Different Types of Perms: The Ultimate Guide

Anjali specializes in hairstyles and hair and skin care and has written over 200 articles in these domains. Her philosophy about hair and skin care is simple: if you love and care for it, it will be h... more

Curling hair by altering the bonds in the hair strands is known as perming. There are different types of perms. Perming breaks the disulfide bonds in straight hair with the help of chemicals and makes it curly. After applying chemicals, the hair is wrapped in curling rods to attain the desired perm style. This article discusses types of perm styles, possible side effects, and how safe it is. Keep reading to know more.

The Ultimate Guide To Different Perm Types

There are ten different perm styles that you should know. These can be achieved by two regular perm techniques the digital method and the cold method.

1) Pin-Up Perm

The pin-up perm style hair into pin-up curls. This style works best with medium and long hair. It can be tried on curly, wavy, and straight hair, and gives one a 1950s vibe.

Technique: A chemical solution is applied through the length of the hair. The hair is then styled in a pin-curl hairdo and secured in its place.

2) Root Perm

A root perm gives hair a voluminous and thick appearance. It is best suited for thin and fine hair. The hair is permed a few inches at the roots. This lifts it and makes it appear bouncy and fuller. Root perms can be done on curly, wavy, and straight hair.

Technique: A root perm is achieved with the cold technique since the rod has to be placed close to the scalp. Root perms can be done at specific areas of the head to add a lift. They require professional expertise.

3) Body Wave

Body wave perms leave you with loose beachy waves that fall naturally. They are ideal for straight hair as they add more volume. These can add a natural bounce to flat and dull hair. The waves fall neatly without any fly aways.

Avoid heat styling tools as they can change the shape of the waves. A body wave perm can last as long as 2 to 3 months with the right care.

Technique: This style uses the hot or digital method of perming. Long rollers are used to form loose tousled waves. The rollers are placed in various positions to achieve natural waves.

4) Spot Perm

Perm rods are placed at a particular area to form curls only in that region. These perms are hairstyle-specific. They are also called partial perms. If you have uneven curls, a spot perm can add balance and direction to the specific areas. Spot perms can also be used to cover thinning hair and hair loss.

Technique: Hair from a particular region is curled with rods. The curling is done only in specific areas. Hence, a professional adept at handling curly and wavy hair must perform the procedure.

5) Spiral Perm

Spiral perms are voluminous, tight, and well-defined curls. Their shapes range from corkscrew curls to loose ringlets. These perms make hair bounce like a spring. The curls begin near the roots. This perm style is ideal for women with curly hair. This perm style can last up to 5 months with proper care.

Technique: Spiral perms utilize the cold technique to form curls. The size of the curling rod determines the coil of the curl. Hair is rolled around the rod and secured vertically to form corkscrew curls. The rods are placed on the head uniformly for achieving a good curl definition.

6) Stack Perm

The stack perm mixes different types of curls to give you a layered hairstyle. The top layer is left natural, while the lower layers are permed. These layers make your hair look voluminous and full. This style is ideal for people who do not have layers.

Technique: The stack perm uses digital techniques to form the layers. Some stylists even use two different rod sizes to add a fuller look. The lower layers use rod sizes that make the curls look natural.

7) Multi-Textured Perm

A multi-textured perm mixes different curl types to help you achieve a specific, unique hairstyle. It is ideal for medium or long hair.

Technique: This style requires the digital method. The stylist uses multiple- sized roller rods to achieve the desired hairstyle.

8) Partial Perm

The partial perm is used to make specific areas of hair different from other parts of the hair. The curls formed are loose and relaxed and have a distinct shape. You can also accentuate only the curls at the front or the ends. This style suits straight, wavy, and curly hair. While it may not help cover up hair loss or hair thinning, it can be used to distinguish particular sections of hair.

Technique: This style uses jumbo rods through digital techniques to form loose curls. This procedure is to be performed by a stylist.

9) Volume Perm

Volume perms do not use neutralizers with rods (like regular perms). Hence, they make hair look voluminous. These perms are used to make loose curls or waves. But they stay for only a month as the curls and waves are very relaxed. This style makes thin hair appear fuller.

Technique: The volume perm uses the digital method to form loose warms. Regular perms have the rods placed before a neutralizer is added. But here, the rods are removed before the neutralizer is added.

10) Reverse Perm

A reverse perm is also called Japanese hair straightening or thermal reconditioning. It makes curly hair permanently straight by weakening the cysteine bonds and disrupting the protein structure in the hair strands.

Technique: Ammonium thioglycolate is applied to curly hair to weaken the keratin bonds in the hair. The hair is then neutralized with a hydrogen peroxide solution. A hot iron is applied to make curly or wavy hair permanently straight.

If you are thinking of getting a perm done, you should consider the cost as well.

How Much Does A Perm Cost?

The average cost of a perm ranges from 80$ to 300$. The cost varies with each salon. Most salons choose their rates factoring in the perm style and the perm technique used. Some popular salons even consider the stylist performing the perm.

While a perm should last forever (given its name), it does not. Keep reading to know how long a perm lasts.

How Long Does A Perm Last?

A perm can be achieved in about three hours and can last up to 3 months (for short hair)to 6 months (for medium and long hair). However, perms last only this long when you take proper care. This includes staying out of the sun and conditioning your hair regularly.

You might even think of adding some color to accentuate your new curls. But can you do that?

Can You Color Permed Hair?

The American Academy of Dermatology suggests that you can color permed hair (1). But ensure you leave a considerable gap (at least two weeks) between the two procedures. Both methods use chemicals that can dry your hair out. Going for them in quick succession can damage your hair.

The perming process uses chemicals that may damage your hair. How severe can this damage be? Does perming cause any side effects?


Perming your hair has its benefits and disadvantages. While it can make your hair look stunning, it also may cause damage. If you do perm your hair, ensure you follow certain maintenance tips to reduce the side effects. With the right hair care habits, you sure can enjoy the advantages of perming without hurting your tresses.

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