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Can Men With Short Hair Get A Perm? (Solved)

January 30, 2022
Can Men With Short Hair Get A Perm? (Solved)

Perming rules aren’t exactly common knowledge. But it’s no secret that some hair types and lengths are better suited to getting perms than others. The question is, can men with short hair get a perm? 

Men with short hair can get a perm as long as the hair is at least 2 inches long. Hair that’s shorter than this won’t be able to wrap around even the smallest of perming rods. 

Although that’s the short answer, as always, there’s more to it. 

Here are some crucial tips for men with short hair to consider if they’re looking to get a perm. 

Let’s get to it. 

example of a short curly hair
Image From Deposit Photos

7 Perm Tips For Men With Short Hair

Consider all of them before you get it done, not after. 

1. Make Sure You Physically Have Enough Length

As a general rule of thumb, try to have at least 2 inches of hair before you book that perm appointment. 

While you don’t need long hair to get a perm, the hair does need to be long enough to wrap around the smallest curling rod 2 to 2.5 times. 

If the stylist isn’t able to do this, you probably won’t be able to get a perm. 

So, while it’s possible to get a perm with hair that’s technically considered “short”, there’s a limit. 

Unfortunately, it’s definitely possible for hair to be too short to perm.

2. Expect For It To Look Even Shorter

Once you get a perm, expect for it to look even shorter than it does right now. The reason for this is that the hair is literally coiling up instead of lying straight. 

This can often come as a surprise, especially when it’s your first perming experience or at least the first time you try to perm short hair. 

It can be tough to predict just how short it’ll look after you perm it, but there are certain things you can do to get a good idea of what it may look like. 

Consider using a curling iron at home to produce similar coils to the ones you’re hoping to get when you go for a full perm. 

While this won’t ever be identical to the results you’ll achieve with a perm, it should still give you a reasonable picture of what you can expect. 

If you feel as though the end result is simply too short for you, consider giving it a few more weeks before trying again. 

Sometimes, all you need is an extra inch to really get the look you were hoping for. 

3. Go To A Pro

Perming short hair isn’t exactly a walk in the park. It does require proper expertise, which is why home perming solutions and techniques are rarely a good idea. 

Go to a reputable salon and get it done by an experienced stylist. 

The correct technique may vary depending on your exact hair type, length, and texture, but they’ll have the know-how to do a proper assessment before starting. 

They’ll usually recommend a specific type of perm, one that’ll look best on your specific hair. 

The cost of a men’s perm depends on a number of different factors, but you should usually expect to pay anywhere between $40 and $150. 

It’ll depend on the reputation and experience of the stylist, your geographical location, and maybe even your hair length. 

As you’d expect, shorter hair is quicker to perm, simply because the stylist will spend less time applying curling rods throughout your hair. 

The time they save is usually reflected in the price; this is a benefit of perming short hair that’s often underestimated. 

But in general, you get what you pay for. Expect to pay a premium to get it done by a stylist that takes the time to properly assess your hair and your needs before starting. 

When you’ve got short hair, this is even more important because of the technique required. 

4. Consider A Root Perm

Root perms are great for men with short hair because they don’t shorten the hair too much. 

It’s basically a perming method where only the roots are targeted, with the rest of the hair strands being spared the curling rods. 

As you’d expect, this leads to a much more subtle style of perm, as you won’t get tight coils throughout the hair. 

Perming the roots adds volume and bounce to the short hair instead of making it look tight, even shorter, and ultra-curly. 

The hair will still look visibly curlier, but it’ll be a lot more subtle. 

5. Body Waves Are Harder

They may be possible with short hair, but they’re harder. 

Body wave is a type of perm that produces waves instead of tight curls. The curls are a lot “looser”.

The bottom line here is that these types of perms require medium to long hair and are much more difficult to perform on hair that’s too short. 

With body waves, for example, you’ll need enough length for the hair to wrap around one of the larger curling rods. 

This is what will allow you to achieve that wavy appearance instead of a tighter and more coiled appearance. 

It’s important to know what style of perm would best suit your hair length and hair type. 

That’s why going to an experienced stylist who takes the time to properly assess your hair before the perming process is so crucial. 

It’s definitely worth discussing it with your stylist, letting them know the type of curls you want, as well as asking them whether it would actually be worth trying with your short hair. 

An honest opinion from a stylist is so beneficial before it’s actually attempted. 

6. It’s Still A Commitment 

Getting a perm is still a large commitment of time and money no matter how short your hair may be. 

It’s true that it’s quicker to perm short hair, simply because less time is required to apply the curling rods. 

But you should still expect to be sitting in a salon chair for 2 to 3 hours each and every time you choose to get it done. 

As perms usually last between 4 to 6 months, you should expect to get that perm redone two or three times a month. 

This is a commitment. 

Men with short hair are often used to 20 to 30 minute haircuts and wouldn’t ever think to block out a whole afternoon for it. 

But that’s what will probably be necessary if you choose to get a perm. 

It’s definitely worth considering whether you’re willing to put in this sort of time to get those curls. 

7. Don’t Perm Recently Colored Short Hair

Short hair that’s recently been colored, bleached, or chemically processed in any way should not be permed. 

The reason for this is that perming is a chemical process in itself. 

Exposing your hair to multiple different chemical processes in quick succession is not a good idea. Looking after your hair becomes even more important when you’re getting regular perms.

While there are perming solutions specifically designed for colored hair, they’re often expensive and their reviews are often mixed. 

Ultimately, it’s usually best to wait several weeks before getting your perm done – the stylist should be able to give you more specific advice. 


So, while it’s possible for men with short hair to get perms, there’s a limit. There is such a thing as hair being too short to perm. 

Hopefully, you now know exactly what that limit is, as well as several tips for getting a perm with short hair if you do feel as though it’s what you want.