It may seem simple enough, but it isn’t a decision you’ll want to take lightly. While perms aren’t actually permanent, they aren’t that temporary either. The question is, should you get a perm?
Before a man gets a perm, he’ll need to consider the time and money it’ll cost, as well as the potential changes to his hair care routine and sleeping habits that will be required.
Here are the 7 basic factors all men should consider before getting a perm talked through in a little more detail.
1. You Need Enough Length
To get a perm you’ll usually need at least 2 inches of hair, but potentially even longer if you’re looking for looser curls.
Basically, you’ll need enough length. The hair needs to be long enough to wrap around the curling rods during the perming process.
The looser you want your curls to be, the longer the hair you’ll need to pull it off.
For looser and gentler curls, the hair will need to be wrapped around larger curling rods. You’ll probably need at least 5 inches of hair to achieve this.
If you wanted tighter curls, you’d be able to get away with shorter hair as it needs to be wrapped around smaller curling rods.
However, even with tight curls you’d still need at least 2 inches of hair and this is the bare minimum. Curls this tight rarely look good.
3 inches would be a safer bet.
2. It Takes Time
The perming process takes time. You should usually allow for around 4 hours at the salon to finish the process from start to finish. Ask yourself whether you’re willing to put this sort of time in regularly before you make perms a part of your life.
The actual application of the perm may only take 2 to 3 hours, but you need to factor in the initial evaluation of the hair and selection of the perming solution and rod size.
Why does the actual application take so long?
Well, you’ve got around 5 to 10 minutes of washing the hair, placement of the curling rods for 1 to 2 hours, and then a “neutralization” period that’ll tag on around 20 minutes.
The specifics don’t really matter.
The point here is that getting a perm is a pretty big time commitment and you’ll need to ask yourself whether you’re willing to go through this.
Add on the fact that you’ll need to get regular perms if you want to maintain the look. In general, a perm will last between 4 to 6 months.
So you should expect to get a perm done every 2 to 3 months.
Doing the math here, that’ll probably add up to around 8 to 12 hours a year.
It may not sound like much, but it’s potentially half a day of your life every year indefinitely. Over a 10 year period that’s 5 full days you’ve sat in a salon chair with curling rods in your hair.
Getting perms is a time-intensive commitment.
3. It Shouldn’t Be Done On Damaged Hair
Perming solution shouldn’t be applied to weak or damaged hair.
That’s why it’s usually advised that perms shouldn’t be done after the hair has recently been chemically processed in other ways or colored.
Ultimately, perming is reshaping the hair’s structure using a chemical process.
While the modern perming process is gentler than it used to be, when done regularly, perming can dry out the hair.
To sum that up, if you’re thinking of getting a perm, avoid doing so on recently chemically processed or colored hair. In addition, if you’re already worried your hair isn’t in the best shape, getting regular perms may not be a good idea for you in any case.
4. You’ll Have To Switch Up Your Hair Care Routine
Once you’ve been permed, you’ll usually be washing your hair less and also using hair products specifically designed to retain curls.
Don’t make the mistake of treating permed hair the same way you treated your old hair. It’s a completely different beast now.
There are certain hair care tips that are considered best practice after you’ve gotten a perm.
You’ll want to follow these to maintain the curls and also to prevent the perm from doing more harm than good.
Many people wash their hair once a day, at least with water alone. A lot of them use shampoo every 3 days or so to really give it a proper cleanse.
Once you’ve got a perm, you need to be careful that you don’t dry the hair out too much. Perming is already a pretty drying process.
Overwashing, especially with shampoo, can make things even worse.
In general, you won’t want to wash the hair as much once you’ve gotten a perm.
Even if it’s just with water alone, you should be able to get away with washing it every two to three days.
Curly hair is less likely to look greasy than straight hair is, just because of the way in which the oils distribute across the curls.
Other than changing up your washing habits, you’ll also want to start looking for products specifically designed for curly hair.
It’s the best way to ensure the perm lasts the long haul.
Aussie Miracle Curls Shampoo (Amazon Link) retains curls, minimizes frizz, and reduces the risk of drying the hair out.
Other curl-specific products that are out there include creams, serums, and even mousses.
Good hair care is just one of many ways in which you can make a perm last longer.
5. The Cost Can Add Up
The average men’s perm will cost approximately $70, but the price can vary quite a lot.
Expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $150, depending on your hair length, the location of the salon, the specific type of perm, and the experience of the stylist.
Remember, you should expect to get your perm done two or three times a year, even with a good, curl-specific hair care routine.
If you’re used to getting a simple haircut at a barbershop, paying this much for a perm may come as a shock at first.
The cost does add up, even if you’re going for a service that’s on the cheaper end of the spectrum.
You’ll need to ask yourself whether it’s worth it for you.
If having perfect curls is important to you, the answer to that question may be a huge yes.
But if you weren’t so sure, it may be a more difficult decision.
We’ve already talked through how getting regular perms can take up a lot of your time. But it’s also important to consider the cost of getting perms over the course of many years.
6. Heat Styling Should Be Avoided
If you were used to heat styling before you got the perm, you’ll probably be avoiding it afterward.
Heat styling devices like blow dryers often lead to frizz when it comes to permed hair.
The reason this could be a problem for a lot of men is that hair care routines could get longer and more inconvenient.
Many people use blow dryers because they’re a quick way of getting your hair dry before you need to rush out of the house.
But air drying or towel drying is considered the better option when you’re looking to make a perm last longer.
If you do choose to use a blow dryer, using a heat-protectant spray and a diffuser is even more important.
It isn’t ideal and you should still expect some frizz. However, it’s better than blow-drying permed hair without giving it much thought.
7. You May Need To Switch Up Your Sleeping Habits
Permed hair handles silk pillowcases better than cotton ones.
People often find that their permed hair becomes a problem after a night’s sleep. The curls tangle and get roughed up overnight as they slide across cotton pillowcases.
If you’ve never had to worry about sleeping with curls before, it could be a bit of a surprise.
Sleeping with curls won’t be quite as simple as it was back when you had straight or straighter hair.
Sleeping on a silk pillowcase is considered a secret tool that those with curls use to their advantage.
The curls will slide across the silk much easier than they would across cotton, preventing them from tangling and reducing the risk of frizzing overnight.
It’s a simple tip, but it usually works well.
This sleeping habit, as well as the factors in this list, should all be considered before you make the decision to get a perm.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.