The history of the perm

We were pondering today about perming, and when it first started and what they did to their hair. Now, all I am about to post is from wikipedia, I haven't done tons of in depth research.....but I found it interesting nonetheless!

What is a perm?

Its a method of creating a permanent wave in hair, by using chemicals to break and then reform the structure of the hair shaft. Rather confusingly, the term perm can also mean the de-curling of hair.

When did perming start?

Charles Nessler started developing an idea to chemically curl hair in 1896, and first released it to the public in 1905. His mixture was cow urine and water! He would wrap hair around metal rods which were connected to eletricity to heat. Caustic soda was applied and heated to 100 degrees. The first two times he attempted it on his wife he burnt all of her hair off!


In the 1930s middle classes women tended to get their hair set once a week, but permed every three months. It was 1938 the cold wave was developed, where finally no heat and no machines were needed. 

I do know a few modern ladies who have tried a perm.....have you had any experience with them?