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The Latest at TRI

New Review of Perm Technology from Trefor Evans

This month sees the publication of a new review of permanent waving and perm chemistry from Dr Trefor Evans (Institute Fellow, Director of Research) in the Journal of Cosmetic Science (

As Dame Edna will agree, although traditional perm chemistry (like her!) has been around for over 70 years, it still arguably remains our best means of permanently altering the shape of hair. The hullabaloo created by the so-called Brazilian keratin treatments has led to resurgence in research activities in this area—and so an overview of the incumbent technology would seem pertinent. This review highlights underlying chemistry responsible for the success of traditional thioglycolate solutions but makes the case that our knowledge gap lies with the kinetics of the process ( Dr Evans argues that investigating the kinetics of the perm process will provide a way of understanding the inter-subject variability in the effectiveness of perm treatments, and open the way to giving more reproducible results for consumers (and Dame Edna).

As in many areas of well-established science, scratch just below the surface and you find out that there still is lots we don’t know, and many opportunities to learn and to improve. Dr Evans hopes that his review will spark further interest in perm chemistry and kinetics.

For more information about TRI hair research visit

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