If you’ve always admired those perfect, bouncy curls on your favorite celebrities and models but never managed to recreate the look at home, it might be time to consider DIY perming. Perming, or permanent waving, has come a long way since its first big trend in the 1980s. Today, you can achieve natural-looking curls without damaging your hair or enduring the chemical smell and frizz that used to come with this treatment. In this beginner’s guide to DIY perming, we’ll go over everything you need to know before taking the plunge.
What is perming, and how does it work?
Perming is a chemical process that changes the structure of your hair to create curls or waves. It’s done using a combination of two solutions: a relaxing agent, which breaks down the protein bonds in the hair, and a neutralizer, which rebuilds them into a different shape. There are different types of perms depending on the size and shape of the curl you want, from tight spirals to loose beachy waves. Some perms also use heat or steam to enhance the process.
Before you start: Do your research and gather supplies
DIY perming can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it’s important to take it seriously. Before you buy any products or start the process, do some research to make sure you understand what you’re getting into. Look up tutorials and reviews online, and watch videos of the entire process to get a feel for it. If you have any doubts or questions, consult a professional stylist.
Once you feel confident, gather all the supplies you’ll need. This includes a perm kit, gloves, clips, a plastic bowl, a comb, and some towels or newspaper to protect your workspace. It’s important to follow the instructions on the kit carefully and use all the products provided, as they are formulated to work together. Don’t improvise or use products from other brands to avoid unexpected results or damage.
Preparing your hair for perming
Before you apply the perm solution, you need to prepare your hair by washing it with a clarifying shampoo to remove any build-up or residue. Don’t use any conditioner or styling products afterward, as they can interfere with the perming process. Once your hair is clean and dry, separate it into sections using clips, and comb each section to make sure there are no knots or tangles.
Applying the perm solution
Now it’s time to apply the perm solution. Put on your gloves and mix the two solutions according to the instructions in the kit. You can use a plastic bowl or a squeeze bottle to apply the mixture, but make sure you don’t get it on your skin or scalp, as it can cause irritation. Start from the nape of your neck and work your way up, saturating each section evenly and making sure you cover all the hair from roots to ends.
Processing and neutralizing
Once the perm solution is applied, cover your hair with a plastic cap or wrap to keep it warm and prevent evaporation. The processing time will depend on your hair type and texture, as well as the type of perm you’re using. Check the instructions carefully and set a timer to avoid over-processing, which can lead to damage or breakage.
After the processing time is up, it’s time to neutralize the hair. Rinse the perm solution out thoroughly with warm water, making sure you don’t rub or scratch your scalp. Apply the neutralizer solution using the same technique as before, saturating each section and covering with the plastic cap. This step is crucial to set the curl and prevent frizz, so make sure you don’t skip it.
Finishing and styling your new curls
Once the neutralizer is rinsed out, you can gently blot your hair dry with a towel and remove the clips. Don’t use any heat styling tools or products for at least 24 hours after perming, as your hair needs time to settle and adjust to the new shape. You can use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to style your new curls, or let them air dry for a more natural look.
Maintaining your perm
To keep your perm looking fresh and healthy, it’s important to take good care of your hair. Avoid washing it too frequently, as this can strip the natural oils and make the curls limp and lifeless. Use a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner formulated for curly hair, and deep condition once a week to keep your hair hydrated and soft. You can also use a leave-in conditioner or curl-defining cream to enhance the curl pattern and reduce frizz.
DIY perming can be a fun and rewarding experience for those looking to switch up their hairstyle and add some volume and texture. However, it’s important to approach it with caution and respect the chemical process involved. With the right research, preparation, and supplies, you can achieve salon-worthy curls at home without damaging your hair or risking your health. Happy perming!