Perm with Tongs: Chemical-free Hairstyle

Authors: China Daily


Perm with tongs used to be popular in China before it was replaced by modern technology.
Wang Weimei, 72, has kept the tradition of giving perm look to hair with tongs going for decades. Perm with tongs used to be popular in China before it was replaced by modern technology in 1980s.
According to Wang, who started learning the skill at the age of 17 along with his elder brother. The tong method is not preferred by modern customers and people capable of the skill are rare.
Wang and his brother each ran a barbershop since the 80s. His brother died in 2013, leaving Wang's the only one in the town. Since not many people use tongs these days and special tongs are rarely on sale, Wang worries that the skill may completely die.

Before using it on a customer's hair, Wang heats duck bill-shaped tongs in oven until they are red, then cools them in water. After that, Wang curls the hair with tongs in one hand and comb in the other, with white smoke rising from the hair and a burnt smell.
During Wang's decades of work, he has never burnt any guest's ear or scalp. The key to tongs perm is the mastery of temperature and coordination of both hands, Wang said. The only downside is the burnt smell, which some find unbearable.

Tongs perm is harmless as no chemicals are involved, said an old customer of Wang. And the hairstyle can remain the same for as long as three months.
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