Boys often go through stages when they would like to change their hair. Going from straight to curly requires a perm. Before getting a perm, boys should have clean trimmed hair. Children should get their parents' permission before buying a treatment at the drugstore. A professional stylist can recommend specific treatments for certain hair types, as well. Parents should take precautions when perming a child's hair.
Choose between two types of perms: alkaline and acid-based. alkaline perms are used if the hair is resistant to styling, whereas acid-based perms are used if the hair is delicate or fragile. Read the instructions that come with the perm kit before perming the child's hair.
Wash the boy's hair with a cream conditioner to create a barrier between his hair and the harsh perm chemicals. Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly around the hair line, which will protect the skin from chemicals during the process.
Section and block the boy's hair into four identical square sections using a comb. Practice and be patient as you separate the hair to avoid uneven sections. Wear rubber gloves to protect your skin from chemicals.
Select small, medium, or large benders or rods depending on the desired wave and hair length. Wrap a small section of hair at a time in a smooth and even manner around the perm rods. Do not stretch or pull the hair. Make sure the hair ends are folded in the end papers included in the perm kit. Refer to the illustrations.
Mist the hair with a water bottle to prevent the hair from drying up. Spray a light mist to wet the hair until you are done rolling the strands.
After rolling the hair, saturate every roller with the perm solution. Time the saturating process according to the instruction manual, since processing time varies for different hair lengths and types.
Rinse the hair with warm water once the processing time is complete. Apply a neutralizer to stop the oxidation reaction that separates chemical bonds within the hair. Leave the neutralizer in the hair for the recommended amount of time.
Remove the perm rods and rinse the child's hair thoroughly with water. Add a leave-in or after-perm conditioner, which may require rinsing.
Nicole Newman is a Dartmouth College associate who works in Tiltfactor Laboratory, Dartmouth's premier game design center. Her research has included investigating the digital humanities through "Writing as a Dimensional Artifact" and "Evolution of the Ghetto: The Decline of America’s Inner Cities," a research initiative on urban design.