Old way: Unless you're blessed with the ideal amount of tousle, a perm can be your easiest (though not healthiest) answer. A stylist will put your ... more
Old way: Unless you're blessed with the ideal amount of tousle, a perm can be your easiest (though not healthiest) answer. A stylist will put your hair in big curlers, then apply a smelly solution containing ammonium thioglycolate (aka thio) to break down the natural structure of your hair. Besides leaving strands dry and prone to breakage, the chemical has been linked to allergic reactions such as eczema, explains Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group.
Eco way: To create lasting waves with fewer scary chemicals, chat with your stylist about a thio-free perm, says Sam Brocato, co-owner of the Sam Brocato Salon in New York City. We like Pravana Beach Wave; it uses cysteamine, an amino acid derivative, instead of thio to build texture that can last three months. It fades over time, so, unlike conventional perms, there are no bizarro ridges. Find a salon at Pravana.com.
Whether you want super-sleek strands, pretty playful waves or ultrarich color, the latest treatments help you make peace with your style without sacrifice-or harmful chemicals.