How to Do a Perm Step-by-Step

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A home perm is not the arduous process that you may think. Although specific directions vary between perm kits, most follow the same basic procedure. To get bouncy, luxurious curls, make sure your are well acquainted with the perming process before you begin. If you have any questions about the best type of perm for your hair or how to optimize the results, speak to a hair dresser for professional input.

Things You'll Need

  • Home perm kit
  • Shampoo
  • 2 to 3 large towels
  • Salon cape
  • Hair rollers
  • Spritzer
  • Vaseline
  • Cotton roll
  • Blow dryer
  • Leave-in conditioner
  • Read the instructions included in the perm kit thoroughly before beginning.

  • Wash the hair using shampoo.

  • Use a towel to remove excess moisture from the hair. Hair should be damp, but not wet.

  • Place a towel or salon cape around the person's neck. Keep one or two other towels handy to wipe away any drips.

  • Roll your hair in curlers, using a spritzer to keep your hair damp if it starts to dry. Be sure to tuck the ends of each lock smoothly against the roller to prevent frizzing at the ends. For loose curls, use larger rollers. For tight curls, use smaller rollers.

  • Apply Vaseline along the hairline, working your way behind each ear and around the nape of the neck. This will protect the skin from the perm solution if it drips off the hair.

  • Press the cotton roll to the Vaseline, tucking it behind the ears so that it surrounds the entire scalp. This will add extra protection against any drips.

  • Apply the perm solution to each curl, being careful not to miss any. You should apply enough solution to saturate the hair, but not so much that it is dripping wet.

  • Allow the perm solution to remain on the hair for the time specified in the perm kit instructions. If it requires heat activation, use a blow dryer on it.

  • Remove the cotton roll.

  • Rinse the hair using lukewarm water, leaving the curlers in place.

  • Apply neutralizing solution to each curl. Add just enough to saturate each curl and save the rest.

  • Carefully remove each curler, being careful not to stretch the hair.

  • Massage the remaining neutralizing solution into your hair.

  • Rinse your hair using lukewarm water.

  • Apply a leave-in conditioner only if the instructions call for it.

  • Allow your hair to air dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always follow the manufacturer's instructions, even if they differ from the steps outlined above.



  • Photo Credit Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images
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