types of perms

10 Different Types Of Perms | The Ultimate Guide To Perms (With Pictures) In 2024

Want to know what are the different types of perms? Learn about body wave perm, spiral perms, and other volumizing perms in my article below.

A perm is a permanent or semi-permanent hairstyle that usually lasts for a few months to years, depending upon the types of perm you get.

They help in achieving a variety of styles that might be completely different from your natural hair structure and texture. They also provide added volume and bounce to your hair.

Related: Piggyback Perm Vs Spiral Perm

Related: Alternatives to Hair Perms

Related: Best Shampoos For Permed Hair

It is done mostly using two techniques which involve exposing your hair to extreme temperatures that act on your hair bonds to change the texture.

Depending on the temperature, these perms can either be hot perms or cold perms. 

perms for boy

Hot perms

The formula for hot perms has a pH from 4.5 to 7.0. This helps in producing curls by breaking the disulphide bonds in the hair.

After this, heat is applied to the hair which helps in achieving different textures such as wavy, curly and straight.

This technique is also known as acid perms or digital perms and it is best suitable for chemically treated, coloured or damaged hair.

People who do not want to spend a lot of time maintaining or grooming their hair can opt for this technique since the results last longer and require minimum maintenance. 

types of perms

Cold perms

The chemical in this technique has a pH that ranges from 8.2- 9.6. It uses ammonium thioglycolate to break down the disulfide bonds in the hair.

This enables you to achieve the desired style of perm and a neutraliser is then used to normalise the pH of your hair. It helps in achieving voluminous hair. 

This perm is best suited for you if you are looking for tighter and well-defined curls. You can only create very limited styles with cold perming techniques as compared to hot perming techniques.

Types of Perms 2022

Root Perm (Loose Wave Perm)

types of perm for short hair

In this type of perm, the roots of the hair are styled to get a bouncy, volumizing look. The styling is only done on the first two or four inches from the scalp.

In this process, the hair structure is transformed into curly or wavy. Since the styling is done closer to the scalp, the cold method or ceramic perming is used to achieve the desired look.

Most people select root perm because their hair might have already been permed and they are looking to touch up the new virgin hair that is growing.

This helps in preventing damages since your hair does not have to go through perming for the second time.

Body Wave Perm

body wave perm

This is one of the most popular types of perms which helps you achieve loose romantic waves on your hair. It gives you a natural look and helps your hair look fuller. If you are someone with flat and thin hair, this would be a great choice.

These types of waves are usually achieved using hot techniques and large hair rollers.

These rollers, usually made of Velcro are attached to different sections of your hair when it is hot and you leave them on your hair till it cools down.

This is a low maintenance hairstyle and it lasts for around three to five months.

Spot Perm

partial perm

This style of perming is also known as “partial perming” because you don’t perm the entire hair, only a section of it. This is best suited for people with uneven hair texture.

Some people might have perfectly coiled natural-looking curls on one part of the hair, but the texture might not be the same on the entire hair.

These are relatively low maintenance perms however, a little bit of aftercare is recommended on the permed part of the hair by deep conditioning or applying hair treatment to the hair before you shower.

They also help in cleverly hiding bald spots or areas where you have thinner hair. 

Spot perms however require hair technicians who have a high level of expertise as compared to a lot of other hairstyles.

The permed section of hair should look as natural as possible and should blend in well with the natural hair.

Partial Perm

perm hair boy

Like spot perms, only a small part or section of the hair is permed in this method.

But the difference is in the motive of the perm, spot perms are supposed to blend in with the natural hair texture whereas partial perms are supposed to look different from the rest of the hair.

These are usually achieved through heated techniques for perming.

Some examples of spot perms include curling the ends of your hair or straightening your bangs or fringes to get a well-defined structure for your hair.

You could also create waves at the end of straight hair to get a softer version. This is a very common hairstyle and gives your hair a natural look.  

Stack Perm

stack perm

A stack perm or stacked perm is also very similar to certain partial perming styles. In this style, the top part of the hair in the crown area is styled to look smooth and sleek and the hair looks curlier or wavier as it reaches the tips.

Hot perming techniques are used to achieve this style. Some may even perform rebonding on the top part of that hair to get that perfect look.

The rod sizes used to perm the middle and bottom section are different to make sure that the curls or waves look as natural as possible.

This hairstyle makes your hair look full and increases the volume of your hair by making an illusion of layers on your hair.

 If you have a straight hair cut and wish to have something fuller and wavy, this is a good choice. This is also a low maintenance perm that only requires routine deep conditioning.

Multi Textured Perm

hair perming machine

This perm is created using hot techniques. This type of perm contains multiple sized waves or curls that blend well together to create a beautiful combination of textured hair.

This type of perm is similar to a body wave perm but it has more variety in terms of texture. It helps in giving an illusion of naturally curly hair since they tend to have curls of varied sizes.

This type of perm is suitable for people with medium to long hair and it makes your hair look bouncy and voluminous.

This is a hairstyle that calls for a stylist with expertise in multi-textured perm since it can be hard to achieve that natural look while working with multiple sized rollers or tongs.

Volumizing Perms (Big Body Perm)

loose wave perm

This is especially helpful in achieving volume for your thin and flat hair using a specific technique. Unlike traditional perms where the neutraliser is applied while the hair is still curled around the rods.

The rods are removed before the neutraliser is applied on the hair in this technique. This helps in achieving looser curls that are more like waves and heavy volume.

These types of perms don’t last for long since the curls are not that tight. It typically stays for around six weeks.

This is suitable for all hair lengths and types but they are best suited for thin hair without a lot of lift. 

Straight Perm

perm hair boy

This is one of the most common types of perms where one transforms their wavy or curly hair into poker straight and sleek hair. It is also known as Reverse perm or Japanese Straight perm.

According to this technique, potassium hydroxide, a strong base that helps in breaking the cysteine bonds in hair is used on curly or wavy hair.

The hair is then washed and straightened using a flat hot iron after the heat is applied.

The neutraliser then helps in balancing the pH of the hair and the hair is left to dry. This is one of the longest-lasting hair perms and it only requires spot treatments as the hair grows out.

Make sure you leave the hair intact without touching or tying it up for a few days after the perm so there are no kinks or bends on the texture.

This particular hairstyle also helps in achieving an illusion of longer and glossier hair.

Spiral Perm

spiral perm

The Spiral perm which is achieved with the help of the cold technique helps in transforming your hair into spring-like, bouncy curls with great definition.

They can be of different sizes depending upon the size of the rollers or rods used. This enables you to try different textures in curls such as small and tight curls or loose romantic curls.

This perm works excellently on people whose hair length is eight inches or more, especially on those with naturally curly hair and wavy hair. With proper maintenance, these perms can last for up to six months.

It requires medium to high maintenance which means that you need to stock up on those styling products to maintain the life of the curls.

Pin Curl Perm

Pin curls are very popular with women. But did you know you can get your hair permed that way too?

This type of perm suits mostly women with long hair, as there is a lot of shrinkage when you transform your wavy or straight tresses into tight curls. 

pin curl perm

Tired of the same old, boring hair? Why not get it permed! And no, perms are not only the mass of tight curls you could see on women in the 80s. There are different types of perms. Straight perm, pin curl perm, and so many more. Pick your favorite and try to experiment with your tresses now. 

How do I choose the right types of perm for my hair?

I’ve listed out the most common types of perms above. But wait? Which of these are the one perm for you?

If you want to find out which types of perm you should choose, take a look at the following factors first.

Hair Texture

There are certain types of perm that suit only a few hair textures. For example, if you have poker-straight hair, you might want to start off with a loose perm while women with slightly wavy hair can for a full perm.

Hair Length

By getting your hair permed you’ll be reducing a significant amount of its length. So pay careful attention to hair shrinkage before selecting the types of perm.

If you have shorter hair a loose wave perm or partial perm might be better options than defined pin curls.

Acid or Alkaline Perm

People who have damaged hair or those who have used hair dyes should opt for an acid balanced perm as it’s less harsh on your tresses.

An alkaline perm though more severe might be necessary if you have a hair texture that isn’t changed easily.

What are the different types of hair perming?

As “Perming” technically refers to the act of “permanently” altering your hair’s look and structure with the help of artificial means and chemicals, broadly there can be the following types of “perming”.
There are a few different types of hair perming, each with its own unique benefits and drawbacks. Here’s a quick overview of the most common types of hair perming:
Curly perming – Curly perming is similar to straightening perming in that it uses heat to smooth out the curls and remove frizz. However, curly perms typically use heat more frequently and may also include balms, gels, or serums that help to preserve and protect the curls. The different types of curly perming, which is the most common type of perming is what I’ve discussed in this article.
Straightening perming – Straightening perming is a type of hair perming that uses heat to smooth out the hair and remove extra frizz. It can be done using hot tools, such as irons or flat irons and even chemicals to give it a permanent structure.

What type of perm is the least damaging?

The least damaging type of perm is the “cold wave perm” or the ceramic perm. Here almost no heat is used during the perming procedure and the solution used to change your hair structure is also less alkaline, meaning it’s less damaging to your cuticles. So if you’re looking for a perm with low damage, you should check this one out.

It is best to avoid doing perms if your hair is colored or bleached already since it could cause further damage to your hair.

If you are someone who frequently washes your hair or swims often, it is also not recommended to perm.

Constant and frequent contact with water can shorten the lifespan of your perms. The Chlorine in swimming pools can also be bad for your perm.

Also Read:

How Long Does A Perm Last

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