Tiger Perm Tricks

Tiger Perm Tricks

Lee Hunter, Ph. D.

Lee Hunter, Ph.D.

The ProDesign Tiger Controlled Effects Perms have become very popular due to the fact that they offer the best of all worlds: True-To-Rod curls without damage or reversion. In spite of this, I have come to accept the fact that not every stylist is going to use the ProDesign Tiger Controlled Effects Perms for every perm that they do! The most common reason that I hear is the higher cost of the Tiger Controlled Effects Perms. This is especially a factor in salons with clients who are on a budget that limits the price charged for the service in the salon. Now the question that I am asked is, can some of the same techniques and support products that we teach for using the Tiger Controlled Effects Perms be used with other, less expensive perms? The answer is yes! Here are some tips for improving your results with “other, less expensive” perms:
First of all, let me say that I am assuming that the majority of competitive perms that are being used are low pH perms rather than ATG (Ammonium thioglycolate) with alkaline pH.

Tip #1 – Clean Hair Thoroughly

No matter what perm is used, all hair must be cleaned thoroughly with removal of minerals from the hair. The absolute best way to do this is by shampooing with ProDesign Cleanse Shampoo. After applying the shampoo and working it into the hair, place a cap on the head and have the client sit under a dryer for five minutes. For more resistant mineral removal, process for ten to fifteen minutes.

Tip #2 – Low and High Porosity Hair

One of the biggest challenges with perming is that hair has multiple porosity along the length with the ends having the least integrity. That makes it difficult for any perm to process evenly with any given temperature or timing. The solution to this is to treat the hair with a maximum Tiger Reconstructor Treatment prior to perming. This treatment involves drying the Tiger Reconstructor into the hair with heat; then continuing to heat the hair in order to reconstruct and “fill” the more porous ends of the hair. This maximum treatment can be done by the client at home prior to coming into the salon to save money if desired. In the case of extra-dry hair from bleaching and highlighting, this maximum treatment can include some Tiger Moisture Masque applied on top of the Tiger Reconstructor prior to drying into the hair. The result of this pre-treatment is that the hair becomes much more uniform in porosity and integrity, which gives a much more reliable perm result along the entire length of the hair. This treatment will also give a better true-to-rod curl with less reversion.

Tip #3 – Tiger Reconstructor Wrap

Wrap the perm with Tiger Reconstructor. In this way, the more porous ends will absorb more of the Tiger Reconstructor which will slow down the perm processing in the ends, once again giving a more uniform processing along the length of the hair.

Tip #4 – Test Curl

Here is a huge tip that I learned from Jheri Redding over thirty years ago. (Jheri Redding was Cofounder of Redken with Paula Kent Meehan in 1960; and Founder of Jhirmack in 1971). When the test curl is ready and it’s time to rinse, do not water-rinse immediately! If you rinse at this time, the hair will close down completely right away and trap the residual chemicals in the hair, making it impossible to rinse them out, no matter how long you rinse with hot water! Instead of rinsing immediately, blot the rods with very absorbant paper towels to remove as much of the residual chemicals as possible before rinsing with water. In this way, with less of the residual thio chemicals left in the hair, there will be less reversion of the curl following the perm. There will also be less of that funky odor! You see, reversion and funky odor are caused by those residual thio chemicals left in the hair! Unfortunately, this tip is one that does not work nearly as well with the low-pH perms as it does with Tiger Controlled Effects Perms since the hair is less “open” for removing the residual thio chemicals with the lower pH compared to the alkaline Tiger Controlled Effects Perms that have the hair much more “open”. Actually, the only reason that this trick even works at all with low-pH perms is that they become alkaline perms as they process on the hair and the hair “opens up” to allow the large GMTG thio molecules to penetrate into the cortex. In other words, the low-pH perm reaction with the hair causes the perm solution and hair to increase in pH to well over pH 7.0. (It is ironic that low-pH and “acid” perms actually become alkaline perms on the hair!)
Also, in the case of the Tiger Controlled Effects Perms, there is another advantage compared to other perms. Tiger Controlled Effects Perms have a “solubilizer” for dissolving the residual thio chemicals that other perms do not have for easy removal with towel blotting. In the case of the Tiger Controlled Effects Perms, essentially all of the residual thio chemicals are removed by the towel blotting prior to rinsing resulting in no reversion and no residual funky odor on the hair at all!

Tip #5 – Tiger Reconstructor Spray

After rinsing and towel-blotting the rods, just prior to applying the neutralizer, lightly spray on some Tiger Reconstructor. This puts the Tiger Catalyst in the hair to help prevent damage from the hydrogen peroxide neutralizer. If you want to minimize damage from the hydrogen peroxide neutralizer even more, spray on extra Tiger Reconstructor and completely dry the hair prior to neutralization. In this way the perm-softened keratin protein receives a maximum Tiger Reconstructor Treatment that re-builds covalent bonds; and you partially air-neutralize the hair.

The absolute optimum treatment to avoid any damage or exposure to hydrogen peroxide neutralizer at all is to continue to air-neutralize the hair for a half hour under the heated drier to completely re-bond the disulfide bonds without using the neutralizer at all!
All of this extra time spent air-neutralizing the perm does not need to add to the cost of the service to your budget-minded client. You can work in a hair cut while the perm is air-neutralizing under the dryer.

Tip #6 – At Home Care

Now here is the biggest tip of all for not only taking the best care of your client’s hair, but giving her every reason to keep coming back to you for her hair cuts and color and other hair service needs! Be sure that your client learns how to use the Tiger Reconstructor and Tiger Moisture Masque on a regular basis at home! In doing so, she will continue to have hair in wonderful condition; and maximum protection for her hair color. Even budget-minded clients understand the value of insurance that the Tiger Products give considering the financial investment in her perm and color. Your client will keep coming back to you not only for her cuts and color, but to purchase the Tiger Products that are not available anywhere other than in fine salons! Now, you can bank on that!


In conclusion, even low-cost competitive permanent waves can be made much better using the ProDesign Tiger technique tricks; and the Tiger Products.

I would like to add a couple of comments regarding the advantages that ProDesign Tiger Perms offer.

  1. Sometimes, stylists do not consider “true-to-rod” to be a big deal. They simply down-size the rods and wrap with tension and process with heat to compensate. Right? Well, besides the fact that the curls do not last as long due to reversion, what about when you want to wrap shorter hair with larger rods where it is essentially impossible to wrap with tension? Here is where the true-to-rod performance of the Tiger Controlled Effects Perms shines through! With the Tiger CE Perms, you never wrap with tension and you get true-to-rod curls even on teal, black and brown rods!
  2. Besides the price issue, many stylists use other perms due to the fact that Tiger Controlled Effects is an alkaline perm and they are concerned about hair integrity. This concern is very understandable based on many years of experience in the past with alkaline perms that were better true-to-rod perms, but at the same time much more damaging to the hair. But now, Tiger CE perms have the best of both worlds. Due to the Tiger Catalyst contained in the Tiger CE perms, they are actually milder to the hair than any other perm, while being true-to-rod at the same time!

Lee Hunter, Ph. D.