How to Make a Perm Curlier

by Nicole Schmoll ; Updated September 28, 2017

Get a perm you're pleased with by asking the right questions.

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Perms work by using chemicals to break down sulphur bonds that hold hair fibers together. Once the chemicals have loosened your hair’s natural binding properties, the rollers used to set the hair -- as the first step of the process -- give a new shape to the hair fibers, depending on the rollers' width. As the chemical wanes, hair returns to its normal strength in the new shape that you have given it. Forty-eight hours after applying perm chemicals to hair, the curling process is complete. By using the right size rollers and type of perm solution, you can create a perm that’s as curly as you like.

Visit a reputable hair salon, and tell a stylist that you want to make your perm curlier. Tell her what type of hair you have -- or get her opinion, if you're unsure -- and ask whether an acid or alkaline perm would be better for you.

Tell the stylist exactly how much curlier you want your perm, using photos cut from magazines -- so there's no misunderstanding about what you envision. Trust her professional expertise to determine the right solution and roller size to use, to achieve the desired amount of curl. If you instead insist that she uses the smallest roller and strongest solution possible, you'll likely get results that look more like frizz than curls.

Wait while the rollers, perm solution and neutralizer are applied by the hairstylist, to achieve the curlier look you desire.


  • Do not wash your hair for 48 hours after leaving the salon with your new perm. Avoid brushing or blow drying your hair for 48 hours as well. Washing, combing, brushing and blow drying just-permed hair reduces the effect of the perm.

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