My Take on PWC

Quite a few bees have had PWCs (post-wedding chops). But since short hair makes me look like a muppet, I went for a post-wedding curl instead.

That's right. I did what I said I'd never do again after a hairtastrophe that I shall call the "poodle perm incident of 1988." (No offense to Mrs. Poodle, who has a lovely hairstyle.)

"Don't cry. I'm not a poodle, I'm your new big sister!"

I got a perm. A digital perm.

Inspiration photos scanned from Japanese hairstyling magazines

Turns out perm technology has advanced significantly since I was in sixth grade. I found out about the digital perm from Angel Swanson, wedding planner extraordinaire. Instead of the tight, uniform curls of 1988, the digiperm can give you relaxed, sexy waves, like the inspiration photos above. But after my middle school humiliation, I was pretty freaked out about submitting my hair to the vagaries of chemicals. Plus at almost $250, the digital perm was a very expensive experiment.


I was so tired of the straight, shapeless hairstyle (above left) that I've had in the last few years, though, that I decided to risk it. Not that I'm out to escape humiliation entirely, since I'm showing you evidence of how totally insane I looked with the digital perm device hooked up to my head!

I got my digiperm at the Mie Higashimoto Salon on Newbury St. in Boston, with Fumiko, my regular stylist. She and her assistant were really comfortable with the equipment. My hair was washed, then cut, then prepped and rebonded with the first round of chemicals and washed again. Then they put curlers in, which were connected with leads (picture a cyborg Medusa) to the digiperm machine. When they first took the curlers out, I looked like a Hassidic rabbi, with tight coils. Horrifying. But then they applied a another round of chemicals, and after a quick wash, the curls relaxed into soft waves. The whole process took a little over three hours.

Fumiko used a combination of medium and large rollers to create a natural effect, and she started the curls above my cheekbones, so that the perm wouldn't look sad while it was growing out.

With the digital perm, if you're in a hurry, you can scrunch in a bit of mousse and just air dry; the results will be loose waves. For relaxed curls, my stylist taught me how to blow dry while twirling small sections of hair with my fingers.

In the photo on the left, I just sprayed a bit of Frederic Fekkai wave spray and then blow dried the hair while twirling it. To get big, neat curls, like those on the photo on the right (and the curls in the top left inspiration photo), I still have to supplement with a curling iron. But whereas my curls would usually fall out after a few hours, with the digital perm, the curls last until I wash my hair again.

Although it's not the wash-and-go hair that I was hoping to get out of the process -- I have to blowdry and hand style or else my hair gets frizzy -- I definitely like the fact that my hair finally has style and lots of volume. Plus I think it's shinier and healthier-looking because of the rebonding!

If you're considering a digital perm, here are some sites I found particularly helpful in my research:
  • Digital Perm thread on Purse Forum
  • Angel Swanson's blog
  • I am Style-ish blog (posts 1, 2, 3)
  • Pinkfish Pie blog
Are you considering a style change for your hair?

The Less Than Domestic Goddess  – (November 29, 2009 at 4:46 PM)  

That is too cool. You look gorgeous! I am intrigued, as a fellow Asian American lady with stick straight hair who had a similar run-in with a 5th grade perm :)

Princess Christy  – (November 29, 2009 at 5:53 PM)  

Beautiful! I love the look. Personally, I'm definitely going for the chop - I've been ready to get rid of my length for almost a year!

Aileen  – (November 30, 2009 at 1:57 PM)  

I have been lurking around your blog for a few weeks now and just wanted to say thank you for posting the photos of the hair... Ihave been thinking of getting a curling iron and I think you've convinced me!

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