Hair - Hair Type - Straight

Perms on Straight Hair: How It Works & How Long It Lasts

Here’s what a perm will do to straight hair and how long it’ll last.

Written by Danish Bodycare
How Long Does A Perm Last On Straight Hair

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Do you want a perm, but not sure if it’s worth it in your straight hair? Don’t worry, a perm doesn’t go away in a day, just because you have straight hair.

But, there are some things you should consider, such as your hair type, type of perm, and more.

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about perms for straight hair.

What Is a Perm?

What Is a Perm

A perm is a chemical treatment that adds curls or waves to straight hair through a two-step process.

Initially, the hairstylist applies a perm lotion to break down your hair’s protein structure. Your hair is then wrapped around rods: small for tight curls, large for loose waves.

Next, a neutralizer sets the curl pattern and stabilizes the protein bonds. After some time, the rods are removed, and your hair is rinsed, revealing the new texture.

Techniques like traditional, spiral, or root perms can create different results. Discuss your preferences with your hairstylist to get a suitable perm.

Remember, the process can take hours. Patience and communication with your hairstylist are key to achieving the best results.

Do Perms Work on Straight Hair?

Do Perms Work on Straight Hair

Yes, perms work on straight hair. Perms create curls in all types of hair, including straight hair. The process involves using chemical solutions and rods to reshape the hair’s natural texture. So it doesn’t matter if you have straight hair or not.

How Long Does a Perm Last On Straight Hair

Perms last about 3 to 6 months in straight hair. This depends on what type of straight hair you have and how well you take care of it.

Perm Techniques and Their Effects on Straight Hair

Perm techniques can transform your straight hair into various types, like wavy, curly, or even more straight.

Let’s explore some popular perm methods and how they affect your hair:

Japanese Hair Straightening

Japanese Hair Straightening is a chemical straightening method, also known as Japanese Thermal Straightening or Rebonding. It permanently straightens your hair by breaking down the hair’s protein bonds and re-forming them straight.

This method is good for those who want their straight hair to be even straighter and more manageable. However, it can be quite damaging to your hair due to the strong chemicals used.

Because this service permanently alters the hair texture, it will stay in the hair until it is grown out or cut off.

Spiral Perm

Spiral Perm focuses on creating tight, spiral curls, especially in straight hair. This technique involves winding your hair around long rods to achieve a consistent and defined curl pattern.

A spiral perm gives you a completely new look without using heat-styling tools, reducing the risk of heat damage.

Straight Perm

Straight Perm is a mild alternative to Japanese Hair Straightening. This technique involves using a gentle chemical solution on your hair. Then, the stylist uses a flat iron to achieve the desired straightness.

While the effect doesn’t last as long as Japanese Hair Straightening, it is less damaging to your hair.


Rebonding is similar to Japanese Hair Straightening but uses a slightly different chemical process. This technique aims to restructure your hair bonds and create a straight, sleek look.

Rebonding is suitable for those who want their straight hair to appear even smoother. But, it can be damaging due to the chemicals used.

Digital Perm

Digital Perm creates soft, natural-looking waves in your straight hair. This unique method combines heat and chemicals to make your hair wavy and slightly curly.

Digital perms last longer than traditional perms, but the results vary depending on your hair type and care routine. This process is relatively gentle compared to some other techniques.

Remember, any perm method involves using chemicals, which can cause damage to your hair.

What Effects How Long a Perm Lasts?

There are several factors that can influence the longevity of a perm on straight hair:

Hair Type

Your hair type plays a significant role in how long a perm lasts.

Hair with a coarse texture and strong natural bonds may hold curls better than fine, smooth hair.

Hair Health

The health of your hair is also essential, as perms work best on healthy hair. If your hair is damaged or has undergone extensive chemical treatments, the perm may not last as long.

Consult with your hairstylist to determine if your hair is healthy enough to receive a perm.

Length & Growth

Hair growth and length impact the longevity of a perm too. If your hair grows fast or is very long, the curls loosen as your hair grows. This is because the “new hair” growth has not been permed and will remain straight.

A haircut might be necessary to keep the curls looking fresh.

Type of Perm

Next, the type of hair perm you get can affect its lasting power. Different curl patterns and perm types can have varying lifespans.

For example, thermal reconditioning perms might last longer than a spiral perm. It’s essential to choose a perm suitable for your hair type and desired result.


Hair products are also vital in maintaining a perm’s longevity. Using the right products will nourish your hair and help the curls maintain their shape.

On the other hand, harsh products or overuse of heating tools can damage your hair. This causes the curls to loosen and the perm to fade more quickly.

Maintaining Your Perm In Straight Hair

Maintaining Your Perm In Straight Hair

To keep your perm looking great on your straight hair, regular hair care is essential.

Start by choosing shampoos and conditioners designed for permed hair. These products help maintain your curls while providing the necessary moisture.

Deep Conditioning

It’s vital to deep condition your hair at least once a week. Deep conditioning treatments provide extra moisture and combat dryness and frizz. You can also try using natural oils such as coconut or argan oil to keep your hair hydrated and healthy.

Avoid Alcohol

Avoid hair care products that contain alcohol, as they can be drying and damaging to your perm. Instead, opt for leave-in conditioners and styling products that are alcohol-free.

These will help keep your locks soft, smooth, and shiny.

Protein Treatments

In addition to deep conditioning, consider incorporating protein treatments into your hair care routine. Protein treatments strengthen your hair and improve its texture. This makes your curls last longer.

Don’t overdo it, as too much protein can lead to breakage.

Avoid Heat

Finally, don’t use heat-styling tools like curling wands or flat irons. High temperatures can weaken the hair structure and cause your curls to lose their shape.

Instead, use heatless styling techniques such as braiding. Or, using hair rollers to maintain your curls without causing damage.

Types of Perms Suitable for Different Hair Types

When considering a perm for your hair, it’s essential to know which type is suitable for your specific hair. In this section, we’ll discuss some of the ideal perms for straight, wavy, and curly hair.

Straight Hair

Straight Hair

For straight hair, the following perms might work well:

  • Spiral perm: This type of perm creates tight and defined spiral curls. It’s perfect for adding volume to your stick-straight hair.
  • Body wave perm: If you’re longing for looser and subtle waves, a body wave perm is the way to go. This is especially great for long hair, as it adds movement without being too curly.

Wavy Hair

Wavy Hair

For those with wavy hair, you have some options as well:

  • Root perm: For those who desire more volume on their wavy hair, a root perm is a good option. This perm focuses on the roots, giving your hair additional lift.
  • Beach wave perm: Love the look of effortlessly tousled beach waves? A beach wave perm might be your perfect pick. This type of perm creates a natural, lived-in wave that looks great on wavy hair.

Curly Hair

Curly Hair

For individuals with curly hair, two perms worth considering include:

  • Spot perm: This perm is perfect for targeting specific areas of your curly hair that need a little extra curl definition. It can help you achieve a more cohesive and polished look.
  • Partial perm: If you only want to enhance a specific section of your curly hair, a partial perm is your go-to choice. This perm is applied to the desired area, allowing for a customized look.

How to Do a Perm on Straight Hair at Home

Here’s how to do a DIY perm at home:

Step 1: Prepare Your Hair For the Perm

Before perming your hair, use a moisturizing mask or conditioner the night before. Cover your hair with a shower cap. This adds moisture and can protect your hair from the potentially harsh perm chemicals.

In the morning, simply rinse your hair and remove the conditioner, then proceed.

Step 2: Wash

First, you’ll need to wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo to remove any oil or residue. This gives you a clean base to work with.

Avoid using conditioner, as it may prevent the perm solution from setting properly.

After washing, gently pat your hair dry using a soft towel or an old T-shirt.

Step 3: Prepare Your Tools

Now, it’s time to start the perming process. Make sure you have all the required tools such as perm rods, end papers, a comb, and protective gloves. Petroleum gel or cotton strips can be used around the hairline to protect the skin.

It’s helpful to have a perm kit that includes the perm solution, neutralizer, and complete instructions.

Step 4: Place the Rods

Begin by sectioning your hair into small, manageable sections. For each section, place an end-paper at the tip of your hair. Then wrap your hair around a perm rod.

Ensure that the hair is wrapped evenly and tightly around the rod to achieve a consistent curl.

Step 5: Apply Perm Solution

Once all your hair is wrapped in perm rods, apply the perm solution. Wear gloves and be careful not to get the solution on your scalp.

Follow the instructions on the perm kit to know how long to leave the solution on your hair. This is usually between 10 to 30 minutes, depending on your hair type.

Step 6: Rinse

After the recommended time has passed, rinse your hair very well with warm water while the rods are still in place. Make sure that all perm solution is out of the hair. Then, apply the neutralizer following the kit’s instructions, which will involve a waiting time of around 5 minutes.

Step 7: Remove Rods

Lastly, remove the perm rods from your hair, taking care not to disturb the new curls. Rinse your hair thoroughly with cool water, and apply a light conditioner.

Avoid wetting, shampooing or brushing your hair for a few days to let the curls set properly.

Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t worry if your first at-home perm isn’t flawless.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a perm typically last?

A perm typically lasts three to six months, depending on your hair type and how well you take care of it. Remember that the duration of a perm will vary, so it’s essential to pay attention to your hair’s needs.

What factors can affect the longevity of a perm?

Factors that can affect a perm’s longevity include your hair type, the quality of the perm solution, and the skill of the hairstylist. Additionally, maintaining your hair with proper care and using appropriate hair products can also help prolong the life of a perm.

Does the hair type impact the duration of a perm?

Yes, your hair type can impact the duration of a perm. Different hair types respond differently to chemical treatments, so the lasting effect of a perm may differ from person to person. Typically, coarser hair might hold a perm longer than finer hair.

Can using specific hair products prolong a perm?

Yes, using the right hair products can help prolong a perm. It’s crucial to use products specifically designed for chemically treated hair, as they will help maintain the perm’s effects and prevent damage. Avoid harsh shampoos, and opt for sulfate-free formulas, moisturizing conditioners, and leave-in treatments that enhance and protect your curls.

Is there a difference in perm duration for various hair textures?

There can be some differences in perm duration for various hair textures. Coarser and thicker hair may retain the perm longer than finer or thinner hair, as it can be more resistant to chemical treatments. However, it’s essential to maintain proper hair care to ensure the perm lasts as long as possible, regardless of texture.

Do looser or tighter curls last longer with a perm?

The longevity of looser or tighter curls depends on various factors, such as the hair type and the quality of the perm solution. Looser curls often relax more quickly compared to tighter curls, but this may vary from person to person. It’s crucial to consult with your hairstylist to determine the type of perm that will best suit your hair’s needs and provide the desired lasting effect.

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Danish Bodycare

The Danish Bodycare editorial staff consists of beauty experts, hairstylists, makeup artists, and models with years of experience in the personal care space.