How Long Does a Perm Last?

How Long Does a Perm Last?

The ’80s known as they usually need their perms again. It might be as a result of what was as soon as the crinkly, crimped on-trend ‘do a long time in the past has now turn into what’s lauded because the modern-day, tailored perm. These days, perms will be fine-tuned to provide the actual waves you are searching for, whether or not or not it’s bouncy, voluminous strands (assume: Jennifer Lopez) or corkscrew curls à la Emmy Rossum. Even a “straight perm,” which can semi-straighten curly or wavy hair, will be created with a perm answer. To study extra about this coveted hair method—together with which hair textures it is superb for, styling ideas, in addition to how lengthy perms final—we spoke with skilled hairstylist Michelle O’Connor. Hold scrolling to seek out her solutions to all of our burning perm hair questions.

Meet the Knowledgeable

Michelle O’Connor is knowledgeable hairstylist and the Creative Director at Matrix.

What Is a Perm?

Brief for “everlasting coiffure,” the perms of the 80s meant completely straightening, curling, or waving the hair through a chemical answer. Quick ahead to current day and perms have turn into a recycled hair pattern that now provides a sleeker method of altering the hair’s texture. “Perms are mostly related to wrapping straight hair on hair rollers or rods and making use of a perm answer on high,” says O’Connor. “Then there’s what’s known as a digital perm, which makes use of temperature-controlled rods and infrared warmth to create unfastened waves and pure quantity.” The perm is activated by warmth to interrupt down the pure molecular construction of your hair—this ends in restructured hair that mirrors the form of the rods.

Jack Sorokin / Stocksy

So, what precisely does the method entail? Brace your self, as a result of it might be a prolonged one which lasts all of two hours. “First, hair is about on rods primarily based on the scale of the curl that you just want, then a perm answer is utilized over the rollers,” says O’Connor. “This modifications the hair construction and reshapes it to tackle the curl measurement of the curler it’s been set on.” Sounds dreamy, however how this fares on our treasured locks within the long-run has us scratching our heads. “Perms can positively trigger injury, as they structurally change the hair in important methods,” says O’Connor. “But it surely’s often not as harsh or drastic as bleaching, and having the correct merchandise that assist to rebalance and fortify the hair will assist tremendously.” Phew.

What’s Completely different About Fashionable Perms?

Perms have made a serious comeback in recent times, however opposite to how we’re used to seeing them, they now tackle a extra slick, trendy look. “Whereas perms within the ’80s have been rolled on tight rods, crunchy, and resulted in a stiff, harsh look, the perms of immediately stream extra naturally and seem softer,” O’Connor notes. And based on her, the rods used immediately mark a notable distinction between previous versus new. “Bigger rods could also be used to create beachy waves, they usually will also be positioned primarily on the root areas (versus the ends) to create elevate and quantity,” she says. “I’ve additionally seen pipe cleaners getting used on straight hair to create extremely textured hair (oftentimes to imitate historically textured hairstyles like locs and Afros).”

How Lengthy Does a Perm Final?

Based on O’Connor, perms can last as long as six months; nevertheless, in contrast to hair coloration, a perm will not wash out and cannot be chemically reversed. A perm all the time has to develop out, however fortunately, they sometimes develop out as natural-looking waves.

On the subject of perms, upkeep is vital. Deal with your hair as you’d in case your hair have been naturally curly (or naturally straight, relying on the case). “Everlasting hair coloration shouldn’t be carried out instantly after a perm service,” says O’Connor, noting that you must wait not less than per week earlier than dyeing. She provides that you must “Keep away from parabens, alcohol, and sulfates in your haircare merchandise, as these components can strip your hair of moisture.” As a substitute, go for merchandise that use buzzwords like replenish, moisturize, nourish, and hydrate. Under, she lays out another noteworthy ideas:

  • Keep away from washing or wetting a brand new perm for not less than two days after getting it finished.
  • Restrict using warmth styling instruments.
  • Use a moisturizing shampoo or one which’s particularly designated for chemically-treated hair.
  • Shield hair from frizzing and tangling by pinning it up and sleeping with a satin cap.

Do Perms Work on Each Hair Texture?

“Perms work on hair varieties starting from straight to wavy,” says O’Connor. “When referencing perms for curly or highly-textured hair, it will translate to a everlasting wave or curly perm, which entails using a chemical known as ammonium thioglycolate.” She provides that in contrast to perming straight hair, the method of waving textured hair entails making use of the thioglycolate chemical to take away the pure curl, then rinsing it off. “The damp hair is then set in perm rods and a waving answer (additionally known as a reshaping answer) is utilized to set the hair in its new form. That is then rinsed off and neutralized—that is thought-about a double processed service.” 

Cinema Tigers / Stocksy

As a result of perms are usually finished to be able to give the hair extra physique and bounce, O’Connor notes that you just’ll need to undertake the rules that almost all naturally curly haired people already deal with: caring for your hair. “From defending it at night time to the concerted efforts you make to take care of hydration and nourishment, curls want moisture, whether or not they’re pure or chemically-treated,” she says. “Hold these issues in thoughts and also you’ll have the hair of your goals!”

Does Hair Size Matter?

Whereas your hair size does not play a task on if you will get a perm, the hair does have to be lengthy sufficient to have the ability to wrap across the rod. “To attain curl, you may have to have hair that’s not less than lengthy sufficient to wrap round a rod two to 2 and a half occasions,” advises O’Connor. “You probably have layers, they will not have an effect on whether or not you will get a perm or not, however the sizing of the rods you utilize could range relying on the lodging you might want to give the numerous lengths.” And identical to curling your hair with a curling iron, the longer the hair you’ve gotten, the extra time it will take to wrap across the perm rod.

Can You Perm Dyed Hair?

Virgin hair, or hair that has not been coloured, makes the most effective candidate for a perm, however improvements in know-how imply just about anybody can get a perm. O’Connor notes that whilst you can perm dyed hair, it’s inadvisable to perm hair that is been bleached or highlighted. Nonetheless, the very last thing anybody desires is dry, brittle hair that breaks off in chunks, so seek the advice of together with your stylist in the event you’re on the fence.

Tips on how to Fashion Permed Hair

Aleksandra Jankovic

“The additional physique that you’re going to get out of your perm will make styling lots simpler,” notes O’Connor. “Your go-to model might be a diffuser on a low warmth setting—it will assist encourage your curls to spring up.” Or, it’s also possible to do a set at night time that’ll range your texture, like doing braids on damp hair earlier than mattress that’ll land you unfastened waves come morning. And whilst you can use sizzling instruments, it is best to maintain them on a low setting—not more than 300 levels Fahrenheit—to make sure you’re not frying your hair and stripping it of moisture.

The Greatest Merchandise for Permed Hair

Under, discover our favourite perm-enhancing styling merchandise.

SH-RD Protein Cream

Protein Cream


Permed hair requires hydration and safety, and this protein-rich leave-in does precisely that: It locks in hydration with its silk protein advanced and protects locks from chlorine, sizzling instruments, and UV rays.

Herbal Essences Potent Aloe + Mango Shampoo

Natural Essences
Potent Aloe + Mango Shampoo


Hold curls trying their absolute best with this curl-specific, sulfate-free shampoo that is made with aloe, antioxidants, and sea kelp extract.

Matrix Wild Boho Texturizing Air-Dry Cream

Wild Boho Texturizing Air-Dry Cream


The title says all of it—in case your look requires a carefree bohemian look, O’Connor recommends this air-dry cream. It’s going to give a tousled, textured look, sans warmth.

Marc Anthony Curl Defining Lotion

Marc Anthony
Curl Defining Lotion


Permed hair will be vulnerable to frizziness and flyaways. Hold each at bay with this lotion that is immune to humidity and leaves curls feeling bouncy and silky easy—simply as they need to be.

Kristin Ess Strand Strengthening Reconstructive Moisture Mask

Kristin Ess
Strand Strengthening Reconstructive Moisture Masks


O’Connor stresses the significance of hydration and nourishment on permed hair, and this color-safe masks delivers on all fronts. It situations broken hair follicles (particularly dry ends), detangles hard-to-brush locks, and drenches hair with moisture and shine.

Bounce Curl Light Creme Gel

Bounce Curl Gentle Creme Gel
Bounce Curl Gentle Creme Gel


This light-weight gel boasts a aromatic scent of unique fruits and guarantees extra-hold for any curl form, from beachy waves to springy curls.

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