Bubble perms are trending: How to get Carrie Bradshaw curls if your hair is naturally straight

From Bella Hadid to EmRata and Katie Holmes, it seems that many with naturally straight hair can’t resist the nostalgic charm of the ’80s classics. In fact, Google Trends reveal a 350% surge in global searches for “bubble perm hairstyles” in the past 12 months. It appears everyone wants to channel their inner Carrie Bradshaw, bringing the favorite single ladies back to our screens.

As someone naturally sporting wavy locks, I’ll never forget the iconic scene in the finale of “Sex and the City” Season 2, where Carrie, at a bar corner nursing the universe, compares her situation to Barbara Streisand’s character, “c-c-c-Curly Katie,” reflecting on our past selves.

“Maybe some women aren’t meant to be tamed,” Carrie muses, her wild curls dancing in the wind, and a horse neighing mysteriously nearby. “Maybe they just need to run free until they find someone just as wild to run with them. I feel seen. Twenty years later, big bouncy curls are back.

Here’s all you need to know about this trend.

Why the Popularity of Bubble Perm Hairstyles?

“Bubble perm hairstyles are making a comeback because they are delightful and easy to achieve,” says celebrity hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons. Ideal for those with naturally straight, sparse, or generally lackluster hair, it’s a fun way to add flair to your style. Think of it as the bold, voluminous cousin of the classic beachy waves. Unlike the relaxed beachy waves, bubble perms are not for the faint-hearted. It’s big, bold, and elastic. With a high-glam shine, voluminous from root to tip, it’s more disco queen than surfer chic, making it the perfect party look this summer. “It’s a very bold hairstyle,” Fitzsimons says. “As people become more creative and avant-garde in their styling choices, the bubble perm is the perfect choice for creating a unique look.”

How to Achieve the Ultimate Bubble Perm Hairstyle?

It depends on your hair type and length. For shorter hair, try using roller sets; for longer lengths, opt for tongs or a slim wand. The goal is to create perfect, voluminous curls of various sizes. “Heat up your tongs, nice and hot,” advises Jonathan Eagland, Senior Stylist at John Frieda Salon. “Wrap the hair section by section around the tong, being careful not to burn yourself. You can use products that add volume to prepare the hair, but I always prefer a more natural base. After completing the entire head, run a wide-tooth comb or brush through for a more modern, tousled effect.

“To achieve a soft and charming look without overworking the hair, opt for gentle curling products rather than stiff styling products,” suggests David McNeil, Creative Communications Manager and Color Specialist at Brooks & Brooks. “Use different-sized roots (tongs or wand) in specific areas to achieve root lift and create curls of different sizes, ensuring the hair is curled from root to tip. Customize the method based on your hair type, texture, and personal preferences for a personalized result. Pair it with stylish attire and a killer attitude, and you should be pleased.

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