Home Australia K-perm boom! The ’90s look once loved by Julia Roberts and Kylie Minogue is set to make a comeback, as TikTok stars and Korean idols make curls cool again.

K-perm boom! The ’90s look once loved by Julia Roberts and Kylie Minogue is set to make a comeback, as TikTok stars and Korean idols make curls cool again.

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New waves! K-Pop star Danielle Marsh, 18, who is part of the band NewJeans, pictured sporting a head full of tight curls; The perm has become popular in Korean and Japanese styles, and it is also making a comeback in Europe and the United States.

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The perm, long derided as one of fashion’s most embarrassing hairstyles, is making a surprise comeback.

The look, which is short for “permanent wave,” has been all but dead and buried in the style stakes since long before the millennium but, as with every trend you can imagine, it’s back in fashion once again, thanks to a series of TikTokers and K-Pop stars.

Who is leading the wave(s) this time? Korean-Australian teen star Danielle Marsh, who is part of the K-Pop band NewJeans, rocked a full set of tight curls last year, and more recently American model Bella Hadid has been seen wearing her hair in relaxed waves.

Hollywood star Katie Holmes has also been sporting her famous brunette tresses in softly tousled curls, most recently at New York Fashion Week.

Let’s go back to the ’90s and a perm, achieved through a set of hot rods, a lot of patience and some pretty harsh chemicals, was the most desired look.

New waves! K-Pop star Danielle Marsh, 18, who is part of the band NewJeans, pictured sporting a head full of tight curls; The perm has become popular in Korean and Japanese styles, and it is also making a comeback in Europe and the United States.

New waves! K-Pop star Danielle Marsh, 18, who is part of the band NewJeans, pictured sporting a head full of tight curls; The perm has become popular in Korean and Japanese styles, and it is also making a comeback in Europe and the United States.

Teenage girls wanted long curls in copper tones à la Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, or girl-next-door vibes thanks to Kylie’s breakout role as mechanic Charlene in Neighbors.

And the men? The memory of footballers with shaggy perms in the Eighties is very important to many: who could forget Kevin Keegan’s famous tight curls when he was at the peak of his career on the field?

The rebranding has begun, though, through the likes of Timothee Chalamet (and his signature loose brown curls) and Game of Thrones star Kit Harrington.

And even footballers are rediscovering curls, although this time with a neater, shaggy top with shaved sides.

TikTok is flooded with Gen Zers chatting about how to get the latest look, including using diffuser extensions in hair dryers and texturizing products to define and enhance curls.

Supermodel Bella Hadid has been wearing her brunette locks in tousled curls in recent months.

Supermodel Bella Hadid has been wearing her brunette locks in tousled curls in recent months.

Supermodel Bella Hadid has been wearing her brunette locks in tousled curls in recent months.

A young Kylie Minogue, photographed with voluminous hair during her groundbreaking role in Neighbors

A young Kylie Minogue, photographed with voluminous hair during her groundbreaking role in Neighbors

Julia Roberts Made Millions of '90s Teens Want Long, Brown Curls

Julia Roberts Made Millions of '90s Teens Want Long, Brown Curls

A young Kylie Minogue, photographed with voluminous hair during her groundbreaking role in Neighbors. Right: Julia Roberts made millions of ’90s teens want long, brunette curls

Tokyo-based hairstylist Hiroumi shares a shaggy, bleached blonde look; Perming is becoming very popular in Southeast Asian countries, including Japan and Korea.

Tokyo-based hairstylist Hiroumi shares a shaggy, bleached blonde look; Perming is becoming very popular in Southeast Asian countries, including Japan and Korea.

Tokyo-based hairstylist Hiroumi shares a shaggy, bleached blonde look; Perming is becoming very popular in Southeast Asian countries, including Japan and Korea.

And there are also plenty of clips of people sitting in salons, sporting neat rows of perm bars or lathered up with perm lotion.

While some have been blessed with naturally falling curls, the vast majority of us will have to resort to chemicals to achieve curls in 2024.

Celebrity hairstylist Tom Smith previously told the Mail that a DIY perm at home can lead to a disaster and urged anyone considering taking the plunge to turn to an expert.

Actress Katie Holmes arrives at the Michael Kors show in New York earlier this month; Recently, the Hollywood star has frequently worn her long, straight hair in softer curls.

Actress Katie Holmes arrives at the Michael Kors show in New York earlier this month; Recently, the Hollywood star has frequently worn her long, straight hair in softer curls.

Actress Katie Holmes arrives at the Michael Kors show in New York earlier this month; Recently, the Hollywood star has frequently worn her long, straight hair in softer curls.

“A perm uses a chemical ingredient that breaks down the molecular structure of the hair, followed by a second step that rebonds it,” she explained.

‘There is a difference of a few minutes between a perm and what is known as “rubbly hair that breaks” (damaged or very springy hair), so it is best to leave this to the professionals.

‘If you want to experiment and see if a perm is the right option for you, there are several styling tools you can purchase.

“I absolutely recommend going this route before committing to a perm.”

Do you like curls? types of perm

Traditional perm: Hot Rods rolled horizontally along the head to create a uniform airy curl. Best for the entire body or as a base for further styling. A traditional perm has a more even, regular curl pattern instead of loose waves. They will always have an ‘s’ curl pattern and can range from very tight to medium and will only loosen after falling out a little.

Digital perm: This is actually the exact same process as a traditional perm. The name just evolved because hot rods are regulated with a digital display. The trend of getting a “digital” perm emerged from Japan, where it is the most popular hair trend.

Spiral Perm: The perm rods are wound vertically around the head with the curl pattern forming a coil. This is a less common type of perm, but offers a more coil-like definition that is best described as tight, twisted, and stretchy. I suggest you don’t get this perm unless your hair is shoulder length or even longer. It’s a fantastic way to add volume to your hair. This perm style was very popular in the late 80’s and early 90’s, everyone wanted this look!

Body Wave Perm: Perfect for people who have naturally straight hair and cannot easily hold curls with a styling tool. A body wave perm will create beautiful loose, relaxed waves with volume. Sometimes the perm can only last three months and you need to return to the salon.

Multi-texture perm: Rods and curlers of different sizes are used in the hair to create a combination of curls. By doing so, this technique will achieve a very natural final look, with loose and tight curls. Your hair should preferably be of medium to long length to achieve the best results.

Permanent olaplex: All perms should now incorporate Olaplex into their process due to the bond rebuilding qualities that dramatically improve the quality and longevity of the perm.

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