Let me remind you that my mother has been the only one to cut my hair since I can remember and I had never had my hair treated, coloured or cut by a hair stylist previous to this perm. The picture below is my natural hair before the perm.
It was December 23, 2010 if I recall correctly, and the time had finally come. I called a couple of salons in my local area (one of which refused to perm hair because it was so damaging) a week or two before and decided with one that had received good reviews.
I walked into the salon with my hair blow dried (maybe not the best choice in hindsight) and sat down to talk with the hair stylist. She walked me through all the steps, and before you knew it I had a head full of curlers. The curlers she chose were quite small but it took over an hour to curl my whole head. I remember her saying "Now don't tell me you don't want the perm after I've spent all this time putting all the curlers in!" in a joking tone. I briefly second guessed myself and then remembered I would never know unless I tried.
She coated my hair with a chemical that stripped it of it's natural form and followed that with a second chemical that would set the perm. She ended up having to use two bottles of the second chemical since I had so much hair. I learnt later that this was much more expensive. It burned a little around my hairline where the chemicals touched my skin but the smell was the worst part. I believe they left my hair saturated like this for a good 20 - 25 minutes before rinsing.
When I saw it wet, it looked nice and curled - a lot more than my regular texture but still nice. When she dried it the volume seemed to grow exponentially. I couldn't decide if I liked it or not in the salon and I ended up having to call my Dad to pay since my bank account was JUST short of the total.
This is a picture taken the day after. I look back now and laugh about how crazy it looked but the days following the perm were a little emotional including many feelings of regret and frustration. Regardless, I knew how expensive it was and I made every effort to make the most of it.
I quickly realized how much damage had been done when my hair failed to become naturally oily. In a way this was nice, but it was still unsettling. Although the texture was curly, my hair also felt very dry - almost fried. A deep conditioning treatment would have been a good idea... And now I understand why the other salon refused to do perms... Hah.
Almost two years later now, I have about 3/4" left of the perm. It was so nice to see my roots grow in and see the perm relax. I think if I were to change anything about the perm, I would have asked for bigger curlers and to set it for only 10-15 minutes instead of 20-25. My natural hair curls VERY well on it's own, and I know the hair stylist didn't know much about my hair type or how well it would take.
The moral of the story I suppose, is if you asked me today if I would like another perm, the first words you'd hear out of my mouth would definitely be "NO thank you!" :P