Your guide to the latest K-pop idol perms taking Asia by storm

BTS’ Jungkook is one of many K-pop idols rocking the latest perms, with the hairstyle a growing trend among Asian boys.
PHOTO: Twitter/Lovesince1997

From fashion to beauty, South Korea is the source of many of the latest trends for teens around the world. When it comes to hairstyles, the hottest new looks often originate on the heads of K-pop stars.

The current permed hair trend among young people in Hong Kong and China is a direct reflection of the popularity of South Korea’s top boy bands.

Chahong Room, a popular hair salon chain in South Korea, made choosing perms easy for young men by coming up with a perm catalogue. The names for the perms are simple and romantic, such as Halo Perm and Harry Perm, while the catalogue showcases the various styles with photos.

The salon’s perming methods have spread overseas as well, with many Korean-style salons using the names created by Chahong Room for the services they offer.

Here’s a round-up of some of the styles favoured by young permed boys in Asia and around the world.

1. The Illy Perm

PHOTO: Chahong Room

Often a shade of light to medium brown, these messy curls remind one of a toy poodle. The soft vibes and warmth it radiates make it a popular choice for those who are fond of playing it safe.

It suits clean-cut fashion including smart glasses and button downs, and is ideal for those that still need to make it to the office or school. Hair is often kept short so as to only form one or two rounds of curls, to prevent it from looking too unkempt.

NCT’s Jaehyun and Johnny have both sported the look, rocking it in a honey gold shade.

NCT’s Johnny with his illy perm.
PHOTO: Twitter/NCTsmtown_127

This hairdo undoubtedly needs to be paired with a dark wash, to fully give off the intended effect. For more colour and depth, some experiment with a purple or deep blue tint.

2. The Timothy Perm

PHOTO: Chahong Room

This perm is meant for hair that is slightly longer, preferably with longer bangs as well, as the curls are small and need to be waved out a few times. K-pop idols often pair it with dark, smudged eyeshadow for a sultrier vibe.

Seventeen’s Wonwoo rocking his Timothy perm..
PHOTO: Twitter/960717_salt

Seventeen’s Wonwoo made waves with his permed hair paired with a low-cut suit.

3. The Harry Perm

PHOTO: Chahong Room

Something for those who prefer a look that’s easier to pull off – if you think you’ve got the face for it, that is. These are looser waves that look more tousled than actually curled, almost like natural curls.

PHOTO: Twitter/Parkjihoon_MY

Running a little closer to the quintessential K-pop look, if you think you’ve got pretty boy looks, this hairdo is a no-brainer for you. Former Wanna One’s Park Ji-hoon is a perfect example.

4. The Flying Perm

PHOTO: Twitter/jeonggukupdates

The 5:5 parting that was popularised last year received a curled upgrade this year. Perhaps more suited for a mature look, the flying perm uses light waves to give it more body and texture. The hair is kept long and parted exactly in the centre, highlighting features such as strong eyebrows and cheekbones.

BTS’s Jungkook sent fans crazy with his transformation from an adorable, fresh-faced idol to a sultry, charismatic singer with just a change in his hairstyle.

5. The Halo Perm

PHOTO: Chahong Room

While we’ve yet to see any idols rock this look – given that it is more experimental and calls for hair almost to the shoulder – it is worth a mention as it has been seen on street-style fanatics.

The perm almost looks like a lion’s mane, poufing out slightly around the face. The bangs are curled away from the forehead, framing the cheekbones nicely.

6. Instant Noodle Hair / Front Frizz

Finally, for something a little more out of the box, some idols have taken to damaging their hair beyond repair to get a certain look. This is what fans have dubbed “ramyun hair”, or instant noodle hair. Although these idols were mocked at first, ramyun hair caught on pretty quick.

Perhaps more wearable in a different colour, the original look called for a shocking blonde. NCT’s Mark Lee and Got7’s Mark Tuan both sported the extreme curls early in their debut years.

NCT’s Mark Lee with frizzed out “instant noodle” locks.
PHOTO: SM Entertainment

If you prefer not to damage your whole head but would like to dip your toes into this look, the “front frizz” was popular for a while. While it may not be flattering on everyone, K-pop idols easily pull it off.

The top hair is curled to the point where it looks dry and frizzy. To create the look, hairdressers often wrap very little hair around the perm rod. Although this ends up damaging the hair more, the damage is essential for this look. Very little product is applied to it, such that it maintains its light pouf.

The sides of the hair are then given the straightening treatment or simply shaved down, to help balance the look. Exo’s Chen rocked it for a brief period of time.

There are many types of permed hair to suit varying tastes, given that the look has evolved plenty over the years. While the down perm was very popular just last year, whole-head perms are now in. From tight “ahjumma ” hair (wildly permed hair that middle-aged aunties often sport) to the looser waves that give the hair slight volume, there’s something for every K-pop fan out there.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.