About six months ago, I worked through the trauma of "the poodle perm incident of 1988" and got a digital perm at Mie Higashimoto, a Japanese salon in Boston. I went for my first post-perm haircut today -- yes, I'm cheap and lazy, which is why I allowed my hair to grow to Rapunzel proportions before I was finally willing to shell out the bucks for a cut -- and I thought it'd be a good time to post an update on the digiperm.
(Apparently, despite my Pulitzer-quality dissertations on really monumental things like obsessively weeding the lawn or testing a zillion roast chicken recipes, most people who stumble on my blogs do so while googling for "digital perm Boston." Let me assure you -- yes, you, perm googler --- that there are other SO many other topics that I have irreverent and irrelevant opinions on that you should really subscribe to this blog so as to not miss out.)
Anyway, this is what the digiperm looks like today. Still pretty curly, though obviously the waves start a bit lower now that my hair's grown out.
Here's a reminder of what the digiperm looked like six months ago:
When I first got the perm, I was a little concerned that the look might be more high maintenance than I wanted. Fumi, my stylist, taught me to style the hair in loose waves by twirling sections of the hair while blowdrying it. I have a lot of hair, so even this supposedly easy styling took a loooong time. And to get big, neat curls, I still had to use a curling iron.
Along the way, though, I figured out how to get big curls without "styling" at all. (Did I mention that I'm lazy?) I simply blowdry my hair (or let it airdry) until it's damp but not wet. Then I rub a little bit of Tresemme Curl Shaping Milk through my hair, put it up into a loose French twist, and let it dry. Once the hair's dry, I just take down the French twist, finger comb it out, and voila! big curls. If I am feeling extra persnickety, I spritz a little Frederic Fekkai Wave Spray to lock the curls in (though with the digiperm, curls set well even without product). With this method, my hair's pretty close to wash and go. And if I have an early morning, I just wash the hair at night, sleep with it in a loose French twist, and it's all set to go the next day.
Now that the perm's fading a bit, it's also pretty easy to blow out the hair, if I had the patience or desire to have straight hair for a day.
Bottom line: I'm pretty pleased with my digital perm, and I've had no post-perm regret yet. I have heard some horror stories from people who have gotten digiperms from inexperienced stylists or salons with cheap equipment or chemicals, so my advice is to go to a Japanese (or Korean) salon with a lot of experience doing digital perms. It might cost you a bit more than some hole-in-the-wall barber shop in Chinatown, but at least you can be reasonably confident that you won't emerge looking like a shocked poodle.
And if you're in New England, I highly recommend Mie Higashimoto. They imported their digiperm machine and all the chemicals from Japan, and Fumi has done a ton of digital perms and is very knowledgeable about the process. Added bonus: BEST. SHAMPOO. EVER. Seriously, the shampoo guy there has what I can only describe as a gift. His touch is so gentle and polite; I felt like my head was being handled like a delicate blossom . . . no, a Faberge egg . . . no, a cluster of clouds. (Go ahead and laugh, but I know you ought be be very jealous that you didn't get to experience this.) And when he's done shampooing and conditioning your hair, he gives a scalp, neck, and shoulder massage that is alone worth the $$ and inconvenience of trekking down to Newbury Street for a hair appointment.
Sigh. I'm off to think of some more bad metaphors for this guy's shampooing. I leave you with my favorite photo from the digiperm experience six months ago:
Very "Clash of the Titans" chic, no?