Perms Are Making A Comeback. Here's How To Pull Off The Look

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Everything old is new again, as the saying goes. With the influx of '90s fashion trends making a comeback, millennials everywhere are kicking themselves for throwing out their flared yoga pants and mesh tops. But beyond fashion, beauty is also taking inspiration from past decades and bringing back styles that we never thought we'd see again.

A style that is making a comeback is the perm, a once uber-popular hair trend that eventually went to the wayside in a bad way, becoming a big no-no in the hair world. But the perm we see today is a lot different from the perm our parents and grandparents once did. While the perm of the past focused on tight curls that often burned the hair, the perm of today is more about adding permanent loose waves without the damage. If you are considering a perm, here's how to pull it off.

What is a perm?

While perms seem to be a rarity among many, the process of getting a perm is very similar to those who get Keratin or straightening treatments to tame their natural curly hair. But instead of hoping for sleek, straight locks, a perm is ideal for those who want to make their naturally straight hair wavy or curly. When getting a perm, a hairdresser will use chemicals to alter the natural proteins in your hair, giving it a permanent wave or curl, depending on your desired look.

Is a perm safe for your hair?

If you are worried about ruining your hair with a perm, don't fret–today's perms use updated technology and safe ingredients to give you the look you want without the damage. In fact, according to hairstylist Priscilla Valles, a perm is actually a healthier option for those who are already using hot tools, specifically curling irons, to manipulate their hair, via Refinery29. Perms also had a bad reputation for their negative side effects. But, the perms we see today use healthy ingredients that don't irritate your scalp or eyes and can actually make your hair shinier and healthier than it was before.

Cost of getting a perm

Although a perm is a chemical treatment, it actually isn't as expensive as you may think. While a Keratin treatment to straighten locks can cost upwards of $600, a perm can cost you a fraction of that price, depending on the length of your hair. According to Healthline, most people can expect to pay around $30 to $150 for their perm, although many experienced stylists may charge a decent amount more. The big range in price is because the more hair you have, the more you can expect to pay. To get a clearer idea of the price, those with short hair can expect to shell out up to $150 while those with medium or long hair should budget for a few hundred dollars, plus tip.

Hair types that work best for a perm

Those with pin-straight hair may have already considered the perm when trying to switch up their hair and add texture and volume. But those with curly or wavy hair can also benefit from a perm. A perm is great for curly-haired people who want to make their locks more manageable. So if your air-dried hair isn't ideal, a perm may help keep your curls in place and help you avoid over-styling or using hot tools to keep your curls in place. If you do not color your hair or get any other chemical treatments, you are the perfect candidate for a perm. If you do alter your hair chemically, you may need to work on getting it to its healthiest state before getting a perm as it can damage hair further. Otherwise, all hair types can benefit from a perm, just be sure you find the right professional and get a consultation before you get the treatment.

Body wave perms

There is no one-size-fits-all perm and in fact, there are many different types of perms depending on your hair and desired look. A body wave perm gives hair more volume than curl and results in large waves rather than tight curls. People with stick-straight hair should consider a body wave perm as it provides texture without too big of a curl, which can be a drastic change that doesn't feel natural to you. A body wave perm also helps straighter hair hold hairstyles, so if your hair just will not hold a curl no matter how much heat you use, a body wave perm will solve that issue for you. Your stylist will create this type of perm by using large rollers rather than small, tight coils.

Beach wave perms

If the world of perms is new to you, a beach wave perm is the best first step into the world of curly hair. This type of perm will leave your hair looking as though you spent the day swimming in the ocean and lounging in the sun, without having to use heat tools or actually go to the ocean. Using foam roads or spongey rollers, a beach wave perm gives your hair that perfect amount of messy texture.

Partial perms

Not all hair is created equal. In fact, many of us may find our natural hair leaving one side curly and the other straight. If this sounds like you, you may want to consider a partial perm, which is used to help even out hair or to add volume to thinner areas of the scalp. Your stylist will likely use a perm rod to wrap the sections of your hair that need to be curled or volumized, leaving the rest of the hair either completely untouched or relaxed with chemicals depending on your desired look.

Spiral perms

When most of us think of a perm, this is the style we envision. A spiral perm creates those tight, bouncy curls that perms are known for, but the modern-day version uses better techniques to avoid damage. A spiral perm is best for those with longer hair as the style can make our hair instantly a few inches shorter due to the nature of the curl. But, if you do love this style, it is usually the longest lasting–you can go about six months before you notice the curls begin to fall.

Products to use after a perm

Although perm is, literally, short for the word "permanent," modern-day perms are anything but. After your perm, you can expect it to last around three to six months, depending on the type of perm you get. If you want your perm to stay as long as possible, you will also have to put in a bit of work. Angie Ceja, education manager at Zotos Professional, says that if you use the right products, those with longer hair who don't wash it daily can make their perms last up to a year. To keep your perm looking fresh, she recommends looking for hydrating products. The amika hydro rush intense moisture shampoo is perfect for this as it focuses on deeply hydrating your hair. You'll also want to invest in a few products that strengthen and protect the hair, like the Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector or the Davines LOVE Smoothing Perfector.

Celebrities who have embraced the perm

You can rest assured knowing the perm is, in fact, back in style because some of the biggest celebrities have opted for this treatment to give their lackluster hair a bit of oomph. Emma Stone was seen posing for photos while sitting at a salon with rods in her hair back in 2018, along with Jaime King, who wrote that it was her first perm since 3rd grade. Since then, more and more celebs have embraced the '80s hair trend. Everyone from Jonathan Van Ness to Jennifer Lopez has been spotted wearing tight, permed curls and we are more than here for it.