The Perm Is Back. Is It Right for You?

woman with a curly perm

The perm is back! If you’ve ever dreamed of curls or waves that last several months without any styling, a perm might be the perfect solution for you. But before you embrace the return of this classic ’80s style, keep in mind that as with any chemical hair treatment, there are some cons to consider. Is permanent hair curling right for you? Keep reading to find out. 

What is Permanent Hair Curling?

Permanent hair curling uses a combination of heat and Chemicals to break and reform the disulfide bonds of your hair. This process permanently alters your hair’s anatomy to resemble that of curly hair, giving hair permanent curls that don’t require heat tools or curlers. Your perm will grow out over four to six months, depending on how quickly your hair grows.

The curly perm treatment depends on the stylist and desired results, but generally the process takes several hours. First, hair is washed using a clarifying shampoo. Then, hair is curled using rods. Smaller rods create tighter curls. Next, the perming solution is applied to the rollers. After a set amount of time, the hairstylist applies a neutralizer to hair to reform the disulfide bonds and lock in the curl.

Perm curler rods

While many people love the idea of having low-maintenance curls, there are some downsides to permanent hair curling. High temperatures and chemicals can cause damage and breakage to hair. Many salons won’t perform perms on lightened or colored hair, since the risk of breakage is too great.

The digital wave or hot perm is the latest development in permanent hair curling. The digital perm uses a diluted perm solution and curling wand to create natural-looking Beach Waves. Since the temperatures aren’t as high and the chemicals aren’t as strong, the digital perm is not as damaging for hair as a traditional perm. Digital perms are usually more expensive than traditional cold perms but the results can last longer, about six months or more.

Digital perms give looser, more natural-looking waves. Results can last six months or more.

How to Care for Permanent Curls

  • After your perm treatment, wait at least three days before washing your hair and avoid coloring your hair for at least a month. This will help your curls to last longer, and limit the amount of stress placed on your hair.
  • Permed hair is prone to Frizziness, so sleep on a silk pillowcase or wrap your hair in a silk scarf before bed to prevent friction and frizz. After washing your hair, remove excess water using a microfiber cloth or an old cotton t-shirt instead of a cotton towel, which can rough up the cuticle of the hair and cause more frizz.
  • Get your hair trimmed at least every three months to keep your curls bouncy and healthy-looking.
  • The chemicals in permanent hair solution can dry out your hair. Use a great conditioner like Viviscal Gorgeous Growth Hair Densifying Conditioner to moisturize your curls without weighing them down. Once a week, use a deep conditioning treatment to keep your curls looking healthy and shiny.
  • Styling a perm is super-easy. After all, that’s a huge part of the appeal! After washing your hair, gently detangle any knots with a wide-tooth comb. Add a small amount of Viviscal Gorgeous Growth Densifying Elixir to hair for added body. Then, scrunch hair with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Allow hair to air dry, or blow dry with a diffuser attachment to speed up drying time.
  • No matter which type of permanent hair curling you choose, your hair is bound to experience some damage. Keep your hair looking healthy and strong by using Viviscal Advanced Hair Health Supplements. They’re formulated with the vitamins and minerals your follicles need to grow healthy-looking hair from the inside out.*

Would you ever consider a perm? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments!

Existing hair growth

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