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In-Depth Guide to Perms


Frank Dino has been a hairstylist for over 30 years. He puts the “Dino” in Dino Clark Salon in Santa Monica, which he owns along with Dana Clark (both pictured above). Jordana Lorraine, who kindly answered my million and one questions about Brazilian Blowouts and hair extensions, works at Dino Clark and was sweet enough to put us in touch for a long-awaited interview about perms. Well, long awaited by HOTB reader Kat, at least! I finally got to ask all my perm-related questions… Hope you guys like it!

Hair on the Brain: How, if at all, have perms changed in recent years?

Frank Dino: There hasn’t been a vast improvement to the chemical aspects of the discipline since the last perm boom of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Most waves still work with either alkali or acid based solutions. Once demand on a product or technique is no longer in high demand there is usually not many new improvements or innovations. For example, curling irons are fundamentally the same now as they were in the 70’s.


HOTB: Can you tell me a little bit about the perm process and results?

Dino: Today’s use of perm solutions have not changed in terms of the sequential elements needed to complete the process. You still wrap the hair, apply solution, time it to readiness, and neutralize the curl. What has changed is the desired effect. Today, the hair can be wrapped in a variety of different ways to affect the outcome. Use of rollers pin curls and other nontraditional implements other than perm rods can be used to achieve a softer wave.

Read the rest of my interview about perms with Frank Dino after the break.

HOTB: Are there certain hair types that should not consider a perm?

Dino: Damage occurs when not all of the bonds that are broken down by the perm solution re-bond during the neutralization process. That will always be the case. Constant re-perming can lead to damaged hair. I don’t ever recommend perming bleached hair, even though many manufacturers make solutions for hair in this condition. If you perm hair that is over processed, the results are rarely outstanding.

HOTB: How should you treat your hair after a perm? How do you maintain the curl?

Dino: Treatment of permed hair is simple: Use professional shampoos and conditioners for “chemically altered” hair. Follow up with a product designed to increase and maintain curl. Most professional hair lines have products with curl enhancing agents. You should also use a product with a light cuticle sealer or shinning agent to flatten the raised cuticle of the hair shaft, which happens as a result of perming. This will leave you with beautiful, soft curls.


HOTB: Are there any products you should avoid after a perm?

Dino: If you have permed hair, you need to avoid the following: Chlorinated water and astringent type shampoos (like dandruff shampoos). And you should always condition your hair. These rules are very important to the life of permed hair.


HOTB: What type of clients do you see coming into your salon for perms?

Dino: Perms are still being done to satisfy all types of clients. A lot of mature woman come in to get their fine or thin hair permed for volume. Another group getting perms are young, fashion-forward women who want their long hair in the current fashion trend of “twisted curls”. They want their hair to hold this style longer and use perms to achieve the look.

HOTB: Where do you see perms heading in the future?

Dino: I believe perms will become more common in salons as we return to the era of hairdressing where styling takes precedence over cutting. Precision cutting will give way to styling tools. All trends eventually get revisited with a twist.

Dino Clark Salon
311o Main St, Suite 110
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 392-3951


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