Woman with permed hair in garden
Hair Styling | Perm Hairstyles

Permed Hair: Get Your Own Perm Hairstyle

Permed hair might make you think of bygone eras and some debatable fashion choices, but the perm look is back in fashion with a new and modern twist! With big volume, amazing texture, and some truly head-turning looks, you can say goodbye to frizzy locks and hello to georgeous permed curls. Read on for tips on how to perm hair, different per styles, and aftercare for permed hair.


The effect of perming hair

Woman with permed hair outside in summer
© EyeEm

Permed hair suits many face shapes.

Even with today’s range of products, some chemical treatment may be needed to create permed hair. To create kinked curls, certain protein bonds in your hair must be broken before being fixed in a new wavy shape. However, a lighter version of the style is known by hair stylists as permanent hair waves. This creates a less-defined curl pattern and requires less exposure to perming chemicals.


If you’ve decided to get a hair perm, it is essential that you treat your hair gently and with plenty of care before, during, and after the treatment. Luckily, there are various care products available to help. These products protect each individual strand of hair with substances like keratin and collagen. Silk proteins in perm lotions give your hair a supple texture, while Aloe Vera provides moisture, and amino acids help retain the hair’s vitality and elasticity.

A variety of perm hairstyles

Perms can create different styles, from tight afro curls to beach waves. Paired with the right products, the strong effect they create can help tame even the most obstinate cowlicks. If you’re wondering how to perm hair: chemicals are used to change the hair’s texture, either creating waves or curls. Usually, a stylist will wrap your hair in rods before putting perm lotion on to set the curl. After letting the lotion sit for a while, it’s rinsed out, then the hair is dried as much as possible, and a neutralizer is used to halt the perming process.


When it comes to getting a perm for long hair however, there are limits to just how effective the perm can be past a certain length, as the weight of the hair starts to counter the shape of the curls. Dependent on the size of the perm rods and application technique, a perm can create more volume at the roots or create curls all through your hair. As a general rule, the larger the perm rods are, the larger the waves will be. Large permanent hair waves also tend to lose their shape faster than small curls.


Hair must be rolled up with quite a bit of tension in order to permanently reshape it. This limits the size of effective perm rods. Regular round perm rods have diameters between 0.1 and 0.8 inches. Other perm rod choices are spiral rods for corkscrew curls, or tapered rods in the hair for permanent waves that are more natural-looking. Always book a consultation with your stylist to discuss which perm hairstyle is best suited to you and how best to achieve the look.  


Aftercare for permed hair

Once you’ve got your hair permed, it is essential to care for it properly afterwards. Even though today's perms are gentler than ever, freshly-permed hair needs special attention and treatment. Specially formulated shampoo and rinses for permed hair are designed to restore stressed or curly hair to a smooth texture. They contain essential plant oils and the building blocks of hair in liquid form, which are especially effective after a perm. If you follow the appropriate care program, your perm could last up to six months!


Leave-in conditioners and hair treatments are especially effective and necessary for permed hair. Using a mask or deep conditioning formula once a week should be routine after a perm. Consider using an anti-damage mask after shampoo and conditioning, leaving it in for up to 15 minutes with a warm towel wrapped around your head to ensure your hair can absorb as many of the nutrients as possible. Always follow by rinsing with cool water, as this will help close the cuticle and lock in the benefits of the nourishing treatment. Read this article on the best products for permed hair for some extra tips.

Our tip:

Avoid using any hair color treatments for at least one week after perming your hair, as this may put too much stress on your hair and scalp all at once. You may like to consider gentler alternatives like hair tinting or a color shampoo instead. If you really do want to color your hair, Simply Color’s range is very gentle, so consider one of their striking colors such as Almond Brown 7.5 or Dark Blonde 7.0.