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David Creel: Modern curls the old-fashioned way


David Creel



I remember my mama''s weekly visits to the beauty salon downtown. If I close my eyes just a bit, I can still remember how hot it was sitting on the navy blue seats of that Oldsmobile in the summer months, as I waited for a heavily altered, more "poufy" version of my mama to exit Shirley''s Beauty Box.  


On rare occasions when Mama was scheduled for a permanent wave, I was invited inside to sit on an upside-down Coca-Cola crate near a buzzing hood dryer flanked by several grandmas nodding off. I reckon the whole entire county and as far as the eye could see went the way of the tight, curly permanent wave during the early ''80s. Mama favored it because it only required a weekly shampoo, a dollop of mousse and a giant plastic pick. I''m so glad those unflattering, one-size-fits-all curls went out of fashion!  


Nobody could work a spiral perm better than Kim Freeman in the ninth grade, but then again she was well ahead of most on all things trendy. I remember learning the techniques of the spiral perm during my year in beauty school. Believe me, it was not my favorite. Tiny pieces of hair were rolled sideways onto hundreds of long plastic perm rollers awaiting the perm solution which was poured into spray bottles and misted underneath, across and over each spiral wannabe strand of hair. It took the large part of a day to roll it up and the other part of the day to unroll it and scrunch it to perfection. The things women did for vanity.  


Things have not changed completely, because that same permanent wave is still around, but in a more modern way, thank goodness! In the salon nowadays, I seldom smell the pungent odor of permanent wave solution, but every now and again I will pull out the old perm rods and wave someone.  


The introduction of the flat iron and the fascination with sleek, straight hair rendered the curly permanent waves outdated, just plain useless to so many. Though not always fun to do, I regard the perm as one of the world''s greatest inventions. When a damsel in distress has no hope for her flat, lifeless hair, I still go back to the classic solution, yes, sometimes even permanent wave solution. It''s the surefire best way to curl up to a new, fuller do and wave goodbye to thin hair. 


So, when I conjure up memories of the past, I think of Mama with her kinky curly perm with travel pick, Barbra Streisand before the sleek bob and, yes, even you, if the perm rod fits. 


Former Columbus resident David Creel owns Beautiful with David Salon in Jackson and is a national makeup artist for Estee Lauder. E-mail him at [email protected]


Former Columbus resident David Creel owns Beautiful With David salon in Jackson and has 20 years experience in the beauty industry. Contact him at [email protected]


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