To say that curls ever went “out” of style wouldn’t be giving credit to the likes of Megan Thee Stallion and Yara Shahidi who rock them often and effortlessly, but we haven’t seen the total ubiquity of tight ringlets since the 1980s. During the decade, even those with pin-straight hair were getting salon produced-spirals via perms to give their hair maximum volume. Then, the ’90s came and “the Rachel” cut and glossy blowout became the hot hair styles of the moment. People asked for perms less and less at the hair salon and they were basically unheard of throughout the 2000s and 2010s. Perhaps, until right now.
In February, Emily Ratajkowski was spotted out in New York City with bouncy curls. We then saw Bella Hadid post a fresh look featuring a side part and ’80s-esque curls in March, followed by Irina Shayk sporting a head of voluminous ringlets in April. When Maya Jama stepped out in London with similar glam rock curls in May, we couldn’t help but notice a (curl) pattern. All four women usual wear their long hair straight or slightly waved, so does this trending look mean we could be ushering in the return of the perm?
Harry Josh, the hairstylist behind Shayk’s big hair moment, says the throwback look was inspired by her outfit for that evening— a Vivienne Westwood dress. “The hair was solely inspired by Vivienne Westwood runway shows from the ’90s and it was a direct homage to her Fall ’94 collection,” he says.
To create the look, Josh says he prepped the hair with Kerasilk Repairing Shampoo and Conditioner “to restore the natural balance of smoothness and strength for healthy-looking, soft and supple hair,” prior to heavy heat styling. Then, Josh slicked Shayk’s hair back into a tight updo, before he began creating the corkscrew curls with the Harry Josh Pro Tools 3-in-1 Ceramic Marcel 1-Inch Curling Iron. A clip-less curling wand is required to get the look of the tight and dense springy curls. He finished off the style with Kerasilk Multi-Purpose Hair Spray, “to create a long-lasting touchable hold for the curls that would last throughout the night,” says Josh. A texture far preferred to the crunchy, sticky hairspray of the past.
While Josh says the ’80s-era perm treatment is not back (yet), he says he has recently been observing more people embracing either their natural curls or faking them with hair styles featuring tighter curls. For those with natural spirals, this means the beauty trend cycle is once again catching up to you and the power of big, bouncy curls. For those with straight or wavy hair, this may mean digging out your smallest curling iron and heating it up. Your faux-perm alter ego awaits.