Everything to know about the Korean down perm: What it is, how to do it, and more
Neat and tidy
Look, it's no secret that we love a good hair trend. The advent of social media has brought upon a movement where it's become acceptable to dye our locks in a rainbow of hues; braid it in weird configurations; and adorn it in various accessories such as beads and ribbons. It's an fun, experimental time as any — provided you have the length for it, of course. Those with shorter strands, however, face a different set of challenges. Think puffiness and frizziness that no amount of styling product or fiddling can tame; an issue commonly faced by folks bearing the XY chromosome (read: dudes). Lucky for you lot, though, there proves a revolutionary new solution to this. Enter: the down perm.
What is a down perm?
Unlike a traditional perm, a down perm is meant to flatten the hair on the sides and back of our heads. This was popularised in Korea, where many K–Pop idols and actors received this treatment to tame their perfect locks due to the puffy nature of Asian hair. You see: our hair is different compared to those of our western counterparts because it grows out perpendicularly from our scalp and it is stiffer, which makes it look pokey — especially for shorter hair that is just growing out.
How does it work?
A perming solution is first applied to certain sections of your hair. It is then covered with cling wrap or paper to apply pressure, before it is all rinsed out. No heat is necessary for the solution to activate. The perming solution breaks down the keratin bonds of the hair and restructures them downwards.
A down perm is also useful for those who like to style their hair often as straighter hair is easier to manipulate and shape compared to pointy and stubborn hair. Even though this treatment is usually sought after by men, women who are rocking shorter hairstyles such as mullets or pixie cuts will also benefit from this.
What should I know before doing a down perm?
The effects of the perm will last three to four weeks — it is crucial not to use shampoo on your hair for at least 24 hours to allow it to set properly after the treatment. If you have coloured hair, it is best to seek the advice of a professional hairstylist. The chemicals in the perming solution can strip the dye off from your hair, similar to what bleaching does. If you do have brittle or thinning locks, it is best to avoid treatments like this as it can worsen the condition further than it is.
Where and how can I get it done?
Korean salons in Singapore provide this service that takes around two hours to complete. It is also usually cheaper than doing a full perm. However, a down perm is easy enough to do at home with a DIY kit that can be easily purchased online.
Firstly, do a patch test on the inner part of your arm with the product to ensure that you do not have experience an allergic reaction. Next, test the product on a few strands of hair and check the condition of it after rinsing it off. If the strands feel good and strong, you may proceed with the rest of your head. Start by sectioning off the top layers of your hair and clipping them away from the sides and back.
Be generous with the application as the home kit solutions are thick, ensure that the product is thoroughly combed through and covering the hairs entirely. If you're not very flexible and can't seem to reach the back, get a friend or family member to lend you their digits. Now, all you have to do is wait. Try not to rest your head on a pillow as it can stain the pillowcase, also do not fall asleep as you may overshoot the time stipulated on the packaging and damage your hair. In a mere few hours, you'll emerge with more cooperative locks than before. Magic, indeed.
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