Can Wavy Hair Be Permed Safely?

A woman with wavy brunette hair.

Wavy-haired folks have a bit of a challenge. Being stuck as a hybrid between straight hair and really curly, they get a taste of possibility without being able to naturally commit one way or the other. And that can make hair styling with longer wavy hair extremely frustrating at time. There are temporary fixes; one can use a straight iron out of the shower to get a straighter look or just leave in natural and enjoy gradual waves.

However, trying to get more curl integrated in a style can actually be much harder. Depending on the thickness of the hair, temporary plastic curlers might hold a shape for a day or so, but then it’s back to the same the next day. A perm, on the other hand, provides a very ready and real solution of long-term tighter curling, and its very doable with wavy hair, especially thick wavy hair.

Permed hair is entirely possible with wavy hair, especially longer styles. Those with thicker, natural hair that has not been treated already will do best among all candidate types considering a perm treatment. And don’t worry, you won’t end up looking like a 1980s frizz-ball or TV exercise nut. Modern perm styles are extremely popular and provide a very desirable full look that maintains body and bounce for weeks afterwards.

How a Perm Works

A close look at a woman having a perm.

When a person puts their hair through the perming process, they are incorporating a chemical treatment that will easily last two months and as long as six months, depending on how well the treatment applies. A lot of the variation tends to be in the nature of the hair itself in terms of thickness and absorption. For those with wavy hair, this is an ideal approach because it skills having to use curlers everyday to get the same curlier effect.

And now, a perm today is not limited to just the 1980s look that used to almost resemble a clown sponge hair wig on top. Instead, a lot of perms can work with longer hair with a long, voluptuous curly look that reaches down to the shoulders even. One of the best ways to see all the possibilities is to look in a salon style book or look online at different photo possibilities available today.

A Few Caveats to Remember

Unlike a straightening iron or a curler set, the perm treatment utilizes chemicals that will definitely affect the hair for a number of months. In other words, you’re not going to be able to reverse the effect as soon as you see it and decide it’s not for you. Second, because the chemicals affect the nature of the hair, there is the chance the perming can damage the affect hair as well.

This is why it is so important to have a salon stylist who is very experienced in perms and knows what he or she is doing. Done wrong, and the perm can actually damage the hair so much, it breaks and falls out. Once the perm is done, it is essential to then lessen the damage that will always occur, even when done right, with hydrating shampoos and conditioners. A perm actually dries out the hair to the point that it becomes brittle, so it’s critical to restore some of that moisture after the fact.

Be Prepared

A woman with side-swept curly dark brown hair.

Given the risk involved with a perm, and that even with a good professional, something could go wrong, anyone going to a perm should be prepared to correct it with a short haircut. If you’re not willing to consider this plan B and can’t handle the idea of short hair for a while if everything goes bad, then a perm is probably not the best choice right now.

On the other hand, if you’re daring and can handle a medium pixie cut otherwise, then go for it and take a chance. More often than not, the perm will come out fine and your hair will come through. Folks with thicker hair will definitely do better than those with thin hair, simply because the structure is strong and the strands can take more of a beating on the natural.

Again, always remember a few key tips with a perm:

  • Get a really good idea what you want versus all the options available today.
  • Make sure the salon stylist you use has done lots of perms before and knows what he or she is doing from experience. Trust the person if they make judgment and advise not getting a perm, they are being honest for your protection.
  • Once the perm has been applied, make sure to use moisturizing shampoos and conditions to protect the hair and keep it from drying out further.
  • Do not ever apply a perm if your hair has already been chemically treated, such as with coloring or frosting or bleaching. Everything will fall out at that point in really bad way.

31 Famous Men with a Mustache

A man touching his beard.

Beard Maintenance Tips (Plus Recommended Products)