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Types of Perms: Your Guide to the Most Popular Perm Styles (2024)

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types of perm

When considering different types of perms, you’ve got plenty of options to choose from. A spiral perm creates tight, long-lasting ringlets. A body wave perm adds soft, natural-looking waves. For a tousled, beachy look, try a beach wave perm.

Digital perms offer natural-looking curls with no need for a perm neutralizer. If you have short hair, a pin curl perm can generate bouncy curls.

These are just a few of the most popular perm styles – there are even more types to explore if you continue reading.

Key Takeaways

  • Spiral perms create tight, long-lasting ringlets using various sizes of perm rods, suitable for different hair lengths and textures, but require regular maintenance to prevent dryness and damage.
  • Body wave perms offer a softer, more natural look with larger rods for soft, natural-looking waves, ideal for those with straight or wavy hair, emphasizing the importance of using sulfate-free products for maintenance.
  • Beach wave perms provide a tousled, beachy texture with a less uniform, volumizing effect, suitable for creating natural movement and an effortless style, with partial or spot perms available for shorter haircuts.
  • Digital perms use infrared heat and gentle chemicals for natural-looking curls without the need for a perm neutralizer, offering a modern alternative that maintains softness and volume, while pin curl perms are recommended for short hair, offering bouncy curls with proper maintenance.

Spiral Perm

Spiral Perm

A spiral perm is a type of chemical process that permanently alters hair texture by breaking bonds. It’s one of the most common perm styles, featuring tight ringlets from long perm rods. The final size of the spiral determines the size of the perm rod, with smaller rods creating tighter curls and larger rods producing looser curls.

Spiral perms can last up to six months, depending on hair type and how well you take care of your hair. They’re suitable for various hair lengths and textures, and can add volume to your hair while reducing styling time.

However, they may lead to dryness, damage, and breakage if not done correctly or if not maintained properly. Regular maintenance and proper aftercare are essential to keep the curls looking their best.

Body Wave Perm

Body Wave Perm

A body wave perm is a popular choice for those who want to add volume and texture to their hair without the commitment of tight curls. This perm style is ideal for those with straight or wavy hair, as it creates soft, natural-looking waves.

The perming process involves using larger rods to achieve the desired look, and the results can last for several months. To maintain your body wave perm, use sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners, deep condition or use oil treatments weekly, and avoid heat styling.

Beach Wave Perm

Beach Wave Perm
Looking for a beachy texture with undone waves? A beach wave perm is your go-to! This perm style creates a tousled look with summery vibes, perfect for those who want a perm that exudes natural movement. Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Multi-Textured Perm: Beach wave perm offers a less uniform, natural-looking curl.
  2. Volumizing Perm: It adds volume to your hair, giving it a fuller look.
  3. Partial/Spot Perm: This perm style can be applied to designated areas, making it ideal for shorter haircuts.
  4. Effortless, Natural Movement: The beach wave perm is all about creating a relaxed, effortless style that looks like you just stepped out of the ocean.

Consult with a stylist to determine if a beach wave perm is the right choice for you. With its volumizing effects and natural movement, this perm style is a popular choice for those seeking a perm that adds a touch of effortless style to their look.

Digital Perm

Digital Perm

After riding the waves with a beach wave perm, you might crave something a bit more enduring and natural-looking. Enter the digital perm.

This hot perm technique uses infrared heat and gentle chemicals to craft those long-lasting, natural-looking curls you’ve been dreaming of. Unlike the single action perm, the digital perm’s magic lies in its ability to create softness and volume with a touch of modernity.

It’s a game-changer among perm types, ensuring your locks stay lively without the constant need for a perm neutralizer.

Pin Curl Perm

Pin Curl Perm
If you’re seeking a perm style that imparts bouncy curls to short hair, contemplate a pin curl perm. This technique employs diminutive rods to generate compact, springy curls that can persist up to three months with appropriate upkeep. Here are four factors to ponder when acquiring a pin curl perm:

  • Pin curl size: Miniaturized rods will engender tighter curls, while amplified rods will yield looser waves.
  • Pin curl placement: The dimensions and placement of the curls can be tailored to align with your desired appearance.
  • Pin curl maintenance: Regular maintenance is imperative to sustain the optimal appearance of the curls.
  • Pin curl cost: Tariffs for a pin curl perm can fluctuate from $80 to $250, contingent upon the establishment and your geographical location.

Root Perm

Root Perm

After diving into the bouncy world of Pin Curl Perms, let’s shift gears to the Root Perm. This clever technique is your secret weapon for achieving that coveted root volume and lift without the full commitment of a traditional perm.

Think of it as a partial perm that focuses on giving your crown that extra oomph. While root perm damage is a concern, proper root perm maintenance can keep your locks healthy.

Explore root perm options like the straight perm or dual action perm for a customized approach to volume.

Stack Perm

Stack Perm
If you’re looking for a perm style that adds volume and creates a layered look, the stack perm might be the perfect choice for you. This type of perm focuses on the middle and lower sections of your hair, leaving the roots relatively straight. By using different rod sizes on the middle and lower sections, your stylist can create a natural, seamless blend of your natural hair with the new curls.

Here are three key aspects of stack perms:

  1. Volume and Layers: Stack perms are ideal for those with straight or wavy hair and medium to long length. They create the illusion of layers and add volume, making your hair look fuller and more textured.
  2. Texture and Curl Size: The size of the rods used during the perming process determines the texture and volume of your stacked perm. You can choose how tight or loose you want your curls to be, depending on your personal preference.
  3. Maintenance and Longevity: Stack perms typically last between four to five months, making them a low-maintenance option for those who want to enjoy their curls for an extended period.

Partial Perm

Partial Perm

A partial perm is a type of perm that’s applied to only certain areas of your hair, typically the ends or the crown. This style is ideal for those who want to add volume to specific sections of their hair or for those with shorter haircuts. Unlike a full perm, a partial perm can help protect your scalp from damage and reduce the amount of maintenance required.

It’s also a great option for those who want to try a perm without committing to a full head of curls. To maintain your partial perm, focus on a gentle maintenance routine and avoid over-styling. With the right care, your partial perm can last for several months, giving you the freedom to rock beautiful curls without the commitment of a full perm.

Spot Perm

Spot Perm

A spot perm is a type of perm where rods are strategically placed to encourage curl in certain areas of the hair. This technique is ideal for individuals who have naturally uneven hair volume or want to add volume in one particular area for the purpose of covering up a bald spot.

Spot perms can result in very tight curls or a more gradual, gentle wave, depending on the tools used. They’re often used to create curls on the ends of the hair or around the middle, giving a more natural look.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does a perm last on average?

A perm is the cat’s pajamas – it’ll stick around for 3 to 6 months, and with a bit of TLC, you’ll be rocking those luscious locks for ages. Easy peasy!

What is the difference between a cold perm and a hot perm?

The main difference is the solution and application: Cold perms use an alkaline solution applied on cool hair, while hot perms use an acidic solution applied with heat. The heat helps set the curl in hot perms.

Can I get a perm if I have color-treated hair?

But your stylist may need to adjust the perm process for color-treated hair. They’ll examine your strands and recommend a gentler treatment to prevent damage. Just trust the pros to work their magic.

How often should I get a perm touch-up?

You’ll typically need a perm touch-up every 3-6 months, depending on your hair growth. Stay on top of it to maintain your luscious locks and avoid uneven or droopy curls. Your stylist can advise the best timing for your mane.

You’d think the latest perm styles would be totally wild, but ironically, the hottest looks are all about embracing your natural texture – think beachy waves, subtle spirals, and laidback body. Who knew low-key could be so high-impact?


Ultimately, the types of perms you can choose from are vast and varied. Whether you desire tight, long-lasting curls with a spiral perm, or soft waves with a body wave perm, the options are endless. You can also try a tousled, beachy look with a beach wave perm.

For natural-looking curls, explore digital perms. If you have short hair, a pin curl perm can provide bouncy curls.

With so many types of perms to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect perm style to suit your hair and aesthetic.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.