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Curly Perms: All you need to know

We get lots of questions about perms and Only Curls products actually work perfectly on permed curls. Our gorgeous curl-friend Alina recently took the plunge and we got to ask her all about it. The results are amazing. Scroll down to see how it turned out...

Alina during her curly perm

What made you decide to perm your hair?

When I cut my hair off (that I donated to the Little Princess Trust) my waves completely disappeared. At first I was fine with it, but then waves would still appear here and there. Styling wouldn’t hold it very long but my hair didn’t want to be straight either. I was somewhere in between and after a month of struggling I decided to give a modern perm a try. 

I found Lily before I even realised that my hair was wavy as I always dreamed about curls. I saw lots of her work and always loved what she did so I knew exactly where to go. 

Were you nervous?

Yes, absolutely. I was very nervous that I would damage my hair and that I will get wonky curls. But I got exactly what I needed - just a bit more kink to my already existing but disappearing waves. 

How did you hair feel after the first perm and have you noticed a difference after the second?

After the first perm my hair felt extremely soft, I couldn’t believe it. Waves and curls would shrink way too much and I had to reinvent my styling. Everything that worked for my natural long waves didn’t work on this short curly bob. But thankfully I followed many curlies and quickly found what worked the best for this tighter wave and curl pattern. 

After the second perm I didn’t notice any difference to my hair at all rather than that hair pattern became tighter and I needed to adjust my styling routine again. 

What’s your go to styling routine on your permed curls?

It really depends. As a modern perm loosens up with time styling changes too. Straight after the perm I prefer styling it with the famous Denman brush as curls at that time are the tightest. Then after a few months I move onto a brush that gives me larger clumps - like the Behairful brush. Then after another 3 to 4 months I find the bowl method works the best as curls loosen up into waves and waves need larger clumps to form a curl. 

Is there any maintenance you need to do pre and post perm to protect your hair from damage?

Not really. Before my second perm I used a bond building treatment three times in a row. Lily also used a special protein treatment on me during the perm, but I believe this is not necessary if your hair is initially in healthy condition. 

If your hair breaks easily unfortunately there isn’t any magical preparation that could make your hair prepared for the perm and most of the stylists will refuse to do a perm on damaged hair. 

After the perm my hair really enjoyed Only Curls Deep Conditioning treatment as it helped to hydrate and condition the hair and the added protein is great for strengthening the hair. But all of these things are optional, I would say that there is no need to do anything special only if you want to feel extra 😀

Hair Mask Deep Conditioner

How long did the curls last? Did you see them drop over time?

Curls definitely dropped over time into waves. As I was always styling it curly and dried it with the diffuser the curls always stayed in shape and as Lily mentioned my curls could stay for up to a year. Also, since my hair is naturally wavy it’s hard to tell when the perm is completely gone. 

However, as my hair grew the roots became slightly stretched out compared to the ends and I wanted to renew my perm after 8 months. 

Do you have any other tips for anyone considering a perm?

I think it’s important to mention that a modern perm can be performed on textured hair as it’s the most gentle perm that exists. It is great for people with uneven curl patterns or for wavy’s in between where hair isn’t exactly straight but also isn’t curly enough. 

I also think it’s great that even though it’s still called a perm it isn’t permanent. After some time it loosens up completely and you don’t have to cut off all the permed hair to even it up. Your hair can continue to grow and become even with your naturally growing texture. 


What products work best for permed curls?

All our products are well suited to permed hair as they offer lightweight hydration which won't weigh your curls down. We'd recommend beginning with our Starter Pack.


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Hi from Lizzie!