Learn about Life in the 1920s

Permanent Wave Technique and Care

TO the woman who has struggled with straight hair, who has wintered with it and particularly summered with it, the very words permanent wave fall on the ear with a pleasant sound, and it may be largely the image they call up that starts her toying with the idea of a permanent.

Desire is strong within her, but so is caution, and she approaches such an experiment much as if about to take a cold plunge, backs away and surveys it from a comfortable distance, approaches it again and retreats, approaches and retreats, and finally, if she has courage enough, walks into a hair-dresser's, and the deed is done.

If you have made up your mind to have a permanent wave, do have it properly done and see that it receives the correct treatment both before and afterward. There is a tendency for the permanent-waving process to dry out the hair; and even when the scalp is unusually oily, the ends of the hair will often be dry and brittle. Into such ends, rub a pomade or scalp food or they will split and break off. A good way to do this is to place the pomade in the palm of the hand, rub the hands together to distribute it over both palms, and then take the hair between the hands and rub it.

To prepare the hair in advance for a permanent wave, it should have a course of treatments, given under the direction of an expert. This does not mean that you must necessarily go to a hair-dresser's for them. You may give them yourself at home if you wish to avoid the expense of salon treatments, but have them prescribed for you by someone who can analyze the texture and structure of your hair and tell you just what your scalp needs.

This matter of texture and structure has a great deal to do with the success of a wave and is why, if you wish to avoid kinky, frizzy results and the danger of burning, you should have your hair tested before waving to determine the kind of wave it will take.

A little girl I know emerged from a $5.00 permanent with a head that resembled that of a native of the Congo. Fortunately, she was supremely satisfied and just child enough for its tousled outline not to prove unbecoming. But the tragedy it might have been if it had chanced to alight on an older and more serious head as it might very easily have done ! And that is why I strongly urge a preliminary test.

Woman with Curlers

This is particularly advisable where the hair has been colored and the structure of the hair affected. But hair is affected by so many other things as well — physical condition, lotions, tonics, treatments, cures, restorers, frequent shampoos, and marcelling. The test will show just the condition of your hair so that the correct process may be used. White hair will often turn yellow under the waving process unless the expert knows how to avoid this, and any and all shades of hair are likely to look faded, or lighter, and often lustreless.

DON'T be afraid, after having a permanent wave, to brush out the dust and give your hair a lustre ! The use of tonic and brush need never disturb the wave. Use long bristled brushes to penetrate the scalp, but flexible in order that they may not tear the hair nor interfere with the set of the wave.

Again, let some qualified person advise you as to the proper tonic to use for your hair, and be faithful in your treatment, for the scalp needs very badly at this time the restoration of the natural oils and the rubbing and brushing that help to restore life and lustre.

You need not fear that you will produce an over-oily condition by the application of oil in the form of tonics after a permanent; rather, in this way you will help to restore the natural tone and quality of the hair and to take away the lifeless look. Hair that is naturally dry is generally soft to the touch, but hair that has been dried by the permanent-waving process is inclined to be harsh until it has been softened.

I know persons with oily scalps who have been pleased with the dryness of their hair after a permanent. But to me this is not a sign of hair health and is too radical a change from the natural quality of the hair. It's out of drawing somehow, for Nature has a way of suiting our features to our temperaments.

A famous screen star declares just this—that the texture and other qualities of a woman's hair tell a great deal about her. "In a new picture," she writes, "I visualize the character of the girl or woman I am to portray, and I always start at her head, picturing her hair as it should look."

In the role of a vivacious French girl, unreserved, full of life and vitality, one picture of her hair, loose and wild and free, tells the type of woman she portrays. In the part of a wholesome young girl, her hair is demure, parted neatly on the side, and simply coiled. In still another character in a dramatic scene, the hair is flying and each separate strand seems to cry for help.

"Just study your hair," she writes, "then think over your character, and you'll be surprised how perfectly they harmonize."

EVERY permanent - waving method has its individual preparation for the hair to control its behavior after the permanent. These lotions, used for setting, prolong the wave and soften it. A good permanent wave does not necessarily require resetting, but can be treated like naturally curly hair by combing and pushing it up in place. Generally, however, finger-waving or comb-waving produces better results.

Human hair ordinarily grows about 1/2 inch a month, and as the new growth is straight, rewaves should be given periodically to give the entire head a smart appearance. The old wave need not be touched, just the new hair waved and the undulations made to match those already set.

Source: Fashion Service Magazine, January 1928




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