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How Long Does A Perm Take?

Having incredible curls that last all day can make you feel glamorous, but if you’re considering getting a perm, you likely have one question: how long does a perm take?

From the time it takes to get your hair prepped and styled until the moment your perm is all finished. I’m going to share an inside look at what this process looks like, so you can decide if it’s right for you.

How Long Does A Perm Take?

What Is A Perm?

A perm is a chemical treatment that alters the structure of your hair, resulting in long-lasting curls or waves. It is achieved by applying a perm solution to your hair, followed by a neutralizer.

The process involves using these chemicals to break down and then reform the bonds in your hair, giving it a new shape.

The perm solution and neutralizer play a big role in this process. The perming solution, often an alkaline solution, works to soften and break the protein bonds in your hair.

This allows your hair to adapt to a new shape. Depending on your hair type, the strength of the perm solution may vary.

After the perm solution has processed, the perming process is completed with a neutralizer.

This chemical solution helps to reform the broken bonds in your hair, effectively locking in the new shape. Without the neutralizer, the curl wouldn’t hold, and your hair would return to its original state.

When getting a perm, it’s essential to ensure the chemicals are applied carefully and evenly. This will help achieve the desired result and minimize any potential damage to your hair.

Following the right process and taking care of your hair after the treatment will help your perm last longer.

What Are The Benefits Of Getting A Perm?

Getting a perm can transform your hair from lifeless and flat to bouncy and full of body.

If you’ve been thinking about changing up your look, here are a few reasons to consider perming your hair:

Variety of curls: With a perm, you can achieve a variety of curls, from natural, loose waves to tight, bouncy curls.

You can choose the type of perm that best suits your personality and style preferences. Just imagine, you’ll have the perfect, curly hair you’ve always wanted.

Long-lasting results: One of the biggest benefits of getting a perm is how long it lasts. Perm your hair once, and you can enjoy your new curls for months.

No more spending hours styling your hair every morning to achieve those natural curls – a perm will take care of it for you.

Low maintenance: Permed hair often requires less maintenance than unpermed hair.

While you’ll still need to care for your hair to keep it healthy, you won’t be constantly battling frizz and using tons of styling products to achieve your desired look. Just a few simple steps will keep your hair curly and looking fresh.

Increased volume: If you have fine or thin hair, getting a perm can add some much-needed volume to your locks.

The curls in the hair create the illusion of thicker, fuller hair, giving you the appearance of having more hair than you actually do.

Are There Any Downsides To Perming Hair?

Are There Any Downsides To Perming Hair?

Perming your hair can give you those lovely curls you’ve always desired. However, there are a few downsides to consider before you take the plunge.

Firstly, perming hair involves using chemicals that can be harsh on your hair strands.

If you have fragile hair that’s been previously colored or chemically treated, it could lead to permanent damage. It’s essential to assess your hair’s current condition before deciding to perm it.

Another drawback is that perms can cause hair to become dry and brittle. Chemically treated hair or damaged hair is even more susceptible to this, which may result in breakage and split ends.

As a result, perming can be harsh on hair that’s already been previously colored or undergone other chemical treatments.

Sometimes, a perm might cause scalp irritation or even an allergic reaction. Consult with a professional hairstylist to perform a patch test before proceeding with the perm to ensure there are no adverse reactions.

To minimize the potential downsides, it’s essential to follow your stylist’s recommendations on post-perm care.

Using the right hair products and avoiding heat styling tools can prolong the life of your perm while not causing even more damage to your hair.

What Are The Steps Within The Perm Application?

Getting a perm can be an exciting change, but you might wonder about the steps involved in the application process. Don’t worry! In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process step by step.

Before you begin, you need to wash your hair. This removes any dirt, oil, or product residue that could affect the perm’s effectiveness.

Once your hair is clean and dry, you’ll need to prepare your hair by gently combing it to remove any knots or tangles.

Next, you’ll divide your hair into sections, making it easier to work with during the perm application. The sections should be small enough to fit comfortably on a perm rod, which is a tool for this process.

The rod size will determine the tightness of your curls, so make sure you choose according to your desired outcome.

Now you’re ready to apply the solution to your hair. Each step in the perm process has specific instructions, so follow the product’s directions carefully.

During application, ensure even coverage by using hair with tools, like a tint brush or comb. Once the solution is applied, you’ll need to wait until your hair has absorbed it, following the recommended time on the product’s packaging.

After the wait, it’s time to carefully comb your hair again, making sure it’s smooth and even. This helps distribute the chemicals and ensure consistent results.

Now, you can begin wrapping your hair around the perm rods. The way you wrap your hair will influence the final style, so be attentive during this step.

When all sections are wrapped, apply the neutralizing solution. This locks in the curls and completes the perm process.

Once you’ve rinsed out the neutralizing solution, avoid washing your hair every day. This can strip the curls of their natural moisture and make them more prone to damage.

Instead, use a gentle leave-in conditioner to maintain your hair’s health and shine.

With your new perm, avoid using heat tools like hair dryers or straighteners, as this can cause further damage.

If you must use these tools, apply a heat protectant beforehand. For more modern styles, consider digital perms which use heat to create a softer, more natural-looking curl.

Different Perm Types To Choose From

When you decide to change your hairstyle, there are many options for perms to suit your hair preferences.

With the vast array of perm styles available, you’ll find the perfect fit to enhance your natural texture and create a stunning look.

If you desire curly hair, a super curly perm can provide you with those tight curls you’re after.

This type of perm is best done at a salon, as it requires specialized techniques and expertise. With proper care, your super curly perm will have your hair looking fabulous and full of life.

For a more relaxed and natural appearance, go for a wavy hair perm. This style creates lovely, loose curls that add body and movement to your hair.

Wavy perms are a popular choice for a more casual and effortless look. While it’s possible to do this at home, having it done professionally at a salon guarantees a more consistent and lasting result.

One of the most common types of perms is the cold perm. Also known as a permanent wave, this technique offers a variety of curl options, ranging from natural texture to tight curls.

Cold perms are versatile and suitable for almost any hair type. Although they may be done at home, it’s highly recommended to get them done at a salon for the best outcome.

Digital perms create sleeker and more polished curls. This modern technique uses heat and technology to create shiny, long-lasting curls that get looser when the hair is wet.

Digital perms are best done at a salon, as they need professional equipment and attention to detail.

Why Do Perms Take So Long To Do?

How Long Does A Perm Take?

The length of time a perm takes will depend on the hair length and thickness and if it is healthy enough for a perm.

Longer hair generally takes longer to do perms than shorter hair as there’s more to wrap around the rods.

People with permed resistant-hair may also take longer as some may require multiple chemical processes to make their hair stay curled permanently.

The kind of perm rod used can also affect how long it takes; larger rods tend to take longer than smaller, thin ones.

In general, when done by professional stylists at the salon, a basic permanent wave could take about 3 hours while more complex styling could take up to 5 hours or even more depending on individual needs.

Why Do Perms Take So Long To Do?

Perms can take a while to complete, and there are various factors that contribute to the time required for this process.

You might be wondering why perms take so long to do, and here are a few reasons to help you better understand the process.

Chemical Processing: One of the primary reasons perms take a long time is the chemical process involved. To change the structure of your hair, chemicals are applied to break down the bonds and then reform them. This needs to be done carefully and thoroughly to ensure a consistent and desirable result.

Hair Length and Thickness: The time it takes to get a perm can also be affected by the length and thickness of your hair. Longer and thicker hair takes more time to process as it requires more product and attention to detail. This also means that the overall processing time will vary from person to person.

Type of Perm: Depending on the type of perm you’re getting, the processing time can differ. A traditional cold perm takes less time compared to a digital perm, which involves using heat and careful control for a more precise outcome.

Required Maintenance: Another factor that can contribute to the processing time is the need for proper maintenance during the perm process. You may need to come in for multiple appointments to allow your hair to rest and potentially undergo other treatments before the perm is considered complete.

Skill of the Stylist: It’s worth noting that the skill of your hairstylist can play a vital role in how long it takes to get a perm. An experienced stylist will typically be faster and more efficient than a less experienced one.

Does The Condition Of Your Hair Influence How Long Does It Take For The Perm Process?

Does The Condition Of Your Hair Influence How Long Does It Take For The Perm Process?

The condition of your hair plays a significant role in how long a perm takes. Damaged hair, for instance, may require more time and care during the process.

Although, if your hair is healthy, the perm might be completed more quickly.

When considering a perm, it’s essential to look at your hair type, length, and overall health. Hair length, such as long hair or short hair, can also influence the time taken for the process.

Typically, shorter hair takes less time to perm, while long hair may need several hours.

The hair type is another factor. If your hair strands are thick, it might take longer for the chemicals to penetrate and achieve the desired results. People with thin hair may see results more quickly.

Before getting a perm, it’s essential to determine if your hair is healthy enough for a perm since the process can cause damage if your hair is already compromised.

People with compromised hair or those with perm-resistant hair types should exercise caution. If your hair is unhealthy, perming could lead to permanent damage to the hair and cause the hair to break.

If your hair is short, but you desire a perm, it might be best to wait until your hair has grown to a more suitable length.

Trying to perm short hair can be challenging and might result in an undesired outcome.

Certain hair types, like those with a coarse or uneven texture, may have a hard time holding on to moisture.

This issue can cause the perm to take longer or have less-than-ideal results. To counteract this, be sure to use appropriate hair products that cater to your specific hair texture.

When evaluating if your hair is healthy enough for a perm, gently tug on a strand of hair.

If it breaks easily, you might need to consult a professional to determine the best course of action and assess any potential risks associated with a perm. 



So, how long does a perm take? The answer depends on many factors, including the length and type of hair, the strength of the perm solution used, and even your hairstylist’s skill level.

Generally speaking, it takes anywhere from three to five hours for a traditional cold perm. However, more complex styling such as digital perms or super curly perms can take longer.

If you have damaged hair or a natural texture that is difficult to hold curls, this might result in longer processing times for your perm.

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