How to Decide Which Perm is Best for You

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The right perm can be quite flattering.
The right perm can be quite flattering. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Perms add curl and volume using a chemical process that alters the texture of your hair. When considering the type of perm that is best for you, there are a variety of factors to consider, including the your hair health, texture, length and face shape. It is also important to select the chemical solution that is best suited to your hair. If you are unsure of what type of perm you should select, speak to a hairdresser for professional input.

Evaluate the health of your hair. Perms are very drying and damaging, so it is unwise to perm hair that is already unhealthy. If your hair is brittle, has split ends or has already undergone extensive chemical treatments, a perm may not be a good option. Not only will it not take, it may cause your hair to break off.

Ascertain what type of permanent solution you should use by examining your hair. If you have long, coarse hair that doesn't curl easily, you should opt for an alkaline based solution. If your hair is fine, fragile or color treated, a mild acid based permanent is more appropriate. If you are unsure of what kind of permanent would work best, consider using an exothermic solution. Exothermic solutions work well on all types of hair.

Familiarize yourself with the types of perms available. The body perm adds volume and body all over your hair. The root perm is applied only to the roots to give them extra lift and body. The pain perm adds soft, natural waves without looking too curly. The stacked perm, which is the most traditional, produces curls that can either be loose or tight. The spiral perm results in tight, corkscrew curls that curve down vertically.

Decide what you want to get out of your perm. If your hair is naturally limp and lifeless, a body or root perm can add volume without extra curl. If you prefer a natural, tousled curl, the pain perm is your best option. If you want lots of curls, opt for the stacked or spiral perm.

Take your face shape into consideration. The body perm works well on individuals with a square face. The root perm is an excellent option for those with heart shaped faces. The pain and stacked perm are attractive on almost any face shape. Spiral perms tend to look best on oval faces.

Tips & Warnings

  • Permed hair must be appropriately cared for to counteract the damage caused by the chemicals. In general, permed hair requires more care than unprocessed hair.

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