Getting a digital perm in Seoul

I took a leap of faith and booked an appointment to get a digital perm. My hair has been getting thin lately, maybe from weight loss this summer, and I have been nervous about getting a perm lest all my damn hair fall out. At the same time, something about turning 40 turned my hair into a frizzy bird’s nest. (I had such straight hair as a kid. This whole aging thing, gah. The wrinkles and grey hair I expected, but the wrinkles on my kneecaps and the frizzle, pft.)

Diane recommended her gal to me for a Brazilian Blowout, but I chickened out to think of the formaldehyde and the price. In any case, we are in Seoul, home of the digital perm, which is nigh $300 back in the States.

I went to Soonshiki in Hapjeong right across the street from our Airbnb. My guy Soo was probably not even 30 years old, but I liked him. He was sleeved with tattoos and straightforward and kept asking if my highlights were bleach or just color, because he would not perm my hair if I had bleached it. How would I know? I ask Alex to color my hair twice a year and go after as many of those pesky greys as he can, but I didn’t know if the color was bleach or not. Anyway, Soo washed my hair and dried it and determined it wasn’t bleached, so we could continue.

The thing about digital perms is they are heat-activated instead of cold-activated, which means something like the curl is apparent when the hair is dry vs. a cold perm, where the curl pops when the hair is wet. This is the contraption they hooked my head up to:


I opted for the “c-curl” because I do not like pouffy hair, nor did I want stick-straight hair; what I wanted was to get rid of my frizzy-ass hair. The process is something like:

  • wash hair
  • apply perm solution throughout hair
  • set lower half of hair in curlers
  • after solutions sets, rinse and shampoo
  • then take a flat iron to the hair to pull out the curls

Here is the after. I lurvs it. I cannot wait to get ready in the morning and not have to spend time on my hair. OK, that’s a lie. I never spend any time on my hair. I cannot wait to get ready in the morning and have my hair look like I spent time on it lol.

This is supposed to last for six months. Yay, for ditching the frizzy hair!

4 thoughts on “Getting a digital perm in Seoul

  1. Victoriaj says:

    Love the c curl! I believe now the c curl has gone ; due to hair growth.

    May i ask how much do you pay for the c curl in Soonsooki ?

    • susanrene says:

      Hi, V. I believe I paid 220,000W more or less because I had long hair. Be sure to ask for a foreigner discount. It was worth it. Good luck.

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