You might love the idea of waking up with curly hair without the hours spent with the curling tongs and tons of super-hold hairspray. But we’re betting that frizz-filled images of ’80s-style perms are probably making you think: should I get a perm?
The good news is, perms have come a long way since those heady days, when spandex, scrunchies, and shoulder pads were the height of fashion.
Modern perms are a lot gentler on your hair. And, a range of techniques means that you can choose your curl, whether you’re after beachy waves or tight spirals.
Getting a perm isn’t a decision you should take lightly either. Read on to find out some considerations to keep in mind before you take the plunge.
1. Not All Haircuts Suit a Perm
If you’ve got short hair or lots of layers, you’re not a good candidate for a perm. Adding a curl or a wave to your hair will shorten it even more and might leave you looking like a poodle.
Still dead set on getting a perm? Grow out your hair first.
2. Your Hair Needs to be in Good Condition
Dry and frizzy ’80s perms probably have you wondering if perms are bad for your hair. These days, stylists can say with all honesty that they’re not.
That said, getting a perm is not a good idea if your hair is already damaged. For a good result, your hair needs to be in good condition in the first place.
If your hair is very dry or colored, it’s best to forget the perm, or at least wait until your hair is in a better condition. Wait at least a month after coloring your hair before you get a perm.
3. It’s Called a Perm for a Reason
If you’re not committed to the curl, carry on using tongs and other non-permanent styling options. Because, in case you weren’t aware, perm is short for permanent.
Sure, your hair will grow out. But your roots will be straight while the rest of your hair stays curly. And don’t think that straightening your permed hair to match your roots is an option. That’s a surefire way to do serious damage to your hair.
4. Do Your Research
Before you even book in for a consultation, research all the various kinds of curly hair and how a perm can help you achieve them.
Your stylist can guide you by explaining the best perm for fine hair or what kind of wave would suit you. But, you should know what you want as much as possible beforehand.
For inspiration, make a Pinterest board of photos showing the kind of look you want to achieve. You should also chat with people you know with curly or wavy hair. Ask them how they enhance and care for their curls to get a better idea of what’s in store.
5. Learn Perm Vocabulary
Before the consultation, brush up on your perm vocabulary. That way you won’t be confused when your stylist mentions a certain treatment, tool, or style.
For example, if you want to know the best perm for fine hair, your stylist might explain how volume perms have helped other clients achieve more body.
Then there are the tools and solutions that getting a perm involves. These include rods in varying widths for different-sized curls and the combination of solutions needed to set the permanent waves into your hair.
6. Prepare for a Whole New Hair Texture
Perming your hair doesn’t just mean adding a curl. It means changing the entire texture of your hair.
Scalp oils travel down straight hair shafts a lot easier than they travel down curly hair. While you might have had to wash your straight hair every day to avoid it looking greasy, that won’t be the case after getting a perm.
And worries about volume and hold will be a thing of the past. Instead, frizz and dullness will become your main concerns.
7. You’ll Need New Products
Curly locks are more susceptible to tangles and damage so you’ll need to get new products and switch up your hair care routine.
Use shampoos, conditioners, and styling products formulated for curly or wavy hair. Look for formulas that promise hydration, damage reduction, and curl enhancement. You might also want to use a deep conditioning treatment once a week or so.
After washing, leaving your hair to air dry is always best. If that’s not an option, get a diffuser for your hairdryer.
8. Getting a Perm Takes a Long Time
Unless you’ve got a spare two to three hours during the week, it’s best to schedule your perm for a Saturday.
Yes, that’s right, getting a perm takes that long. Forget relying on your phone to entertain you, bring a good book instead.
9. Choose an Experienced Stylist
Once you’re set on taking the plunge, you’ll need to do some thorough research to decide on where to get a perm.
Although many stylists learn the technique in beauty school, it’s a specialist treatment. You should only get a perm from a true enthusiast who loves to perm hair and has perfected their art over time.
Request photos of the perms they’ve done, ask questions, and speak up if there’s anything you’re not happy about.
10. Wait to Wash Your Hair
After your treatment, you’ll be keen to get home and see how your perm holds up to washing and styling. But it’s vital that you wait at least 48 hours to wash your hair after getting a perm.
The chemicals in shampoo can interact with the chemicals in the perming solution. Wash your hair too soon and you might damage your hair, lose your perm, or both.
Should I Get a Perm? It’s Really Up To You!
If you’re asking yourself “should I get a perm?” you need to be serious about committing to curly hair for the foreseeable future before you go ahead.
While getting a perm is a big decision, if waking up with a head full of big and bouncy curls is your dream, a perm is the best way to achieve it.
For more advice and tips on everything from beauty to travel, be sure to check out our other blog posts!