First things first, the term, “perm” stands for “permanent wave”.  Perms work by breaking down the hair structure and rebuilding it in a new form.

Step 1: Clarify

When you think of perms, you probably think of frizzy 80's hair. However, they are more common then you think... but how do perms work?

The first step of a perm is to wash the hair with clarifying shampoo.  I usually will let the shampoo sit on the hair for a few minutes to make sure it gets all of the minerals and hair product buildup out of the hair.  This will ensure even-penetration of the perm solution.

Step 2: Wrapping The Hair

When you think of perms, you probably think of frizzy 80's hair. However, they are more common then you think... but how do perms work?

There are a lot of different techniques on how to wrap a perm, and there are also different types of perm rods.  What technique and type of rods you use, depend on what the desired end-result is.  I’m not going to get too much into all of that in this article.  If you want to learn more, there is a lot of good information about perm wraps on the internet.  For the purpose of this article, the main thing you need to know is that the diameter of the perm rod will determine how tight the curl will be.  For instance, if you are going for more of a body wave, I would suggest using bigger perm rods.  If you are looking for really tight afro curls, you should use smaller rods.

If you are working with longer hair, the weight of the hair may pull down the curl, making it appear to be looser than it is.  How you place the perm rods in position on the head, will also determine how the curls will fall.

Wrapping A Perm:

To wrap a perm, you want to be working with wet hair.  You can spritz the hair down with a water bottle (or some perms come with pre-wrap solution) to make sure it stays damp.  You want to section the hair into smaller sections (each section should be no wider than the perm rod).  Then you will section each of those sections into smaller subsections (about the same size as the perm rod).

You want to fold an end wrap over the subsection of hair, and drag it all the way down to the bottom of the section.  End wraps make sure the ends of the hair stay flat and smooth, which allows a more even penetration of the perm solution, while also protecting the ends from damage.  Place the perm rod at the end of the hair and roll it up to the scalp.  Use the locking mechanism of the perm rod to keep the rod in place.

Here is a quick video that shows you how its done:

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