The impulsive effects of shelter-in-place: perming my hair

September 22, 2020 — by Isaac Le

With the shelter-in-place order standing strong, I decided that it was finally a good time to experiment with my hair.

In March, before the local businesses began closing, I booked an appointment at a salon, bringing along a couple of my friends for emotional support. Nervous but excited, I decided to go with a medium-sized curl for a wavy look. It was a big transition from the combover side part that I was used to.

After sitting and waiting for three hours while hairdressers applied several solutions and rods to my hair, the perm was finally finished, but when I looked in the mirror, I wasn’t exactly ecstatic with the results. The perm extenuated the size of my forehead, and the curls looked like they belonged on the underside of my armpits. 

To make things worse, my parents had no idea that I’d decided to change my hair. When I came home that night, my mom freaked out, criticizing the horrendous look, and my dad simply laughed. I really considered washing my hair to straighten out the perm, but I decided to stick with it and wait for the results.

After taking my first post-perm shower two days later, the final look shocked me. The curls had loosened up a bit, dangling over my forehead, providing a very sharp look. 

After such a resounding success, I saw no reason to stop experimenting. During a Target run, I picked up brown hair dye on a whim, thinking that a slight brown tint would add additional character. 

A couple of days later, I opened the dye kit and made sure to thoroughly follow all of the instructions. While FaceTiming my friends, I took them along the hour-long process of mixing the different solutions and placing it into my hair. I felt as if I was finally doing an in-person science lab, adding different chemicals into different bottles, and applying them. 

Unlike the perm, I was satisfied with the results after only a couple of hours. My hair was dyed a slight brown tint, a change that was not too dramatic but definitely noticeable to my friends and family. 

Taking these risks has improved my hairstyle. I look completely different from five months ago. Not only that, tt’s something that I will experiment with again once the quarantine is over. I’m thinking about blond tips, provided that my hair doesn’t fall out from all this cosmetic chemotherapy.


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