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Perms are kind of like the villains at the end of horror films: Just when you think they’re finally gone, they inevitably pop up again. But the reality is that perms never really went away. They may be the perpetual butt of ’80s jokes, but they have persisted well into the 21st century. They just look a lot different now than they did back when mullets and leg warmers were all the rage.
Gone are the poofy, tightly coiled perms of the Reagan era; today, perms come in beachy waves easily mistaken for one’s natural hair texture. Since January, actresses like Lola Kirke, Emma Stone, Jaime King, and Olivia Munn have given perms a try, all of them thanks to the Mare Salon in West Hollywood. Mare is trying to bring the perm out of the margins and into the mainstream again.
Mare stylist Kiley Fitzgerald has been perfecting the perm, which she calls the “Mare wave,” for about a year now; the salon opened in April 2016. The service ranges in cost from $350 to $400, and hair can’t be washed for 48 hours afterward, she says. (Which should be familiar to any fans of Legally Blonde.)
According to Fitzgerald, the style can last for up to five months. Because this perm is more wavy than curly, it doesn’t look drastically different from one’s own hair when it starts to grow out. She says women with color-treated hair shouldn’t be afraid to take the plunge, because the perm solution isn’t as harsh as those of yesteryear. And even women with naturally wavy hair can try out the style to defrizz and redefine their curls.
While the perm may be a novelty for young millennials, it wasn’t a first for xennial Jaime King, 38. “First perm since the 3rd grade!” she declared on Instagram. (The process lends itself well to Instagramming.)
Celebrity makeup artist Rachel Goodwin got her perm at Mare on January 31st along with Emma Stone. She joked on Instagram that the two now shared a “permanent bond.”
“Some friends get tattoos,” she wrote. “Well, we get perms! We’re here to tell you that they are BACK and they’re not your grandma’s perm!”