What is a perm? And how does it work?
Believe it or not, perms have been around for over 100 years. While the modern perm is kinder and gentler than perms of the past, it’s still a chemical treatment that alters your hair’s natural texture.
The two methods commonly used by salons are called cold perms and digital perms. With a cold perm, your stylist wraps your hair around rollers or rods and applies a chemical perm solution. The digital perm employs a similar process, but the rods warm up to activate the perm and restructure your hair follicles with heat.
Cold or digital, the comeback perm is more relaxed and subdued than your grandma’s perm from the ’80s. While hairstylists used to wrap hair around tiny, uniform rods, they now use a variety of roller sizes — or cloth wraps — to give your curls a more customized, natural look. Depending on the length and thickness of your hair, this process may take 1-2 hours (or more) to complete.
What Hair Types Can Be Permed?
Perms aren’t only for straight hair. People with natural waves and curls may also opt to enhance their bounce or make their wave pattern more uniform and manageable. Hair length isn’t a huge factor, either. If your hair is long enough to curl with a curling iron, it’s long enough to get a perm.
That being said, perms work best on healthy hair or virgin hair that’s never been dyed or chemically treated in any other way. If you have dry, bleached or color-treated hair or hair that’s been damaged by styling tools, it’s important to have a consultation with your stylist. The solution could be as simple as getting your hair in tip-top shape with custom conditioning treatments and supplements prior to your service.
How Long Do Perms Last?
Perm is short for “permanent hairstyle,” but today’s perms are more semipermanent. While it’s true once your perm is set, you can’t chemically reverse it, you’re not committing to a permed hairstyle forever. Depending on your normal hair pattern and how well you care for your hair, you can expect a modern beach wave perm to last a good 3 to 6 months.
Over time, your hair will grow out the same as before and blend in as it grows straighter. It will just be a bit wavier at the ends. Perm root touch-ups are always an option if you want to maintain your curly tresses and avoid a change in hair texture from root to tip. In general, naturally wavy or curly hair will hold the shape of a perm longer than straight hair.
Caring For Your Perm
In the days following your perm, your hair will need time to set. To help lock in the shape of your new curls, you should not wash your hair, tie it up or do any additional heat styling for 24–48 hours.
It’s also important to avoid coloring your hair for 7–10 days after a perm. Dyeing your hair involves opening up the outer layer of the hair follicle and depositing color inside. If you dye your hair too soon, you run the risk of over-drying or damaging your hair or deactivating the perm chemicals.
A final tip for perm upkeep is to minimize your hair’s exposure to water. Too-frequent shampooing or swimming can hamper the longevity of your perm and wash those fabulous new waves away. When you do wash, use only sulfate- and sodium chloride-free shampoo and conditioners specifically formulated to protect and fortify
Styling Your Perm
Taking excellent care of your hair is as fundamental as the perm itself. Whether you’re after a tousled wash-and-go style or a more polished, well-defined look, custom hair care products can help you achieve all your objectives.
Begin by making the switch to styling aids made for textured hair, including our custom hair oil and custom curl cream. These must-have multitaskers promote bouncy, hydrated locks while minimizing frizz. If you’re new to the world of waves and curls, the professionals at Prose are here to help you through the learning curve. Take the Prose hair consultation to discover your customized formula and recommended routine for before or after a perm.
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What does your hair need to thrive? Take the consultation to find your formulas.