Types Of Perm Hairstyles

By on January 14, 2014

Back in the 80s, curls were 100% the hairstyle to have. Straighteners were out and curlers, crimpers and perms were everywhere. Girls loved their curls and why not? They brought volume, life and waves to their hair. Now, thirty years later, everything retro is back in fashion and women everywhere are realizing that the 80s rocked – especially when it came to fashion.

If you’re one of the millions of women who love wearing their hair in curls, you’ll know how much of a hassle it is too though. How many seemingly endless hours do you spend a week trying to achieve the perfect curls? How often have you found yourself wanting to throw your curlers in the trash? Curling your hair is a nightmare – fact. The solution? If you curl your hair near daily anyway and know that’s not likely to change any time soon, why not get a perm? Your curls will last for months (the tighter the curls the longer the perm) so you’ll have no more daily hassle with curlers. Your hair will look great and you’ll save yourself heaps of precious time! Win, win!

Perms aren’t just a one curl type fits all type of job anymore either. You can choose how you want your hair permed and in what style. Confused? Let’s take a look at six different types of perms you can get…

Spiral Perm

Spiral perms are created using long perm rods. The end result is extremely tight, cascading curls or ringlets. They look like tightly wound spirals or corkscrews. Of course, how tight the curls are depends on the size of the perm rod and the various chemicals used. These factors will mostly vary from salon to salon so be sure to ask – some salons will be able to provide pictures of their work as examples.


Body Perm

Body wave perms help to give volume to hair. They’re generally suited for people with thin or flat hair and the curls will be larger on women with hair that is naturally quite straight. It produces loose curls and a gentle wave which is great for adding volume and a bit of life to dull hair. It’s great for shoulder length hair or longer and suits people with square faces as it tends to soften facial features.


Spot/Plain Curl Perm

Plain curl perms (often referred to as ‘spot perms’) focus on curling a specific section of hair. They’re used generally to help achieve a certain style, for example curling only the ends or midsection of your hair. With plain curl perms, you can choose to either have tight or loose curls. The result tends to be natural looking waves depending on where you choose to have permed.


Muti-Textured Perm

If you’re worried about your perm looking a bit too uniform and unnatural, a multi-textured perm could be perfect for you. It’s created using two different sized styling rods which means the curls end up varying sizes throughout your hair. This is thought to look more natural and the uniform and defined curls you would get otherwise. Due to the nature of the perm, it’s best done on women with long hair – the result isn’t quite as flattering on short hair I’m sorry to say.


Root Perm

Root perms are perfect for women with flat, limp and lifeless hair. As the name suggests, this process involves perming just the roots. The slight curl will give your roots a bit of body which will in turn help to lift the rest of your hair, giving it volume.

Root perms can also be used on women with short hair who simply want to bring a bit of life to it. It’s perfect for giving your short hair an incredibly fashionable and retro look.


Stacked Perm

Stacked perms work better for women with hair of all one length opposed to hair with layers due to the fact it adds a lot of volume to hair. Generally, it suits women of all face types too. Stacked perms are where the stylist focuses on curling only close to the ends of the hair, giving hair volume and creating the illusion of layers.


Pin Curl Perm

As the name would suggest, pin curl pins are created with pins and curlers. They tend to create quite tight curls however you do have some control over size as you can choose the appropriate curler size to be used. The one drawback to pin curl perms are that they tend not to last as long as other perms, especially if your hair is quite long. This is best done on medium or short hair.


Loose Wave Perm

Loose wave perms are a great choice if you’re not totally committed to having super curly or wavy hair. As the name suggests, this type of perm creates loose waves which can be easily compared to the beach wave look, something which looks fab come summertime. It can be done on any length of hair but the longer the better in this case or the waves likely won’t have much effect on your look.


Partial Perm

Partial perms involve perming only the bottom half of your hair (or even just the very end if you choose) and leave the part of your hair nearest your scalp completely straight. This is a great way to add volume to your look without overdoing it and also tends to be a much manageable style than most other perms. If you’re going to be tying your hair up a lot this look is perfect for you.


Volumising Perm

Volumising perms add volume – it really is that simple. You can get them in a variety of curl styles but as a rule they tend to use quite tight curls to create extra volume. Plus, there tends to be lots of small curls opposed to a few loose big ones which adds even more volume. It’s not the easiest style in the world to manage but it is a look that is sure to get you noticed.


As you can see, you have loads of choice when it comes to what perm to get. Even within these basic perm types, all perms are different depending on the rod type and the chemicals used to set your hair. These six perms are just a few of what you can get too – there are lots more perm types out there but these are the most popular.

Now that I’ve told you about various perm types, it seems only fitting that I give you a few instructions on how to care for your new perm too. Firstly, do not – DO NOT – wash your hair for an absolute minimum of 24 hours after having your perm done. Doing so will deactivate the chemicals used to set your perm before your perm has had a chance to take hold and thus your hair will return to being exactly the same as it was before. If you don’t want your perm to be not only a waste of time but money too then this tip is a must!

Secondly, try to care for your perm will special shampoos and conditioners. These will help your perm to last longer and look better too. Perms can last for anywhere between two to six months so to give your perm the best chance of survival care for it wisely.

So that’s that! Have fun choosing which perm to get and enjoy your new style. Be sure to experiment with your new style too – just because your hair has a bit of extra volume and a few added curls doesn’t mean all your favorite hair clips and all your old hairdos need to go to waste.

Happy perming, ladies. Be sure to let me know how it goes and if you found this article useful.


  1. Avatar


    November 10, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Hi!! I have long hair to my lower back with side bangs. It is medium to thin & blonde. I do not use any hair tools on my hair never have. I do use styling products so I just wash my hair put a little in and go. I have always have gotten a perm once a year since i can remember up till bout 3years ago. I got a bad perm. Up till this point my hair has aways taken curl really well. I’ve been scared to do it again so just growing it out & cutting it little by little but can’t take this flat hair any longer what do you think would be the best option for me?

    • web admin

      web admin

      November 11, 2015 at 4:44 pm

      If you want to get rid of the permed portion of your hair quickly, you could always try an asymmetrical bob with side swept bangs or something similar. Otherwise, you will probably have to use a hair straightener to make your hair have a consistent level of waviness. Cutting it is probably the easiest way to make it look “normal” again, but it will take a long time to grow out to the same length.

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    November 9, 2015 at 2:11 am

    Hey there! I have pretty voluminous hair that won’t hold a curl for nothing! I love pin curls and was wondering if a pin curl perm would produce the same vintage old Hollywood style waves as actual pin curls?

    • web admin

      web admin

      November 11, 2015 at 3:16 pm

      It should, but you will probably have to use a decent amount of product each morning to make sure that they stay in place. You may also want to check with your hair stylist before getting a perm–if your hair does not hold curls, it might not be able to hold pin curls. Good luck, Marilyn!

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    November 2, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    I have thin fine shoulder length hair. Needless to say my hair falls flat in humid weather and I mean board straight flat…doesn’t matter how much products I use. I am moving to Virginia where it is humid every day so I want to get a perm before I go. What type of perm would you recommend?
    Thank you!

    • web admin

      web admin

      November 2, 2015 at 10:22 pm

      I would go for a looser perm. In the humidity, tighter curls are going to be more likely to become frizzy. I would reconsider getting a perm though because I am not sure how it will do in the humidity, although it could be fine. You should also talk to your hair stylist first because really flat, lifeless hair might not hold a perm that well.

      • Avatar


        November 2, 2015 at 10:53 pm

        I forgot to mention that my hair holds a curl just fine where I currently live. Where the air is dry and we have zero humidity. I use a curling iron and a bit of hairspray and my hair holds all day long……
        Just came back from a vacation in the Caribbean where humidity was high and my hair just flopped. So it’s not always flat but I don’t want to hassle with flat straight hair in Virginia as I look like a homely boy.

        • web admin

          web admin

          November 4, 2015 at 1:51 am

          Then it may be able to work, although I would imagine that it would just really work well in winter or non-humid days. Perhaps your best course of action would be to wait until you get there and try curling your hair. This way, you can test out how well your hair will do in the environment before you commit to a perm.

  4. Avatar

    Nj Supti

    October 26, 2015 at 4:00 am

    I have medium thin hair . Medium long. I want my hair to look more thicker. So which style i should try ?

    • web admin

      web admin

      October 26, 2015 at 9:07 pm

      It looks like you may have commented twice on this article. If it does not appear right away, do not worry because I have to approve of each comment before it is posted. Read through my first response and let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Avatar


    October 26, 2015 at 3:53 am

    I have thin hair (not very thin) . Medium long. I want my hair to look more thicker. So which style i should try ?

    • web admin

      web admin

      October 26, 2015 at 9:02 pm

      It depends on what type of length and cut you want. I prefer an asymmetrical bob with side swept bangs because the shorter length makes the thinness less noticeable. A perm or curls could help to add volume to your hair so that it seems less thin. What type of haircuts are you currently considering?

  6. Avatar

    Wenda Mueller

    October 24, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    I loved my 80’s curls and recently got a perm after tiring of rolling my hair each day. BTW my stylist was not supportive and balked at my request for a perm. How long should I wait before doing something about my straight roots? What process should I ask for when I visit my NEW stylist? I don’t want to introduce further chemicals to my hair that is already permed.

    • web admin

      web admin

      October 25, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      Has your perm already grown out enough for your straight roots? There are different hairstyles that you can hide the roots with, or you could just curl them for the moment. You do not want to re-do the perm too soon because your hair will just grow out again. If you can wait longer before each touch-up, it will mean that you ultimately use less chemicals on your hair. Since perms can be extremely damaging for your hair, you want to wait as long as possible between adding more chemicals.

  7. Avatar


    October 24, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    I have light brown hair its down just above the middle of my back + i brush my hair to the side would a spiral perm look good in my hair.

    • web admin

      web admin

      October 24, 2015 at 9:14 pm

      It probably would look good for your hair. I would just make sure to ask beforehand how short your hair will be afterward. Tighter curls take away from the length of your hair, so your hair would probably go from being at the middle of your back to being shoulder length or shorter.

  8. Avatar


    October 20, 2015 at 6:36 am

    Oh I forgot to mention my hair is in short layers its about short to medium length and it is lined up weird like a v so its really thin and I want it to look fuller and have the same length so should I go for something with loose curls

    • web admin

      web admin

      October 24, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      I think that any perm will make your hair look fuller. As for the length, tighter curls will make it appear shorter–if you want your hair to be pretty close to its current length, loose curls would be the best option.

  9. Avatar


    October 20, 2015 at 6:22 am

    I have thin medium hair thats really flat it has been through a lot I just want it to stay its length but have some body and volume

    • web admin

      web admin

      October 24, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      A perm would probably help to add some volume to your hair, although having a perm basically means that you will need extra time getting ready every morning. Which perm are you currently considering?

  10. Avatar


    October 17, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    i recently permed my hair and its like the last style you mentioned. but the problem is, since i already had very thick hair, my hair is now even more volumised and no serum or conditioner helps hold it . basically i look like a blow dried cat every time i wake up and its very hard for me to manage. even combing gives my hair a friz and the curls loosen up with it too. please tell me how to decrease the volume a bit?

    • web admin

      web admin

      October 19, 2015 at 3:59 pm

      When I had a perm, I would take a shower in the morning and brush my hair before it dried. Then, I would either use some type of mousse or coconut oil in my hair (while still wet) to help it have a better hold. It ends up having the “wet look”, but it worked the best for me without having to spend hours working on my hair. What is your current routine?

  11. Avatar


    October 11, 2015 at 1:41 am

    Hey I have never dyed my hair or permed it or anything and it is still really soft and has a pretty shine to it and I was wondering if getting a perm will make it coarse when it comes out?

    • web admin

      web admin

      October 12, 2015 at 8:28 pm

      If you have not dyed or permed your hair before, then your hair should still be in good health. This means that it should not become very coarse if you perm it because it would be the first time that you are using any chemicals on your hair. With that said, the chemicals will make it a bit coarser, although it might not be a particularly noticeable difference. You can always ask your hair stylist before you get the perm how your hair will turn out.

  12. Avatar


    October 1, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Thank you for your help! I’ll do more research..
    I keep changing stylists, everyone thinks layering will make my fine and straight hair look fuller and it just makes it worse. It seems like they don’t know what to do with it so I’m not sure they could tell me the type of perm that would work the best .. : (
    I used to have a perm in the 80’s and it looked good but now I’m confused with all these different types..

    • web admin

      web admin

      October 1, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      Hmm…I don’t suppose you would be interested in having the same perm as the 1980s? If not, what about one of the perms with tighter curls? If you have tighter curls, it could add some volume and thickness to the way your hair looks. They take a bit of time to look good though, so you might not want to have that type of daily commitment.

  13. Avatar


    October 1, 2015 at 2:38 am

    Hi, I am looking to get a perm! My hair is regular thickness and is a little shorter than shoulder length. You can look at my instagram to see pictures of my face. It’s @halledreww. I really need help deciding!

    • web admin

      web admin

      October 1, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      I don’t know. What type of perm are you going for? Your face and hair could probably handle most perm types, so the final decision would be up to you. Which style do you like the best? I am personally partial to the spiral perm, but it would not work on my face.

  14. Avatar


    September 30, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Hi! My hair is shoulder length,very straight and very fine. My face and actually my whole had is small and I’ve been thinking of getting a perm for a long time but am not sure what kind. Because of my small head, I think my hair needs more volume. My hair being fine and straight, it looks lifeless and even when I use the curling iron, it will only hold for an hour, no matter how much or what type of mousse or hairspray I use.
    I don’t mind spending half an hour styling my hair every morning but only if it stays that way for more than one hour.
    Please help! Thanks!

    • web admin

      web admin

      September 30, 2015 at 7:44 pm

      Hmm…If your hair is very fine and straight, I don’t know if it would hold a perm that well. You may need to talk to a hair stylist first to see if it is even possible for your hair to hold a perm. My hair did not take to it very well, so I still had to do some styling in the morning so that my hair would actually look like a perm. Depending on the talent of your stylist and the type of perm that you choose, it could work–just do your research first!

  15. Avatar


    September 26, 2015 at 7:38 am

    hello there, i have medium thick long hair which comes nearly to my waist. But i have very small face. So please suggest which type of perm is good for me..

    • web admin

      web admin

      September 26, 2015 at 7:33 pm

      Since you have a small face, you could handle having one of the perms with a lot of volume. Unlike other ladies, you do not have to worry about the perm making your face appear rounder or larger. Basically, you can choose whichever perm you want without it being an issue, so choose the one that you like the best.

  16. Avatar

    Erika Casillas

    September 20, 2015 at 6:01 am

    I have below the shoulder lenght hair in layers,would a multi texture perm look ok?

    • web admin

      web admin

      September 20, 2015 at 3:24 pm

      I think that shoulder length hair should be long enough. The layers could even enhance the different curl types and make your hair truly multi-textured. Just in case, I would ask your hair stylist before you do it to make sure that it will turn out well. They have more experience with doing perms, so they will know if it will look great at the end. Good luck, Erika!

  17. Avatar


    September 13, 2015 at 1:58 am

    I am 17 years old, and my hair will NOT hold any curls at all. I’ve wanted a perm for the longest time but I didn’t want the full on 80’s perm but I wanted all the curls.My hair goes to my boobs. What type of perm should I get, if any would stay? And will any perm stay? Thanks in advance.

    • web admin

      web admin

      September 13, 2015 at 5:54 pm

      Hmm…you may have to talk to a stylist first. My hair does not hold any curls at all, so my one attempt at having a perm failed a decent amount. I just did surfer girl waves, but to get them to look like curls, I had to shower and put in mousse and hair spray every morning…and even then, they did not stay very well. I think your best option would be to talk to a hair stylist who does a lot of perms and see what she/he thinks. Good luck, Ally!

  18. Avatar


    September 3, 2015 at 3:40 am

    I have a round/broad face and my hair is really thin and long, just below my bra length. Which perms suits me?

    • web admin

      web admin

      September 3, 2015 at 5:02 am

      Since your hair is super long, you could handle just about any type of perm. With a broad face, you will want a perm that has a bit less volume on the sides, perhaps a more wavy/surfer girl-like perm. Which perms are you currently considering?

  19. Avatar


    August 19, 2015 at 12:33 am

    I brush my hair over to the right side and it’s chest length. I also have black hair and an oval face. What type of perm should I get? ://

    • web admin

      web admin

      August 19, 2015 at 9:03 pm

      With an oval face and long hair, I think you could handle just about any type of a perm. Volume or a lack of volume will not be a problem, and your hair is long enough that even the tightest of curls will not make it too short. Really, the decision is up to you because of all the perm styles should end up looking pretty good.

  20. Avatar


    August 12, 2015 at 3:13 am

    i have medium thick dark brown hair just barely passing my shoulders, how much shorter would a spiral perm make it? and is shorter hair cheaper to get done?

    • web admin

      web admin

      August 12, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      It would probably be about three to four inches shorter. As for the price, I think that depends on the hair stylist. Normally though, I think they charge the same $100+ price for all perms.

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