How 1 Redhead Got Her Princess Ariel Mermaid Waves Back With a Perm
I'll never forget when it happened — the day I lost my curls. I had just turned the corner out of my 20s and was celebrating my big 3-0 in the Hamptons with my closest friends. After a day spent at the beach, frolicking in the ocean, we came home to begin preparations for our night out. And instead of my usual curls twisting up into beachy mermaid waves, they lay limp and flat.
Let's backtrack: I'm a major beauty girl. I love the art of getting ready. I like to think of it as an arts and craft project with the canvas being my face. I've never met a face mask or a tube of mascara that I didn't love! The joy of getting ready, however, ends with my face. Doing my hair? Not so much.
I always found the blow-dry, or curling or straightening process arduous, and I never really got the hang of it. I'll admit that part of the reason is because I never had a problem with my hair. In fact, my hair has always been my trademark — long and thick, in a rather unique shade of red. It has always been the kind of mane that really just obeyed orders — when I was in high school and only wanted straight hair, I would take to an iron and live my life frizz free. Postcollege when wavy/beachy hair was en vogue, I tossed some surf spray in and voila! For the first 29 years of my life, my hair was low maintenance and drama free!
Fast forward to the Hamptons 2016: As if turning 30 wasn't enough of a life change, it seemed as though the universe thought it would be funny to bestow me with straight, limp hair. This transition wasn't something that happened overnight — clearly it was a slow progression. But to say the timing was uncanny would be an understatement.
Following that fateful weekend, I began a quest to get to the bottom of my "mane" identity crisis (pun intended). I treaded through what seemed like the end of the internet and back, viewing countless articles on the reasons behind why one's hair may randomly change texture, and I scrolled through seemingly endless beauty message board conversations. I polled every hair expert I came into contact with, asking them to solve why my hair suddenly went from bouncy and happy to limp and sad.
Nothing really worked — I would leave my house and by my second Tito's and Soda, my hair would resemble a strange unidentifiable crimp situation.
The most troubling part about my new state of affairs was that my hair no longer held a curl at all. So even my attempts at faking a beachy wave with a wand failed. As with everything in life, I slowly learned to cope with my new set of circumstances. I stocked up on volumizing shampoo and went through my fair share of hairspray trials in an attempt to lock in my styled curls. Truthfully, nothing really worked — I would leave my house and by my second Tito's and Soda, my hair would resemble a strange unidentifiable crimp situation.
As much as I tried to accept and embrace my new set of hair(y) circumstances, I couldn't really reconcile having straight hair. I just didn't feel like myself. Just as I had when I first encountered my new straight hair, I delved into the depths of the World Wide Web to try and figure out if and how I could ever regain my curls back. Naturally, my initial search process lead me to the traditional perm — a word that terrified me for a number of reasons. A) I had no interest in looking like Jesse Spano from the early days of Saved By The Bell (she was a total hottie, but not really my style), but more importantly B) I had VIRGIN HAIR — as a natural redhead, my parents never allowed to dye my hair growing up, and until recently I had no reason to chemically treat it.
Seeing as though the traditional perm was out, I hit a wall in terms of possible solutions. Luckily for me, I happen to have a best friend who does double duty as a beauty editor. She was all too familiar with my struggle (sorry for all the whining, Lauren), so when she came across a treatment that the NYC Nunzio Saviano salon offered called the Digital Wave, I was the first person she told.
The Digital Wave is similar to a traditional perm but is less chemically damaging, and it creates beach waves instead of ringlets. It uses a digital iron to get the job done, and results last three to four months. It seemed like my knight in shining armor, and I was ready to go along for the ride. To help you see what the deal is, I photographed the journey and interviewed my stylist, Jean Oh, along the way!