Words at Play : Top 10 Words of the '80s

#4: Perm

"[Bon Jovi]'s a great looking guy. And he's got a new perm." — Spin magazine, December 1986

Consider also: Madonna's poodle look, the "bubble" hairdos of Bananarama, and Michael Jackson's glossy Jheri curls on the Thriller video.

Yet the general technique had been around a long time.

The permanent wave ("a long-lasting hair wave or straightening produced by mechanical and chemical means") was invented in the early 1900s by a German immigrant to the UK. Karl Nessler took his invention to the US in 1915.

The perm has been in and out of style since then, but perhaps never rose to greater heights than it did in the '80s.

Photo: El Caganer from Flickr

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