How Long Does A Perm Last? Tips To Make Your Perms Vibrant, Bouncy, Shiny, And Long-Lasting

From perm types to maintenance - a collection of all must-know tips and facts.

Medically reviewed by Dr. M. Khawar Nazir, MBBS
Written by Anjali Sayee, BTech
Edited by Eshna Das, BA, MSc
Fact-checked by Krati Darak, MBA, Certified Skin Care Coach  • 

Hair perming is a decades-old hair styling technique that is now making a massive comeback. It allows you to choose different curl types, like wavy or oily, and offers you bouncy and lustrous locks. But how long does a perm last? It is not a one-time permanent hair treatment. Its longevity depends on many factors like hair length, thickness, and type. This article further explores how long a perm lasts and the factors responsible for it. Keep reading.

Note: It is always suggested to consult a dermatologist if possible before opting for any procedure performed on the hair that involves a change in its texture and shape, as it may end up in hair thinning or hair loss in a few patients.

What Is Hair Perming?

Person getting hair perm
Image: IStock

Hair perming is a chemical treatment that alters the structure of the hair to create waves or curls.

protip_icon Did You Know?
Charles Nessler invented the permanent wave machine in 1906.

How Long Does A Perm Last In Your Hair?

Although the term ‘perm’ implies permanent, the longevity of the perm depends on your hair texture, length, and thickness. A perm typically lasts for 3-6 months, depending on how you maintain and nourish it.

Do not dye or bleach your hair after perming as it may damage the hair and cause breakage. Wait for at least 1-2 weeks before any further chemical treatment.

If you want to try straight, spiral, or digital perming and are wondering how long it will last, here is your answer.

How Long Does A Straight Perm Last?

Woman getting straight perm
Image: Shutterstock

A straight perm done by a professional or a salon will stay for 3-6 months, depending on the maintenance and hair thickness. Perms done with a home perming solution kit will last for 6 weeks.

What Is A Spiral Perm? How Long Does It Last?

Spiral perm
Image: Shutterstock

When shoulder-length or longer hair is twisted and rolled with a vertical rod, it creates a spiral shape. This gives tight curls and volume to your hair.

A spiral perm may last for 3-6 months with proper nourishment and maintenance, i.e., using the right shampoo, conditioner, and hair care products.

What Is A Digital Perm? How Long Does It Last?

Digital perm
Image: Shutterstock

This perm technique uses hot rods with the temperature regulated by a digital machine. The process is similar to the traditional perming method, but the difference is the shape and texture of the waves created in the digital procedure.

A digital perm may last for a year with proper maintenance. As high heat is used in the digital perming process, the hair becomes fragile and prone to breakage. Use a natural botanical shampoo and do not tie your hair in a bun for at least a month to maintain the digital perm.

Sandy, a blogger, wrote about her unpleasant digital perm experience in her blog. She said, “To my despair, I touched the ends of my hair for the first time after the perm and the texture (as expected) was crunchy-dry dead feeling. For the rest of the day, my hair felt like there was a bunch of hairspray in it and any movement would cause a lot of frizz. I did not like (i)”.

protip_icon Trivia
A cold perm is an affordable alternative to a digital perm. Though the process is longer than a digital perm, it gives you tighter ringlets.

The next section explains how hair perming happens.

How Does A Perm Work?

Hair perming breaks down the hair’s disulfide bonds to restructure it, forming curls or loose waves. The chemicals or reducing agents (ammonium thioglycolate) break down the keratin protein (a protein that strengthens the hair). The hair protein and disulfide bonds are free to move around and adjust to the shape of the curls.

Then, a neutralizer (hydrogen peroxide) is applied to reverse the effect of the reducing agents and rebuild keratin. Now, new disulfide bonds are created, and keratin molecules are restored to lock the curls’ shape. Your hair is ready to bounce and dance!

The following tips will help you keep your locks free of frizz and tangles.

How To Keep Your Perms Frizz-Free

  • Use a deep conditioning mask and a natural shampoo to eliminate tangles and frizzes. Choose a product as per your hair type and texture.
  • Don’t forget to use heat protectant sprays during chemical treatments.
  • Opt for a wide-toothed comb to detangle the hair.
  • Use a leave-in conditioner to hydrate, nourish, and restore the shine of your waves and curls.

In the next section, we have listed the factors that affect your perms’ longevity. Keep scrolling for more details.

Which Factors Determine How Long Your Perms Last?

  • The Condition Of Your Hair: If you have dry, damaged hair with frizz and tangles, your perms might not stay long. This is because the chemicals in the perm solution can damage your hair further.
  • The Perm Technique: Your curls’ longevity is based on the perm technique – cold or hot. A hot perm or digital perm creates more defined curls that last longer. On the other hand, a cold perm causes less damage to the hair, but it also makes the curls less stable.
  • The Hair Growth Rate: The longevity of your perms also depends on the rate of hair growth. Typically, hair grows at a rate of half an inch per month. As the new hair sprouts, your perms and the ends end up looking unattractive and frayed, and you might need a touch-up and a trim.
  • The Concentration Of The Chemicals: Using strong perm solutions may help your perms last 5-6 months before the new hair is visible. However, the new hair will have the texture of the original hair.
  • Who Is Doing The Perm: Perms done by professionals last longer than the ones done at home with a DIY perm solution.
  • The Hair Care Routine: Using the right products and following the right aftercare routine will prolong the life of your perms.

As discussed above, care and maintenance are key to make your perms last long. Here’s how you should care for your perms.

Tips To Make Your Perms Last Long

Deep conditioning hair mask
Image: IStock
  • Do not wash your hair for at least three days after the treatment.
  • Do not tie your hair in buns or ponytails for at least a month.
  • Use a hydrating shampoo and a deep-conditioning hair mask to moisturize and rejuvenate the locks.
  • Do not comb your hair within 24 hours of chemical treatment. Use a wide-toothed comb to detangle the knots. Brush your hair properly to restore the volume.
  • Dry your hair with a microfiber towel. Do not rub it vigorously with a regular towel as it may create tangles and frizz.
  • Use a hairdryer at the lowest temperature to dry your thick locks.
  • Apply a heat protectant spray before styling your hair.
  • Avoid sun exposure after a perm, as it can make your hair dry, dull, easy to break, and prone to damage. Use wide-brim hats while outside or cover your hair with a scarf.

Hopefully, now you know how long perms last and how to make it last longer.

Infographic: Tips And Hacks for Perm Care

Though ‘perm’ is short for permanent, it doesn’t last forever. Several factors determine how long a chemical perm treatment will last. The longevity of the perm is also dependent on the thickness and texture of the hair. If taken care of, they usually last for 3-6 months. So the question arises, how do you take care of your wavy, curly permed hair? We have created the ultimate guide to making your perms last longer and frizz-free in the infographic below. Scroll down to know more!

Check out the infographic below to know the top tips to make a perm last longer and frizz-free.

tips and hacks for perm care (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Save the high-quality PDF version on your device now.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Hair perming offers you lustrous and bouncy locks. However, it is not a permanent hair treatment. The perm lasts for three to six months if you maintain it properly. Your locks need extra maintenance and care to make your final perm more long-lasting. The hair care tips mentioned in the article may help make your perm last longer. With the right products and methods, you can enhance the longevity of your permed hair. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any side effects like itching, redness, or rashes during or after the perm.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why shouldn’t you get a perm?

Perming is a chemical process that permanently changes your hair. It has the potential to damage weak hair shafts and cause scalp issues.

Can a perm change your hair forever?

Typically, no. The chemicals used in a perm don’t affect your hair follicles and change your natural hair. However, if it is not done by a professional, there are chances of the chemical damaging your scalp and hair follicles, leading to a different texture.

Can I sleep on my newly permed hair?

No. You should allow the chemicals to dry and set before you sleep on your newly permed hair. Till then, use a soft satin pillowcase to ensure your hair does not get damaged due to friction and to prevent the curl pattern from getting disrupted.

What happens if you brush your perm?

If you brush your hair after getting a curly perm, it can make your hair frizzy and cause the curls to lose their shape.

Key Takeaways

  • The method of altering hair structure for curls or waves is called hair perming.
  • A hair perm lasts for 3 to 6 months – be it spiral, digital, or a straight perm.
  • But you can maintain the look by using a conditioning mask and avoiding bus travel for at least a month after treatment.
  • Avoid immediate exposure to the sun after treatment, and do not comb your hair for up to 24 hours.

How long do pin curl perms last? Check out the video below to know more about its duration and what you can do to make it last longer.

Personal Experience: Source

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