Body Wave Perm Guide

Body Wave Perm Guide
Body Wave Perm Guide

Just as every other 80’s and 90’s fashion and style ensembles are making a comeback into our current trends, perms have also made it to the list. But this time, with the help of technology, it came with some modern vibes.

Innovation in technology has made perms look and become better than what we watched in the ’80s and 90’s sitcoms, and saw our mothers and grandmothers wear in their time.

If you are considering changing your hair looks into body wave perm, you are not alone, as many women are opting for the hairstyle. But before you book your next appointment with your stylist, there are a few tips we would love for you to go through.

These tips would show you a comprehensive body wave perm guide and would enable you to determine whether body waves perm is suitable for your hair type or not.

What is Body Wave Perm?

body wave perm for medium hair

Perm stands for permanent waves. It is a hair styling procedure that uses heat and chemicals such as ammonium thioglycolate (perm salt) to bring out waves or curls in hairs that are naturally straight.

It is somewhat permanent – as the name implies, therefore, new hairs will continue their growth in wavy or curly patterns instead of taking upon natural straight pattern.

Body wave perm is the hairstyle achieved using perm salt and heat. It essentially makes your hair to become loosely curly and neat, giving it a beach wave appearance.

What You Should Know Before You Perm Your Hair

Perm Waves Works Best on Virgin Hair

Body wave perm works best on healthy hairs and virgin hairs. Virgin hairs are those hairs that have not been exposed to intensive hair treatments such as coloring, and intense chemical bleaching.

Therefore, if your hairs have been bleached or chemically treated, perm waves would do more damage to them as it is another chemical and thermal procedure.

However, improvements in beauty technology have made it possible for anyone to get a perm. Still, you should consult with your hairstylist before undergoing a body wave perm, lest you end up with dry and brittle hairs that would be breaking off now and then in chunks.

It is worthy to note that not all hairstylists are good with perm waves. Ensure to call a salon before booking an appointment to inquire about their body wave services. Getting a perm wave is an intensive procedure; not every stylist commits to learning it nor doing it. So be sure of whom you want to trust your hair with.

Getting a Perm Wave Requires a Lot of Time

Getting a perm wave requires commitment and patience. It takes about 2 – 3 hours to get a perm during your first appointment. The time taken is dependent on the length of your hair, your hair thickness, and your stylist’s pace – if he/she is slow, you will spend a long time in the salon.

After putting on the perm, do not be too hasty to see results. It would take the perm about 26- 30 hours to relax. Afterward, you can see your straight hair transition into well-defined curls.

You Can Choose To Have either a Loose Wave or a Tight Wave

Your wave’s tightness or looseness is determined by the size of the perm rod used by your stylist and on how long the chemical solution sits on your hair. The smaller the rod, the tighter the waves are, and vice versa.

To enable you to select the most suitable perm rods for your body wave perm, we have designed the following guide for you.

Perm Rod Guide In Color Codes

SizeColorsPerm Pattern
Small Large• Black
• Green
• Orange
• Purple
Soft Body Waves
Medium• Beige
• White
Slightly Loose Curls
Small• Blue
• Grey
• Pink
• Yellow
Very Tight Curls

Although body wave perm is considered to be somewhat permanent, you can switch back to your straight hairstyle whenever you wish to. However, it will take an ample amount of time and effort to get those curls out of your hair.
You Can Straighten Your Hair If You Wish To

Body wave perms are usually tight a few weeks to months after installation, and grow looser by the day. Before you consider switching back to straight hair, ensure to have worn the perm waves for a while for easiness of transition.

To straighten your hair, your stylist will apply perm salt, that is, the chemical solution to your hair, and thoroughly comb out your hair until it regains its straightness. Then he/she will rinse out the chemical solution and apply a neutralizer. This is done to ensure your hair doesn’t re-curl afterward.

Supposing you are not patient enough to allow the waves loosen on their own and decide to use hair straighteners or to undergo either Brazilian straightening or Japanese straightening, ensure to use a heat protectant. If you can’t use heat protectants, for your hair sake, stay away from any heat tool.

Your Hair Care Products Would Change

If you wish to perm your hair, you should also get ready to get a new set of hair care products tailored for a body wave perm hairs. Maintaining body wave perm hair requires using a lot of conditioners, shampoos, sprays for treated hair and oils.

Conditioners are of great essence in maintaining perm waves. This is because perm waves by nature dry out hair; therefore, you would need a good conditioner to maintain hair moisture.

Do not use products that have alcohol in them. They cause unnecessary frizz. Ask for products recommendation from your hairstylist after getting a perm wave.

How to Do a Body Wave Perm

You can achieve a body wave perm either in the comfort of your home or at a salon. The procedure is the same regardless of your location.

But if you want to do a body wave perm by yourself, you need to be appropriately enlightened about the procedure or watch a professional do it so you can pick up some useful tips.

An important tip is to not deep-condition your hair for 24 hours before getting a body wave perm; otherwise, the waves will not form.

Meanwhile here is a detailed guide on how to do a body wave perm;

Step 1: Shampoo your hair. Wash your hair with clarifying shampoo to get rid of product buildup. Remember, the goal is to have your hair as neutral as possible. Dry your hair of the remaining water using a clean towel. Your hair should be left damp.

Step 2: Part your hair into three or four places in a manner that you would have two on the front part of your head and the other two or one at the rear part of your head. Apply ointment along your hairline to prevent any form of burns.

Step 3: Wrap your hair into small strands using curling papers. When you wrap each small strand of hair, apply the perm solution on top of the curling paper, and then wrap it. Ensure your rods are of appropriate size for the type of curl you want to achieve at the end.

Remember, the smaller the perm rod, the tighter the curls and the bigger the perm rods, the looser the curls.

Although for body wave perms, loose curls are usually admirable and most preferred, so you might want to use bigger perm rods.

After wrapping your hair around a perm rod, fasten an elastic band on the perm rod to firmly hold it in place.

Repeat the same procedure for your whole hair, using the similar size of the hair strand.

Step 4: Apply the perm solution. When you are through with wrapping your hair, apply the perm solution on every perm rod, ensuring that the perm solution gets to every area of your hair.

The perm solutions will help weaken the disulfide bonds of your hair, enabling an establishment of a new hair texture that allows your hair to be molded into any desired shape.

Step 5: Allow the perm solution to set. Your hair should be left to rest for 40 minutes after applying the perm solution.

Step 6: Wash out the perm solution. After 40 minutes of applying the solution, wash it off, but do not remove the perm rods. Dry your hair with a clean paper towel.

Step 7: Neutralize your hair. A neutralizing solution reforms the already weakened hair disulfide bonds from straight shapes to curls and waves. Apply a neutralizer to every part of your hair and allow it to sit for 10 – 12 minutes. Then wash off the neutralizer from your hair.

Step 8: Remove the perm rods. Before removing all of the perm rods, remove one of the rods to confirm if your desired curl has been achieved. If you are satisfied with the result, go ahead and remove all of the perm rods.

Step 9: Dry and style your hair. After removing all perm rods, dry your hair using an electric hair dryer or natural air. Style your hair as desired while ensuring you do not disrupt the new curls.

Post-Perm Care

Now that you have permed hair, it is essential you provide it with proper post-perm care to keep the waves defined at all times.

One of the ways of achieving this is to religiously use post-perm hair products and stick to its routines. We recommend that you use products such as conditioners and shampoos that are free of sulfate and alcohol. Such products cause frizz.

Apply sunscreen on your hair to protect it from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays and harsh sunlight. Keep your hair away from chlorinated water by wearing swim caps whenever you are in a swimming pool.

As perming products leave the hair dry, ensure to adequately moisturize your hair at all times. Also, avoid drying your hair with a blow dryer or using an iron to straighten your hair.

Types of Body Wave Perm for Different Hair Types

how to do body wave perm

There are two types of perm; hot perm and cold perm.

Hot Perm involves the use of acidic solutions and heat to weaken the hair’s disulfide bonds, while Cold perm consists of the use of an alkaline solution to weaken the hair’s disulfide bonds. Cold perms are widely used as a result of heat damage that occurs from the use of heat in hot perm.

However, with hot perms, curls last longer and are more outstanding when the hair is dry while with a cold perm, curls are more outstanding when the hair is wet.

Both types of perm require the use of a neutralizer to reform the weakened disulfide bond for the newly formed curly hair to stand.

Other types of a body wave perm can either be a hot perm or a cold perm, and they include the following;

Ceramic Perm

This is a hot perm body wave. It is achieved using a high amount of heat; therefore, it produces longer lasting curls that are well defined. The curls are usually in tight S shape with more curly ends; hence the hair’s overall length is shortened.

Ceramic perm is best recommended for women with stronger and coarser hair. Such hairs can withstand the inevitable hair damage. It takes between 3 – 4 hours to achieve.

Digital Perm

This is the most popular hot perm body wave-worn by modern women. Unlike ceramic perm, the curls in digital perm are usually soft with loose ends; hence overall hair length isn’t significantly shortened. It takes between 3 – 4 hours to achieve.

Root Perm

This is an ideal type of body wave for women with short hair. It is a cold perm and involves perming just the hair roots. The curls created at the root will lift your hair, thereby giving volume to your entire hair.

Multi-Textured Perm

This is a cold perm. It is ideal for women with long hair. It involves the use of perm rods of two different sizes. This enables the curls to easily lie on each other, hence giving the hair a natural perm look. We recommend that you go to a salon if you want to achieve this look. Professional stylists do it better.

Wave Perm

This is also a hot perm body wave. Unlike the other types of hot perms, it loosely forms cascading waves. It creates a softer overall look and is highly recommended for women with shorter hair because it does not alter the overall length of hair. It takes about 3 hours to achieve.

Spiral Perm

This is also known as Twist perm. It is a cold perm body wave. Curls from spiral perms are usually very tight and well defined. However, spiral perms damage the hair most times; hence it is recommended for women with healthy and strong hair. It takes between 4 – 5 hours to achieve.

Classic Perm

This is the basic cold perm body wave. The tightness or looseness of the curls here is determined by the size of the perm rod used. Classic perm is suitable for all hair types. It takes 3 hours to achieve.

Partial Perm

This is a hot perm body wave. It involves both curling and straightening of the hair. The upper part of your that lies above your ears is straightened, while the lower part is curled.

Volumizing Perm

This is a cold perm. It is ideal for women with long hair who want to create an illusion of voluminous hair. Volumizing perm involves the use of extra small perm rods to create tight curls. These curls give volume to the overall hair.

How Long Does a Body Wave Perm Last?

body wave perm

If properly maintained with the right perm products and kept away from sulfate, alcohol, and chlorinated water, your body wave perm should last for about 6 months.

On average, body wave perms last between 4 – 6 months, depending on hair type and washing frequency.

How Much Does Body Wave Perm Cost?

The cost of getting a body wave for your hair depends on factors such as:

  • Hair Length; the longer your hair is, the more money it would cost you to get a body wave perm for it.
  • Style; the various perming styles usually come at various price ranges. So, the style you pick would determine how much money you would spend.
  • Perm Technique; Like the style factor, the perm technique picked would determine the amount you would spend. Some techniques are more expensive than the rest.
  • Salon; Salons with highly recommended and reputable perm stylists would charge more than another with little or no influence in perming skills.

Body wave perming averagely costs about $50 – $200. You may be charged higher or lower than this figure.


Body wave perms are the best options if you are looking for volume and bounce for your hair. However, perms are not suitable for your hair.

They are as bad as hair coloring and bleaching because they all contain chemicals and heat that cause damage to the organic biome of your hair and scalp. Although, perms last longer than colorings and do not risk being washed out over time.

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