come across any of its branches (main one is along Commonwealth), stock up on their products as they are great! Like your mom, I swear by it. A lot of the people here in our subdivision has also found the magic of going all natural with Human Nature.

    I hope your curls are still intact! And I’m glad to have come across your blog. I may try Azure Salon for digiperm treatment this time.

    -Katrina
    Human Nature Dealer and Advocate
    Dealer No. 125899

    • “The healthier the hair, the harder it is to treat.” – THIS. *sigh*

      This is the first major treatment my hair’s even been through. My curls only lasted 2 months. They’re curly after I bathe but straighten out or become slightly wavy when it dries. My hair is close to straight now, but I’m scared to let it undergo another perming process because I got worried when I saw how dry my hair became. My face is pimply, too, and my dermatologist told me to skip the conditioner. But since I got a perm, it was necessary that I conditioned my hair. To play safe, I just apply conditioner to the permed portion.

      You should definitely try Azure Salon. They have a really nice and accommodating staff. Tell me how your session there would go.

      I appreciate your very informative comment, Katrina. 🙂

  2. Hello Heidi 🙂

    I just read this now! But I feel like making a comment anyways haha. With regards to the short lifespan of curls, I’ve only gathered from my own experience (after nearly five or six years of regularly perming) that most first timers for digiperms lose their faith when the curls start to loosen after a couple months. I THINK this is because of the structure of the digiperm (compared with a cold perm), wherein it has different properties when it is dry/wet.

    Basically, I’ve learned through trial and error that your digipermed hair will dry in whatever position it was when it was drying (Pinays rarely rely on dryers like our friends in the west do). So, curls appear to become loose for gals who air dry because the weight of the water pulls the strands a bit straighter and they dry that way. No amount of scrunching or twisting will lift these strands if the water weight will pull it back down almost instantly. It will look like limp twisted gnarled hair!

    I’ve been able to keep my perms last up to a year and a half (the one now is more than a year old) by waiting for my hair to dry up to 90%, and THEN styling it how I want (waves-leave as is; defined curls-twist and scrunch; big curls- i roll my hair onto cloth strips and let dry to 100%). USing a super absorbent towel and really getting your hair as dry as you can manage in as little time as possible 🙂

    Phew! There haha. Since you have cut your hair already, these tips won’t exactly be useful now, but hopefully you can try them out if ever you get a digiperm again heehee.

    ❤ I-ann

    • That explains everything. I leave my strands to air dry. So does my sister, now that she’s sporting a perm already. I never took the time to blowdry my hair even if I own a hairdryer. Ironically, though, the day I decided to have my hair chopped off was one of those days when my curls were at their best. So, it was painful to see them drop to the floor looking so pretty. I am loving my short hair now and a lot of people have told me I look better with a shorter ‘do. But, if ever I do get bored again, I might grow this out and try having curls again.
      I wish you told me all these when I still had my digiperm. Hahaha. But, thanks, I-ann! :*

  3. hi I-Ann where do you usually have your hair permed? Im planning to have one this week but i dont know where. any recommendations? thanks 🙂

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