It’s no secret that the ’80s have been making a comeback in the beauty industry (we’re looking at you, rocker makeup look). And while this blast from the past has mainly been powered by ’80s makeup ideas, one popular hair trend is making a return of its own. That’s right—the curly hair perm from back in the day is actually a hairstyle trend for 2020, and it’s the perfect way to add texture and volume to your mane. Curious about hair perming? Below, we’re sharing what a hair perm is, how to take care of permed hair, and hair perm styles—from short hair perms to long hair perms—that you can try for yourself.
WHAT IS HAIR PERMING?
Hair perming chemically alters the hair fibers, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). This alteration restructures your strands to create texture and body, even for those who have thin or fine hair. Of course, hair perming isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. There are various techniques and ways to perm hair that can result in different looks, from spiral perms to multi-textured perms. Do your research on the style you like best, then turn to the pros at your favorite salon to get the look. Keep in mind that similar to coloring or relaxing your hair, hair perming can be damaging and require special care. The AAD recommends only having one service done—color, perm, or relaxer.
HOW MUCH DOES A PERM COST?
Think you want a perm? You’ll probably want to know how much it will cost you. As with most hair treatments and processes, there’s a pretty big range in prices. Where you go and how experienced your stylist is will make a big impact on the cost. A fairly standard price for a perm is around $100, with costs ranging from $60-$300.
7 HAIR PERM TYPES AND TECHNIQUES
Since we’ve already covered that hair perms transform your strands into a wide array of textures, you likely know that there are few hair perming options available. No matter what hair texture you’re working with, the right hair perm can easily take your hairstyle up a few notches, but which types of perms can you choose from? Below, we’re filling you in on seven different hair perm types.
HAIR PERMING TECHNIQUE #1: SPIRAL PERM
For those who can’t resist tight curls, the spiral perm may be your perfect match! While this look is all about rocking bouncy and defined curls, you can totally customize your mane by using various sizes of perm rods to make this look your own.
HAIR PERMING TECHNIQUE #2: PIN-CURL PERM
Similar to the no-heat pin-curling technique, the pin-curl perm works wonders to give your mane natural-looking curls with the perfect touch of volume. As the name suggests, after a chemical solution is applied to your strands, pin curls will be created throughout your mane and then set in place. Once you unravel your curls, you’ll have flirty strands to play with. Not to mention, it’s also a great way to add retro styling to your everyday beauty looks.
HAIR PERMING TECHNIQUE #3: ROOT PERM
Calling all gals with thin and fine strands! The root perm may tickle your fancy. This technique combines the best of both worlds—volume and thickness—to give your strands some extra oomph.
HAIR PERMING TECHNIQUE #4: STACK PERM
Ready to add some pizazz to your medium or long locks? It’s time to put the stack perm on your radar. This option comes right in handy for those who won’t shy away from volume and are willing to experiment with layered lengths. With curls sitting at the middle and bottom sections of hair, this perm is a great way to switch up your ‘do.
HAIR PERMING TECHNIQUE #5: SPOT PERM
On the flip side, if you would much rather rock curls on a specific area of your head, you may want to give a spot perm a go. With perm rods placed strategically on a certain section of hair, you can bring a unique hairstyle to life.
HAIR PERMING TECHNIQUE #6: BODY WAVE PERM
Are loose, beachy waves your idea of the ideal hair perm? Look no further than a body wave perm. Offering everything you adore about wavy strands, the body wave perm relies on a large curling rod to create luscious curls.
HAIR PERMING TECHNIQUE #7: MULTI-TEXTURED PERM
If you’re one that loves to take risks in the hair department, it’s time to get acquainted with a multi-textured perm. This method allows you to play with various curl patterns for a look that will turn heads.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF PERMED HAIR
So, you’re sold on the idea of hair perming. That’s great! Just make sure you keep these hair care tips in mind to keep your perm looking its best.
TIP #1: PROTECT YOUR HAIR FROM THE SUN
You (hopefully) know all about the importance of sun protection for your skin by now, but did you know your hair requires sun protection of its own? To keep your permed hair on fleek, the AAD recommends wearing a wide-brimmed hat or using a leave-in conditioner that contains zinc oxide whenever you're in the sun.
TIP #2: DON’T SKIP CONDITIONER
Conditioner is a must when you perm your hair, as your strands tend to be on the dry side post-perm. For some extra TLC, use a daily deep conditioner, like the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Rapid Reviver Deep Conditioner after shampooing. Leave it on for just one minute, then rinse thoroughly.
TIP #3: EXTEND TOUCH-UPS
Just like with any hair process, you’ll eventually be in need of a touch-up. The AAD suggests stretching the time between touch-ups, especially during the winter, when the air is dryer. They recommend waiting eight to ten weeks or longer if possible.
TIP #4: USE THE RIGHT HAIR CARE SYSTEM
To keep your curly hair perm looking its best, swap your usual shampoo and conditioner for a line that’s formulated to hydrate your curls. Give the L’Oréal Paris EverCurl HydraCharge Shampoo and L’Oréal Paris EverCurl HydraCharge Conditioner a try.
9 HAIR PERM STYLES
Not quite sure how to style permed hair to perfection? No need to fret. We’ve put together a list featuring a few of our favorite hair perm styles.
STYLES FOR SHORT HAIR PERMS
Like to keep your mane short? No problem! Take your pick from the following short perm hairstyles.
PERM HAIRSTYLE #1: BOB
This chin-length cut pairs perfectly with a loose perm. It’ll give you a messy, carefree, beachy vibe that makes styling permed hair super easy!
PERM HAIRSTYLE #2: ROOT PERM
As we mentioned above, a root perm is an easy way to achieve curly strands without a full hair perm. This style of perm will add volume to your roots and give your overall style more life.
PERM HAIRSTYLE #3: STACKED BOB
Another variation of your favorite shoulder-skimming hairstyle, a stacked bob involves plenty of layers to really amp up the volume and texture when styling your perm.
STYLES FOR MEDIUM HAIR PERMS
Those with medium-length hair should consider one of the following perm hairstyles.
PERM HAIRSTYLE #4: SHRINKING CURLS
Shrinking curls are just what you’d imagine—curls that start out larger toward the root and gradually shrink to tighter curls at your ends. This is an excellent option for those with medium hair that struggle with how to style permed hair.
PERM HAIRSTYLE #5: SIDE-PARTED LOB
Shorter in the back and longer in the front, this side-parted ‘do allows your curls to frame your face without hanging down your neck! Now that’s how you can style permed hair with ease.
PERM HAIRSTYLE #6: S-SHAPED CURL UPDO
Love the look of tight curls? Look no further than S-shaped curls. These spiral curls will add some serious texture to your medium-length mane. Try tossing them up into a loose updo for the perfect finish.
Editor’s note: A spiral perm on short hair can be super cute, too! Instead of an updo, wear your curls down for a simple, chic look.
STYLES FOR LONG HAIR PERMS
Have long locks? Here are a few long hair perms to try.
PERM HAIRSTYLE #7: SHAGGY LAYERS
If you have longer hair, consider rocking a beachy perm by pairing one with shaggy layers. You’ll be left with a seriously rad mane that helps you style permed hair in little to no time.
PERM HAIRSTYLE #8: WIND-SWEPT PERM
A wind-swept perm is all about loose, messy curls that add a crazy amount of volume to your mane. It’s perfect for those who want a natural, carefree head of curls. Let your curls be messy, tousling them with your fingers, and that's all there is to it!
PERM HAIRSTYLE #9: HALF-UP LOOSE PERM
If you have long hair and a loose perm with waves throughout your mane, pull the top layer of your hair into a ponytail for a cute half-up 'do.
HOW LONG DOES A PERM LAST?
If you decide to embrace a curly perm or any other type of perm, for that matter, how long can you expect your new texture to last? The answer is, it varies. How long a perm lasts will depend on how you take care of your hair—extend the life of a perm by following the perm tips we shared above—and how fast your hair grows. Generally, you can expect a perm to last for around six months.
And that’s a wrap on your intro to hair perming!