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The boy perm is a thing: How this '80s trend is making a comeback... with guys

In case you're wondering: They still smell terrible.
Courtesy Jeanette Isley
/ Source: TODAY

Perms, the trend responsible for some of the most cringeworthy ‘dos of the ‘80s, are making a return — with guys.

Search #boyperm on TikTok and you’ll discover thousands of young men sitting in salons wearing rollers and plastic caps. Gabriel Feliciano, a 22-year-old college student in Seattle, documented the entire process in a clip that has more than a million views and counting.

"I went to a frat party not so long ago and so many people had the exact same perm as me,” Feliciano told TODAY Parents. He noted that the look appeals to "everyone from jocks to the theater kids."

Gabriel Feliciano shows of his perms on TikTok.
Gabriel Feliciano shows of his perms on TikTok. Gabriel Feliciano

Ivan Isley, 15, started rocking a perm last year during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“It’s the cool thing to do,” the Oregon high school sophomore explained. “Pretty much everyone on my basketball team has a perm right now.”

Ivan’s brothers, Cooper, 9, and Camren, 5, are also sporting curly mops. Their mom, Jeannette Isley, estimates that she’s permed their hair six times in the last year.

“They love it,” Jeannette said, adding that all three boys get compliments wherever they go.

Perms are a family affair for the Isley brothers.
Perms are a family affair for the Isley brothers. Courtesy Jeanette Isley

Hadyn Rogoff, a 14-year-old in Philadelphia who follows fashion, has been getting perms since 2019. At the moment, he’s sporting the on-trend permed mullet.

Hadyn’s mom, Kara Rogoff, said her son is always googling styles and looking at pictures online. Then he brings his ideas to his stylist, Cass Pinder, at the Prive Salon in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

According to Pinder, perms are “100% socially acceptable.”

Hadyn Rogoff.
Hadyn Rogoff.Courtesy Cass Pinder

“Boys are very into their style. I always joke that my teenage boys are more picky than my teenage girls,” she said.

While the permed mullet is having a moment, Pinder still receives lots of requests for curly tops and short sides. She said many of her clients are athletes, like Hadyn, who plays lacrosse at school.

“They take off their helmet and still have a style even if they’re sweaty,” she explained. "Nothing is truly wash-n-go — but a boy perm is very low-maintenance."

In Minnesota, friends Toni Nguyen, 16, and Tristan Hengtgen, also 16, are enjoying their freshly permed mullets.

As their stylist Shauna Vaske told TODAY Parents, "They couldn't stop smiling at their reflections."

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