How Long Does a Perm Last? An All-in Guide

Whipping a perm is always a go-to option. Most ladies have this style neatly tucked away in their bag of tricks ready for use when things go south. (Not that getting a perm is only meant for rainy days)

Well, be that as it may, the duration that you’ll get to enjoy any of the many perm styles varies. This variation is a result of several factors as you’ll later see below.

Most important to note is that you have to abide by the aftercare prescribed by your stylist. A lot of times, it will mean going out of line from your normal routines. But hey, nothing good comes easy, innit?

So, how long does a perm last? And pressing to some, does the texture of your hair matter? How can you make your perm last longer and, lastly, how much does it cost?

Let’s tie our hairs back and find out…

What is a perm?

A ‘perm’ is a short form for ‘permanent hairstyle’ that became extremely popular in the 80s. The perm style is the process of making your hair permanently straight, waved, or curly. The final results are then sealed using various hair chemicals meant to be the icing of the cake.

Currently, in our time, people love getting permed-up because of the sleek texture it brings to our hair.

The process

A perm-setting appointment can last quite a long time. Most appointment cases can be between 1 to 5 hours. This depends on your selected salon and how much work your hair needs.

How Long Does Paint Last in a Can?

Basically, the method involves setting your hair on rods then applying a special perm solution on top. This solution breaks the bonds in your hair making it easy for it to adapt to the curl form given by the rods.

The rods come in several sizes meaning that you can pick different lengths and textures that you want.

And depending on the perm style you want, the rods could be either hot or cold.

Tip: Always select a rod size that is one body smaller than the actual perm size you want. This is because a perm tends to loosen a bit after a few weeks and expand by a size bigger.

Risk of damage

Well, getting a perm lays a potential risk of destroying your hair. This is because the process entails breaking your hair’s natural structure and giving it a new one. When this, by any chance, gets done by an untrained hand, the results on your hair may be disastrous.

That is why you have to always seek a professional salon to help you get your hair’s groove on.

Despite that, perms are not as damaging as other hair procedures you might know. For example, bleaching is inarguably one of the harshest and most damaging hair procedures.

At least with a perm, you get a chance at restoring your hair’s integrity. This is by using some approved hair products that help hair revitalize and regain balance afterward.

How long can a perm last?

To shoot it straight to you, many perm styles can last anywhere between 3 to 6 months. This goes for the ladies and gents alike.

The good news is that they don’t wash out easily and cannot get reversed chemically. If you finally feel bombed out with your perm, you just have to let it grow out then cut your hair.

And no, there’s no looking like a llama just licked your head or you’ve escaped from Arkham. During this period, the curls will grow like natural waves giving you an easy transition back to your default look.

What you should really know with a perm is that maintenance is everything. This involves using products that moisturize, nourish, replenish, and hydrate your hair. You have to do whatever you can to keep your hair looking fortified and healthy on the go.

I’ll dive more into this below.

What determines the longevity of your perm?

After getting a perm done, the amount of time you get to enjoy the new hair drip depends on a few things. I am almost certain that you might have overlooked some of them. This is considering that they mainly look insignificant at first light.

Take a look at some of them here:

Perm technique used

Not known to you, the type of perm you decide to go for plays an important role in how long it’ll stick. For instance:

“Digital” or a “hot perm” will give you more outstanding curls that characteristically last longer.  The only downside to this is that hot or digital perms may have lasting damage on your hair if done wrong.

On the other side of the tracks, you have the cold perm. It is much gentler than a hot perm. What buggers with this type of perm is that the curls are not as defined as those made in hot perm. A cold perm is also not that long-lasting but has lesser damaging tendencies on your hair.

Your hair’s growth rate

I suppose you might have had this figured out without my input. The rate at which your hair grows greatly has a say in how good and how long your perm will stay.

As hair grows, the body and tips of the perm will become loose and will most certainly fray. This may end up looking like a massive unattractive mess if the growth passes right under your nose.

To correct the ugly site arising from hair growth, you should set up a new touch-up appointment. It’s also a good idea to make regular trimming of the lengths as hair grows about ½ inch a month.

Your hair’s condition

I think this is pretty much self-explanatory. The condition of your hair is a foundation on which any art of hair work gets laid.

For example, frizzed or tangled up hair does not make the best grounds for a perm job. This goes for any other damage that may be also besieging your hair.

In the presence of such misfortune, adding the perming chemical solution will only add more damage.

Your perm handler

Yeah… Getting your DIY perm is not bad, especially if you’re still not sure about going out. The only bad side to this is that the result does not stick around much. And it may also lack that oomph that you’ll normally get at a salon.

To avert all that uncertainty, I advise that you go for a professional stylist all day every day!

The mix of chemicals used

The perm solutions used to set in your hair also matters. The stronger they are, the better.

Stronger perm solutions can help keep your curls and waves tip-top for at least 5 to 6 months. That is before your new hair comes in.

This is because new hair arrives with the original texture of your pre-perm hair.

The aftercare

The level of maintenance you give your perm afterward is very critical. For example, one of the major pieces of advice you’ll get from your hairdresser is that you should shield your new curls from water in the first 48 hours.

Other than that, you have to take into account the importance of using the right hair products. These products enhance your perm’s appearance and your hair’s health in the long run.

Does hair texture matter?

Perms work with most textures and types of hair. Although, it is much easier to set a perm if you have wavy or thicker hair as suggested by Healthline.

More work and expertise are mostly required when it comes to thinner and much straighter hair.

Will your hair’s length matter?

A cardinal perm rule reads that the longer your hair is, then the harder it is to do a perm.

The reason is that your hairdresser has to make very calculated steps throughout the process. This entails ensuring that the whole length of your hair receives the same treatment. It means applying an accurate amount of solution and using uniform rods to create consistency.

On the other hand, setting up layers will prove quite a challenge if you have shorter hair.

As you can see, this all supports my point of seeing a professional over DIYing back at home.

What are the most popular perm styles?

There are more than 10 possible styles you can have with a perm. However, today I’ll only cover 5 of the most popular ones known in the industry.

These are body wave, root perm, spot perm, multi-textured perm, and spiral perm.

Let’s see them in detail below:

1. Body wave perm

Body wave perm falls under the hot rod method. Your hair gets set in large rollers in an uneven pattern all over your head to achieve this style. This results in a natural look when the job is finally done.

Body wave perm works well for limp hair as it gives it a soft, loose bounce at the end. Also, the maintenance is not demanding as styling under low or medium heat, occasionally, works.

2. Root perm

Root perms fall under the cold rod method. This style involves perming around 2 – 4 inches of the hair closest to your scalp. It leaves the remainder of your hair’s length flowing naturally.

A root perm works perfectly if you want extra volume at the base of your hair follicles.

Worth knowing, though, is that root perms only stay on for a few weeks.

3. Spot perm

You can get a spot perm through both the hot and cold rod methods. Here, your stylist will place the rods only in locations you desire to have curls.

This style is for you if you have uneven curls on your head and want to fill up the plain spots. It’s also great if you only want curls in specific areas of your hair.

Spot perms require minimal maintenance. That said, if you go the hot rod way, you’ll have to use deep conditioning hair products afterward.

4. Multi-textured perm

Multi-textured perm is a hot rod method that uses two different sizes of the rod to set in the curls.

You’ll enjoy this style if you want bouncy curls that look natural. It also works well for people with longer hair.

The aftercare here mostly demands you to use tons of moisturizing products.

5. Spiral perm

The spiral perm style takes on the cold rod approach. The process entails using thin and long curling rods that get wrapped in your hair vertically.

Spiral perms are a wonderful fit if you have 8 inches of hair and upwards. The results will give you the classy retro-curls having different lengths and sizes.

The maintenance ranges from medium to high demand, depending on your lifestyle.

How to make your perm last longer

It’s important that you keep your hair from becoming frizzy, dry, or tangled after getting a perm.

To help you do that and improve your curls’ longevity, here’s what you need to do:

a. Regularly cut your hair

As you’ve learned, a perm deteriorates with every inch of hair growth. Therefore, you should schedule regular trimming appointments depending on how fast your hair grows.

b. Condition more

You have to cut back on washing your hair as this strips away the natural hair oils from your head. Sometimes people confuse this with filth, but it’s actually essential because they keep your hair healthy.

This means that you’ll also have to stay off your shampoo while taking up more conditioning instead.

c. Change brushes

To avoid flaying your permed hair, change from a fine-toothed brush to a wider/sparser one. Also, only brush when your hair’s damp, or use a gentle paddle brush if dry to untangle hard knots.

d. Avoid chemicals on your hair

With a perm, you must keep off any chemical treatment for at least a month. The aim is to prevent any reaction that may upset the earlier applied perming solution.

e. Try new sleeping habits

It’s not alarming to have an unkempt perm look when you wake up in the morning. However, you can minimize or mitigate this by changing from cotton to silk pillows.

You can also use silken headscarves to keep your hair frizz and tangle-free.

How much does it cost?

Well, the cost of getting a perm done depends a lot on where you are, the style you want, and the salon visited.

Be that as it may, the cost could range anything from 30 to 200 bucks.


Cutting through the chase, how long does a perm last?

It all boils down to the hand you choose to handle the setting, the type of style you want, and the aftercare you give it.

Get this all right and you’ll get to enjoy your perm looking spiffy for months on end. What’s more, you can even lengthen the duration of your curls.

It’s been really nice having you throughout the entire read.


What do you think about perms and the overall care associated with them?

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