I get a lot of e-mails and comments about 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 against it…try one of the perm alternatives listed below!

Remember…If you’re hair has been colored, highlighted, or is very damaged then you should NOT get a perm! Just trust me on this, you will not be happier with your hair if you get the perm.

Some people just want a change, so they think…

“Hey, maybe I’ll just get a perm! I’ve always wanted those beachy, wild waves!”.

That’s not going to happen with a perm. Not going to happen. Great hair that looks effortless isn’t that easy(unless those beachy waves are natural), so some of these perm alternatives are perfect for those days when you have some extra time to style your hair!

Perm Alternatives

Heated Tools


Bed Head Dual Waver

Most of you have already tried curling your hair and you aren’t satisfied with the results. Either your curls fall out within minutes, or you just aren’t good at curling your hair(you could also be using the wrong products, or worse…no products).

Getting a perm will not make everyone happy. Having effortless curls everyday may be more of a hassle than you realize, especially if you’ve never had them. Once you get the perm your hair texture will be completely different and will last for several months.

There’s no going back, so try one of these awesome heated tools:

Don’t forget to use the right products when you’re curling or waving your hair with heated tools! Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Root Booster- You need some volume at the root, and unless you’re a hairstylist you probably have a little bit of trouble doing that with a curling iron. Applying a good root booster when your hair is wet and blow-drying it properly will do the trick. Check out some of my favorite root boosters. Check out some of my favorite root boosters here!
  • Mousse- Applying mousse before you blow-dry will help to “amplify” your hair and give it a little texture. Soft & clean hair does not curl well, and will not hold the curl for very long. You need to “dirty it up” for better curls/waves! Check out some of my favorite mousse products here!
  • Thermal Spray- These are great for frizz and they make your style last so much longer. Be choosy with which thermal spray you use because some of them make the hair crunchy or hard. If you don’t need that additional hold, then you’ll want to use one for shine.
  • Hairspray- You ALWAYS need a good hairspray! I curl my hair in 3 sections(bottom, middle, top), and I give a good spray to each layer after I’ve curled it. Then I spray all of my hair when I’m done…right-side-up and upside-down! Check out some of my favorite hairsprays here!

Hot Rollers


Babyliss Ceramic Ionic Roller Set

Hot rollers are not for everyone, but they are great for volume and your hair is basically styling itself while you put your makeup on.

The most frustrating part about using rollers is actually rolling the hair. A lot of people try hot rollers, and it feels like more work than it is…so the rollers go in the closet.

If you’re new to hot rollers…

Practice rolling your hair on the weekends and wash/dry your hair in the evening instead of in the morning.

That way all you have to do is wake up and pop in a few rollers!

I prefer to use about 5-8 rollers on top and use a curling iron on the bottom and middle layers. It’s easier and faster…I just curl a few big sections of hair and spray them. No one sees that hair anyways and you don’t need the volume in those areas.

Here are the most popular hot roller sets:

Velcro Rollers


Conair Self-Grip Rollers

Velcro rollers are best for damaged or over-processed hair that should not be exposed to excessive heat.

This option is a little more time-consuming, so it’s usually a last resort.

If your hair is so damaged that you should not use flat irons or curling irons, then you may want to try velcro rollers.

Here are some great velcro roller sets:

How to use velcro rollers:

  • Lightly towel-dry and comb your hair.
  • Apply your favorite products(root booster, mousse, leave-in conditioner, etc.).
  • Roll your hair with the velcro rollers(no fastener is needed, but you may use pin curl clips).
  • Spray your hair with a very light hairspray or thermal spray(optional).
  • Let your hair air dry or use a dryer bonnet(easy and fast-use medium heat for excessively damaged hair). When your hair is dry use the cool setting for about 1-3 minutes before removing the bonnet and rollers.

Get a Haircut

Are you just tired of your hair? Is it curls that you want, or do you feel like you’ve tried everything…so a perm is all that’s left?

Just ask yourself why you want the perm before you go through with it. Perms aren’t for everyone, so make sure you want one because you really want curls and not because you just want a change.

Keratin Treatment

I know, this is completely opposite of getting a perm. Keratin treatments are on my perm alternatives list because SO many people e-mail me asking if they should get a perm or a keratin treatment. This is yet another example of how people are just bored with their hair, they don’t know how to style it, they’re using the wrong products, etc.

Sometimes the solution is as simple as going to an amazing stylist that knows what you need, teaches you how to achieve the look, and recommends the right products for you. If you love your stylist and you really just want a perm, or keratin treatment…you need to ask yourself why you want the change and what kind of look you’re going for.

Keratin treatments are safe for colored hair and they make getting ready in the morning SO much easier! If you’re thinking about getting a keratin treatment, but you don’t know if it’s right for you…read my post- “Should I Get A Keratin Treatment?”


Maybe you’re just bored with your hair, but you’re not ready for a major haircut. If you want to keep your length, then try getting bangs. It seems like something small, but bangs can change everything!

When it’s time for me to trim my bangs I always forget that it’s all I need. My hair just doesn’t style as well when they’re grown out, and once I cut them it’s like a brand new day!

If you’re not sure if bangs are for you…check out my post, “To Bang Or Not To Bang?”. I compare full bangs and side bangs, explain cowlicks and help you decide which bangs(or no bangs) are right for you!

About The Author


Professional Hairstylist | American Board Certified Haircolorist | Makeup Artist | Beauty Blogger

5 Responses to Perm Alternatives

  1. robinson says:

    i have been told that some medication is not very good for perms they dont last very long
    is this true?

    • Erika says:

      This is true with certain medications. The biggest concern is that some medications can cause a perm to not “take”. I haven’t heard specifically about meds and perms not lasting, but it’s possible. That can also be confused with a perm not taking because it might look okay for a week or so, then change drastically.

  2. […] tell you that it’s fine, and others will say don’t do it. You may also want to read “Perm Alternatives” if you’re unsure about getting a perm! […]

  3. […] Click here for more Perm Alternatives! […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.