For reference, here’s how my hair looked before I went to the salon:
There are several Bang’s Tony and Jackey salons scattered all over the metro and I don’t know if there are advantages or disadvantages in each branch but I chose the Tomas Morato branch for convenience since it was nearest to my house. I had no idea which stylists to get and just left it up to fate. I was assigned to Anna, a Korean who was fiercely dressed to the nines in all black and towering glittery heels. I guess because I am a Korean fan with my love for Korean drama, movies, and recently even K-pop that I wasn’t “afraid” of my stylist and what she’ll do to my hair. The apprehension will only really come from the language barrier, which is solved by the Filipino assistant who further “translated” to me Anna’s mix of English and Tagalog.
After my hair was shampooed, Anna examined my hair and did an “evaluation”. I had a secret fear that with my fine, straight hair, it’s impossible to perm my hair and I even thought that I would be sent back home still with straight hair.
|My hair getting a pre-perm treatment. With Anna (middle), the Filipino “translator” and another Korean stylist|
Anna also told me that I cannot have a perm using medium and large-sized curlers. Like most straight-haired women dreaming of having their hair permed, my ultimate wavy hair dream are large, gorgeous wavy, cascading locks (think Kate Middleton or locally, Denise Laurel). Unfortunately, that’s only achievable for women with thick hair or for those who have stylists at their daily beck and call, like actresses or news anchors! For my fine hair texture, she had to use a combination of small and medium sized rollers, which will start me out with some quite tight curls, and eventually loosen into waves.
I will not detail the whole perm procedure here because even if you’re having your hair permed for the first time like me, I don’t think you really need to know each and every step (especially since the steps tend to differ depending on which salon you get the perm). All I remember was that the whole thing consisted of the application of the hair treatment, the “perm” proper (the product was applied, the hair was curled using rollers, and attached to the perming machine for a few minutes), then the neutralizer. In between, there were countless times my hair was washed and/or shampooed and blow dried. The whole procedure from evaluation to final blow dry took about 3 hours.Finally, here’s how my hair looked right after my perm:
|Right after my perm with my Korean stylist, Anna|
But that’s not yet the end of the story. What I think you should know about perming are the stuff that I will do detail in this post (and in my post-digital perm hair care guide), which includes things that I’ve learned only AFTER I got my perm.
THE PRICE. First, was I so gullible for not insisting on the lower priced perm packages? Seven Thousand Pesos is probably the most expensive I’ve paid for a single salon service and I’ve got to admit that the price had freaked me out (that plus the post-perm styling products I bought there for P3,000 rounded up the total price I paid to P10,000. Literally, na hold up ako!) I was not “eligible” for the lower priced packages not only because my hair wasn’t thick enough but because those packages will further damage my hair, which is already considered “damaged”/dry enough due to my hair color and highlights. But I think that if I had insisted on the cheaper packages, they would have still went on and permed my hair.
But I’ve concluded that when it comes to hair and if it’s a choice between something that will damage my hair more or less, I’d rather choose that which will damage my hair less, even if it’s more expensive. And I don’t know if my perm would have worked or if I would be this satisfied with it if I had insisted on the cheaper treatments. My hair is already fine and “vulnerable” enough and if it means paying P2,000 more to save it, then I’ll consider that P2,000 as an investment in my crowning glory. If that’s not really a worthy investment, then I will just say that I’ve charged the rest to experience, considering the fact that it’s my first time to undergo a perm.
THE SALON. Bang’s Tony and Jackey is also quite a reliable and efficient salon. They go about their business in a no-nonsense way. At the end of the day, they got my super straight fine hair permed and considering what I’ve learned after (like I have an aunt who has the same hair texture as mine who had her hair permed in the early days of digital perming in Toni and Guy and even after 2 return trips to the salon, she still ended up with straight hair), I’m quite thankful that the perm worked. Yes, some Tony and Jackey customers also had the experience of undergoing repeat procedures because the perm failed, but usually that’s because of a previous hair procedure (like their hair was rebonded before) and thankfully, the salon will repeat the perm procedure for free in case it doesn’t work.
And even with the “language barrier” I talked about earlier, be sure to ask them all your questions and concerns. They should understand your inquisitiveness, especially if it’s your first time to have your hair digi permed.
My experience there was nothing like my favorite Studio Fix by Alex Carbonell salon, where I know I’ll be pampered. In Tony and Jackey, there are no awesome head massages and luxurious ambiance. But at the end of the day, I think Tony and Jackey is a top choice for digi perms, which was exactly what I expected and received. Cool gizmos such as their mirror where you can watch movies and surf the net are just icing on their dependable service. I will still go to Alex Carbonell for cuts, color, and treatments but for digi perms, I think the Koreans are still giving the local salons a run for their money (although Alex now also offers soft set curls).
- Be sure to bring cash with you since all Tony and Jackey salons have a company policy of not accepting credit cards or debit cards.
- If your hair has been previously rebonded, it can still be digi permed. However, the results may depend on the time that passed since your rebond and your digi perm, as some digi perm treatments will not work as well on hair that has only been rebonded recently. Since not all rebond treatments are created equal, the answer can vary depending on the salon. Please consult your hair stylist for your particular concerns. For girls with buhaghag hair and want to rebond the top part of your hair and still have the ends digi permed, I have friends who have tried and recommend the volume rebond + digi perm treatment in Park Jun’s Beauty Lab in Glorietta, Makati.
REGRETS. The price of my perm is not something I regret. My only real regret is that I should have waited for my hair to grow longer before I finally took the perm plunge. I love how my first perm turned out but I know I would have loved it even more if my hair was longer.
Also, I was told by the stylist that I cannot tie up my hair in a ponytail until after one month (and she told me this only after everything was done!). This wouldn’t have been a concern except for the fact that we’re in the middle of the hottest summers ever and I can’t put my hair up!! So with that and given my hair length, my timing for this perm is quite a bit off.
I say, before having your hair permed for the first time, do your research (I did and yet I still ended up with a few surprises). I found this post quite informative.
Permed hair also cannot be washed 24-48 hours after leaving the salon so if you have somewhere important to go to, I would suggest to schedule your perm about a week before any major event since as you will soon learn, newly permed hair takes some getting used to.
Here’s how it looked almost a day into the perm:
It was only on the day when I first washed my hair at home that I realized that I had to battle with new “permed hair concerns” like dealing with frizzies and how to properly style my new hair. One thing which I admit that I failed to consider was that permed hair needs maintenance that’s quite a bit different from styling straight hair. Actually, after a lifelong experience with straight hair, I was a bit disoriented in the days after getting my perm in the salon—yes, that’s how I would exactly put it. I will talk about the solutions I found (and how I dealt with the disorientation) in my post- digital perm hair care guide.
LOVES. Even with my hair length and the no-ponytail rule, I still love, love, love my permed hair. It feels sexy, glamorous, and even wild. I love how my hair now has volume.
And most of all, I love how I look different. Certainly very different from my straight-haired self. And different in the sense that my permed hair looks almost different every day. I did have to “wrestle” with the curls not looking too tight and coiled but on the other hand, not loosening up the curls too much too soon that the perm will already lose effect, and finding a balance between the two.
Here’s a photo diary of my first week with permed hair:
And recently, I love how I now know how to style my perm into waves instead of the tighter curls when I first had it permed:
Do I miss my straight hair? Sometimes, yes. But even with the moments when I seem to miss it, I look forward to still having my (longer) hair re-permed six months from now. And the only indecision I have is whether I will go back to Tony and Jackey or try other Korean salons which have getting rave reviews (like Park Jun). And I guess I don’t miss having straight hair that much since I know that whatever happens, my sleek straight hair will always come back with no need for rebonding.
I have to end this post on my digital perm experience with something from my one of favorite episodes of Sex and the City. In the last episode of Season 2 entitled “Ex and the City”, Carrie Bradshaw has a revelation—that the world is made up of two types of women: the simple girls and “the Katie girls”, referring to Barbra Streisand’s character in the film The Way We Were. Carrie realizes that men usually choose the simple girls (with their straight, uncomplicated hair) over the Katie girls—who have wild, curly hair, are certainly more “difficult”, but are definitely more interesting.
And Carrie said it perfectly, when she realized that she’s a Katie girl, and that Mr. Big has chosen Natasha (the simple girl) over her: