It’s official, guys: We’re cruising high on the cresting currents of another Korean wave – quite literally too, seeing how we’re all about “waves” as they pertain to the world of wigs and weaves.
But what is the so-called Korean perm? Unlike the mortifying “Maggi mee” mop of yesteryear, this “cold perm” K-Beauty invention is infinitely more wearable, generally involving a comely cascade of curls tapering towards the chin for a beguiling bob-like finish. Besides, the subtly sexy twist on the traditional perm should already be familiar to K-Drama fans – it’s just the sort of “natural” look Korean screen sirens are wont to sport.
Even better, bona fide grooming guru Gunhee – for those not in the know, the mane maestro has wielded his scissors on stars the likes of Super Junior and JYJ – tells us that the soft strands of a K-Perm offers the entirely welcome beauty benefit of “contouring” your jaw for that V-shaped visage everyone and their mother’s so obsessed with these days.
In any case, the very best thing about the K-Perm is that just about any chick can rock the look. Click through the gallery slides above for all the “dye-dye” must-try tips and tricks you need to score this super stylin’ head of hair and become a pro at perming!
1. What are the “mane” differences between a Korean-style perm and traditional perms?
Essentially the mane equivalent of no-makeup makeup – also another Korean beauty first, funnily enough – the K-Perm is sleek and satiny, loose and luxe; sort of like the tousled tresses of beach babes minus the crunchy sea salt texture.
Take it from Gunhee himself: “Korean perms such as L’Oreal Professionnel’s Curlia service are typically created using the cold perm technique, which is how you get the natural-looking curls you see on most female Korean celebrities. On the other hand, traditional perms tend to produce tighter curls, which may take a few weeks to loosen.” Notice how effortlessly breezy the locks above look? The flowy femininity is ultra “ulzzang” and a complete cinch to pull off, of which more later.
For now, another big bonus: A perm is fab for faking your way to a fuller head of follicles. “Korean perms give you more volume as the curls tend to be larger and bouncier,” Gunhee notes. “The current trend among Korean women is to keep their hair to a single length without too much layering, so that you can get more volume when you do a perm. This boost in volume is especially useful if you have fine or flat hair.”
Translation: Limp of lock and thin on top? A K-Perm will give you a bombshell bounce in no time at all!
2. What sort of perm should I ask for if I have a “fat” face?
Contouring via the cut of your coiffure? It’s totally a thing. To wit: “We also take into consideration the face shape, so that the curls frame the face in the most flattering way possible,” notes Gunhee. “If you have a large face, it’s probably best not to create too much volume around the cheeks – looser curls rather than tight ones will work better,” he advises. “Your L’Oreal Professionnel hairdresser can also give you a face-framing fringe or layer the hair ever so slightly around the face to lend the illusion of a slimmer face – the Cheongdam wave will be perfect for this.”
Fun fact: The Curlia variants conjured up by Gunhee for the salon service are named after four distinct districts in Korea, so you get to “choose” the preferred province of your perm!
Oh, and if you have a heart-shaped face, you’re in luck, sweetheart: The K-Perm in all its permutations will look best on you, although you should probably ask for sideswept bangs to direct attention to your eyes and away from your pointier chin. And if you’re square-jawed like Angelina Jolie, ask your stylist to give you lots of lush layers around the ears to soften the hard planes of your face. Meanwhile, round or oval shapes should consider keeping length on top to add height and elongate your face. Easy-peasy!
3. What can I do to prolong my perm in Singapore’s hot weather?
Mane maintenance-wise, Gunhee says that a perfectly polished pouf starts in the shower: “Use a gentle shampoo like L’Oreal Professionnel’s Curl Contour Cleansing Conditioner, which gently cleanses and hydrates curls without weighing them down.”
Proceed to blow-dry using the medium heat setting on your dryer – minimising moisture loss is the name of the game here – then scrunch in a styling salve like L’Oreal Professionnel Siren Waves for frizz-free fortification. Sweep your fingers through your hair to separate any particularly unruly strands, twisting the ends at random for a Art Deco-esque, wave-like effect.
When you’ve tweaked and teased your tresses to a desired height, set it with a good, long blast of high-intensity hairspray – if you have particularly unruly hair, “spot spray” over the tousled ends framing your face to fix them in place.
Run your fingers through the ends once more and you’re done: Head-turning hair with a glorious gloss worthy of any Garosu-gil girl – a follicular conversation piece that’s both perfectly on-trend and jaw-slenderising to boot. Have fun!
Text: Eugene Quek / Her World Plus Additional reporting: Arissa Ha