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Last updated: January 18, 2018

The Return of the Perm

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Thanks to Joe Santy and her new beach wave perm,
Julianne Hough gets to wake up like this every day!


Grab the neutralizer—you just may be doing perms again


By Katie Harrington


Each time “It Girl” actress Julianne Hough switches up her hair, it’s covered on every news and social media platform in the country. So when she recently dropped in on celebrity stylists Riawna Capri and Nikki Lee at their Nine Zero One Salon in L.A. and asked for (wait for it) a perm, the earth actually stopped spinning for a moment.


If you’re a seasoned stylist, the last perm you probably did was in 1989. If you’re new to the life, it was likely beauty school. So, what gives? Why is the perm suddenly back on the beauty scene?


For answers, we turned to Joe “Permboy” Santy, who has made a career as a perm expert and was called in to Nine Zero One to help with Julianne’s perm deed. (Hint: It all boils down to a single product, Olaplex.)


Here’s his take on how and why you’ll be perming hair in 2016.


BTC: Julianne’s perm was all over social media. Why was it such a big deal?
Joe: Julianne’s perm was special because of how heavily lightened she was. For the past six years, she had been told she couldn’t get a perm. Her stylist was right, because it wouldn’t have been possible without Olaplex, which allowed me to use a larger rod while giving the wave durability. With Olaplex, for the first time in history, you can reduce or eliminate damage throughout the whole perming process. This is especially important for color-treated or previously-permed hair.



Julianne captioned this in-process snap, “You have no idea what’s
about to happen…I’ve been asking for years to do this
but have never been able to until now!!!!”


BTC: How did you use Olaplex in the process?
Joe: I used it throughout the entire process in three stages. First, I mixed No.2 with equal amounts of protein and dried it into the hair as a pre-treatment. Then I added 1/16 oz. of No.1 to the perm solution and to the neutralizer. Finally, I applied a mixture of 1 oz. of No.1 and 3 oz. of water (I prefer distilled) to the perm rods directly on top of the neutralizer.


BTC: Can you use Olaplex with any perm product?
Joe: Olaplex works with any manufacturer’s perm, but for the record, Julianne’s was an ISO #2. The technology to understand is Olaplex’s ability to multiply bonds. A lot of stylists don’t realize there are bonds throughout the entire hair shaft. A single cuticle is comprised of nine layers. Those bonds are 3-D. Olaplex works internally and is able to bring the hair back to its normal diameter, and amazingly, it functions during the perm service to do all this without hindering the process.



BTC: What types of rods do you recommend to achieve the look?
Joe: I like Efalock Rods and Stabilizers, but they have become increasingly difficult to find. Really, though, perm rods are like scissors: if you give a great hairdresser a $5.00 pair of shears, and give someone else a $10,000 pair, the better hairdresser is going to cut circles around them. I tell everyone that any style you can imagine is achievable with the inexpensive rods we all have been exposed to and the right wrapping technique.


Now Joe is able to perm his clients with color-treated or previous
ly-permed hair without damaging their fragile strands!


BTC: How did you wrap Julianne’s perm?
Joe: I wrapped sections half-base throughout the top, working to just below the occipital and parietal areas. Then I wove off-base placements to create indentation to support the volume from the upper sections, creating a more natural fall line.


BTC: How long did the process take?
Joe: Under normal salon conditions, it should take about two hours.


BTC: How long will this wave shape last and how will it look as it relaxes?
Joe: This particular shape should last one to three months depending on how it’s styled on a regular basis. As it relaxes, the texture will still be evident. Maintaining the condition of the hair with Olaplex keeps the hair in great shape and give her style versatility.


BTC: Any other tips?
Joe: Get in the mindset of softness. Have a thorough consultation with your client, as truth is always the ultimate sales tool. You build your chemical business by saying “no,” not by saying “yes;” i.e. if you don’t feel you can satisfy the client’s request, don’t do it, as it will disappoint both of you.



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