We've Uncovered Easy Ways To Style Permed Hair So You Don't Have To

Perms have made a comeback over the years, and it's no wonder why. With voluminous, bouncy curls that last for months, a perm can revitalize a flat hairdo in no time. But that's not all –- they also provide a more natural finished effect compared to using something like a curling iron. Plus, you can customize the size and form of the curls or go for a more relaxed wave. In addition to being a stylish and low-maintenance hairdo, permed hair can also add dimension and movement to fine or thin hair. Whether you're looking to boost your hair's volume or add some texture to your locks, a perm can be a great option.


If this is your first time hearing about it, permed hair (or permanently curled hair), involves the use of chemicals to permanently alter the structure of your hair into waves or curls, until it grows out. It depends on a few factors but, on average, they can last for up to six months.

For all the great things about perms, many people can still struggle with styling their hair, feeling like it is difficult to manage or style. Fortunately, there are easy and effective ways to style it that don't require a lot of time or effort. In this article, we'll cover tips, tricks, and styles to help you get the most out of your permed hair.

Preparing your hair for styling

First things first, let's talk about getting your hair ready for styling. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to do a lot of prep work right before starting, but regular hair care can make a noticeable difference in the final outcome.


Starting off with shampoos — they are not created equal. While shampoos containing sulfates are great for removing oil, debris, and grime from hair, they can also be harsh on the scalp and strip curly hair of the moisture it needs to maintain structure, shine, and strength. This is why one of our top recommendations for permed hair is to opt for sulfate-free products.

Curly hair needs natural oils to retain its texture as well. While shampooing is important for keeping hair clean, overuse can lead to dryness and damage. WOW Skin Science suggests using sulfate-free shampoo no more than once a week and using a good conditioner to rehydrate hair in between washes, promoting definition and shine.


Lastly, a gentle touch is key when caring for permed hair. While detangling can be time-consuming, resist the urge to twist and pull at your curls. This can not only be uncomfortable but can also alter your curl pattern and cause unnecessary hair breakage. Instead, start at the ends of your hair and work your way up to the roots to avoid pulling knots downwards. There is more to perm-maintenance than this, like heat treatment and hair products, but more on that later.

Easy everyday hairstyles for permed hair

Need to get through busy days with work and chores, but also look fabulous doing it? We've got you covered.

Having your hair down all the time may not be an option for everyone. For a little bit more spice, try arranging those gorgeous curls in a simple top knot. Sometimes all you have to do is make a high ponytail and twirl it into a bun. To avoid destroying your curl pattern, avoid pulling the strands too tight. A gentle touch is key, remember?


A more ironic style is the messy bun, which can be an absolute lifesaver when you have a bad hair day. It's no secret that curly hair has a mind of its own; only the boys and girls with curls realize the amount of effort required to keep their tresses well-behaved and appearing healthy. A basic messy bun can help keep your curls from becoming dry and frizzy, but it isn't your only choice. There are several ways to style those beautiful locks. Space buns and half-buns, for example, are easy upgrades to the already easy bun.

If your perm is on the shorter side, or if you're open to cutting your hair short, consider an asymmetrical pixie haircut. This bold and quirky haircut features one side significantly longer than the other and can be enhanced with highlights to showcase your natural hair texture. And for an edgier look, try adding a shaved side design.


Elegant styles for special occasions

If you are looking for permed hairstyles for those parties, celebrations, or festivals that require your hair to be slightly more sophisticated and unique than usual, we wholeheartedly recommend the cross-pin hairstyle, and the twisted updo with a head wrap.


The cross-pin style is perfect for those with gorgeous tight curls who want to keep their hair down. It's glamorous and doesn't require hours of effort. Here's a step-by-step guide that makes nailing this look as easy as pie: Start with clean, dry hair, flip your hair upside down and blow-dry it to add volume, brush your hair and make a side parting, Then, add some hair gel to a tiny area of hair from the side. Using a fine comb, brush the hair back and make a cross pattern with two hairpins. Repeat the pattern with two more hairpins, then finish with hairspray to keep the hairstyle in place and add shine. Et voila!

The twisted updo with a head wrap is just as chic and easy to achieve. Simply create a large curly bun on top of your head and wrap a colorful scarf around it. Tying the scarf in front is also a great finishing touch. With these easy-to-follow styling techniques, you can show off your permed hair and make a statement at any event.


Heat styling tips for permed hair

We promised easy ways to style permed hair, and that includes enhancing the style of different perm types — but it usually means using heat tools. For example, if you have a loose wave or body wave perm, you may want to use a curling iron or flat iron to define and shape the curls. Similarly, if you have a spiral or ringlet perm, you may need to use a curling wand or rod to enhance the curl pattern.


However, hair stylist, Andrea Haynes, tells Softer Hair that it's not recommended to use these heat-based tools on permed hair, as the curls are more likely to be damaged. But if you must use heat, it's important to know how to use it correctly.

It's a good idea to wait at least a week or two after getting a perm to use a curling iron. The chemicals used in the process can react with the heat from the curling iron and damage your hair and cause it to break. Blow drying after a perm is also not recommended for the same reasons. It can also loosen curls and reduce definition. It's best to air dry your curly hair, but if you must use a dryer, use a diffuser attachment and apply heat protectants too. Keep the dryer at least six inches away from your scalp and use a low heat setting as well.


Caring for permed hair

Part of learning hairstyles is learning how to keep them looking as fabulous (and glam!) as ever. This means showing your perm the love and care it deserves. How? Well, if you read this far, then you probably picked up some tips along the way — how often and which shampoo to use, proper conditioning, the right way to use heat, and so on. We can add two more to that list: what kind of styling products to use, and which environmental stressors you need to watch out for.


Frizz can be a major frustration if you have curly/permed hair. It doesn't matter how much you treat it, sometimes it never looks smooth and shiny. To combat this, look for creams or serums that will hydrate your curls and give them a smooth and shiny appearance.

On the other hand, environmental stressors such as UV rays, dry weather, chlorine, and seawater can all dehydrate your hair on a daily basis. You will have to include a moisturizing hair mask into your weekly regimen to enhance elasticity and deeply nourish your curly hair.

In any case, when it comes to styling products, it's best to use lightweight optionsthat won't weigh your curls down. Heavy formulations or using too much product can cause your curls to collapse, resulting in flat or drab strands. Instead, use a dime-sized amount of lightweight styling products and a leave-in spray to keep your hair rejuvenated between washes.