View Full Version : Wanting to perm my hair

December 23rd, 2013, 08:24 PM
As soon as my hair hits/gets just past waist length I realllllllllllllly want to perm it. Like a mix of 3a/3b curls. I've had permed hair before, but it was short, and I loved it (even though it was damaging).

Is there any way at all to get a perm with minimal damage?

My hair isn't dyed or anything and I don't plan on dying it in the near future.

December 23rd, 2013, 09:35 PM
There's no way to perm your hair without damaging it, unfortunately. If you find a way that isn't, let me know because I've always wanted curls that stay. But it takes a lot of chemicals to change your hair structure like that. My mom's hair is totally fried and frizzy because of perms, but then she would get a perm every 6 months for a decade.

December 23rd, 2013, 11:30 PM
Why would you go through all of that trouble to grow out your hair to just throw a perm on it? Perms are awful for hair, you would be better off just curling it every day.

December 23rd, 2013, 11:34 PM
I agree, I'd have less damage curling my hair daily. Perms are so very damaging plus your roots grow out and look weird next to the permed hair.

December 24th, 2013, 12:40 AM
try curl formers or flexi rods. They're both available at Sally Beauty. You can curl your hair with some mousse or setting lotion and either of the two. It will far less damaging and you can decide what type of curls to use.

December 24th, 2013, 01:08 AM
Perms are hard during the grow out phase. You get straight roots with no volume along with the remaining hair getting frizzy as the curls get older. I would hate to see you hating it in 6 months when you have 3 inches of roots. The solution is to keep perming but then that will casue a lot of damage.
You could look and see if coconut oil helps pre perm but I am not sure if it does or doesn't.
You could get curls using bantu knots, rag curls, curl formers, and other methods that will always look fresh and have beautiful body. youtube has a lot of no heat vidoes for curls. I know it is a little time consuming but the bantu knots for instance can actually be done with as few as 5 knots and give great waves and curls. (2 in back parted on each side. 2 on sides of head and 1 on top.)

You have had them before and know the damage, but if that was on shorter hair you may be surprised on how it effects older longer length. They do seem easy but people I know with them spend a lot of time trying to fix the fact some hair came out a lot straighten and some a lot more curly. That being said, if you really want it a perm is your hair. You should be happy with hair so always do what YOU want, not what others think is best.

I do bleach highlights and i go in eyes wide open to fact it is damaging. I just prefer being lighter colored so its worth it to me.

December 24th, 2013, 05:31 AM
I got a perm three years ago.. I had to chop my hair to shoulder because my hair started breaking. It was really scary! Just make sure your hair can take it before you do it :)

December 24th, 2013, 05:39 AM
I use to get perms back in the '80s and my hair was waist length. Have to tell you, because of the weight of the length, the perms hardly lasted at all. I would lose the curl so fast, wasn't worth it at all.

December 24th, 2013, 06:30 AM
If you're in the 1s and you're going for 3 curls, then your roots are *fast* going to look horrible! If you were a wavy, my comment would be different, but now? No. Too much upkeep and the damage isn't worth it.

I have to say, I am in the 2s and I thoroughly enjoyed my perms, all while growing out as well, because the texture wasn't too bad for me to handle. I could leave it down without making an absolute clown of myself, although the texture was different. It still looked like natural weighed down curls, well to me at least. ;) I slowly had the damage trimmed off while growing, getting rid of my perm that way altogether. I never lost length, in fact my perm was shoulder length and I grew all the way to hip with the perm in. I had considerable damage, though. Lots of white dots and some splits.

December 24th, 2013, 09:14 AM
If you get it done, make sure you go to a professional. I did mine myself and it backfired so badly which resulted in a big chop.

December 24th, 2013, 09:20 AM
I'm wondering if perms these days are any better than in a past? Would it be possible to perm just the ends of someones hair with very thick curlers? I remember ages ago they used to use very thin curlers and treat all head and hair would be fried and like a straw. Done it :-)

December 24th, 2013, 09:27 AM
I had a perm several years ago when my hair was waist length, the type of curls you want. I regretted it. I dont know if it was the weight of my hair or what, but the top and ends were curly but the middle just went straight. After a while the curls got frizzier and it dried my hair out very bad. Also, the permed hair turned brassy orange compared to my naturally dark brown hair. A perm on short hair is completely different than on longer hair. Waist length and beyond hair is much older and cant take as much.

December 24th, 2013, 10:58 AM
For most of the 80s I had a perm. The first one I loved (waist hair) but I ended up having to get it layered, and layered and layered. I had an asymmetrical cut with tails (remember those?) for a while. Ultimately my hair became shorter and shorter and the ends frizzier and frizzier. Very rarely did it meet my dream of billowy curls. And it was EXPENSIVE to get all those salon cuts and perms. My ultimate chop was up to my ears.

Now, I occasionally (twice a year) curl with tubes and find damage after every time I do. And I only use water.

The lure of curls is strong, Just be forewarned.

December 24th, 2013, 11:47 AM
I wish you luck! (no advice though) I've always been wistful over getting a perm, but I don't think my fine hair could handle it. I've always desperately wished for 3a/ 3b curls, but alas they are nowhere to be found in my family tree, so I never had a chance. :(

Out of curiosity, I have a question for those of you who have had perms-- is it possible to maintain a perm by doing new-growth-only treatments, or do you have to re-process all of your hair every time you get it done?

December 24th, 2013, 12:27 PM
I used to perm my hair. It's hard to grow out due to the damage you're having to trim it off. The chemicals are damaging. I do agree the weight will pull out the curl. I had hair to mbl almost and the stylist I had at the time told me I needed layers to make my hair lighter so the curl wouldn't pull out. Perms are pricey so if you do it you have to redo them when they grow out.

December 24th, 2013, 01:55 PM
I agree, I'd have less damage curling my hair daily. Perms are so very damaging plus your roots grow out and look weird next to the permed hair.

I think the same, I wouldn't get a perm at any length due to the damage.

December 24th, 2013, 02:51 PM
I just wear a damp braid at night until morning, when I wear it down on the weekends it's wavy. You could try that.

December 24th, 2013, 03:43 PM
What's the point of growing beautiful,healthy hair when you're going to destroy it all :(
My grandma makes perms about every 6 months and her hair is completely dry,damaged and awful.
the perm itself looks great on her but I'd never ever do that,think how much chemicals you're gonna put in to change completely the texture and you won't have it back if you don't cut.Maybe the curls are going to be nice the first month,but it gets worse and worse and the roots are going to look very bad compared to the rest of the length.
I'd go really really carfully before deciding.

December 24th, 2013, 04:44 PM
I can say from personal experience... no perm! I had it done twice when I was young, and each time it completely fried my hair. One time I had to cut it off less than an inch long to get rid of the perm. The hair felt and looked like straw. Even if you go to a professional, chemicals are still chemicals. (I must disclaimer my post by saying I'm no hair guru myself and probably do things that should not be done, but perms will turn hair to straw. :( )

December 24th, 2013, 04:48 PM
Out of curiosity, I have a question for those of you who have had perms-- is it possible to maintain a perm by doing new-growth-only treatments, or do you have to re-process all of your hair every time you get it done?

They can't curl up only the roots, it's impossible to roller-set, so yes, they re-process the entire head every time. They always say (well here they do) to wait at least 3 to 4 months before getting another perm.

December 24th, 2013, 05:14 PM
I used to have curly perms over twenty years ago over the top of box dye blonde hair (from dark mouse). Surprisingly my hair was not fried - it was way more damaged much later in life. I suspect that was down to a number of factors: hidden wavy hair so process time was truncated, relatively infrequent perms as not too bad a demarcation, roots only dye, routine similar to modified Curly Girl (gentlest shampoo I could find, a LOT of silicone free leave in conditioner).

My last curly perm went poodle-esque as the stylist failed to check quickly enough and I overprocessed. It I was to perm now I'd go for a very attentive stylist and investigate acid perms, possiy consider pre treatments with coconut oil in the hopes of preserving structural proteins.

December 24th, 2013, 06:33 PM
I use to get perms back in the '80s and my hair was waist length. Have to tell you, because of the weight of the length, the perms hardly lasted at all. I would lose the curl so fast, wasn't worth it at all.

Wow I didn't even think about the weight of long hair making a difference. Ugh I just want to change my hair!!

December 25th, 2013, 09:14 PM
Bythesea, I totally understand where you're coming from. I've wanted curly hair for the past 30 years. I've had so many perms and have been disappointed with the results every single time. You're not going to get the curls you want with that much length and you'll be damaging your hair in the process. I've had DOZENS of perms...every kind. Regular, spiral, body wave, layered, not layered, big rollers, medium rollers, little rollers, leaving the perming solution in for extra time, etc. I always ended up with inconsistent waves and the first several inches being straight within a few weeks, if not right away. Then...dry, damaged, split hair that breaks off.

You have straight (ish?) hair. Braid it, bun it or sleep in rag curls to accomplish what you want for a while before perming. You cannot undo the damage that perming solution (smelly chemicals!) does to your hair. You and I are not curlies, as much as we wish we were. Think it over for a really long time, I'd hate to see you end up having to cut off all the damage like I had to over and over again.

Check out YouTube videos for heatless curls, or curling methods (try different wording maybe if you don't find what you're looking for). There's a treasure trove of awesome "how to" videos. I'm sorry to sound discouraging on the whole perm idea, but I've done it so many times that I can't help but chime in to warn you about my experiences. If you're hell-bent on doing it, then go for it, just wait a while and try other ways to curl it first. I see your goal is Hip Length. Think about how much you really want to hit that goal.

--MeowScat :heart:

December 26th, 2013, 09:48 AM
prior to my 22nd year, I had only barely wavy hair and I would periodically perm it (something changed in my hormones the year I turned 22 because my hair turned curly that year, now, I cannot believe I ever permed!)

at mid-back length, I had a spiral perm (double rods, this is where they take one length of hair and use two rods to set it so there is less hair per rod) and my hair broke off at the split point right down the back of my head

I had to go pixie to get it at all evened out

if you do decide to perm, proceed with great caution

and in the meantime, look up "cocoon curls" (here or on YouTube) I do those sometimes when I want a more even curl pattern and they last for days for me

December 26th, 2013, 11:33 AM
During the 80's and the 90's I permed my hair every 6-12 months depending on length to add body and volume to my babyfine type F hair. On the one hand I loved the perms because they took care of the super limp look my hair can get on it's own without having to mess around with a lot of styling and products. But I did have issues with dryness and breakage, and could never grow my hair beyond about shoulder length. Also it would start to look frizzy after awhile. I didn't know the things about hair care that I do now, but perms break down the disulphied bonds which form your hair, which leave it a certain percentage weaker than it is in it's natural state. For hair like mine that has no strength to begin with, that means hair that breaks and splits starting at shoulder length or even shorter. These days I try to find heat free methods of curling my hair as suggested above.
If I want long hair, no perming for me. But I did enjoy some of my perms when I had them.
I think Firefox's suggestion of acid perms might be something to look into.

December 26th, 2013, 01:04 PM
From what the ladies here are saying, for most of us a perm is a very dangerous proposition, if you want to keep your hair long. If you really want to try, I'd suggest looking at methods used by people who relax their hair, as it is a similar process. I don't want to get into trouble by mentioning any other websites, but you can search for websites devoted to caring for relaxed hair and see if you want to deal with it. It seems like it can be done, but you have to take extreme care and I hardly think anyone can get much past waist with permed hair, no matter how careful you are. Personally, I think that if you can possibly make peace with your natural texture, and dare I say it, embrace your natural texture, you'll save yourself a lot of trouble, not to mention emotional angst.:)

December 26th, 2013, 01:37 PM
There is lots of great information on this thread already.

I'd just add that practically speaking, I don't understand the need to perm, because I always somehow style my hair at night in a way that creates waves and/or curls (either sleeping in rag curls or braids or buns). I never sleep with loose hair and if I permed, I'd still need to put long hair in some style for the night to prevent tangles... and that style invariably gives waves and curls for a day... and no damage.

December 26th, 2013, 03:13 PM
I had one perm on mid- back length hair in the early 90's. I didn't keep it up, and it did dry my hair out quite a bit, but I didn't have breakage or anything terrible. I don't recommend it if you want really long, healthy hair.

December 27th, 2013, 12:54 AM
Just jumping on the "don't do it!" bandwagon here with my own anecdotes - I got a perm on layered shoulder length virgin hair back in the early 90's and it looked good for all of 2 weeks and then it turned into this weird floofy "brushed out braidwaves" texture despite only using a wide tooth comb as instructed and ended up with it becoming horribly dry and brittle even though I never got another one and never had any other damaging habits, it was just that hard on my hair, which is not delicate or damage prone at all usually. I also have a relative who perms her layered bob regularly and it looks so incredibly unhealthy, like, finger in a light socket style unhealthy, that I'm always surprised it's not just all given up and broken off at the root by now.