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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

162 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Lori McKnight

    July 4, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    I have long hair with long layers. The top portion of my hair is straight but underneath is very wavy. I would love loose waves throughout. Should I get a partial perm on the straight part or loose perm all over?

    • web admin

      web admin

      July 5, 2016 at 4:42 pm

      It would be best to speak with your hair stylist and determine which option would be the best for your hair texture. No one would be better at determining which would hold better for your hair, and who knows, maybe they will give you some ideas that you had not thought of before.

  2. Avatar

    Donna

    June 22, 2016 at 3:21 am

    I have very flat hair decided to get a perm yesterday and it came out very full. I have chin length hair but the top was only curly at the ends. I have had perms through the years and knew what to expect so I thought there would be more curl. My hair on top has gotten thin with age so I expected more curl to hide my thinness. Honestly now the thinness shows more. I thought she would trim it but she was adamant about not cutting the top shorter the top was too long in my opinion. What should I do we are going on a trip in a month and no way this will hold up and look curly bushie is more like it. Help please.

    • web admin

      web admin

      June 22, 2016 at 10:01 pm

      Thinning hair is a natural occurrence. Do not concern yourself with it, as it is not a problem that is reflective of your personality and who you are as a person. Enjoy the finer things in life and spend more time on developing hobbies and pleasures instead of physical aesthetics.

      Enjoy your trip!

  3. Avatar

    Emma

    May 27, 2016 at 6:11 am

    Hi. I’ve been wanting a perm for a few years now… but my mom won’t let me, she thinks it will damage my hair. My Nana however thinks it’s a good idea. How do we get her on our side?

    • web admin

      web admin

      June 3, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      It will probably damage your hair. If you have never dyed your hair (or exposed it to chemicals or chlorine a lot), your hair can probably handle it. I am not entirely sure why your mom is so against it though–even if it gets damaged or you realize that you do not like it, you could always get a pixie cut later. Other than offering to pay for it and getting your grandma to talk to her about it more, I am not sure how you could convince your mom.

      • Avatar

        Vinayee

        June 5, 2016 at 12:56 pm

        Hey i have permanently straight my hair 6 months ago. Now i am boared with pin straight hair. I am looking at the options here and I really like loose wave perms. Can i do this without damaging my hair as they are already chemically treated?
        They are healthy but i am concerned!

        • web admin

          web admin

          June 6, 2016 at 10:21 pm

          If you already straightened your hair permanently, then a perm will probably damage it even more. If you do not normally dye your hair or do anything else, then it may not be too bad–talk to your stylist to see for sure. Before you make any decision though, try having your hair in loose waves for at least a week to see if you like it. Perms can be a lot of work to maintain every day, so I would make sure that you are ready for the work (and the style) beforehand. Good luck, Vinayee!

    • Avatar

      Itailan Girl

      July 5, 2016 at 3:38 pm

      I have had an air perm annually for over 14 years. My hair is very fine and delicate. I have had bad perms before the air perm, but not since. The reason why it does not damage your hair is because the 2nd solution is not put on your hair. The air neutralizes it. The curlers remain in for 24 hours. The end result, beautiful, healthy curls that last a year. The curls do not fall out, they grow out. Ask around for a hair dresser who does air perms.

      • web admin

        web admin

        July 5, 2016 at 8:01 pm

        Thank you for this excellent advice. I am sure that someone will gain from your experience!

  4. Avatar

    Bethany

    May 22, 2016 at 7:10 am

    I have naturally straight thin hair and im afraid that the perm might really damage my hair or not stay in as long what should i do

    • web admin

      web admin

      May 25, 2016 at 9:33 am

      Perms are quite damaging to your hair, but your hair may still be able to handle it depending on the health of your hair and if you have dyed or permed it in the past. Your best bet is to go to a hair stylist and ask if your hair is healthy enough to have a perm. You should also ask about after care products and tips to make sure that your perm lasts for as long as possible. Best of luck, Bethany!

  5. Avatar

    brooke.n.12

    May 17, 2016 at 8:54 am

    I have shoulder length blonde hair that not been colored since august. I really like medium spiral curls but also like where they start at the roots. whattype of perm would be best? I look at pictures on pinterest and see so many i like but its hard to tell if theyre real perms or just curly hair.

    • web admin

      web admin

      May 17, 2016 at 8:59 am

      I am not sure. I think that there are some apps that let you see different hair styles and play around with your options. See if you can use your photo to test out different hairstyles and see how it goes. Good luck!

  6. Avatar

    Elizabeth

    May 2, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    Hi!I have thin hair this is my first time getting a perm. What do u think I should do to keep it my perm as long if I can

    • web admin

      web admin

      May 8, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      I am not sure–everyone has different hair, and the length of the perm staying in depends on a variety of factors like your shampoo, conditioner, number of showers, swimming in a pool and other things. Ask your stylist and see what he or she says. Good luck, Elizabeth!

  7. Avatar

    Becca

    April 7, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    I have very straight, long, medium thick, dark brown hair with layers. I have never dyed my hair. However, I am thinking about getting an Ombre dye done soon so that it goes from dark brown to blonde hair. I was thinking about getting a perm done as well. Could I get my hair dyed the same day that I get my perm? Also, I want loose spiral curls/waves from between my chin to shoulders down, which one would you suggest? Last, I have a cowlick in the front of my hair so I have to blow-dry it. Will blow-drying my hair have an effect on the perm? Thank you!

    • web admin

      web admin

      April 7, 2016 at 6:18 pm

      I think that most hair stylists normally recommend a couple of weeks between dyeing and perming hair–I may be wrong though, so you can always just ask your hair stylist. If your hair has never been dyed, it should be healthy enough to stand being dyed and permed. Go for whichever perm you like the best. Heat can loosen the perm, so you will probably want to avoid any heat styling tools or blow dryers. There are some stylists that say it might be okay to use a blow dryer, but the heat and the perm chemicals will make your hair quite dry when used together–make sure to use a moisturizing shampoo. If you absolutely have to bow dry your hair, a diffuser attached to the hair dryer should help a bit.

  8. Avatar

    Trish

    March 31, 2016 at 6:05 am

    I have long hair thats a little above my spine. I got it permanently straightened over a year and a half ago and now due to the growth of my hair the roots are a bit curly/ frizzy because thats my natural hair texture. I wanna curl my hair but just on the parts that were straightened before so it wont look so out of place and awkward. I’m kinda worried because my hair is already damaged from the straightening and dyeing it has gone through. the part that was straightened just looks like a mess now and it seems frizzy. what would be the best type of curl for my hair? (I’m thinking of getting the plain curl perm)

    • web admin

      web admin

      April 4, 2016 at 9:59 am

      The best curl for your hair is the one that you like–all of the perm styles will cause more damage to your hair, so the damage amount is not really a factor. You should really talk to your hair stylist before you do the perm though because they will be able to tell you if your hair will be too damaged and if your goal of a partial perm will actually work. Good luck, Trish!

  9. Avatar

    Jennifer Whaley

    March 29, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    My hair is pretty thick and use to be very curly when I was younger. Since I’ve gotten older, its gotten more wavy than curly. But the thing with me is, its so frizzy NO matter what. Ive tried EVERYTHING. No matter how much oil, cream, conditioner, leave in conditioner, sulfate-free products, hairspray, etc. the frizz doesn’t go away. My hair is not very damaged, as many hair stylists have told me. So, I guess its just naturally that way. I do dye it once every maybe 5 months, and I hardly ever use any sort of heat on it. I was suggested to get a perm to minimize the effort for me and tame my frizz to get more of a curl/wave and keep the volume. Do you think a perm would help me or hurt me?

    • web admin

      web admin

      April 4, 2016 at 8:20 am

      It could help–talk with your stylist though to be sure. When I had a perm, I normally showered and immediately brushed my hair in the morning. That way, the hair dried in a less frizzy, more manageable style. Talk with your hair stylist beforehand though because they will have a better idea of what will and won’t work. Good luck, Jennifer!

  10. Avatar

    Laurie Swenson

    March 24, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    Hi! My mom is 83 and has been getting her hair permed ever since I can remember, but she always has to curl her hair (with rollers usually; sometimes with a curling iron) or it will be tight frizzy curls. She’s convinced that’s how perms work; that they just help the curls stay in longer when you curl your hair.

    But as someone who had one of those ’80s perms (curly perm), I keep telling her I got my perm so I could have curls and never have to curl my hair. I never did anything with it. Is there something she could ask for at the beauty shop where she would just have her normal short old-lady curls and not have to curl her hair all the time?

    Thanks.

    • web admin

      web admin

      March 28, 2016 at 11:35 am

      I would just talk to her stylist about her options. Her hair stylist would know the best way to do that for her hair type, and your mother is probably more likely to listen to her than anyone else. Have her talk to her hair stylist because she should be able to have perms every day without having to curl it.

  11. Avatar

    shannon

    February 25, 2016 at 10:11 am

    i have shoulder lenght curly hsir, bit i dont like the curl i would like a more looser culr almost like wavy in a sense what would work for me. also i have very fin hair

    • web admin

      web admin

      February 26, 2016 at 11:34 pm

      I am not sure. Your best bet would be to see your hair stylist and ask them. Without seeing your hair in person or in a picture, it would be impossible to make a good recommendation. Hopefully, your hair stylist will be able to give you some options. Good luck, Shannon!

  12. Avatar

    Catherine Westbrooks

    February 22, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Hi I have long hair and it is extremely thick and I don’t really want like frizzy curls but I don’t want them to be all the way up to the root either I just want a natural curl what would you think that would look good in also thirteen so I want it to be trendy

    • web admin

      web admin

      February 26, 2016 at 8:54 pm

      A more wavy, relaxed style would be easier to take care of. It is easy though for any level of curls to become frizzy, and thick hair can be extremely hard to control. It might be easier to try curling your hair, using rollers or just braiding and un-braiding it. At the very least, you should try curling your hair in different styles for a few days or weeks to see which option suits you best, if you genuinely like it and if you can handle the work of maintaining curls. You may also decide that it is just easier to put your hair in rollers or braids on the night you want a perm–I actually realized that I preferred these methods after I permed my hair and started missing the simplicity of straight hair.

  13. Avatar

    Ashley

    February 18, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    I am wanting to get a perm, I want super tight curls. Kind of like the spiral but tighter what should I go with

    • web admin

      web admin

      February 21, 2016 at 11:21 am

      Your best bet would be to talk to your hair stylist about the type of perm that you want. If you bring along a picture of the exact perm, he or she will be able to copy it fairly well. Good luck!

  14. Avatar

    Megan

    February 14, 2016 at 3:06 am

    My hair is thick and I have a lot of it. It goes to about my elbow. My natural hair is wavy and I really like the tight curls. What do you have to do to maintain those type of curls in the morning?

    • web admin

      web admin

      February 14, 2016 at 5:38 pm

      If you are looking for something temporary, curling rollers work quite well. If you get one of the more comfortable versions, you can easily put them in before bed, sleep on it and wake up with perfect hair the next day. As for keeping permed hair in shape, I normally shower in the morning, throw in some mousse and let my hair dry into a wet look. For me at least, I find that my curls look better following a shower and it takes a lot less time than any other option.

  15. Avatar

    Sofia

    February 3, 2016 at 1:41 am

    Hey, i have long slightly wavey hair, what perm do you suggest I get? I’m thinking the spiral, but i don’t want it to be too tight, I want to have Beyonce-style curls.

    • web admin

      web admin

      February 6, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      Why don’t you just go for Beyonce-style curls? If you bring in a picture of the exact curls that you want, your hair stylist will be able to match it so that you have the perfect style. Good luck, Sofia!

  16. Avatar

    Natalie

    January 27, 2016 at 3:41 am

    If i straighten my hair, can I curl it for a day?
    Or if I have a perm can i have it straight for occassions?

    • web admin

      web admin

      January 27, 2016 at 3:07 pm

      Yes, there is nothing that would stop product and a hair straightener or a curling iron from working. Just choose which ever style you want to have the most, and then you can always modify the way your hair looks for specific occasions.

  17. Avatar

    Lyss

    December 29, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    Hey! I have really fine and thin hair, just below shoulder length. Pin straight. I’m extremely lazy, so I cut it myself at one length (no layers). What do you think would be a good perm style for a lazy girl like me?
    Also, does perming interfere much with dyed hair as much as daily heat tools do?

    • web admin

      web admin

      January 3, 2016 at 6:15 pm

      I think slightly wavy, surfer girl perms are easier to maintain than a spiral perm or something more intense. Perms can interfere with dyed hair–at the very least, it is more likely to make your hair frizzy and damaged. You will probably want to talk with your stylist first to make sure that your hair can handle being dyed and permed. Plus, you will probably want to avoid store bought hair dyes.

  18. Avatar

    Debra

    December 9, 2015 at 7:34 am

    I have medium length but very thick hair. I like tight curls/ringlets and am considering a spiral perm. However, I’m not sure if it’s a complex or easy perm to manage/style. I had a perm once years ago and it proofed out making me look like a human Q-tip which I wish to avoid. Any input?

    • web admin

      web admin

      December 9, 2015 at 5:50 pm

      It will probably be a bit harder to manage. Most perms require a bit of work in the morning, and a spiral perm can easily become out of control. You should also make sure that your hair is healthy enough to hold a perm well because damaged hair will definitely end up making you look like a human Q-Tip–as I found out personally. If you really want it, you can do it, but talk to your stylist first and see if they think that it will be suitable for your hair.

  19. Avatar

    liva

    November 23, 2015 at 9:09 am

    i have frizzy hair thats about chest length.its wavy/curlyish. i want to perm it into a little more defined curls but im not a fan of tight curls.i want to have loose large curls that make my hair look less frizzy and more styled.its my first time getting a perm and im a little apprehensive.what would you recommend?

    • web admin

      web admin

      November 25, 2015 at 10:41 pm

      I think your best bet would be to talk to your hair stylist first. You can always tell them to do loose curls. I would make sure to ask your hair stylist how your hair will hold up. If your hair is already frizzy (and especially if it is frizzy from being damaged), then getting a perm may just worsen the situation. That said, only your hair stylist would really be able to look at your hair and see if it will do well with a perm.

  20. Avatar

    Lynn Donath

    November 16, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    I have thin/medium, mid/long length hair hair but lots of it. It is also frizzy and not got a nice curl to it at all. It takes so much time to maintain and living in Florida i have the humidity to deal with. Also i have a young daughter so have no time to have it sit nice. What would be my best perm option as i like a loose curl.

    • web admin

      web admin

      November 16, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      I am a personal fan of the wavy, surfer girl style of perm, and it would be easier to care for in the humidity. Which type of perm is your favorite?

      • Avatar

        Lynn Donath

        November 17, 2015 at 3:28 pm

        I had liked the look of 3 styles the body per, the spot/plain curl perm and the loose wave perm. I’ve never had a perm before but i’m looking for more manageable and less time consuming hair and i love to have a curl/wave.

        • web admin

          web admin

          November 20, 2015 at 4:43 pm

          I think that all of those styles sound great. It really just depends on what you want and which style looks best on your face. Which style of perm are you going to choose?

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