Alex-Kingston-Doctor-Who

Alex Kingston – Doctor Who

I decided to write a post about perms because I hear this question more often than you think, and from people who should not even be considering a perm!

I expect it from my “baby boomer” generation clients because they grew up with perms, as did their children.

Then there are those with very fine or thinner hair that would like a perm for body, great idea if your hair can handle it.

 

Everyone else that asks me about a perm is probably going through a hair crisis and it’s just another idea or way to change things up. I can always tell because that means you’ve tried everything else and you just throw your hands up and say, “Maybe I should get a perm.”. Trust me, it’s not always the best way to go!

I’m going to start out by giving you my basics! These are things that I make sure clients are aware of or that I look for during a consultation. If you’re still not sure if it’s right for you or not then keep reading for Perm Tidbits & Alternatives to Perms!


1) Do not get a perm if you get your hair colored regularly with permanent hair color or box color.

Semi or demi-permanents can be okay depending on your hair color history. In any situation with coloring your hair make sure you go through a proper consultation with your stylist before taking the plunge!

It all depends on what type of chemicals your stylist has available to use on your hair and if it’s right for you. There are lots of less damaging options out now compared to the 80’s so it can be done with care!

Hopefully everyone already knows this, but PLEASE don’t attempt to perm your hair at home especially if it’s already colored! I know that people still perm at home so be careful because there’s no turning back :).


2) Do not get a perm if your hair is already damaged!

Perms are made possible with very strong chemicals (the smell should be a clue). Although they’ve come a long way in 25 years they are still not the most gentle option for your hair! If you’re not sure if you’ve got too much damage take this quizlet: How Damaged Is My Hair?. It will help you figure out if it’s time to lay off the chemicals and start deep conditioning!

As an alternative to getting a perm you can use velcro rollers or any other type that doesn’t require heat before use. Of course, you will need some extra time for getting ready but it sure beats creating more damage! When your hair is fried the most important things are to prevent damage and regain strength….curls are not top priority.


3) If you MUST perm your hair…make sure you have a thorough consultation with your stylist!

It’s our job to ask the right questions, but it’s also your job to recognize whether or not you feel that your stylist is being thorough! We are all different and come from a variety of training backgrounds. You may get someone that isn’t familiar with perms and hopefully you can sense that.

I know the basics and I can roll a darn good perm but I’m not the fastest and I still do a double check to make sure we’re using the right solution. If you get someone that’s been doing it for 20+ years you’ll know and you’ll feel comfortable with them.

For example: If I have a client that I’m unsure about I will let them know that I want a second opinion and grab a more experienced stylist with perms for the consultation. Remember, you can always ask for a second opinion yourself if you feel uncomfortable about the service!


4) Do not get a perm the same day as your color service!

Even though I still see this happening in some salons, I just don’t agree with it. It may have been done for years, and guess what?
Everyone’s hair looked fried, dyed, and laid to the side!

If you get a perm you want it to look beautiful and healthy, not dry and frizzy! There’s no doubt that if you get two chemical services in one day it will not turn out like you’d hoped.

Here’s a quick story…
I’ve been doing my grandma’s hair for a few years now and when I started her hair was a tangled mess! She’s not your average cotton ball head grandma, she’s hip, young, and wants to keep looking that way. Her previous salon was coloring & perming her hair on the same day every 3 months(insane!), and still coloring each month as well.

The first time I combed it I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing because it was impossible to round-brush and curl! Then I realized that she’s addicted to perms & hair color, and the salon just went ahead and did it to make those dollars.

It has taken me a long time to convince her that it’s not okay and the difference in her hair is amazing! We now do a gentle perm on her once before the summer….and MAYBE once in the winter(1-2 weeks after her color).  Her hair looks great, feels great, and is much more manageable!

So please remember, just because your stylist says, “Yea, let’s do it.”, doesn’t mean that it’s okay for your hair! They either don’t know what they are doing or thinking….cha-ching, double process=double dollars!


Perm Tidbits:

  • If a perm doesn’t take ALWAYS wait at least 1-2 weeks before attempting to get another perm! Have your stylist evaluate your hair first because it could be even longer! If you’re stylists insists on trying it again within a few days….just wait, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
  • If you perm & color in the same day it will turn out at least a shade lighter than you thought you were getting! Not to mention the damage….
  • Make sure to be COMPLETELY honest during your perm consultation! This means speaking up about home dye jobs, current medications, and even if you’re on your cycle! All of these are indicators of how much your hair will suffer or if the perm will even take!
  • The best hair types for perms with minimal damage risk are: Gray Hair, Coarse Hair, & Natural Hair!

Alternatives to Perms:

  • Use a curling or flat iron to create volume at the base.
  • Find another style that works with your hair texture. Just because you don’t like your hair texture with your current style doesn’t mean you won’t with a different cut! I talk about this more in Finding Your Perfect Style!
  • Click here for more Perm Alternatives!

 

Beachy-Waves-I-Love

 If you’re really looking for beachy waves….click here!


145 Responses to Should I Get A Perm?

  1. Emma says:

    If I get a perm will I regret it? I have researched a bit on perms and my hair seems like the perfect hair for a perm. I have never colored or died my hair. I have “virgin” hair you could say. It’s long, thick, and a little wavy. However I really want curlier hair I think it would look cute plus I would’ve have to spend the time curling my hair which takes 45 minutes for me. Should I take the plunge? Would you let your 18 yr old daughter get a perm if her hair was like mine? -thank you

    • Erika says:

      It’s hard for me to say without seeing a photo of your hair first. You can send me one from my contact page if you’d like to! Just fill out the form and I will respond via e-mail…then you can attach a photo. Facebook works too!

      I think it depends on how much natural wave you already have and what type of perm you get(if you do it). Often people ask for natural looking curls, but they rarely get that with a perm. Yes, it is possible but you need a good stylist that know what she/he is doing.

      If you have enough natural wave to “scrunch” your hair then you might just need a better cut. The products you use and how you enhance your natural curl is important as well!

  2. Grams of 2 says:

    I have been getting a perm about once a year. My beautician has always permed first and then colored.
    My beautician quit recently to be a stay-at-home mom for a few years.
    The beautician I am going to now wants to color first and then perm. She said she uses a perm for colored hair and that the roots will not perm if they are gray and not colored.
    I googled perms and colors and every site says to perm and then color. Help?
    Do I need to find a new beautician?

    • Erika says:

      In my opinion…I think it depends on when your hairstylist went to school(which decade) and the products they are using.

      The regrowth won’t hold a curl as well when it’s gray because there’s a different perm solution for color-treated hair vs. gray hair(or more resistant hair textures). They are alkaline and acid, but it doesn’t mean that the regrowth won’t curl at all. Your stylist is probably saying that because she doesn’t want to use a perm for gray hair on you because your hair is already colored.

      I prefer to color first, then perm on a different day(preferably the next week). If it’s done on the same day…your stylist will need to adjust your color formula accordingly because the perm will lighten your color about .5-1 shade lighter. If the color formula is a little darker then it will turn out as usual after the perm.

      The reason why I don’t perm before coloring hair….
      Fresh curls are more fragile and should not be “stretched” or tampered with too much until after the first shampoo. Even after that….I feel that it’s harder to get even saturation after a perm(depending on how thick/curly your hair is and the consistency of the hair color used).

  3. […] nice layers, and a side bang(if she wants one it will help) she will probably see a difference. A body wave perm would be best with orange rollers(maybe through in some turquoise or red) would give her a nice […]

  4. Fender says:

    First of all: THANK YOU for opening this forum. I’ve spent the last 45 minutes poring over everyone’s questions/your answers, and feel a lot more educated about the subject!

    I have very fine, medium-thick, totally straight hair that was last colored (demi-perm) about eight months ago. It falls below my shoulder blades, but the ends are really damaged from brushing out a few crazy/super teased hairstyles I wore for special occasions. (I’m planing to get 2-3 inches trimmed no matter what.) I rarely use any kind of heat, instead I apply a texturizer (Kevin Mitchell) to damp hair and let it dry in an updo to get some lift at the roots. Regardless of what I do (velcro curlers, sponge curlers, pin curls, curling iron, etc.), my hair typically falls super flat within hours unless I use a quart of hairspray. I have no grays.

    I’m considering a body wave to give my hair volume, texture and a little waviness. I’m okay with gambling a little on this, since I don’t mind wearing updos for a few months if disaster strikes. But I don’t want to 1) utterly fry my hair/lose it or 2) end up with an insane amount of frizz.

    I’ve got two questions:

    – Do you think I’m a decent candidate for a body wave?

    – I really, really want to dye my hair red again (I know it fades the fastest. I typically go over-the-top copper and it fades to a more normal shade in a few weeks). If I do the dye-wait two weeks-perm route, what’s the worst that can happen?

    (One last note: I got a perm in the late 90s — when I was in middle school — and it fell out almost immediately. It was done at my mom’s friend’s house, but she was a stylist. I have no idea if I cared for it properly! I was about 11 😉

    Thanks again!

    • Erika says:

      If you color your hair before you perm it….The perm will cause the color to fade quite a bit. Do not use permanent color! Demi-permanent is okay…it won’t cause the amount of damage that permanent color would.

      Your ends are probably really dry. Texturizing sprays tend to contain alcohol. I always use a leave-in conditioner when I style my hair that way (my favorite is It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Conditioner).

      On the perm you got when you were little-the same thing happened to me! I was around the same age and my perm “fell” out after a few days. I waited to wash it and did not brush it just like I was told. It was probably hormonal…that’s one of the most common reasons that a perm will not take. Sometimes it’s human error…your stylist must follow the steps exactly to ensure that the perm will hold.

      Best of luck to you!

  5. Manisha says:

    I have shoulder length dark black thin hair, cut in steps now. I want to curl my hair. What does permanent curl mean?does it last a long? How much of my hair size b reduce after curling? Plz do rply.

    • Erika says:

      A perm will last about 3-4 months. It will be it’s curliest for the first month and loosen up over time.

      The amount of length you “lose” depends on the type of perm rods used. Some people just get a body wave, which won’t make a big difference in length. If you get very tight curls then it could appear to be an inch shorter than without the perm…..or more.

      Are the “steps” you’re referring to a layered cut? Be careful with lots of layers and a perm. You don’t want to perm really short layers because you won’t have much control over the shape of your style if your hair is too short!

  6. Manisha says:

    I have shoulder length very straight dark hair, cut in steps. I have nvr used dye or other chemicals on my hair. They are natural. I want to have permanant hair curl. Is it possible? Does permanent curl mean life long? N after curling wat size of my hair will be?

  7. Ruth Lack says:

    I was wondering if there is a type of perm I need to suggest to my hair stylist I have grey, dry hair, very straight

    • Erika says:

      It depends on how much curl you want. Most stylists use an acid perm for grey hair because it is more resistant to chemicals. Alkaline perms are often used for colored hair and natural hair. If you’re okay with a more soft curl, then I would go for the alkaline perm because it will be easier on your hair. If it wasn’t dry, then I would say that either would be fine.

      Is your hair dry since it turned grey(that happens to a lot of people)? Or is dry for another reason?

  8. Sara says:

    My hair is naturally straight and I’m worried if I get a perm I will have to straighten my hair when the perm goes away. And I took your quiz and it said my hair was healthy and strong, so should I even get a perm?

  9. Grace says:

    I have medium length hair,wavy,thick and very frizzy I really want a perm but I don’t know if it would make my hair even more frizzy or if it might look cute on me.
    I thought that if I got a really tight perm that it would make my hair even More frizzy be if I got a looser perm with loose curls it might look better

  10. Livvy says:

    My hair is less than a year old- it was shaved in March 2015. It’s naturally blonde but I used a L’oreal colour box thing to make it lighter, I’ve only dyed it twice and once was just the regrowth. It’s around 6 inches long but I have curly clip in extensions that look like Tori Kelly’s hair. My individual hairs are very thick and I very rarely get split ends, even when my hair was down to my butt. I’ve blow dried it once or twice in the last few months and not before that, but I have to curl it every morning (with my straighteners on the lowest heat setting which I think is 110C). Would it be okay to perm my hair so I don’t have to curl it every morning, I don’t know which one would cause more damage. I’m growing my hair out and it looks like a mullet at the moment hence the extensions, it’s naturally dead straight.

    • Erika says:

      Even though you’re using color and not lightener(bleach)…..going lighter is harder on the hair. I think you should consider using hot rollers instead of curling it with an iron every day(if your hair is long enough).

      A mild perm probably wouldn’t do irreversible damage, but you would notice a change in your hair. If the only reason you want one is to help with getting through the growing out process, then I wouldn’t do it. You’ll be happier with healthier hair rather than damaged hair when it grows out.

      • Erika says:

        You may also want to think about using some hair accessories. That really helps while you’re growing out your hair. Try bobby pins, head bands, and cute flowers.

        My hair wasn’t as short as yours when I was struggling with the growing out process, but it would have been so much worse without hair accessories!

        Bobby Pins for Blondes

        Headbands

        Floral Accessories

        • Le nora says:

          I have to raspberry splat hair color in top part of my hair and blk underneath I want to change it all to blk I bought the ion ammonia free permanent cream color and the developer 18 volume in therapy intense brown will this color the splat red raspberry color

          • Erika says:

            Without seeing your hair and knowing a little more I cannot guarantee that any specific formula will work the way you expect it to. I will give you some tips so that you will get the best possible outcome.

            A few questions:
            -How much did you lighten your hair with the raspberry splat kit?(levels lighter than natural or artificial color)
            -Was your hair lightened or colored before using raspberry splat?
            -Was your hair permed before or after using raspberry splat?
            -Is your hair mild or moderately damaged?

            A few suggestions:
            -You should use a lower volume developer(9vol) with a demi-permanent hair color.
            -What you have will work, but probably more damaging.

            I think it’s great that you chose intense brown instead of black(I think that what you meant when you said “all to blk”). Black is more cool and won’t look great on porous hair. A brunette shade has some warmth and you need that with a change like this.

            *I don’t use Sally Beauty Supply hair color. I understand that many people do, but I cannot give you my opinion based on specific color products offered at Sally’s because I have not tested them. I recommend reading up on the color line you plan to use before going to Sally’s. Then you will know exactly what you want rather than trying to figure everything out in the store.

  11. Jo says:

    Hello! Quick question, I got a spiral perm yesterday. I have fine very long hair that has been coloured with semi perm ‘fashion’ colours around 8 months ago but is otherwise virgin. The perm has done next to nothing but add frizz, the stylist said she used the strongest perm available and that my hair must just be too resistant… Thing is it cost an awful lot of money for something that has done next to nothing, should I complain or is it true that my hair is simply ‘too resisitant’?

    • Erika says:

      You should complain! She may have done something wrong, and the only other explanation is hormones or medications. Sometimes if you are on your period, pregnant, or taking certain medications it can affect a perms results. Birth control will not affect it though.

      The chemical process involved in doing a perm is very specific. Each solution must be evenly applied and timed exactly as recommended. If she forgot to neutralize your perm, that would cause a problem.

      Also…I never choose “the strongest perm”. Perms are not like developer….there’s alkaline and acid…as well as a few other specifications, but perms are not labeled as weakest to strongest.

      Your perm also needs to be rolled properly. If it’s too tight or too loose that can cause a problem as well.

      No matter what, a good stylist will always offer for you to come back in for free to check out your hair. If it appears that the perm did not take, she/he should offer to do it again in about a week…free of charge.

      • Erika says:

        I’m not saying that your hair isn’t resistant….I just think that’s the least likely explanation in your situation. Hair is often resistant to chemicals if it has been over-processed(which is not your hair), or if there is a medical condition or medications like I mentioned in the previous comment.

        So, from the information you’ve given me I don’t think it’s your hair.

        • Jo says:

          I will pop into the salon again tomorrow and see how they respond. Thank you very much for your advice!

        • Jo says:

          Incidentally it was the last day/day after my period, and I use a birth control implant. No other medication that day, and no medical condition, that I’m aware of at least! Thanks again for your advice!

          • Erika says:

            I still don’t think that’s enough, but I could be wrong. At that point you’re pretty much back to normal.

            I don’t ask people if they’re on their period because that could be a little awkward for some people. Also, I think that everyone is different and this possibility may be true for some people, while it would not affect others.

            From my personal experiences with perms…and observing others in the salon….very strong medications and human error are the top reasons why perms “fall out” or don’t take.

            – The stylist may have missed a step, or not followed instructions properly. I’ve had one client come back because a perm didn’t take. I gave her another perm one week later free of charge and that also did not take. After that, she was very disgruntled so I set her up with my manager. I don’t remember what happened after that, but I do know that I was very careful to do everything perfectly on the redo.

            That doesn’t mean that we don’t always try to do everything perfectly, but I did start to question myself as to whether or not I forgot a step. I probably didn’t(because the outcome was the same both times), but it’s just like wondering if you left the curling iron on after you’re several miles down the road. You’re probably very careful about making sure it’s off, but you’ll still question yourself. Then, there was one time that I did leave it on and the thought never crossed my mind!

            – Another common mistake with perms is when the stylist removes the rods before applying the neutralizing solution. The hair should be rinsed for 5 complete minutes with lukewarm water, then blotted dry to get as much of the moisture out as possible. Next, the neutralizing solution should be applied evenly to all perm rods and process for a complete 5 minutes. After that, another complete 5 minutes of rinsing before removing the rods. Some perms have another solution to be applied after removing the rods(I use a solution that removes the smell). Some stylists may neutralize after removing the rods. So, everyone is different but if you don’t feel that the proper steps were followed through, then that could be the problem as well.

  12. […] may also want to read: Should I Get a Perm? Should I Get a Perm if I’m Coloring My Hair? Perms with Colored Hair Perm Alternatives var […]

  13. […] whether or not a perm is a good idea. If you’re thinking about it and you haven’t read “Should I Get A Perm?”, then that’s a great place to start! Perms aren’t for everyone, so if you decide […]

  14. christina says:

    I have super straight hair. I can curl it and within 20 min its flat. My hair is really thick and almost reaches my butt. I have never dyed my hair. I really want a perm

    • Erika says:

      It sounds like part of the issue with your hair going flat is that there’s so much of it. With longer and thicker hair curls will fall out faster because of the weight of the hair.

      If you get a perm you will have curls, but you’ll want to get some layers and maybe bring the length up a few inches. Sometimes with very long, thick hair you’ll notice that the top is more flat, so lightening it up a bit will help. I think you should schedule a consultation first and talk to your stylist about what you want. Bring photos so that she/he knows what kind of look you’re going for.

      You’re a great candidate for a spiral perm, so if the stylist does not suggest that type of perm….then you’ll know that she/he probably isn’t as knowledgeable in that area. You may also want to ask about the types of perm rods they have. I like the “spongy” rods for spirals because they create a more diverse curl.

      *If you get a spiral perm….your stylist should roll the hair at the nape of your neck in a “brick lay” pattern. It’s usually about 2 rows, and then the rest of your hair will be wrapped with the spiral method. Lots of stylists forget to do this and it is very uncomfortable/difficult when it’s time to rinse/neutralize if it’s not done.

      • Nina says:

        Hi! I just want to ask. I was planning of getting my hair permed, though im still having second thoughts. I cant tell if my hair is really damaged but February 2015 i had my last rebond and i colored my hair twice last August 2015. My hair is bra length. Do you think it’s okay now to have my hair digipermed? Thank you!

  15. Rebekah says:

    I love messy, wild, curly hair, and my hair is definitely not that. I am 17, a natural red head, with medium-thickness straight-ish hair (it has random kinks), and I really want a perm because I don’t have much time in the morning to deal with my hair. I’ve never died my hair because I LOVE my red hair. It is really unique because it has strawberry blonde highlights and dark copper low lights naturally. My biggest fear is that it will ruin my hair color. Is that possible? or am i safe to get a perm?

    • Erika says:

      You can get a perm and your hair color will be fine. I agree, you shouldn’t color it! Your’re so lucky!

      The only thing that the perm may affect is your hair texture. If you like the slight waviness that you has naturally, then you may want to think about other options. For example, you could get a keratin treatment. That’s only if making it easier to style your hair in the morning is the main goal.

      Messy curly hair is what everyone wants, but a perm will not give you the exact look you want. It depends on your hair, the type of perm used, how it’s rolled, and the type of perm rods used.

      How long is your hair?

      • Rebekah says:

        that’s the thing, I hate the texture of my natural hair, but i’m in love with my color. And it’s about 3 1/2 inches below my shoulders. Isn’t there a perm that’s more like a messy beach wave, and not tight spirals?

        • Erika says:

          Somewhat….it could get close, but nothing is like natural beachy waves or achieving the look with other methods (like heated tools). You could try a “body wave” and ask for specialty rods. Call the salon first and ask about those things because not all salons will have what is needed.

  16. Alyssa Selin says:

    I have thin, fine, straight, red hair. I have a round/heart shaped face, and my hair is always flat and limp. It’s not dry or frizzy at all, in fact, I have to wash it every day so it doesn’t look greasy and oily. I’ve tried a lot of different styles but I haven’t really been happy with any of them. I’ve tried adding more layers, but it doesn’t help the volume. I see a regular stylist, and have been consistently seeing her for the past ten+ years (I am 18 years old). I’ve wanted a perm for a few years, but I wanted to try different hairstyles first before making such a huge decision. Unfortunately, we are both starting to run out of ideas.

    I’m currently growing my hair out, and it’s about an inch or two below my shoulders. All my layers have also grown out. I don’t want a perm until it’s longer, but I’m trying to get as much information as I can right now. I’m thinking of trying it in the summer, or maybe early fall of 2016. I’m looking into getting a multi-texture perm, or maybe finger waves. Something that’s not overwhelming, since my hair is so thin. I’m leaning more towards a multi-texture perm. I really want curls.

    I’ve never dyed it or chemically changed it in any way. My hair is completely natural (I’ve heard the term “virgin hair” be used to describe it). I do straighten it in the morning if I sleep on it while it’s still wet. I always let it air-dry.

    I’ve tried curling it with hot rollers, foam rollers, four different brands and sized curling irons, and a curling wand. The only one that lasts is foam rollers. The others all go limp and flat within four hours. Foam rollers only last about eight hours. So curling it myself doesn’t work either.

    I really love my natural hair color, and I want to make sure a perm won’t affect that in any way. It was white-blond when I was born, and is naturally getting redder each year. It is currently a combination of red and orange, with natural blond highlights that get lighter and darker with the change of the seasons. I’m not sure if a perm affects hair color, but will mine stay the same since it isn’t dyed in any way?

    Would you recommend a perm for someone like me? I’m really struggling with being happy with my hair. Thank you in advance for any advice you can give me!

    • Erika says:

      Your hair seems similar to my cousins hair. They have a lot of trouble holding curl and they were happiest with a body wave. Different stylists will use different terms for chemical services, so I’m not sure what the “multi-texture” perm is. Sounds like different sized rods, but that’s only necessary in specific situations and hair lengths.

      I think you should try a new stylist before you get the perm (if you do the perm I would do it before summer instead of in the fall). Sometimes a childhood stylist has trouble being creative as you grow up and I’ve had lots of comments/e-mails from people who just weren’t happy with their hair, but still went to their childhood stylist. I stopped going to mine in high school and I think you should try it if there are options in your area!

      Good luck, and if you’d like my opinion please send a head shot to infoconfessionsofacosmetologist.com or send me an e-mail from the contact me page…I will reply promptly so you can send a photo!

  17. I’ve been thinking about getting my hair permed for a while now. I haven’t dyed it since the spring of 2013, and then it was just lowlights that I am 99% sure have grown out by now. I have fairly thin, baby fine hair that goes to about the small of my back, and I sometimes have issues with shedding. We think the shedding is related to stress, because I’ve been tested for just about everything else under the sun that could be causing it. It’s naturally really wavy/curly, and I usually end up with a few natural ringlets here and there throughout my hair. The reason I’m considering getting a perm is that I absolutely love curly hair, and if I had my way my hair would look something like Alex Kingston’s. I never use heat to style my hair. My morning routine is usually condition/wash if it’s due for one, detangle, put in a little leave-in conditioner, and sometimes Paul Mitchell curl cream and mousse. The hair products help a little, but they don’t really give me the results I’d like. I have issues with chronic fatigue, so I generally don’t have the energy to curl my hair the way I’d like it to be every day because I simply can’t stand with my arms up like that for very long. Any thoughts on whether or not a perm on my kind of hair would be good, and maybe what kind of perm I should consider?

    • Erika says:

      Usually I don’t suggest perms for people who have naturally curly hair. 3-4 months after the perm…when it’s losing it’s curl…you won’t be happy with what you’re left with.

      I have naturally curly/wavy hair and I got a perm in high school. It was not the type of curl that I was expecting (and it usually isn’t), and it ruined my natural texture. My natural curl didn’t return for several years because it had to grow out.

      Alex Kingston’s hair is gorgeous! Her hair is very thick, so I don’t think a stylist can guarantee that it would look like that. You may be able to achieve similar curls though. For better curls….you may want to trim a few inches off because the heavier the hair the less body & volume you’ll have up top.

      Here’s a photo for those that don’t know about Alex Kingston :) :
      Alex-Kingston-Doctor-Who

  18. becky says:

    i want to get a perm because my hair is really straight and i want something different. i have long, dark, thin hair. i’ve only dyed my hair once but it was an ombre. i cut everything that was painted and i have my normal hair back. should i get a perm?

    • Erika says:

      How long is your hair? Do you have layers? How do you normally like to style your hair? Did you cut off the hair that was lightened when you got ombre?

      Having previously colored hair (only once) isn’t as alarming if you’re thinking about getting a perm. It’s worse if you want to get a perm and then color it or vice-versa. As long as you don’t color your hair again you will be fine.

      Now the question is whether or not a perm is what you need to change your look. Are you stuck on keeping your long hair? You may just need a really great haircut instead. If you’d like to send a photo to me of how you wear your hair I’ll give you a little more advice about which would look best!

      infoconfessionsofacosmetologist.com

  19. Shea says:

    I’m so glad I found this page and I’m hoping I can get some advice: I’m 19 and I really want to get a perm. I have pretty thick, coarse hair. I have colored it once in the past year, about 6 months ago. I never blow dry it and I straighten or curl it maybe once a week. My hair has somewhat of a wavy/ straight thing going on, but I love the way it looks best when it’s super curly and slightly unruly– it suits me! My hair goes almost to the middle of my back. Would getting a perm be a good idea for me?

    • Erika says:

      I think that you would be happiest with just using the curling iron. I have a hair texture like yours and once you learn how to curl it, you will be happy! You can curl it to a messier look and you won’t be damaging it!

      I used a large barrel curling iron. The secret is to section your hair (3 should be fine…bottom, middle, top), and each section should be curling towards a different direction. My hair is just past my shoulders now, but I will try to work in a tutorial this week and post it for you!

      Here’s the curling iron I use for your length hair:

  20. […] may want to read – Should I Get A Perm? and Should I Get A Perm If I’m Coloring My […]

  21. Danielle says:

    Bleached and color my hair using splat .. perm is needed asap to tame hair..how soon or any recommendations …can’t be looking llike this

    • Erika says:

      Can you fill me in on “splat”? Where did you get it and what else can you tell me about it?

      Also, why do you feel that a perm would tame your hair? Are you referring to a curly perm or a straight/relaxer perm?

      If your hair was bleached then it is likely that neither of those is a good option. Is your hair unruly because of damage? How does it compare to before you bleached/colored it?

      • Lana says:

        Been to my usual hairdressing salon today for my fortnightly shampooed and conditioning treatment my regular stylist was sick so another girl did my hair and kept on saying that I should have my hair permed that it would suit me an offered to perm my hair for free and take the perm straight out if I did not like it I am interested in trying something new but a perm not sure but am really tempted now to have perm can you let me know should I have my hair permed? And is it safe to take the perm straight out the same day if don’t like it look forward to a apply thanks

        • Erika says:

          I think that sounds a little odd. As an experienced stylist, I would never try to convince someone that they need a service by telling them that I can easily reverse it if they don’t like it.

          ALSO….I don’t know anyone that feels so strongly that a client should get a perm that they are willing to do it for free. That whole situation is just unusual!

          If I suggest something new, it’s usually color or a cut that will be easier to style or more flattering. I really don’t know anyone that suggests perms so strongly! It’s that thing that no one wants to do…..

  22. Ashley says:

    This Wednesday my stylist was supposed to spiral perm my hair, I explained to her that I wanted the curls but I wanted the big curls not the really short ones which is why i grew my hair out longer still i wanted a change in my hair style to not have to curl my hair with a curling iron any more, so i wanted the big spiral curl.. In which I have not died my hair in over three years, or done anything to it. I have virgin hair as i was told it was called. My hair stylist didn’t explain to me till after she did my perm that their is more then one type of perm, matter of fact she only told me the spiral perm would be perfect for me because it wouldn’t be that tight curl. Well it took her maybe 30 minutes to roll my hair up in medium sized curls, then another ten to squirt this chemical on it in which got in my left eye.. she forgot to mention that i should cover my face with the towel she place in my lap.. that i didn’t even know was there. On top of that the whole process took about an hour and 40 minutes. When she was done and pulled the rollers off, she squished my hair with her hands and added mouse and made it sound better then it actually was. She said she loved it because it looked natural. I said well i kinda expected it to be more curly then it looked. She proceed to tell me that when styling it that i should put curl mouse on one side and then flip and put it on the other side.. and the if i wanted more of a curl to take a curling iron to it.. wth.. Why would i get a perm on my hair if i still have to take a curling iron to it.. any ways all this was done from 12 to 1:40 ish i was walking out of the salon by 2 and by 4:30 my hair was as flat as it was when i had gone in the salon that day. The back of my neck had burns from the chemicals and the top of my head burned fo the next two days.. I complained the next day that i felt it had gone flat by evening, and that i didnt think it really stuck. she told me to wait three days and see what it does. I feel like i paid a 100 dollars just to put chemicals in my hair and damage it. pretty much. She wont refund for even part of the perm.. she offered to redo it but i felt i had such a bad experience the first time that who do it a second time and damage my hair more… she said that it wont damage it to redo it a second time. So i asked if there was another option like high lights or some thin. Nope. She told me to wait a week and see what my hair does. She wont refund me because it wouldn’t be fair to her since she has to pay the salon for a booth rental,… She said she cant offer me some thing other then a perm because she will get in trouble. wth.. its her own business with her own customer basically .. this is frustrating and i am one very upset customer.

    • Erika says:

      Oh geeez….you should definitely get a refund! Bad customer service on her part…

      Did she protect your skin with a balm, lotion, or jelly? Something like that should be applied all the way around your hairline…forehead, ears, behind the ears, your neck, etc. Then, after the rolling is done, your stylist should use coiled cotton to wrap completely around your hairline before applying the perm solution. I usually wrap it 2-3 times to make sure that a good barrier is created. The first wrap is generally tucked up under the rollers that are along your hairline so it will catch anything that drips. I also use my hand to shield as I’m applying the solution and the only clients that need a towel for their face are the ones that are sensitive to the smell.

      Then, a plastic cap is placed over all of the rollers and I usually try to get most of the cotton in it (or at least the cotton layers that will soak up most of the “run-off”).

      Next, your hair should be rinsed for AT LEAST 5 minutes at the shampoo bowl with the rollers in place (lukewarm water). After that, your hair should be blotted very well with towels to soak up the extra water (still in rollers).

      Then, a neutralizing solution is applied and left on for 5 minutes. The neutralizer is what makes the curls retain their shape as long as the perm was done properly. That should also be rinsed for 5 minutes and after the rods have been removed your hair should only be towel-dried before applying product. Sitting under the dryer is okay as well.

      Spiral perms are rolled differently than regular perms. The rollers should be somewhat vertically placed, unlike traditional perms where the rollers are horizontal on the head. Also, at the nape of your neck, 1-2 rows of hair should be rolled horizontally so there is no discomfort when trying to rinse.

      Each section of hair that is rolled should be no wider than the roller itself. Too much hair will not product the desired look and is a sloppy way to give a perm (don’t know if that happened to you as well).

      Yes, there are several different types of perms. It is not up to the client to know which one is best. It’s the stylists responsibility to give you your options and explain the differences.

      • Erika says:

        Telling you to wait a day or two….then to wait a week….was total b.s. just to get you out the door. That’s ridiculous!

        She knows she messed up and it’s improper to tell someone that their business expenses are the reason why they can’t give you a refund. Sounds like a personal problem to me.

        I’m upset for you….

        Also, she’s not going to “get in trouble” if she’s a booth renter. Even if she wasn’t renting a booth…making mistakes is part of the learning process and unless she does crap like this everyday, then she shouldn’t have to worry about getting in trouble. Any salon owner would help that stylist learn from their mistakes and make it right to keep the client happy and ensure that they are a repeat customer.

  23. Macey says:

    Hi I have thin colored hair, i colored my hair 5 months ago. but when i went to a salon they say that i should not have a perm. And i want to try new style for my hair thats why i want to have a perm and also that it may look thicker. What can you recommend about my hair’s situation?

    • Erika says:

      I hear a lot of people say that they want a change, so a perm is the way to go. For some people perms are just what they needed, but it all depends on your hair, your hair cut, the type of wrap they do, the perm solution, etc.

      So…For starters I would need to know a little more about your hair…

      1) What’s your haircut like? Length? Style?
      2) How do you normally style your hair and do you like to pull it back?
      3) Do you care for your hair properly? Are you using good products, or are your products drying out your hair?
      4) Do you like your stylist? What does he/she suggest?

      Perms don’t necessarily “amp up” thin hair. They may for fine hair. Some people feel that their hair is thin, but it’s really just fine with medium thickness (for example). If you’re happy with your haircuts and you’ve styled it every which way (and your hair is healthy) then you may want to consider a perm. On the other hand, I think you were going to a great stylist if they discouraged you from getting a perm (for the right reasons).

      When someone cares and wants you to love your hair they will tell you the truth. Some stylists will tell you everything is a good idea so they will make more money. Some stylists simply DO NOT like giving perms (typically stylists under 35). It’s up to you to judge your salon experience and their advice.

  24. Jenny says:

    I haven’t had my hair dyed in a year and really would like to get a perm. The last time I had it dyed was to match it to my natural color so I could stop having to get it dyed. A good portion of my hair is virgin growth, but due to the fact she did a great job matching the color, I can’t tell how much of it is old growth that had been dyed. My hair is in good shape and I only use a blow dryer/curling iron 2 or 3 times a week.

    • Erika says:

      There is a chance that the perm could take differently between the new and chemically treated hair. This isn’t common, but if your hair is shoulder-length and half “old”, half “new”….then it could happen. Depending on how damaged the colored hair was (how much you colored and to what extent), this may or may not be a problem.

      Have you ever had a perm before? Some people just get an “itch” to try these things, and never do it again for various reasons. Consider whether you are just bored with your hair, or if you really want a perm.

      Here are some reasons why you might want a perm:
      1) Easy maintenance
      2) Quick & Effortless Styling
      3) Body, Curl, & Texture

      You also want to think about whether or not you WILL want to color your hair after the perm. Try to stick with one or the other….if not your hair will lose its integrity fast!

  25. Vanessa says:

    I got my hair dyed six weeks ago and cut. Now my hair has grown and wanted to get a perm. Can you recommend a mild perm? I don’t want to cut my hair anymore and would like to grogrow it back nice and healthy.

    • Erika says:

      What type of color service did you get? Permanent, Semi, or Demi. Did you get highlights or have you had them in the last 6 months? If you’re not sure what type of color service you got, I can help you figure it out ❤

      • Vanessa says:

        I believe it’s permanent. My hair is tapper on the sides and the top she bleached than
        dyed red and purple at the top but when I wash some purple residues still wash out.

        • Erika says:

          I would suggest that you not get a perm, and use another method at home to style your hair. There are tones of fun new curling irons that will give you pretty waves, and sometimes I use rollers on top just for volume.

          The bleaching concerns me with the perm…that never turns out well!

          • I colored my hair about 2 – 3 weeks ago with the reden color fusion permanent series and have fine hair and falls just below my shoulder blades. My hair is a little wavy but I would like to get a perm. What do you recommend and what brand?

            • Erika says:

              The Redken Series? Was that a professional color line at a beauty supply store, or did you go to a salon to get your hair colored?

              A perm will drastically lighten your new color, sometimes 2-3 shades lighter. It all depends on your natural and the color that was used.

              Generally, I do not suggest a perm if you get permanent color unless you have very short hair and get frequent haircuts because damage is not as noticeable. Still, your hair would not feel the same.

              Why do you want a perm? I find that most clients want a perm for the wrong reasons, and they just need a better solution as far as cut/style. I think you might fit into that category!

  26. Nancy says:

    I have gray hair, it is fine and short in length. I had a perm for gray hair about the first of July and would like to no how soon should I re perm and what type of perm should I use so I don’t damage my hair. I want to grow it longer so I don’t want to cut it to much.

    • Erika says:

      Generally, you would get a perm every 3 months. It depends on the person…so if your hair grows fast or the perm falls out within 3 months…then it’s time to get another one. But, if you’re still satisfied with how it looks…wait another month or so. I have clients that get two perms a year so that it’s easier on their hair (spring and fall).

      You’re okay with the stronger perm for gray if your hair is more resistant to chemicals, coarse, very thick, etc. Without color on your hair you don’t have to worry about damage as much, but if your hair is hard to comb when wet or overly frizzy then you may want to ask for a more mild solution next time. ❤

  27. Cindalee Anton says:

    I am 64 and color my hair, it is fine and short I cannot use a curling iron because of arthritis in my shoulders I cannot reach up. plain curlers do not stay in. will a perm damage my hair and if not what one should I get ? I have people telling me it would be ok but I am cautious thank you

    • Erika says:

      There are perms that are “safe” for color-treated hair. But….I can’t guarantee that your hair will not feel damaged afterwards. It depends on your stylist and the products that are used. If your hair is colored with permanent haircolor and a mild perm is used, you will probably end up with hair that is hard to comb when wet and feels more straw-like.

  28. Tash says:

    Thanks for the informative post. I have black hair that has been colored to cover white hairs growing in. My hair is frizzy and coarse. In the past, my hair has taken very well to perms and I loved it because as it grew out, I still had the texture and wave for almost a year. Now, I want wave, not a tight curl.What are your thoughts on a body wave?

    • Erika says:

      Body waves vary depending on where you go. The name is somewhat misleading, because it’s still a perm. With color on your hair, your biggest concern should be that they use a very mild formula. Also, perms never really give you that wavy look you want. It may be too curly for you at first, or not the type of curl you’re hoping for.

      If you do it, make sure you go to someone that you trust because a lot of people ask for a body wave and end up with a regular perm look. Your other option is to style it that way when you do your hair. There are lots of easy ways to do this and you don’t have to curl your entire head with a curling iron! I’d be happy to give you some tips if you decide against the perm!

  29. Colleen says:

    Hi Erika…just found your post when I Googled about perms. Great advice and wondered what your thoughts are for me.

    I’m “mature” (68) and haven’t had a perm for over 20+ years. I had great stylists that gave me cuts that were very flattering and I didn’t need a perm. I’ve haven’t colored my hair in 3 years and I have a salt-and-pepper look now with most of my silver at the crown. I have fine (not thin) hair with a lot of cowlicks. I also have wavy hair ONLY on the top of my head. The rest of my hair is straight. Weird, huh?

    We have retired and moved to a different climate (dry) and I can’t seem to find a stylist that can cut my hair like I use to wear it. My hair is very healthy and strong.

    I’ve been letting it get some length because if I do get a perm I didn’t want to look like your typical “old lady”. Do you have any suggestions for me getting a perm?

    • Erika says:

      Colleen,

      Depending on how long you’ve been “going gray”, your hair may be slowly phasing out of a certain hair texture (such as more wavy to straight). I experienced a huge texture change in my teens, so I figure this can happen any time our hormones fluctuate.

      Whether or not you should get a perm depends on a few things…

      1)How do you like to wear your hair?
      2)Do you prefer less styling time in the morning?
      3)Is your hair healthy? (Seems like it probably is).
      4)Are you okay with getting a perm every 4-6 months (depending on preference)?.

      • Colleen says:

        Since I’m retired I prefer a casual style…the less fuss, the better. Right now, if I’m just going to be around the house all day, I may just let it air dry. If I’m going shopping or to church or whatever, I use a round brush on the straight sides and back and let the waves on the crown air dry. I’ve never fussed with my hair and I don’t like products in my hair as a rule. I have a lot of body even though it’s fine.

        My hair is very healthy and I don’t foresee a problem with a perm. I’m just concerned about chemicals on my silvers.

        What questions should I ask my hairdresser?

        • Erika says:

          Your hair will be fine with a perm, it’s more of a concern for people with colored hair. Is your gray soft or more coarse? If it’s coarse….the perm will help to soften it up a bit. Just make sure that you go to a reputable stylist!

          If you want a perm that isn’t as damaging or won’t be as tight, ask for the perm that is used for color-treated hair. There are different products and the one that most stylists use for gray hair is much stronger.

          • Colleen says:

            Thanks Erika. My hair is soft and use to take a perm easily, but that was back when I had it colored. It would soak it up like a sponge and had to be watched closely. Many years ago, the gal at the salon left it on too long and it burned all my hair off!!!! It had to be all cut off and it was about 1″ long all over. I was devastated!

  30. […] este proceso el cabello puede que poco a poco pierda el efecto enrizado. El procedimiento dura aproximadamente dos horas y […]

  31. Laura Merrell says:

    I permed my hair back in april with a redkon high perm but it really didnt take.. now i want to get my high lights redone because i have 4 inches of new growth and im not into the ombre’ look… i was wondering if its safe to highlight my hair with bleach to touch up my highlights with it being 4 months after my perm??

    • Erika Brown says:

      It depends on if you plan to do it yourself or see your stylist. Also, how does your hair feel? Even if a perm does not take…it was still chemically treated and could have caused some damage. Damage comes in all forms…sometimes we notice it and sometimes we don’t, but what makes it worse is using multiple chemicals. If you’re just getting a RE-TOUCH and not coloring all of your hair, then you will be fine. When asking yourself if you should go for it or not always trust your gut and consider if your hair is in a healthy state before you go for it!

  32. Kylie says:

    So I have naturally curly hair, but I’ve wanted a like spiral perm for awhile. I’m 19 and my mom used to get them, but she said not to, and won’t tell me why. I have thick hair and I want tight and defined curls. But using any kind of mousse or gels don’t help. What do you suggest?

    • Erika Brown says:

      I wouldn’t get the perm. It will ruin your natural curl! We all want something that we can’t have, so in this case just embrace what you have and curl your hair with an iron when you have an event to attend. Your hair probably looks best with texture sprays and/or a light mousse and is a look that so many people wish they could achieve! You would be unhappy with the spiral perm…I’m certain of it :)

  33. Ash says:

    Ok. I have read all the comments, searched every blog, and I still cannot find an answer to my question. So, I figured maybe you could help me. I’m 15 years old, and I’ve had straight, boring hair all my life. And I want to change it up a bit. I’ve already changed up the color, and I absolutely fell in love with the change. Now I need something more than color. I want a loose, wavy perm. But…. I really like to dye my hair red. I usually dye it every two months when I have red in my hair. But that was before I bought this red shampoo that makes my hair brighter every time I use it. Red fades fast, and thats why I had to dye it so often, but now that I have the shampoo, I only have to dye it every 3 months or so. So, do you think it would be safe to get a perm? Please tell me yes!

  34. Rachel says:

    Hi, so glad I found this page! I’m thinking about getting a perm. My hair is very fine and stick-straight. No amount of product and scrunching will even make it wavy. And no matter what I do to style it, long before the day is over it has fallen flat and just looks gross. I want a perm for more body, and I love the way my hair looks with curls. (I don’t want corkscrews though.) I never color my hair, and it’s currently cut to about my shoulders with short layers. Would I be a good candidate for a perm, or do you have any other suggestions? I’m hating my hair these days, but need something fairly quick to do since I have a 6 month old. Thanks!

  35. Cathy says:

    I have had perms since I was 16 (now 53). I get them twice a year for volume only. This is particularly good when I go to an east coast beach (NC) where it is humid. I have a good amount of fine hair and get the roots covered once a month (no highlights for a while now). I got a perm from a new stylist and it practically ruined my hair (made it dry, brittle and actually straightened it!) How could this happen? What to do now that it has taken 6 months to recover? I am getting ready to order an Ogilvy home kit to test a strand in the back of my head *underneath where it does not show to see.

    • Erika Brown says:

      I have a family member that is on a very similar “hair schedule”. She used to get one 4 times a year, and I’ve got her down to 1-2 perms per year. She needs it for body because her hair goes flat easily.

      Now that I’m doing her hair it feels SO much better than it used to. The stylist that used to do her hair did not care how damaged it got or how hard it was to brush….she was just making more money.

      I DO NOT recommend perms at all for people who regularly color their hair. It leaves your hair with an unhealthy texture and elasticity (most people are used to that feeling and don’t realize that it’s very damaged). The lady I’m talking about insists, so I do it rarely and I use the best possible perm solution that will be most gentle on her hair. It still doesn’t feel great afterwards, but it’s not as bad as it could be.

      The stylist who gave you a perm may have used a solution that was too strong (any perm is too strong, but there are mild options). The other factor is your color re-touching. It’s probably permanent color (more damaging than semi-permanent), and if you have 75% or more gray hair then your stylist probably uses a higher developer. The higher level of developer ensures that your gray will be fully covered and not fade as fast. Using a lower developer in that case would not give you the color you’re hoping for.

      Also, color fades A LOT when you get a perm!

      • Cathy says:

        I agree that the perm strongly impacts the color – so my takeaway from your reply is to get a milder solution and then after the perm – wait 2 weeks and then get the color (which is what I always do)

  36. Shannon says:

    I’m seriously considering a perm/wave. My hair reaches the middle of my back and is bright red (natural) and very fine. It’s naturally curly/wavy, but despite several hair cut changes, the curl/wave is consistently inconsistent. I can blow dry straighten, but it’s always flat. I can diffuse dry, but the end result is always different, even if I use the exact same methods! I had a poodle perm in 2nd grade, and obviously don’t want that. I’m mostly after some texture that will keep it from being so flat. I feel like my hair is TOO healthy. It will hold curl marginally well, but the weight, even with long layers, always pulls it out unless I spend FOREVER with hot rollers, and with summer coming, that’s just not realistic for me. While I’d like naturally beachy waves, I realize this isn’t likely to happen with a perm. I don’t have a specific vision on what I want with my perm, so as long it isn’t a kinky, 80s poodle, I think I’ll be accepting of it. Worse case scenario is that I pull it into a knot on top of my head for months. I basically do this already since I can’t find a style I’m happy with. My question is: what should I be wary of? I’m clueless about methods/rod sizes/chemicals/time of processing. I don’t have a regular stylist, because I’m super low maintenance with my hair, and have had nothing but trims in the past 5 years with the exception of long layers 3 months ago. However, I’ve have great recommendations on the stylist I’m considering getting the perm from. Nevertheless, I am still worried. Any suggestions?

  37. Carol Moening says:

    Hi, I am so glad I came across your blog. I am desperate to do something to fix my flat lifeless do. I have fine limp hair that has a slight wave naturally, but not enough to do anything with and hair advice is hard to come by. Most hair stylists I’ve gone to are reluctant to advise and for the most part just tell me what they think I want to hear. In the past I have colored my hair 2 or 3 times a year a shade or two lighter than my dirty blond color to brighten my color and get more body. I have finally reached the point where my color has lightened enough that my greying hair blends nicely with my natural color. It’s been 7 or 8 months since my last coloring. I do not want to continue coloring my hair but my hair is flat and wavy and volumizer products don’t last. My current style is a shorter layered bob. I thought the layers would help with the volume but it hasn’t. My bob doesn’t stay smooth. The layers start to wave and the ends flip up within a few hours after I’ve done my hair. I was wondering if a lite perm would help me work with the natural tendency to wave and if you have any ideas regarding changing up my style to a more sustainable do. I usually brush my bangs to the sides from the center. I like my style to be soft looking, framing my face. I try avoid classic bangs because I wear glasses and I don’t like that boxy look when I put my glasses on. I don’t want curls. Do you have any suggestions to help me over come this limp lifeless look?

  38. lesa says:

    I have very fine hair and color it once a month or so. I was thinking about a perm (big,loose curls)…..is there anything I should know or be concerned about?

    • Erika Brown says:

      Big, loose curls normally do not turn out the way you expect them to with a perm! The best way is to style your hair that way when you really want the look. If you get permanent color once a month, I would not recommend a perm!

  39. Emma says:

    Hi I’m in such a dilemma, I’m away on holiday in a week and was really thinking perm as it will be so much easier to manage (or will it) . I colour my hair every two weeks with a permanent black.. I know you say don’t perm if you colour but I’m so desperate as my hair is so fine and flat with no life. Also I have extensions. Thankyou

  40. Kim says:

    Hi! So I got a perm/body wave last week (6 days ago from today) and we used medium-large sized rods with “K-Pak Thio Free waves”. My hair is very healthy, i don’t dye it and I barely ever straighten it. I got a trim before the perm so that if I had any dead ends I didn’t want them to break off or anything. So my friend did the perm (she went to beauty school) and now it’s 6 days later and my hair is straight again. The box of the perming chemicals said to wait 24 hrs before washing, I waited 32 just to be safe, but it seems as though the perm didn’t take. My hair still feels healthy, and isn’t the slightest dry. What do you think caused this? I was thinking maybe the chemica we used wasn’t strong enough because it was Thio free…Also, when would you suggest perming again?
    Thanks!

    • Erika Brown says:

      Kim,

      When did your hair first seem straight? The day after you washed it? Or several days later?

      There could be a few different explanations for this…

      1. She didn’t process the perm correctly, or didn’t neutralize it properly.

      2. If you’re on any medications, especially anything hormone related…that can cause a perm to not take. But, I would have to know a little more about what was done to say that it was meds or horomones.

      3. Was it brushed?

      • Kim says:

        I noticed it after my hair dried, it was a little wavy but I think that’s because I was scrunching it a little, once it dried I laid down and it flattened and I sprayed it with water and scrunched it a little to it was wavy, I thought maybe it flattened from me laying on it but idk lol. after i washed it it was straight when it dried. But no, I’m not on any medication but I was on Birth control about a year ago if maybe that has any effect. And no it wasn’t brushed

        • Erika Brown says:

          It sounds like the perm was probably not processed correctly. If you get it re-done….it should be free of charge. That’s what I do if a problem like that occurs with a client. Even if I did everything right…I still don’t want someone to pay for a perm that does not take!

      • Lizz says:

        Erika…..I want to get a “body wave” because although I have a lot of body in my hair, I can’t fuss with it due to health problems. I put it up in pin curls at night but that is getting old. I like to be out of the house for work in 15 minutes. I color my hair every two months close to my natural medium brown color. Perms usually last anywhere from 6-9!months. I don’t want a kinky perm so what size rollers would you recommend? Thanks

        • Erika says:

          If you do the perm and you use permanent color…it’s just never a good idea. Your color will be affected and your hair will be damaged. Most of the time it gets hard to comb when wet and difficult to manage. I always recommend one or the other.

          The size of the rollers would depend on how long your hair is. Orange, Red, and Teal are the larger sizes.

  41. Vanessa says:

    Hi! So I had a question about perms in general. I’ve never gotten one done, nor colored my hair, but I really wanted to change it up a bit. I was looking for more of a “beachy wave” look and thought I could obtain that with a perm and ombré at the same time, but from reading previous comments, it looks like a perm isn’t the right way to go. Do you have any other suggestions to different kinds of perms or things I could do to obtain those waves or if I can color my hair and perm it at the same time? I’m not big into fancy techniques that require hours to do like scrunching wet hair and such.
    Thanks!

    • Erika Brown says:

      What is your natural hair texture like? That will help me with how you can style it to look “beachy”. I don’t recommend a perm for people who want beach waves because most people are not satisfied with the type of curl they get.

      • Vanessa says:

        Thank you so much for such a quick reply!
        My natural hair is completely straight and pretty thin but because I don’t use many products, it doesn’t hold curls from a curling iron unless I spend hours redoing the same spots or use whole cans of hair spray.
        Thanks again!

  42. Rachel says:

    Hi! Just found your post while looking for perm info…I have long, fine “virgin” hair that is flat and wavy only in certain places when air-dried. Currently I usually blow-dry and use a flat iron on the days I fix my hair. I’d love to have more “style-holding” power in my hair. When I do beachy waves, they fall out quickly, no matter the products I use. Would a perm help that? I figure, since I have to flat iron anyways, if I hate the perm it’s not a big change to what I do now anyways. Thanks!!

    • Erika Brown says:

      Do you just scrunch and go to create beachy waves? My hair went through a less-wavy phase and came back later. If that’s the case, then use a curling iron or flat iron to create the look and it will hold better. If you’re already doing that, then it could be too much product or your hair texture. Some people have fine, silky soft hair that takes an army of hair spray to hold it.

      I usually do not recommend a perm for those looking for beach waves. I’ve even had some people e-mail me about it….I gave them advice….and heard from them later about how disappointed they were in their “beachy” perm that didn’t turn out the way they hoped.

      If a stylist tells you that you will get that look from a perm then it is a lie. There may be someone out there that has found a technique and the right perm solution to create that look, but I don’t know of one. A stylist will not tell you this because they want to disappoint you…..they know that you will probably go somewhere else to get it done and satisfy that “itch”….so they just do it. Hopefully, that person will at least tell you that it will not turn out the way you think it will.

      Do you color your hair? If so, definitely stay away from getting a perm. Remember that once you do it you have several months before it is gone, and if you’re particular about your hair you may want to refrain. Ask yourself….will I want the beachy look everyday? If not, then I can help you with how to style it when you do want it without a perm!

  43. Michelle H. says:

    thanks for the article! It is very informative!

    I happen to fall under the fine, thin hair camp & my hair has thinned more over probably the 9 months…(maybe a delayed reaction in some serious life events and weight loss, poor nutrition, etc.)

    Anyway, I was wondering if I should get a perm or wave. My cut is almost like the old “Rachel”, it’s cute! And my hair used to be curly and weakly wavy before surgical menopause. It’s changed since then and is mostly straight now but my fine thin hair can’t take all this heat and staying. I just thought with summer coming, it might be good to get a gentle perm, spiral or regular since it’s already a good cut and with long enough layers. I color maybe a few times a year. Last colored probably six to 8 weeks ago.
    Thanks!

  44. Sarah says:

    Hey! Thanks for the article it was very helpful! I have semi thick hair that is long. My hair is stick straight and I am really considering a perm. I want loose beach waves and hair that doesn’t take so long to style I also want to add body to my flat hair. I have never died my hair and my hair is healthy. Is this a good idea? Any opinions are helpful.

    Thanks

    • Erika Brown says:

      With a perm you won’t get the beach waves that everyone hopes for. I’ve told plenty this and they still do it! The best thing you can do is style it that way the days you want to wear the look. If you get the perm, you’ll probably regret it!

      I have appointments in a few, but I will send you some tips on how to get the beachy wavy look :).

  45. Neels says:

    Your tips on here are awesome! I absolutely LOVE wavy hair and wish it grew from my own head. I literally curl my hair daily and then finger comb it out to get wavy hair instead of my straight fine hair that tends to fall flat if I don’t tease it a little. My biggest concern that I haven’t been able to get a clear answer on if all permed hair looks wet even after drying.

    After searching countless hours online for before and after pictures, I noticed that many of them look wet/moist even after the hair has dried. Is there a way to avoid this or is that a definitive result from cold perms? If I were to let it airdry after perming and then blasting with a hairdryer would I get fluffy hair? Basically, I want to avoid crunchy wet looking hair that results from putting too much hair gel!! I’ll greatly appreciate a response!! Thank you.

    • Erika Brown says:

      Thanks for reading! The “wet” look is probably from hair gels and mousses. That’s what most people use to style a perm because they have a stronger hold and/or the hair is damaged and frizzy. You probably won’t like the look of a perm if you want “beachy” waves.

      Definitely don’t want to blow dry a perm! Major fluff!

      You should try a texture spray when your hair is wet to help hold the look that you create with the iron. If you have a little bit of natural wave then you can use a spray to get that look. I do that and wrap my hair in a towel to hold up the weight as it drys. That way, the weight of the moisture and my hair doesn’t pull out the waves as much.

      My favorite is Julep’s Sea Salt Texture Spray….just got it last month and I love it!

  46. Jenny says:

    I am so glad I found this blog! I recently had a baby and wanted to do something different with my hair that would be quick to style everyday. I decided I wanted to get a beach wave perm. My stylist said she could do it. Some background on my hair – it is thin and fine, and was colored last summer (2014). Prior to my very recent perm, I would blow dry and flat iron my hair daily. I was very clear to my stylist that I didn’t want a spiral perm, but she said due to the length of my hair (just past my shoulder blades) she would have to use sprial rods, but she would make it loose (not leaving the perm solution in as long). I got the perm just about two weeks ago and I hate it! I washed my hair the same night I got my perm, but it didn’t do anything. My styllist said if I hated the perm that she could easily straighten it using a perm solution. My perm looks horrible at this stage (looks more stringy than anything). My question for you is, will straightening my hair (with her using a perm solution) damage my hair too much and make it fall out? Currently, my hair doesn’t seem too damaged, but I’m afraid how my hair will be after permanently straightening it with the perm solution. I know I’ll have to go back to blow drying and flat ironing my hair daily (since my hair is naturally wavy – but more of a frizzy non-cute wave). Any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

    • Erika Brown says:

      I think you should get a new stylist! That sounds like a horrible idea! The first red flag was the spiral rods….hair just past the shoulders is borderline (length-wise) for choosing that type. Most stylists prefer much longer hair because it will not turn out right if it is too short.

      It’s 2015….perm solutions should not be used to straighten your hair! OMG…lol. There are lots of great services that will straighten and nourish your hair at the same time. How bad is your hair? Is it completely unbearable? I can give you some suggestions, but I need a little more info. Maybe you can send me a photo of your hair before you got the perm, and after.

      • Jenny says:

        Maybe I was mistaken in the rods she used – she used orange and peach rods. She mentioned something about spiral (so I thought she was referring to the rods).

        I really don’t like my hair. I’d be happy to email pictures to you if you provide me with your email address. I am really unhappy with the perm. What types of services are you referring to that will straighten and nourish my hair (rather than using a perm solution)?

        Thanks!

        • Erika Brown says:

          Sounds like normal rods….they are the large-ish and medium-ish sizes for regular perms. Your hair is an odd length for the peach rods….definitely too small. The orange ones could have been used in areas where you have shorter hair and she could have used turquoise (larger close to a 50 cent piece in diameter).

          It was probably rolled like a “spiral”, but it still looks different unless special rods are used. Unfortunately, the reality is that no one ever gets the look they think they will get with a perm. It can happen with the right solution, wrapping method, and special rods….but it will never look naturally “beachy”. The best way to get beachy waves is to style it that way on the days you want the look. There are several methods to get this look….I’ll upload my tutorial so you can see :)

          I would suggest a keratin treatment. They come in all ranges from expensive and longer lasting to under $100 lasting for a month or so. You are a different case because you’re not someone that is trying to straighten course/curly hair. One treatment could do wonders for you! My e-mail is ….only type in what is in-between the “<>“. Once I see your hair I can give you a more detailed opinion!

  47. Jess Connell says:

    OK, so I definitely fall in the “I’m sick of my hair situation & want to shake things up” camp. Here’s the deal. My hair is fairly straight (a little wavy if I try to do it that way after it’s wet). I’m 35, a few grays, and haven’t done anything chemically to my hair in 13 years. I just had a baby and think I want an easy, wet-and-scrunch, don’t-bother-drying-it, beachy wave look.

    Easy to style, natural looking, loose wavy texture… is what I’m after. Is this achievable? What sort of perm does this? What should I be looking for in the salon/stylist I choose? I’ve got long layers and normally just go get a trim from whoever, so I don’t have a regular stylist.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

    • Erika Brown says:

      Did your hair change after after you had your baby? Is the texture more or less curly now? I love the Sea Salt Spray from Julep.com….I used to put water from the beach in a bottle and my step-mom thought I was crazy! No doubt…my hair looked awesome after the salt water, so that might be a good product for you to try!

      Here’s the link:
      https://www.julep.com/rewardsref/index/refer/id/946472/

      Have you ever had a perm before? That’s another great question :) Then, we can go from there with the rest of your concerns!

      • Jess Connell says:

        That’s not a bad idea… when we used to have a pool, I LOVED my post-swim hair. It was loosely textured hair like what I’d love to have now.

        As far as my hair changing, this is baby #7 in 13 years, so my hair is probably constantly changing in some ways from hormones… that is sort of always the case. :)

        And yes, I got perms in middle school in the 90s LOL :) Not since then…

  48. Nery says:

    Hi there,

    I have black hair that has been dyed with henna for the past 2-3 years. It’s permanent and the colour grows out and I usually get the roots dyed every 2-3 months. Apart from that, my hair is healthy and shiny. I just want to know whether its safe to get a perm?

    Thanks.

    • Erika Brown says:

      You can probably go either way. It’s hard to tell without seeing your hair, but just remember that your hair won’t feel as nice after the perm. Some people get perms for that reason….they like the slight damage because their hair is extremely fine and has no texture.

      If you have beautiful hair already I would just find other fun ways to style it. Do you want a perm because you really want curls, or are you bored with your hair?

      • Nery says:

        Thanks for the fast reply.

        Both reasons apply – granted I had very curly hair as a child. Otherwise, my hair does have a slight wavy texture to it and is thick. It’d be a nice change. I know my aunt has been perming her hair for quite a while and it seems fine. Her texture is also similar to mine. You can never know until it is done, right?

        Cheers.

          • Nery says:

            Update:

            Got it permed yesterday, but I didn’t get the ‘curl’ I expected so I went back today and they gave it a bit of a cut and a shampoo and oil treatment. It certainly looks a lot better – nice and puffy and the curls do look like curls (sort of) and not waves. The hair is all blended, so you can’t really tell whether it’s wavy or not. My mum expected it to be curlier (she got perms quite frequently back when she was younger), mainly because I asked for a spiral perm. I feel a bit bad, because it certainly wasn’t cheap and was a birthday gift from mum. I will just have to wait until I go overseas again where I can get it a lot cheaper and where they specialise in spiral perms.

            It still looks good, though. It has a certain childlike quality to it – not the locks I had as a child, but it certainly looks zany. I will admit that my scalp and neck are sore and that the hair does have a different feel to it. I think that may be because of the gargantuan amount of mousse the hairdresser doused my hair in 😛

  49. devny says:

    I am wanting to get a body wave perm. I want beachy waves. I got an ombre about 11 months ago. My hair is really healthy except for the ends. It is fine, but really thick (my ombre took 4 hrs, she has to rinse the first part before she finished putting the foils in). It is past my bra in the back and bottom of breast in the front. I really want BEACHY WAVES, not kinky curls.

    Do you think I should get a perm? If I do, what is the best way to communicate what I want with the Stylist? I have consultation with 2 different stylists tomorrow…

    • Erika Brown says:

      1) What did she have to rinse before she finished putting your foils in??? That part worries me about her formulations when coloring your hair.

      2) Are the ends just dry? Or are they really damaged/frayed and hard to achieve a smooth look? I can’t promise you that a body wave will give you the look you desire. A stylists at your consultation (depending on how honest he/she is) might say- “yea, let’s do it…it’ll look great!”…because that’s a $100 service in most decent salons. Probably about $120-$150 with the length of your hair.

      3) I have a hunch that your hair was over-processed when you got the ombre. There are other ways to achieve the “wavy” look without getting a perm. Let me know what happens at your consultations!

      • devny says:

        She had to rinse the top (the part she did first) before she finished. It isn’t really over processed and frayed and raggedy, just dry. The very ends (bottom half inch) may be a little bit worse. I wish I could send you a picture…

        The consultations went well. I went to an Aveda salon (i would hope they know what they’re doing). I went to two different salons. Both agreed that it would be okay, but would be dryer because that’s what perms do. I liked one better because she seems to get the look that I was going for and the other lady was wanting to do more of a poodle perm (YIKES!!).

        The stylist I chose said that the ends probably wouldn’t take as good as the middle, and the top would be less curly because my hair is so thick (sounds like what I want bc I want the beach look.

        Sooooo I guess we’ll see in a couple of weeks?

  50. Heidi says:

    I am trying to decide whether to get a perm…I color my hair regularly about every 1 1/2 months. I have not had highlights in over 2 years. I have very fine, thin hair straight hair and would like body and a wave, I would like a easy hair style, Currently I shower, blow dry, and brush. What is your suggestion?

    • Erika Brown says:

      Is your hair in spectacular shape right now?

      Not having highlights is a plus, because they make your hair 10x more sensitive to the perm solution. No matter what, you will notice a difference in the texture and porosity of your hair if you get a perm and regularly color your hair!

      You will probably have some trouble getting a brush through it if you get a perm…..

  51. Angela says:

    I just got my hair permed 3 days ago. We used orange and purple rods. I did not give me curls at all so they want me to come in tomorrow to get it re done. Isn’t is too soon for them to put more chemicals in my hair. I do have thin fine hair. It was my very first perm. I had a consultation before the perm they said my hair was very healthy. I havnt dyed my hair for over 6 months. Im not sure what to do, get it re done tomorrow or wait.

    • Erika Brown says:

      How does your hair feel and look? If it’s really dry with frayed ends….I would definitely wait. Also, how long is your hair and how do you style it? What is your desired look with a perm?

      Did you shampoo or brush it in the last few days? Are you taking any medications (you don’t have to answer in the comment section), or are you on your period or possibly ovulating? Did you recently change your birth control method if you take the pill?

      There are lots of things that can interfere with the chemical reaction of a perm and whether or not it takes….mainly hormones and meds, lol (oh, how they greatly affect our lives!).

      Another thing that can cause a perm to “not take” is how it is cared for in the few days following the service.

      Here’s a personal story:
      I got a “rag” perm in the 7th grade…I wanted a spiral perm, but they said my hair wasn’t long enough (it was about an inch past my shoulders).

      Just for the record….don’t get a “rag” perm! Now that I know what I know….I wonder if it was a real thing….or if they made it up and decided to try it on me! A “rag” perm does not require rods….they used strips of towels that they cut themselves. they rolled my hair with the towel strip as if it were a roller and tied it(yes, a knot with a towel strip)at the scalp.

      In case you hadn’t realized this already….when they apply the perm solution the towels soak up some of it, so it gets a little heavy. That wasn’t so bad….until they had to rinse my hair to prepare it for the neutralizer application(generally stays on at least 5 minutes). OMG….after they rinsed the perm solution out I was about to die! The towels were probably holding about a gallon of water and the only relief I got was when the stylist(s) held my towel-rolled hair up. They said this was normal….yea….whatever!

      The neutralization process is important. The reason why your hair stays in the rods is to ensure that it is neutralized while it’s in its tightest curl form. That way, when the hair is unrolled and relaxes it will keep the curl. If the neutralization were done after removing the rods…..the curl would fall out faster.

      So, the weight of all of that liquid in the towel strips pulled the curl right out of the hair closest to my scalp (a few inches were basically “yanked straight”). To top it all off, my mom said that the stylist was crazy for saying that I could not brush my hair. I begged…and pleaded with her….insisted that I could only use a comb. She won that battle and brushed it out.

      So, I don’t know if my perm fell out because of the brushing or the bad technique, but you get the idea!

      • Angela says:

        I dont have frayed hair at the bottom just frizzy on the top. I didnt brush nor shower after the perm for 2 days. I have just started yesterday some new meds. Propranolol and fludrocortisone. Before yesterday i was on no meds. All i do with my hair normally is brush it and leave it. its very straight and just lays in place. i really want to get this perm but i dont want my hair to fall out.

        • Erika Brown says:

          Was the top frizzy before the perm?

          I know the feeling of wanting to change my hair so badly that judgement gets blurred! Just about every woman has had that undying itch to get a cut, color, perm, etc. despite the reasons why it’s not a good idea, or why they should wait.

          Some perms are less harsh than others….do you know what brand they used?

  52. Mckenzie says:

    I’ve been wondering if I should get a perm, I have a lot of hair but it’s super fine, and flat on my face. I have colored my hair once in my life which was a few months ago. Would a perm work on my type of hair? Thanks

    • Erika Brown says:

      It depends on the current condition of your hair, length, how you style it, etc.

      It sounds like you just need a change. That could be with the perfect haircut for your face, or maybe it’s a perm. E-mail me with more details and I’ll help steer you in the right direction :) .

      *It’s important for EVERYONE to remember that a perm is never like a natural curl. Most of us have tried it once….in our minds, the perm is going to look exactly like our vision of perfect, naturally wavy curls. It rarely turns out that way. At first it might be too curly, then when you finally start to like it….it will soon start to fall out and you’ll be back at the salon looking for answers.

      Perms are great for certain hair types and styles. For some people, the right perm adds body or gives them the curl they desire. The part that stylists have trouble explaining is the reason why you cannot always get what you want. Large rollers need a lot of length to form a curl that will hold, but rollers that are too small may give you undesirable results (I am not talking about my cute little cotton ball ladies right now…for you the perm is perfect :) ).

      If you’re unsure, schedule a consultation first. A god stylists will tell you it’s right for you, or that you probably just need a great cut. There are also many different types of perms! Make sure you ask questions about the product being used and be completely honest about your hairs chemical history!

  53. Tina Adame says:

    I colored my hair a few months ago. It’s time to do a touch up. I want to get a perm. Do I get the perm first or color touch up first? Which and when? Can you let me know? I’ve heard you had to wait a few months in between either the color or the perm before doing the other.

    • Erika Brown says:

      It depends on a few things…

      Do you have gray hair?

      Is your hair colored lighter or darker?

      Do you get highlights or just a single application color?

      Have you had highlights in the last few years if you don’t get them now?

      If you have had highlights(even if they appear to be gone)…how long is your hair?

      Is your hair colored with permanent color or semi-permanent? (I can help with that if you’re not sure.)

    • Erika Brown says:

      After you answer the questions below….

      If I think you can get a perm:

      1)I usually do them a week apart, but it is not required (all stylists have different opinions). Color, then perm.

      2)I have seen someone do a color and perm back-to-back in one appointment on someone with gray hair. The color needs to be formulated darker than your norm because it will turn out much lighter after the perm.

      3)In my experiences with clients that get monthly color and insist on a perm twice a year or so…their hair is definitely harder to comb and style for a month or two after the perm. Deep conditioning a few times cannot reverse this.

      4)Your hair texture will most likely be unpleasant. If you MUST get the perm and want it more than your healthier hair, then it’s a personal decision.

      *My grandma insists that I perm her hair before summer and I do it hesitantly. Her hair is short, so it’s not as bad because we trim and color it every month. Also, she curls it and brushes out for styling…then gives it a few good layers of White Rain Hairspray to hold it in place.

      She’s stuck in her ways and has made a huge change in her “hair routine” all because I kept insisting that I did not want to damage her hair. Her previous stylist was old school and would color it every month, but every 3 months she got a perm the same day.

      Her hair looks so much better since I’ve been doing it….that’s because I care more about her than making the money. Keep that in mind when you go in for your appointment :)

      • Anna says:

        Curious, I had red dye on my hair on top only then wait one week then did perm now my hair on top look brown to orange I want red back I see website say can’t do same day return red hair on top , im so press want red dye on my hair so what should I do ??

        • Erika Brown says:

          Red is known for fading faster than any other color as it is. Perms can cause your color to fade several shades depending on the variables. I would need to see some photos of your hair and some of what you want to make some suggestions. You can e-mail me here: info< @>confessionsofacosmetologist.com

  54. […] coming back!  One sure sign is the HUGE amount of e-mails I’ve been getting about perms.  Should I get a perm with thin hair?  Should I get a perm with short hair?  What’s the difference in a spiral perm and a regular […]

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