Home > Composition Book > [October, 1989] Big Hair…Too Much to Ask For?

[October, 1989] Big Hair…Too Much to Ask For?


Dear Journal,

I was supposed to get a perm today but I’m not! Because some of the Beauty Salonists said I was to young and it was to dangerous and my dad didn’t want me to so I’m not getting it.

He was even willing to pay me but I don’t need his stupid money!

Now my mom is going to the salon (for a trim) and then we will stop by Kings Highway for me to get some tapes. (my Idea.)

Maybe that will cheer me up. I DOUBT IT.

Patrick_Nagel_big hair

In the 1980's no salon was complete without a Nagel poster

It’s been said before, but it bears repeating: the 1980’s were all about big hair. Being burdened with pin straight hair as a young girl, I did everything I could to get extra volume: crimping, curling, abusing mousse and hairspray, you name it.

My mother got regular perms and I was quite envious of the way her hair puffed out at the sides. When I look at photos from back then, I can now laugh at the pyramid-like shape the chin-length curls gave her head. But at the time I was desperate for a permanent solution to my flat hair dilemma (sorry, bad puns are one of my guilty pleasures).

Obtaining permission from Mom and Dad to get a perm took hours of pleading and coercing. When they finally said yes and I made it to the salon it was utterly heartbreaking to be told that the strong chemicals in the curling agents might hurt my young head of hair. I was furious and beyond disappointed. Stupid beauty salonists!

Over the course of the last ten years, my hair has mysteriously developed a natural wave. This is something that would have thrilled me as a little girl, but instead of embracing my hair’s new texture, these days I prefer to wear it straight and frequently use a flat iron to get it that way. Maybe it’s human nature to fight against what you were born with. Or maybe it’s just me.

  1. Liz
    November 6, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    People always want what they haven’t got. 😉 Though of course it doesn’t help/hurt that the centuries-old wish for curls died out in the early 90s! Straight hair has been de rigeur since then…and in my case, I’m not willing to make the kind of lifestyle change (or financial commitment) I’d need to have it! Now that I’ve moved to one of the drizzliest places on earth, I’ll probably need to invest in even more anti-frizz products though. 🙂

    • damiella
      November 6, 2009 at 4:47 pm

      Styles come and go in cycles, so I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before your curls are at the very height of fashion. And yes, I remember many frizzy days in the UK. Moroccan oil has been the best product I’ve discovered for battling dry and frizzy hair. It’s pricey but a little goes a long way (I’ve had a single bottle last for over a year now).

  2. November 6, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    I had a perm in 1989. My mom and her hairstylist friend gave me one at home. I guess they didn’t know it’d be bad for me.

    What’s weird is my hair was stick straight then, but now it’s super curly. I used to straighten it, but I’ve just given up on it. I’m too lazy.

    • damiella
      November 7, 2009 at 10:48 pm

      It is weird how hair texture can change like that over time.

      I was at the salon today and my stylist told me that the place still has a couple of clients getting perms, that they’ve been wearing their hair the same way for 15 years. I wonder if perms will ever make a full-on comeback…

  1. March 30, 2010 at 11:16 am

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