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3 Things You Should Know Before You Get a Perm

Deciding whether or not to get a perm is a decision that warrants a lot of thought. As their name suggests, perms are permanent. You can’t wash them out or fix them.

If you don’t weigh your options carefully or prep your hair thoroughly before your perm, you won’t get the results you want and you’ll be stuck with them until your hair grows out. Before you make an appointment t your local salon, keep reading to learn three of the most important things to know before you take the plunge and get a perm.


1. Your Hair Needs Recovery Time

The healthier your hair is, the better results your perm will have. Perms work best on healthy, strong hair that has not been color-treated. If you dye or highlight your hair regularly, you should wait at least a month between your last color treatment and your perm appointment.



Excessive heat styling can also damage your hair enough to negatively affect the results of your perm. Try to limit your use of blow-dryers, curling irons, and hair straighteners in the weeks and months leading up to your perm treatment. Conditioning your hair thoroughly and regularly can also help repair your hair’s damage from heat or color treatments.

Also, always be honest with your stylist if they ask about your heat use or coloring history. Your honest answers can help salon professionals assess whether the quality of your hair can really withstand a perm right now.

2. Salons do it Best


Perms are a serious, permanent hair treatment. It takes very specific training and tools to learn how to successfully complete a perm treatment with desirable results. Unless you have undergone salon-level training that has taught you specifically how to perform perms, you should never attempt to perm your own hair–or anyone else’s.

It’s easy to be tempted by the affordability of DIY perm kits as compared to salon treatments. There’s a reason there is such a price difference between at-home and in-salon perms, though. Chances are very good that any perm you perform on your own hair at home will have a  less-than-satisfactory outcome. A botched at-home perm can damage your hair beyond repair permanently. You’ll have to wait for your hair to completely grow out from the roots to get rid of the damage. It’s always better to entrust your hair to professionals at a salon.

3. Know Your Options

Imma need my hair to do this.

Imma need my hair to do this.


There are actually two different types of perms: cold perms and hot perms. Cold perms are the traditional type of perm. They involve soaking your hair in an alkaline compound and winding it into tight curls using rollers. For a hot perm, which is also called a digital perm, your hair gets a relaxing treatment before being shaped into waves using heated curling rods.

There are differences in the outcomes of cold and hot perms. Cold perms have an average processing time of about two hours, while the processing time of hot perms is longer at approximately three to for hours. They also work on virtually all hair types, whereas hot perms work best on East Asian hair. Hot perms have their own advantages, though. Although cold perms generally create tighter curls than ht perms, the looser curls that result from hot perms tend to look more natural. Hot perms also require less maintenance than cold perms.

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