10 Different Types of Perms To Offer In Your Salon

9 minute read

10 Different Types of Perms: A Comprehensive Guide

Perms offer a range of styles, from tight curls to loose waves, and can dramatically transform a look. If you're offering perms in your salon, have a variety of options. Every client that walks in the door has different hair and a unique style they're going for. With multiple types of perms available, a salon can make sure it's meeting the needs of each client. This keeps clients happy and lets stylists get creative with their work.

What is a Perm?

A perm, short for "permanent hairstyle," is a process that uses chemicals to change the texture of hair, creating a permanent wave or curl. The concept of perms dates back to the late 19th century, but the technique has been refined over the years. 

The science behind perms involves breaking the bonds that determine the natural hair texture, such as straight or wavy, and reforming them in a different pattern. This process results in a lasting change to hair's texture.

Hot vs Cold Perms

Before diving into the specific types of perms, it's important to understand the difference between hot and cold perms. 

A cold perm is a traditional process of applying an alkaline solution to dry hair curled around plastic rods. This method breaks down the bonds within the hair, creating tight, defined curls. On the other hand, a hot perm uses an acidic solution and heat, resulting in looser, softer curls. 

Both methods have their advantages, and the choice between them depends on the desired outcome.

Why WOULD CLIENTS Choose a Perm?

Perms offer a variety of benefits, from added volume to a completely new look. They're a great option if you're looking to change up your style without a drastic cut or color. Perms also add texture to fine, straight hair, making it easier to style and manage.

However, it's important to consider the health of your hair before opting for a perm. The chemicals used in the process can be damaging, especially for hair that's already dry or damaged. It's recommended to consult with a professional hair stylist to assess your hair's condition and determine the best type of perm for you.

10 Different Types of Perms

Each perm type has its unique characteristics and effects, catering to various hair types and personal styles. Whether you're a salon owner, a stylist, or a client seeking a transformation, here are 10 different types of perms.

Spiral Perm

A spiral perm creates tight, bouncy curls that add volume and movement to the hair. This style is ideal for medium to long hair, as the process involves winding the hair vertically around a rod to create a spiral shape. The result is a head full of lively, springy curls that last up to six months with proper care.

Body Wave Perm

For a more relaxed, natural look, a body wave perm is a great choice. This type of perm uses larger rollers to create loose waves, adding volume without the tightness of traditional curls. It's a good option for those with straight hair that struggles to hold a curl and lasts between three to five months.

Spot or Partial Perm

A spot or partial perm focuses on a specific section of hair, rather than the entire head. This technique is useful for adding volume in a particular area, or for creating a uniform look if the hair naturally curls on one side. 

Root Perm

A root perm is a type of spot perm that focuses specifically on the roots of the hair. This technique adds lift and volume at the base, which is especially beneficial for those with flat or fine hair. Root perms are low maintenance, but they typically only last about a month, so regular salon visits are necessary to maintain the look.

Digital Perm

The digital perm is a modern innovation that uses temperature-controlled rods and gentle chemicals to create loose waves and natural volume. Originating in Japan, this style has gained international popularity for its ability to create a soft, natural look. The process is time-consuming, but the results last up to a year, making it a worthwhile investment for those seeking long-lasting waves.

Pin Curl Perm

The pin curl perm is a great option for shorter hair lengths. It uses a combination of pins and curlers to create tight, bouncy curls that add movement to your hair. This type of perm doesn't use harsh chemicals, which reduces damage to the hair. However, this also means the style's lifespan is shorter, typically lasting around three to six months.

Stack Perm

The stack perm is a variation of a partial perm that focuses on the middle and lower sections of hair, leaving the roots relatively straight. This technique creates the illusion of layers and adds volume, making it a great option for those with long, one-length hair. With minimal maintenance, a stack perm lasts between four to five months.

Multi-textured Perm

The multi-textured perm is a unique style that uses different-sized rods to create a variety of curl sizes. This results in a layered, natural look that closely resembles naturally curly hair. This style is best suited for medium to long hair, and with proper care, it lasts for several months.

Volumizing Perm

A volumizing perm uses a combination of loose curls and waves to create volume in the hair. This type of perm is great for all hair lengths and textures and is particularly beneficial for those with fine or flat hair. However, it only lasts about six weeks.

Straight Perm

Contrary to its name, a straight perm is a process that straightens curly or wavy hair. This technique uses a strong alkaline solution to break down the hair's bonds before straightening it with a hot iron. The result is sleek, straight hair that lasts up to four to six months.

Help Your Client Choose The Right Type of Perm for Their Hair

Guiding your client to choose the right perm depends on hair type, hair health, lifestyle, and personal style.

For example, if a client has fine, straight hair and wants more volume, a body wave or volumizing perm could be right for them. On the other hand, if a client has thick, coarse hair and wants to reduce frizz and add definition, a spiral or multi-textured perm might would be better.

Maintenance requirements for each type of perm also play a role in the decision-making process. Some perms need regular touch-ups and specific hair care products, others are more low-maintenance. As a stylist, your advice helps your client make the right choice.

The Perm Process: What Your Client Can Expect

The perm process involves several steps and takes several hours, depending on the type of perm and the length and thickness of the hair. Here's a general overview of what your client can expect:

  • Consultation: You assess their hair and discuss their desired outcome. This is their opportunity to ask any questions and express any concerns.
  • Preparation: Their hair gets washed and conditioned to remove any product buildup. It's important that the hair is clean and free of any oils or residues before the perm solution is applied.
  • Perm Application: Their stylist (you) applies the perm solution to their hair, then wraps the hair around rods or rollers. The size of the rods depends on the type of perm and the desired curl size.
  • Processing: Once the hair is wrapped, they wait for the perm solution to process. This can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on their hair type and the desired result.
  • Rinse and Neutralize: After the perm solution has been processed, the stylist rinses the hair and applies a neutralizer. This stops the perming process and sets the curls.
  • Final Rinse and Style: Finally, the stylist rinses the hair again, then dries and styles it. 

Caring for A Perm: Tips For Your Clients

Proper care is crucial to maintaining a perm and keeping hair healthy. Here are some tips for post-perm hair care:

  • Wait to Wash: Advise your clients to wait at least 48 hours before washing their hair after getting a perm. This waiting period allows the curls to set and prevents them from loosening.
  • Use the Right Products: Recommend shampoos and conditioners specifically designed for permed or curly hair. These products are formulated to moisturize and define curls, and they help prolong the life of the perm.
  • Avoid Heat Styling: Tell your clients that heat can damage permed hair and cause curls to loosen. They should avoid using hot tools like flat irons and curling irons, and let their hair air dry whenever possible.
  • Get Regular Trims: Encourage your clients to get regular trims to prevent split ends and keep their perm looking fresh. A trim every six to eight weeks is a good rule of thumb.

Can Clients Perm Colored Hair or Dye It After A Perm?

Perming colored hair or coloring permed hair requires special care to prevent damage. The chemicals used in both processes can be harsh, and using them together causes your hair to become dry and brittle.

If a client has colored hair and is considering a perm, advise them to wait at least two weeks between the color and perm processes. This gives their hair time to recover and reduces the risk of damage.

If a client wants to color their hair after getting a perm, it's also recommended to wait at least two weeks. This allows the perm to be fully set and reduces the risk of the color fading or changing.

In both cases, recommend hair care products designed for color-treated hair. These products are formulated to protect the color and keep the hair healthy.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Getting a Perm

Getting a perm is a big decision, and it's important for clients to avoid common mistakes to ensure the best results. Here are some tips to share:

  • Consult with a Professional: A professional stylist can assess the client's hair health and help them choose the best type of perm for their needs. They can also provide valuable advice on how to care for the perm and keep the hair healthy.
  • Prepare The Hair: The client's hair should be clean and free of any product buildup before getting a perm. Using a clarifying shampoo a few days before the appointment can help prepare the hair and ensure the best results.
  • Wait to Wash: The client's hair should be clean and free of any product buildup before a perm. Using a clarifying shampoo a few days before the appointment helps prepare the hair.
  • Use the Right Products: Using the right hair care products is crucial to maintaining the perm and keeping the hair healthy. Clients should look for products designed for permed or curly hair, and avoid products that contain sulfates, as they can strip the hair of its natural oils and cause the curls to become dry and frizzy.

Wrap Up

Offering a variety of perms in your salon lets you cater to a broader range of client needs and boost your business's competitive edge. Make sure to guide clients in choosing the right perm for their hair type and personal style, and give them the necessary aftercare tips to maintain it.

Whether dealing with colored hair or avoiding common perm mistakes, professional advice is key. By understanding and implementing these points, your salon can provide top-notch perm services that satisfy clients and make your salon a success.

Need salon software? Check out Insight for the best salon management software on the market.

Posted on August 1, 2023