As I moved into week two of my perm, things started to go awry. First of all, the perm was calming down, and I actually had liked it as curly as it was in the beginning. Next time around I may go for a full spiral perm, as I really enjoyed having the springy curls more than I thought I would. It was still pretty springy, but it had toned down just a bit and gone a little flat.
Mostly, though, I fell into the trap of thinking it would be “fun” to try out new products on my new hair. Not that there’s anything wrong with this; I just went overboard with both product-buying and hair-styling, which stressed my hair out and made it a bit of a mess, so overall the experience was more frustrating than it was fun. It’s not usual for me to put more than two products into my hair when styling it, but since I was continuously curious about the new stuff I bought (all made for curls, supposedly), I was piling as many as five products on my hair during the course of a day. I was also washing and styling my hair more than usual; pre-perm, I would have at least 2-3 days a week where I didn’t wash or style my hair, opting for a ponytail or just letting it go. Post-perm, I was washing and styling every day because I was trying out new products or styling strategies. And some days, I’d dump a bunch of stuff into it, attach some new fancy diffuser to my blow-dryer, style it, then decide halfway through the day I wanted to try something else out and re-wash and style all over again. The end result of all this was a frizz-fest. So as I said, at the end of week two my hair was not very happy, and after three days of nothing but fluff I was feeling regretful. At that point, I decided to get back to basics. I washed my hair one last time, put my old standby products in (mousse when wet, a little spray gel before diffusing, then a bit of spray wax after drying to hold the style) and it looked much better. Not that some of the products I tried weren’t nice, mind you, and I may review them later, but it wasn’t like any of them were more magical than other, similar products I’ve tried over the years. I even spent $44 on a special diffuser that looks like a big robotic hand and claims to be THE BEST DIFFUSER EVER for curls (see below) only to discover that the diffuser which came free with my cheap old hairdryer worked much better. Sigh.
It looked too ridiculous NOT to work…It didn’t work.
Once I pulled myself out of my product-induced hair funk, though, I suspected there was still a problem. I’d considered the possibility when I first got the perm that my one-length bob cut might not work with it, but I didn’t want to do any chopping too soon. As I moved into week three, though, I began to believe that I did, in fact, need a more layered cut – especially around my face. The perm added so much weight to my hair that those long layers, which framed my face so nicely when it was straight, were dragging my face down, making my forehead look big and making my face look older – not to mention turning my hair into a triangle by adding all the bulk around the bottom. I became so convinced I needed a few wispy layers around my face that I got scissors and tried to do it myself. But with one snip it was clear that was a bad idea, because even though the wisp of hair I cut was tiny it still looked horrible, and I decided to make an appointment to get my curls cut into a new style ASAP before I could do any more damage. I was nervous about going to my usual guy, because he didn’t give me the perm and had never been very enthusiastic about the idea of me getting one. But I decided to face his potential wrath since I trusted him to give me a good cut that would work with my curls, even if he didn’t like them. I also knew I could trust him to tell me if my instincts were wrong and I shouldn’t go adding layers to my hair. As it turned out, he was fine with the fact that I went elsewhere for the perm, admitting he hardly ever did them himself so it was probably better that way. And although he made note that my hair was still “fragile,” he said that it had nice curl and the guy who permed it did a good job. So, he was very gracious and supportive of the new look, which I appreciated. We discussed giving my hair more shape and he got down to work:
No idea why I’m making robot-face here
I think the results are great, but it does look very different from before (not to mention that whatever he put on it before styling made it VERY crunchy) so I’ll have to get used to it. I have never been one to voluntarily wear too many layers in my hair when it’s longer, so this is definitely an adjustment. But I think it’s what the curls needed to keep from dragging my face down and aging me -to be honest, I think I look about 5 years older in the before-the-cut pic. I also think it gave the curls back some of their original bounce and spring, so overall I think it’s an improvement. I also think it’ll look more like “me” when I style it for myself in the morning. He did some things to it when diffusing it dry I wouldn’t have done (like diffusing when it’s too wet, but I get why he would do that since he needed to get me out of his chair and move on to the next customer).
Crappy iPhone pics, but you get the idea
I’m tempted to like the before shot in the pic above, until I really look at what it does to my face, which is pretty much swallow it. And the curls were getting dragged down by the weight. So I still think the after-cut was the right move, even though all those layers are going to take some getting used to. The whole look, quite honestly, is 180 degrees from any goal I ever had for growing out my hair, and to think I did it so impulsively (if you call thinking about getting a perm for a year before actually doing it impulsively that is) is freaking me out a little. But I don’t regret it; I still have my length and both layers and perms grow out, if nothing else. I will say once I figured out a good routine that styling has been a snap and has never been easier, so there’s always that. So I’m on the right track here, I think, and I’m still glad I went through the whole process. But I can’t wait to wash this crunchiness out of my hair tonight – I don’t know what product he used to get such a Ramen Noodle effect, but believe me, I have loads of other products on-hand now that will work better!