The fashion trends this year have been filled with a blast from the past. With the re-emergence of retro clothes and looks, Perms have made a huge come back too. Perms, also known as “permanent waves”, are typically alterations to your natural hair texture, done through the use of certain chemicals, which lasts for about five to six months. This means that your curls will not fade after you wash your hair. Rather they will remain intact till the chemical wears off over the course of five to six months.
Perming is a hair trend that was most popular in the 70s and 80s. Perms added a lot of character and volume to any woman who donned them and added a little bit of personality to the silhouettes in the 80s.
The first method of perming the hair was done using a pair of heated tongs and sodium hydroxide over several trials and errors. The process usually involved wrapping the hair and using heat to make sure it stayed that way. Chemicals were used to ensure that the curled effect lasted over a long period of time.
But lately, with scientific advancement, the perming process has become a lot quicker and easier and the best part is that the health of your hair is not compromised. Let’s have a look at the Perming Process and some of our top picks if you are thinking of perming your hair!
The Perming Process
There are usually two ways to perm your hair: using heat along with chemicals or using just chemicals. Even though this can be done at home, it’s advisable to get it done from a professional to get the desired perfect look.
The Hot Perm involves the use of an acidic solution to break the disulfide bonds in the hair before applying heat to it. This enables alterations in the hair structure. The Cold Perm makes use of ammonium thioglycolate present in the form of an alkaline solution to break the disulfide bonds and curl the hair.
Your hair is first rinsed and all the dirt and debris is removed from your scalp. Your hair needs to be clean before you treat it in any way. It needs to be “detoxed” and rid of any existing chemicals or proteins so that the perm solutions can work efficiently.
1. The hair is then wrapped around rods according to the style you choose. This is done with careful, precise and strategic placement to make the curls appear natural. Your hair is then covered in the solution (based on your choice of treatment: Hot or Cold Perm) thoroughly. The solution can be left up in your hair for about thirty to forty minutes, depending upon your hair type.
2. Once the perm solution has settled in, a neutralizer solution is applied to your hair to help retain the ideal pH level and rebuild the broken bonds. This solution is applied to the hair while it is still curled up in rods and is left in the hair for roughly five minutes.
3. Your hair is then rinsed and the rods are removed. The amount of time taken for the solutions to settle in completely depends on the thickness and texture of your hair. Thin hair will take less time while thick hair will require more time for the solution to seep in.
Hairstylists advise that your hair should remain untouched for at least a day or two, again depending on your hair type. This means that you cannot apply heat, wash your hair or even comb through your hair for one or two days after the treatment.
Your hair can go from sleek straight to crazy curly if you Perm your hair but you can always determine the number of curls and volume you want. You can choose from the following styles when you perm your hair.
1. Spiral Perm
Spiral Perms are typically varying in the size of each curl and are really tight curls which look like they are twisted like a corkscrew. They require at least eight-inch long hair so that the curls are tight. You will definitely achieve the “Monica in Barbados” look if that’s what you’re aiming for.
During the initial few weeks, the curls will be able to maintain the taut structure set by the chemicals. However, over time these curls will loosen up and slow your hair will regain their natural texture. If you visit an experienced hairstylist, your curls will be able to retain their shape for six months but otherwise, they will flatten out in less than six months.
Generally, these curls are the most voluminous out of all styles of perms and give your hair a great bounce. But special efforts need to be put in to ensure that your hair remains the same way.
2. Pin Curl
Best suited for medium or short hair, this style of perm is done using pins and curlers. You can determine the size of your curls by choosing small or big curlers and choose if you want tight or loose curls. The only drawback of this style is the fact that the perm fades away rather quickly.
This type of perm does not make use of harmful chemicals, which also indicates that they won’t last long. But they’re great because you get to decide the look of your curls.
3. Spot Perm
As the name suggests, the perm is concentrated on one spot of your hair. This spot is usually in the front section of the hair, the target being the first few strands that frame the face. You have complete liberty with the size and the tightness of the curl.
This style of perm is also done to create volume in a spot where you may have balding. It makes use of chemicals and will hence last for a long time. Try to get equal curls while doing the spot perm so that your curls look uniform.
4. Root Perm
In this style, the curl starts right from the root of your hair, cascading down the entire length. However, only the strands closest to the crown are curled from the root, the others are curled from the top part of the strand, a little farther away from the root. This adds volume to your hair and looks great on all types of hair.
This type of perm does not last long on thin hair. The hair will start flattening from the top and regular root perming will be required.
5. Multi-textured Perm
This type of perm is perfect for people with long hair. It involves using two or more sizes of curling rods to create varying curl sizes. This adds character and volume to your hair and looks natural on all types of hair. Since the hair will fall on each other, your hair will look more naturally voluminous and bouncy.
6. Stack Perm
This type of perm involves curling only the bottom half of your hair. If you’re looking for a more manageable and natural looking perm, this style is perfect for you. The idea is to leave the top portion of your hair untouched and curl only the lower end. This adds volume to your ends and makes you look like you put in tons of efforts into making your hair every day, while all it takes is three to four hours once!
The hair stylist aims at creating an illusion of layers since the hair is “stacked” on top of each other. This style works best for people with a straight hair cut, instead of layers. If you want to get rid of your perm, you can easily do so by chopping off the bottom part, since the top half is free of treatment.
7. Partial Perm
Partial perm involves curling only certain sections of your hair. This is done evenly all over your hair so that it looks even and natural. This style of perm is also easy to manage since only a few strands are curled.
8. Digital Perm
This up-and-coming type of perming typically uses curlers which induce heat from within themselves, instead of exterior heat or chemicals. This is a trendy way to perm your hair and gives a rather natural look to your hair. The appearance of the curls, however, is similar to that of a traditional perm.
9. Body Wave Perm
This type of perm creates loose waves that fall naturally. It is suitable for all hair types and textures. Body wave perms are perfect for people with curly hair who want more manageable curls. It is great to tame your existing curls or add waves to your straight hair. Body waves add volume and life to dry and limp hair and can also add softness to your facial features.
10. Beachy Waves Perm
This Perm look goes perfectly with beaches and breezes and is an absolute delight to look at. This looks uber chic and is sported by many popular celebrities like Olivia Wilde and Vanessa Hudgens. If you want a hairstyle that is simple to manage and yet looks equally impressive on the red carpet as well a regular trip to your shopping store. It looks classy and modest at the same time.
11. Big Volume Perm
If you have long and voluminous hair, this is the perfect look you could go for. This Perm Style looks absolutely splendid and gives your hair a natural oomph factor that is so hard to resist. In this specific type of perm, the hair is not as closely bound with each other as in Spiral Perm. This Hairstyle can make you look drop dead gorgeous and add a lot of wow factor to your persona.
12. Wet Bob Perm
Even though Perm does not always look the best if you have shorter or layered hair, but this Perm look is an exception. Bob cuts are back in fashion and it is no surprise that this look would also be too. Wet bob Perm gives a very definitive and wet look to your hair and makes your short hair look absolutely irresistible. It also has a very natural and shabby appearance which gives you an out of the shower look.
13. Medium Spiral Perm
Doesn’t she look absolutely mesmerizing sporting these elegant and carefree Medium Spiral Perm? She is Imaan Hammam an Egyptian model who made the world took notice of her fabulous hair that actually separates her from the league. This carefree and hot medium spiral perm can give you the look to die for and will accentuate your face, making it look more chiseled like a model.
14. Blonde Classic Perm
This is one of those Perm Hairstyles that you can’t get your eyes off. They look so exquisite and alluring that it’s hard to look away from them. Many celebrities have sported this look in many TV series like The Stranger Things and others. You can go for either stacked digital or Spiral Perm if your hair is of appropriate length.
15. Inverse Perm
If you have wavy or curly hair and want sleek straight hair, this type of perm is best suited for you. You can easily diffuse your curls to get straight hair. This is done by combing the chemicals through the hair or by using heat styling tools in combination with chemicals. It looks natural on almost all hair types and provides a great way to sharpen your facial features. However, people with rectangular or square shaped faces should avoid inverse perming since it might create harsh sharp angles, making the perm look unnatural and contradicting with the existing straight lines of the face.
After you get your hair permed, there are a few things you should take note of immediately. Don’t rinse your hair for two days after the treatment. Try not to comb through your hair for the first 24 hours and get shampoos made for curly hair (or shampoos for straight hair if you tried the inverse perm).
Things to keep in mind before you get a Perm
1. Getting a perm is a long term commitment. There are a few things you should be aware of before you decide to chemically alter the structure of your hair. Since your perm is going to last over five to six months, your hair should be in an appropriate condition to bear the changes caused by the chemicals. Your hair should be healthy and free from processing so that the curls look pretty and natural. You should also make sure that you haven’t colored or processed your hair a month before or after you perm your hair. The bleach and the chemicals used in coloring your hair cause damage to your strands and also weaken your hair.
2. Perms look awful on short and layered hair as the curl doesn’t get a chance to take form easily. They will dry up your hair easily and it will look very untidy. So it’s recommended to grow your hair to a suitable length before you decide to perm your hair.
3. Since perming essentially involves using heat and/or chemicals to curl your hair, you should also keep in mind that it can weaken your hair and cause dryness and breakage. If you experience pain while perming your hair, it might mean that your hair follicles have been damaged due to the procedure.
You should always seek help from professional experts before you treat your hair in any way. They will determine whether your hair is capable of undergoing treatment and will ascertain which style will look best on you.
4. After you’ve permed your hair, it is important to know how to maintain the curls. Keeping your hair moisturized can help in keeping your hair healthy and frizz-free. Change up your shampoo and conditioner and start using products which will add moisture and nourishment to your hair. Look for sulfate-free shampoos and shampoos that specialize on curly hair. Any added help to maintain your perm will do wonders for your hair.
5. You can adopt a weekly hair care routine for your permed hair. Wash your hair two to three times a week using shampoos and conditioner meant for curl enhancement and protection. Use a deep conditioner once a week to nourish and moisturize your scalp. Use high-quality serums and anti-frizz products to maintain the volume and bounce in your hair.
6. Try not to be too wreck-less with your curls. Use a wide tooth comb to detangle your hair and start combing from the end of your hair. Slowly work your way towards the upper parts of your hair.
7. Try to avoid any heat styling tools. This will only weaken your hair and cause breakage. Your hair is already weak due to the chemicals used in perming and due to the weight of the curls. Applying heat to it may cause further damage.
8. Keep in mind that if your hair growth is quick, the effects of your perm will be short. The new hair on top will grow according to your natural hair structure, leaving the existing hair permed. This might create an unnatural and unappealing look. So make sure that you choose the right style of perm based on the speed of your hair growth. If your hair grows fast, opt for stacked, partial or spot perm. If your hair growth is rather slow, any perm according to your choice will be suitable.