Unlike the popular notion, perms are not just for long hair. In fact, there are numerous styles of perms for short hair, from tight curls to big, bouncy waves, that look gorgeous on short hair.
If you are bored of the flat, limp hair that seems to be stuck to your scalp, try perms to get a refreshing hairstyle makeover. Unfortunately, the word perm brings to mind the horrible, frizzy hair of the eighties. However, the modern perms have moved far beyond those days.
The perm styles of the new age provide easier, natural looking curls and loose waves that not only look pretty but are also a breeze to maintain. They give the beautiful locks an appropriate bounce and texture.
What are ‘Perms’?
The word perm stems from the word permanent waves. It is a styling process wherein the hair is treated with chemicals to change its internal protein structure so that it can be fixed into a new wavy or curly shape. While most people use it to add bounce and texture to limp and dull strands, others who are blessed with natural curls can add volume to the hair with perms.
Types of Perms for Short Hair
Basic perms result in a mass of beautiful curls that frame your face. The casual curls has been a trendsetter that brings out the beauty of the chiseled features. The hair can be cut into layers before perming it. The basic curls look beautiful with party dresses, gowns, or even with casuals.
Steps to Obtain Basic Perms
- Divide the hair into nine panels from the front and the back of the head.
- Use a styling tool to measure the length of each panel.
- Start from the front hairline, and begin wrapping the hair.
- Use two end papers to roll the hair towards the scalp.
- Position the rod a few inches above the scalp surface using roller picks.
- Wrap the rest of the sections.
- Apply perming base solution on the hair, and allow the hair to swell, shape and mold into the shape of the perm rods.
- Once the hair is set, rinse the hair in lukewarm water, and apply a neutralizer.
- Rinse off the neutralizing solution, and remove the spiral rods from hair.
Spiral curls frame your face beautifully, the final look of spiral perms depend to a great extent on the types of perming rods used and the hairstylist’s skills. Usually mid-sized and long perm rods are used for styling spiral perms and getting those Botticelli curls. Although the perm style is basically meant for long hair, people with short hair can opt for this style as well.
Spiral perms look like a mass of spiral, corkscrew hair on top of the head and sides of the face. If you do not want full spiral perm for your short hair, try partial spiral perms, which are characterized by sleek texture in the crown area, while the rest of the hair is permed. For spiral perms, you would need vertical rods, or even soft, bender rods will do.
Steps to Obtain Spiral Perms
- For spiral perms, the hair is washed, dried, and then wrapped on the vertical rods, and curled upwards.
- A base lotion is applied on the hair to break down the protein structure of the hair, thus allowing the hair to swell, stretch and mold into the shape of the perm rod.
- Once the curls have set, the hair is rinsed, and a neutralizer is applied to close the broken links in the hair and reform it.
Pin Curl Perms
Extremely popular during the 50’s and 60’s, pin curls are created by using curling pins on sections of damp hair, so as to give the short, fine hair more curl and volume. The hair is secured with bobby pins once it is curled, and then combed into a wave or curled when dry.
Pin curl perms can vary based on the size of each curl, how it is looped and pinned to the head. For example, for tighter curls, tight loops are used while for looser curls, it is preferable to use more hair around large curling rods. Unlike hot perms, pin curls are done by the cold perm method that uses only curling pins and gel.
Steps to Obtain Pin Curl Perms
- Wash the hair and apply the perming solution.
- Start pinning your hair while they are damp so that the curls can take shape.
- Remove the pins after your hair is completely dry.
To add body to the hair, small sections of hair are wrapped in cold paper, and then twisted into large loops. For extremely short cropped hair, pin curls can be added to the front of the hair, while short bobs can be styled by adding large pin curls on the sides.
Body Wave Perms
Body wave perms are popular amongst celebrities as well as laymen. The soft, loose perms are often known as ‘bohemian beach waves’, ‘bed head’, or ‘hangover hair’. The natural, loose curls look extremely pretty and vibrant. They are a boon for women with fine, limp hair as it successfully adds volume to the hair.
Large rods in white and purple shades are used to give large beachy waves to the hair. Before you opt for this perm, make sure that the hair is not damaged. Wash the hair with clarifying shampoo, and then section it. Ideally the sections of hair should be shorter than the length of the rods.
Steps to Obtain Body Wave Perms
- Comb out the sections so that they are smooth, and then roll them around the rods.
- Apply perming solution to the hair so that it molds into the shape of the rod.
- After some time, rinse the hair and apply neutralizer.
It is important to note that body wave perms give more curls to shorter hair than long hair.
When only the bottom half of the hair is permed, it is known as stack perms. This perm style is best suited for women with single hair length. The style results in a mass of small tight curls towards the ends of the hair while leaving the root area flat. It is done by using perm rods of different sizes.
Steps to Obtain Stack Perms
- Start wrapping the hair at the nape area. Take sections from the mid area, back and the sides of the head.
- Use small-sized rollers to curl up the hair upwards.
- Apply perming lotion on the hair that has been curled.
- Wash off after some time, and apply neutralizer to set the perm.
Spot perms also known as targeted perms or partial perms, is a style wherein just one section of the hair is permed. This can be done to add volume to a specific area of the hair or to keep away those problem fringes.
Steps to Obtain Spot Perms
- Curl and wrap your hair to the way you want, and then processed the same way as traditional perms.
- To make a smooth transition from an unrolled section to a rolled section, try using a large perm rod in the last section that is close to an unrolled section.
It is also advisable to apply a protective cream over the unrolled section before styling the hair.
Root perm or a root lift is done by perming the hair near the roots of the hair. This is done to give the limp tresses much-needed volume. This does not give any noticeable curls to the hair, and rather just allows your hair from lying flat. Ideally root perms should concentrate on the first few inches of the hair near the scalp while leaving the rest of the hair untouched.
Steps to Obtain Root Perms
- Wash the hair throughly. Attach small rollers, two to three inches away from the roots. The the top layer of the hair is left untouched.
- Applay perming lotion on the hair.
- Wash your hair with warm water with the rollers intact.
- Now apply the neutralizer and let it sit for some time.
- Wash your hair with cold water and remove the rollers.
Once the hair is permed, there are very slight curls in the roots which are often not visible. The only difference that you might observe is the increase in the volume. Root perms are great for short hair, as the excess length of the hair does not weigh down the tresses. The only problem with this style is that it stays on for only three months after which you might have to get it done again.
Tips for Beautiful Perms
Before perming the hair, it is vital to check the health of the hair. Perming is a chemical process that can cause irrecoverable damage to the hair strands. Allow the stylist to judge the health of the hair before perming. Ideally the stylist would do a float test to check hair damage. The hair is put into a bowl of water. If it sinks, then the strands are dry and damaged while if the hair floats it is healthy and ready for perming.
Before perming, wash the hair with a clarifying shampoo. Avoid conditioners or any deep conditioning hair treatments which hamper formation of curls.
The tightness of the curls depends on the types of rods used. Small, thin rods are used for extremely tight curls while thick large rods are used for loose waves.
Permed hair takes around twenty four to twenty eight hours to relax.
It is best to shampoo twenty four to forty eight hours after perming. Use products especially formulated for permed hair. The strands are still fragile after the treatment, therefore it is advisable not to brush or comb the hair vigorously as it can lead to hair breakage.
Try leave-in hair treatments to restore the shine and beauty to the locks.
Do not use hair color treatments for permed hair as it can cause immense damage to the strands.
Hair spa, oiling, luxuriant hair masks, etc., are some ways in which the hair can be kept healthy for a long time.
Perms last for two to six months based on the style and the look you want. Look for a good, reputed stylist who is specialized in perms. The modern perms are associated with lesser chemicals, and are easier to maintain. Make sure to get a picture of the style you want, and consult the stylist before getting the hair permed. A wrong perm can leave you with frizzy, scary hair while the perfect perm can transform your hair just the way you want it to be.