17 Best Perm Hair Styles: Complete Guide 2024

by  Mila M.Cosmetologist

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Are you mesmerized by the bouncy curls and waves of perm hairstyles? Known as a classic in the hair styling industry, perms have made an impressive comeback recently.

In this article, we’ll unravel everything you need to know about perms in 2024 – from types to process, costs, and maintenance tips.

Let’s dive into the world of perm styles for a total hair transformation!

Key Takeaways

  • Traditional perms use plastic perm rods to create waves or curls in your hair, making it a versatile option for both long and short hair lengths.
  • Spiral perms are perfect for transforming long hair into bouncy, dimensional curls that last a long time.
  • Digital perms use heat therapy and restructuring techniques to create permanent curls in wavy or straight hair.
  • A multi-textured perm is great for adding volume and body to different textures of hair.

Types of Perm

There are various types of perms to choose from, depending on your needs and goals. Let’s check out some of the most popular ones.

Luscious curls on perm hair on a fashionable closeup of woman with red lipstick

Traditional Perm

Traditional perms stand as a classic option in the realm of permanent waves.

Using plastic perm rods, this technique creates the desired wave or curl pattern on your hair.

It serves as an effective styling alternative for those with naturally curly hair and individuals seeking to add texture and volume.

The traditional perm possesses versatility, making it suitable for both long and short hair lengths.

Once you get a traditional perm, expect its effect to last until new hair grows out completely or if you decide to cut off your permed locks.

Spiral Perm

Spiral perms can transform your long hair into bouncy, dimensional curls that don’t fade with time.

They achieve this remarkable result by applying a chemical treatment to break and reset the bonds of your hair.

This process ensures you get permanent curls and spirals—a fact that has made spiral perms an increasingly popular choice among curly hair enthusiasts.

Blonde perm hair on a white woman with gray background

Although modern perms are suitable for varying hair types, they excel most when applied on longer tresses.

The greater length allows each curl to fully form and flaunt its texture, creating an overall look of stunning volume and movement in your hairstyle.

This makes the spiral perm a perfect option if you’re aiming for a head-turning transformation!

Digital Perm

Digital perms are a perfect solution for hair enthusiasts looking to make a lasting style change.

This popular Asian method uses heat therapy and restructuring techniques to create permanent curls in wavy or straight hair, transforming their overall look.

Coarse and resistant textures become soft, springy curls under the influence of infrared heat, making digital perm an ideal choice for those seeking volume and bounce in their hairstyles.

Make sure to consult professionals about this type of permanent wave before diving into the process as it involves chemical treatment that could potentially damage your hair if not done correctly.


A multi-textured perm is a great option for those with hair that has different textures. It uses various-sized rods to create curls of different sizes, adding volume and body to the hair.

This type of perm can last for several months if you take proper care of it.

Before getting a multi-textured perm, it’s important to consult with a professional stylist who can assess your hair and recommend the best approach.

With their expertise, you can achieve a unique look that enhances your natural beauty.

Textured Perm

A textured perm is a popular choice for those looking to create different sizes and shapes of curls. This type of perm is all about embracing the natural texture of your hair, whether it’s fine, medium, or coarse.

It’s especially great for people with curly hair who often have multiple textures, including straight sections.

Long curly brown hair on a woman with hot red lipstick and looking sideways

With a textured perm, you can enhance your natural waves and add more volume and dimension to your locks.

One specific type of textured perm that has gained popularity is the beach wave perm, which gives you those effortlessly tousled waves that are perfect for a laid-back summer look.

So if you’re looking to switch up your hairstyle and want some added texture and bounce, a textured perm might be just what you need!

Wavy Perm

A wavy perm is a popular type of perm hairstyle that creates loose waves in the hair. It is a great way to add texture and volume, giving your hair a more natural look.

Whether you have long or short hair, the wavy perm can be done on any hair type as long as it is healthy and not compromised.

With a wavy perm, you can achieve soft and bouncy curls that will last for months.

If you’re looking to switch up your hairstyle and want to embrace those beautiful beachy waves, the wavy perm might be the perfect choice for you.

Ceramic Perm

A ceramic perm uses ceramic curlers to create curls in your hair. It requires around 7 to 9 inches of hair length for best results.

Ceramic perms can be done on naturally curly hair as well, offering different styles and options.

Root Perm

A root perm is a chemical treatment that uses perm rods to create long-lasting texture changes in your hair.

This type of perm is great for adding natural volume, smoothing out regrowth, and achieving curly texture from the roots.

It works best on virgin, healthy hair as it requires minimal tension during the perming process.

Pin Curl Perm

Pin curl perms are a great way to achieve bouncy and loose curls. This type of perm is perfect for adding volume to fine hair, making it appear fuller and more voluminous.

Pin curl perms are commonly seen on bobs and shorter hairstyles, but they can also work well with longer hair.

Perm hair with brown color on a serious looking woman

The process involves wrapping small sections of hair in paper and securing them with pins to create the desired curl pattern.

One of the advantages of pin curl perms is that they use a low-pH solution, which makes them suitable for fine hair types.

Stack Perm

A stack perm is a great option if you want natural-looking curls and added volume to your hair.

It focuses on curling the middle and lower sections of your hair while leaving the roots relatively straight.

This type of perm works well for people with straight or wavy hair and medium to long lengths.

The curls created by a stack perm can last for about six months, giving you long-lasting beautiful curls that add body to your hairstyle.

Partial Perm

A partial perm, also known as a spot perm, is a great option if you want curls in specific sections of your hair. It allows you to choose which areas to curl, such as the ends or around your face.

This type of perm can work well for different hair types, whether you have naturally curly hair or straight locks.

The size of the perm rods and the chemicals used can be adjusted based on what kind of curls you desire.

Before getting a partial perm, it’s important to consult with a professional hairstylist who can recommend the best type for your individual hair type and desired look.

Backshot of long curly blonde perm hair on a woman

Braid Perm

The braid perm is a type of perm that creates loose, beachy waves in your hair. It’s known for giving you a natural and effortless look without any frizz.

This hairstyle falls under the category of different types of perms and has been popular for quite some time.

If you’re interested in getting a braid perm, you can easily find salons near you that offer this service.

American Wave Perm

The American Wave Perm is a popular choice for those looking to add volume and texture to their hair.

Unlike traditional perms that restructure up to 80% of the hair bonds, the American Wave Perm only affects about 25% of the bonds in your hair.

This makes it a more gentle option, especially recommended for people with thin or flat hair who want to achieve a fuller look.

The end result of an American Wave Perm is softer body and texture in your hair, giving you bouncy curls that last.

Spot/Plain Curl Perm

Spot perm, also known as plain curl perm, is a technique that focuses on specific sections of your hair. It’s a great option for those who want to add curls to specific areas of their hair.

This type of perm allows you to strategically create curls in targeted sections, providing balance and symmetry to your hairstyle.

Spot perms use fewer chemicals than other types of perms, which means they are quicker and more affordable.

By adding volume and texture to specific parts of your hair, spot perms can give you the desired look without having to perm your entire head.

Beach Perm

The beach perm is a popular choice for those looking to achieve effortless, tousled waves.

This type of perm involves using large rollers or rods to create soft and loose waves that resemble the natural texture of beach hair.

Woman with orange perm hair wearing denim jacket and posing outdoors in daylight

Both men and women can get a beach perm, and it’s a great way to add volume and movement to your hair. To enhance the longevity of your curls, opt for thinner perm rods during the perming process.

The beach perm offers an alternative to traditional curly perms, giving you a relaxed and laid-back look that lasts.

Volumizing Perm

A volumizing perm is a great option if you want to increase the volume of your hair.

With this type of perm, the curling rods are removed before applying the neutralizer, resulting in a more natural look compared to traditional perms.

It’s a gentler option that won’t damage your hair as much, making it popular among those who want wave, body, and bounce without having extremely curly hair.

Reverse Perm

A reverse perm, also known as a straight perm, is a hair treatment that uses potassium hydroxide to remove the natural curliness of the hair.

This process can be done at home using waving lotion or gel to loosen tight curls and achieve straighter locks.

It’s a great option for individuals who want to change their hairstyle and eliminate their natural curls.

Brown Perm Hair session using big perm curlers on a woman's head

Hair Perm Process Step by Step

  1. Wet your hair thoroughly before starting the perm process
  1. Divide your hair into sections using clips or hair ties.
  1. Apply a protective cream or lotion to your scalp and hairline to prevent chemical irritation.
  1. Choose the size of the perm rods based on the desired curl size.
  1. Begin wrapping small sections of hair around each rod, starting from the ends and working towards the roots.
  1. Secure the wrapped hair with plastic clips or pins to hold it in place.
  1. Mix the perm solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions, taking care to follow all safety precautions.
  1. Apply the perm solution evenly to each wrapped section of hair, making sure not to oversaturate.
  1. Cover your head with a plastic cap and let the perm solution process for the recommended time.
  1. Rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water to remove all traces of the perm solution.
  1. Apply a neutralizer or conditioner to set and lock in the curls, following the package instructions.
  1. Gently remove each rod from your hair, being careful not to tangle or break any strands.
  1. Rinse your hair again with cool water and gently squeeze out excess moisture using a towel.
Perm hair curlers being carefull put by a hair stylist on the head of a customer

Hair Perm Kit

Hair perm kits are an affordable option for achieving curly hair at home.

These kits usually cost less than $20, making them a budget-friendly choice.

You can find live demonstrations and tutorials online to learn how to use the kit effectively.

Salon experts often recommend professional perm solutions for the best results.

Sally’s is a popular retail store that offers a wide range of perm solutions to choose from.

Stack Perm

A stack perm is a type of perm hairstyle. It involves stacking layers of curls on top of each other.

This creates voluminous and bouncy curls that add texture and dimension to the hair.

Stack perms are great for individuals with thin or fine hair as they create the illusion of fuller and thicker hair.

They can be achieved using both hot and cold perm methods, depending on your desired result and hair type.

Wavy Perm

The wavy perm is a trendy choice that gives your hair beautiful waves. Here’s what you need to know about it:

– Wavy perm creates soft and natural-looking waves in your hair.

– It works well on both short and long hair lengths.

– This type of perm adds volume and texture to your hair.

– The wavy perm is perfect for those who want a beachy, tousled look.

– It can be done on different types of hair, including straight or naturally curly hair.

Light Perm

A light perm is a type of hair perm that adds a light wave to straight hair. It is suitable for those with thin or flat hair who want to add volume and texture.

The modern perm technique is used for light perms, using new techniques and formulas.

Light perms can be achieved on most hair types, as long as the hair is healthy and not compromised.

The effects of a light perm can last for a certain period of time, depending on individual hair and maintenance.

Loose Perm

A loose perm is a popular choice for those looking to achieve natural-looking, relaxed waves. Here are some key features of a loose perm:

– Provides soft and gentle waves that add volume and movement to your hair.

– Gives a more laid-back and effortless look compared to tighter curls.

– Works best for medium to long hair lengths.

– Creates a beachy, bohemian vibe that is perfect for casual or everyday hairstyles.

– Requires less maintenance than tighter perms as the looser waves tend to blend in with your natural hair more easily.

Remember, it’s important to consult with a professional stylist before getting a loose perm to ensure the best results for your unique hair type and desired look.

Body Wave Perm

A body wave perm is perfect for adding volume and texture to thin or flat hair.

It can give straight hair a light, natural-looking wave.

The body wave perm provides firmness and support to prevent limp and lifeless hair.

This type of perm has become increasingly popular as more people embrace textured and voluminous hairstyles.

Korean Perm Types

Korean perm is a chemical treatment that uses chemicals to straighten hair.

It is different from Japanese and Brazilian perms, which use heat to straighten hair.

Here are some famous Korean perm types:

  • C-curl
  • S-curl
  • Body Wave

Remember, Korean perm can be done on both men and women.

Hair perm session in a salon with curlers on a customer's head and perming solution visibly foaming

Different Types of Perm Solutions

There are various types of perm solutions available in the market. These solutions can help you achieve different styles and looks for your permed hair.

Here are some popular options to consider:

  1. Alkaline Perm Solution

This solution is commonly used for traditional perms and provides long-lasting, tight curls.

  1. Acid Perm Solution

Ideal for those with delicate or damaged hair, this solution creates softer, more natural-looking curls.

  1. Exothermic Perm Solution

With this solution, heat is generated during the perming process, resulting in faster and more defined curls.

  1. Ammonia-Free Perm Solution

If you have sensitive hair or scalp, this solution is a great option as it is gentle and minimizes potential irritation.

  1. Low pH Perm Solution

This solution helps maintain the health of your hair while still delivering beautiful curls.

  1. Protein-Based Perm Solution

Enriched with proteins, this solution helps strengthen and nourish your hair during the perming process.

  1. Moisturizing Perm Solution

Designed to provide added hydration, this solution is perfect for dry or brittle hair types.

  1. Keratin-Infused Perm Solution

Infused with keratin, this solution not only creates curls but also helps improve the overall health and strength of your hair.

  1. Color-Safe Perm Solution

If you have color-treated hair, opt for a color-safe perm solution to preserve your hair color while achieving bouncy curls.

  1. Herbal or Natural Perm Solution

For those who prefer a more natural approach, herbal or natural perm solutions offer a gentle alternative without harsh chemicals.

How long does hair perm last?

– Perms can last anywhere from three to six months.

– The lifespan of a perm can vary depending on factors such as hair type and maintenance.

– It is not possible to undo a perm once it has been done.

– The process of perming hair can take several hours.

– The length of time a perm lasts can be influenced by new hair growth and individual hair care routines.

Are perms bad for your hair?

Perms can cause damage to your hair if done incorrectly or if the chemicals are not used correctly.

The chemicals found in some perming solutions can be harmful and cause skin irritation, hair breakage, oral toxicity, and scarring alopecia.

Applying multiple perms one after another can also lead to breakage and further damage.

Perming colored hair exposes it to multiple chemical processes, increasing the risk of damage.

The California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology warns about the potential dangers of exposure to the chemicals used in perms.

Do perms ruin your hair?

Perms can cause damage to the hair, especially if done incorrectly or too frequently. Here are some facts to consider:

  • Multiple perms applied one after another can lead to breakage.
  • Certain types of perms can also contribute to hair damage.
  • When done correctly, perms shouldn’t completely ruin the hair.
  • The chemical process used in perms can be harsh on damaged hair, making it even more dry and damaged.

That’s why it’s important to take care of your permed hair and minimize any further damage.

How do you maintain permed hair?

To maintain permed hair, follow these tips:

1. Wait at least two days before washing your permed hair to allow the curls to set properly.

2. Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner specifically formulated for permed hair to keep it healthy and hydrated.

3. Avoid heat-styling tools like straighteners or curling irons as they can damage the perm and cause frizz.

4. When combing your permed hair, be gentle to avoid disrupting the curls – use a wide-toothed comb or your fingers instead of a brush.

5. Caring for your perm will help it last longer – perms typically last anywhere from 6 weeks to 8 months with proper care.

Perm hair curlers being carefull put by a hair stylist on the head of a customer (front view)

When should you not perm your hair?

  • If your hair is already dry or damaged, it’s not a good idea to proceed with a perm.
  • Your stylist will determine if your hair is healthy enough for a perm.
  • It’s important to consider the health of your hair before getting a perm.

What is the difference between a perm and a curl?

A perm refers to a permanent wave, while a curl refers to the actual curling of the hair.

Perming involves a chemical process that changes the hair’s structure while curling can be achieved through heat styling tools or techniques.

Perms focus on curling the hair directly at the scalp while curling can be done on specific sections or the ends of the hair.

Cold perms result in tight, defined curls, while hot perms result in looser, softer curls.

Perms can bring volume and bounce to the hair, in addition to just curling or straightening it.

What is the difference between hair relaxer and perm?

A hair relaxer permanently straightens tightly coiled hair, while a perm adds curls or waves to the hair.

Hair relaxing treatments permanently alter the hair’s texture, while perms do not.

Relaxers straighten at least 60% of the coils in the hair, while perms create curls or waves.

Both relaxers and perms involve the use of chemicals to change the hair’s texture.

Perms break the protein bonds within the hair, while relaxers soften the hair and straighten its natural texture.

How much does perm cost?

Perm costs can vary depending on the length of your hair and the type of perm you choose. Here are some estimated price ranges for different hair lengths:.

  • Short Hair

– Prices can range from $30 to $150.

  • Medium-Length Hair

– Costs typically fall between $60 and $200.

  • Long Hair

– Perms for long hair can cost anywhere from $80 to $400.

It’s also worth noting that traditional cold perms tend to have an average price of around $150.

Remember, these prices are just estimates and may vary depending on the salon and location.

It’s always a good idea to consult with a hairstylist or salon for more accurate pricing information based on your specific needs.

Can permed hair be rebonded?

Yes, permed hair can be rebonded. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Perming chemicals break the hair’s protein bonds, which are then rebonded before leaving the salon.
  • Ammonium thioglycolate is widely used in beauty parlors to break the disulfide bond and weaken the hair.
  • It is not advised to perm hair that has been treated with keratin, as the keratin treatment creates a coating around the hair.
  • Korean perm treatments are not recommended for permed hair.
  • Perm chemicals can be potentially dangerous, so caution should be exercised during the process.

Does hair perm expire?

A hair perm does not expire like food or beauty products.

However, the effects of a perm will eventually fade as new hair grows in.

The lifespan of a perm typically ranges from three to six months.

The individual hair type and the specific type of perm can also affect how long it lasts.

Proper maintenance, including regular touch-ups and proper hair care, is crucial to prolonging the life of your perm.

It’s important to note that once you get a perm, you cannot undo it, so careful consideration should be given before getting one.

Can you dye your hair a week after a perm?

Waiting at least two weeks before coloring your hair after getting a perm is recommended to allow the hair to recover.

However, if you must dye your hair sooner, here are some important things to consider:

– Consult with a professional hairstylist for personalized recommendations.

– Semi-permanent hair color is considered safe for permed hair as it does not contain damaging chemicals.

– Opt for high-quality and gentle hair dyes formulated specifically for permed hair.

– Be cautious when dyeing permed hair black, as it may require harsh chemicals that can compromise the condition of your hair.

Prioritize the health of your permed hair and seek expert advice before making any decisions regarding coloring.

Can you dye and perm your hair?

You can dye and perm your hair, but it’s important to follow certain guidelines:

– Consult with a professional stylist before attempting to dye and perm your hair.

– Make sure the health of your hair is assessed before any chemical treatments.

– Understand that perming and coloring can make chemically treated or colored hair more sensitive.

– Use high-quality products specifically designed for dyed or permed hair to minimize damage.

– Follow proper aftercare instructions provided by your stylist to maintain the health of your newly dyed and permed hair.

Getting a perm and dyeing your hair together can be done successfully with proper guidance from a professional.

How long after a perm can you color your hair?

The recommended waiting period to color your hair after getting a perm is typically 6-10 weeks or about 2 months.

It is generally advised to wait at least three weeks before coloring freshly permed hair to allow it to settle back.

Waiting for about 10-15 days after perming the hair before coloring is usually recommended.

The specific time frame for coloring hair after a perm may vary depending on individual hair type, condition, and the recommendation of a professional stylist.

Can I wet my hair after a perm?

After getting a perm, it is important to avoid wetting your hair for at least 48 hours.

Here’s why:

– Wetting your permed hair too soon can prevent the curls from fully setting.

– Wetting permed hair daily can cause the curls to lose their shape and become frizzy.

– Hair that is saturated with water won’t be able to absorb necessary products for maintaining the perm.

– Accidentally getting your perm wet can negatively affect the longevity and appearance of the curls.

Can I straighten my hair after a perm?

Yes, it is possible to straighten your hair after getting a perm.

However, it is generally not recommended, especially immediately after getting the perm, as it can damage the hair.

If you want to achieve a smooth, straightened look on your permed hair, consult with a professional stylist who can advise you on the best approach.

Can I put my hair up after a perm?

After getting a perm, it is recommended that you wait 2 to 3 days before putting your hair up.

This waiting period allows the perm to properly set and ensures long-lasting results.

Here are some important reasons why you should wait:

– Waiting for about three days after getting a perm is essential for maintaining the perm’s shape and longevity.

– Styling permed hair in the first 48 hours should be done with caution to avoid disrupting the perm’s shape.

– Putting your hair up too soon can cause flattening or altering of the curls.

– Sleeping on newly permed hair should also be avoided during this waiting period.

By giving your new perm time to set, you will achieve better results and enjoy beautiful, bouncy curls that last longer.

How much is a perm for long hair?

Perms for long hair can cost anywhere from $80 to $400. The starting rates for perms for long hair can be as low as $49.

The final cost of a perm for long hair may vary depending on the type and prominence of the desired curls.

The effects of a modern perm on long hair can last for several months, ranging from three to six months.

Live demonstrations and tutorials provided by salon experts can help professionals master the art of perming long hair.

Can you wash your hair before a perm?

1. It is recommended to cleanse your hair with a clarifying shampoo before getting a perm.

2. Clarifying the hair helps remove oil, debris, and product build-up.

3. Some stylists may choose to clarify your hair before perming it to eliminate residue.

4. Washing your hair before a perm creates a cleaner canvas for the perming process.

5. Consult with a professional stylist to determine specific recommendations based on your hair type and condition.


1. What does the term Perm Hair mean?

Perm hair refers to a chemical service that uses a solution to change the structure of your hair, giving it a new wave pattern or curl.

2. How are modern perms different from the perms of the past?

Unlike the big hair and tight ringlets style of olden days, today’s perms create more natural curls, beach waves or body perm using new formulas with much less side effects.

3. Can I get perms on my dry or damaged hair?

Perms could potentially add up to problems like split ends if applied on already dry or damaged hair. It’s crucial to pamper every strand of your thick or thin head of hair before considering this chemical service.

4. Do all perms result in tight curls?

No! The size and type of plastic rods used during perming determine how loose or tight your resulting curls might be; it also impacts whether you get full bodied beach waves, soft ringlets, large bouncing curly locks, creating as vast permutations as you have perm options!

5. Are there ways to make perm last longer?

Keeping away from heating tools like flat iron and blow driers helps maintain those new textures for long time loveliness. Using gentle products like dry shampoo instead regular ones right after getting permed strengthens your beautiful bounce while sleeping with a silk scarf prevents those unwanted frizzy mornings!

6. Can implementing wrong care practices lead to losing my newly earned perm shape?

Absolutely yes! Taking newfound liberties such as brushing out freshly set structures ruthlessly might dislodge their integrity leading towards an untimely goodbye-a sight no one harboring fresh bomshell locks would want!

17 Best Perm Hair Styles: Complete Guide 2024
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Mila, the veteran beauty cosmetics professional and author of this article, while cutting and styling the hair of her client

Hi! I’m Mila M. I share my 44 year-experience as a Cosmetologist & Beauty Professional in this blog. This content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Consult your trusted Beauty Professional for your personal beauty needs.

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