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Hair Do: Perm is Not Always a Bad Word

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Julie Tremblay

See Julie here? See her pretty, soft, natural waves? Pardon me -- her pretty, soft, growing-out-perm waves?

"I had my perm done in February," says Julie, who characterizes her natural texture as very fine and very, very straight. "I don't really style it. I let it dry naturally and all I do is flip my head over and spray a fine net of Elnett hairspray." (Julie is le PR for L'Oréal Paris, by the way.)

If you've got fine, thin hair too languid to do anything but hang off your head all lank and uninterested, a perm could be just what it needs to give it a life. Even a home perm if you can still find them.

Years back, during a Canadian Living "Look Years Younger" makeover story prep at Shagg Salon, stylist Christopher Martin and I admired a subject's short, baby-soft, loosely tumbling salt-and-pepper curls. Gorgeous. And we were knocked on our beauty butts when the woman, who was in her 50s, admitted she'd permed her own fine, straight hair to get them.

Chris explained later that those permed curls had looked so soft and natural because DIY perm roller placement is usually more random than when a pro does it, and the hair is wound more loosely on the rods.

Of course I wanted to do a story right away, but well... hey, now I have.