We take a break from our regularly scheduled DIY/recipe/lifestyle blogging to talk about something on my mind…

When I was about 16 or 17, I discovered that with a little help from some product and a diffuser, I could get my hair to curl! Well, maybe more of a curly wave, but curly nonetheless! I had always been jealous of my sisters who had natural curls (shout-out to Bethany and Julia!) and was so excited to realize that there was this texture hidden in my hair.

Can modern perm techniques recreate long lost curls | Hello Victoria

Oh wow, 18-year-old Amy in all her no-makeup, no-eyebrows glory…

For a while, when I had the time, I would diffuse my hair – figuring out all sorts of tricks to get it to curl the way I wanted. But the problem with diffusing a full head of long hair? Time! When diffusing curly hair, you need your hair dryer on its lowest speed, with high heat, to get the best result.

Low Speed + High Heat = Eons of Drying Time

hate wet hair, so would never just let it air dry; which meant that when I was short on time, I had to go straight.

Then, a number of years back, some genius with a straightening iron discovered she could curl hair with it! Like most people, it took a bit of practice to get the hang of, but once I did, I could dry my hair and curl it with my straightening iron far faster than I could dry it with a diffuser. This method wasn’t just fast, but flawless! The problem with diffusing natural texture is that the hair doesn’t always cooperate. And so began my 2+ year love affair with straightener curls, which morphed into curling wand curls… etc.

Now, as you can probably imagine, all this straightening and curling with heat took its toll on my hair’s texture. When I had the time to curl it with a diffuser, it no longer seemed to cooperate. The curls were lifeless at best, and I was forced to touch it up with a curling iron to get anybody at all. All those years of straightening my hair had caused it to lose what I loved about it most.

Now, some people would probably be okay with this change, after all, it was easier to straighten, and I knew I could curl it with an iron if I wanted. But see, Richard looooooves my natural hair texture. Or at least, he loved what it was like before. We met while we were both volunteering in Nepal about 9 years ago, where I had no access to a diffuser or hair dryer. I brought a bit of mousse (or was it gel?) with me while traveling, and that was it. Not sure if it was the humidity or the lack of showering (hooray for natural hair oils!), but my hair never curled better than it did in Nepal. Sigh.

Can modern perm techniques recreate long lost curls | Hello Victoria

this is literally a photo taken after I swam in a dirty river with an elephant and air-dried my hair

And that’s the mental image Richard has of me after all these years – slightly tousled, but naturally curly (not to mention kind of dirty and gross… why did he fall for me?!) He loved my hair most because this was during the height of “poker straight” hair popularity – every other girl was going for Gwenyth Paltrow straight locks, and here I was sporting naturally curly brown hair.

Debating modern perm techniques | Hello Victoria

And of course, because he thinks I look so beautiful when I have my natural hair, I started to realize just how great it was to have natural texture.

So how do you get it back? I’ve tried regular haircuts to get rid of damage, reducing the amount of heat I use, heat protectant spray, etc… I can get some texture when my hair is shorter, but any weight makes it lifeless again.

Enter, the title for this post (it’s like a Harry Potter book, where you’re waiting to find out where the title comes from) and my search for a modern natural looking perm. Perms have come a long way since their 80’s heyday. Now, instead of just one roller size, you can get much larger natural-bouncy-curl sizes! The chemicals can even be ‘organic’ (apparently), and the result is much more modern. I’m not looking for a digital perm, as those don’t get up to the root of the hair (perfect for beach waves, not for what I want) but rather a traditional spiral perm, with large rollers in a couple of sizes. I want to get my curl back – can it be done?

Modern perm inspiration | Hello Victoria
Modern perm inspiration | Hello Victoria

Inspiration photos for the type of curl I am after

I’ve been trying to find a salon in greater London that has good reviews for a natural-looking perm (spiral not digital) but can’t seem to find any other than one craazzy expensive one. I may have to just try a place nearby and hope it’s good… but would you do that for something so permanent? Has anyone else lost their hair’s texture because of all the heat they use?

Okay, random rant is done – back to regular posts next week.

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