Skip to content
The modern male perm is softer, more natural and has taken off, thanks to K-pop and TikTok.
The modern men’s perm, once popular primarily among Korean and Korean American men, has gradually expanded beyond these groups in the past four years. Here, a hairdresser combs client Richard Romero’s perm.Credit...Jessica Chou for The New York Times
Continue reading the main story
Send any friend a story
As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Anyone can read what you share.
By Wilson Wong
The modern men’s perm is loud for a hairstyle so soft. On TikTok, the hashtag #menperm, referring to one of the latest hair trends to be born from the app, has garnered more than 20.7 million views.
Those videos often begin with a man in a salon chair, pictured from the shoulder up. The camera orbits around his head just before a final shot of his crown: silky, voluminous waves lacquered with the aplomb of K-pop boy bands.
“I came across an Asian influencer on TikTok with curly hair, and I’m like, That doesn’t correlate, because most Asians have straight hair,” said Brandon Dhakhwa, 20, a student from Durham, England. “And then I did some research, and that’s when I realized he got a perm.”
Once popular primarily among Korean and Korean American men, the coiffure has gradually expanded beyond these groups in the past four years — thanks, in part, to the meteoric rise of TikTok and K-pop. While the hairstyle is nothing novel in South Korea, its wider embrace signifies a notable shift from the early 2000s, when the term “metrosexual” — used to describe aesthetically attuned men — became popular.
In South Korea, beauty standards are intimately tied to the music industry, “symbolized by the K-pop idol with perfect skin, immaculately dressed with perfect hair,” said S. Heijin Lee, who, as an assistant professor of women, gender and sexuality studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, researches Korean pop culture, beauty and digital media.
Those same revered features — or, in this case, men’s perms — are then circulated using social media.
Brendan Noji, 25, an L.G.B.T.Q. youth services worker who lives in Los Angeles, stumbled upon the hairstyle online during quarantine in the early days of the pandemic.
Mr. Noji said he had a long history of “mismatches” that could be mapped onto every male hair fad of the past two decades: a buzz cut (Brad Pitt in “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”) turned Justin Bieber mop (a bowl cut seemingly written in cursive) turned pompadour (an inverted, slicked-back bowl cut) turned man bun (the hipster bros and skater boys of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, circa 2015).
So before going into the salon, he made sure to do his homework. He compiled a repository of references that included the “Squid Game” actor Gong Yoo, the “Pachinko” actor Lee Minho and the K-pop boy group BTS.
And since his first perm in June 2020, Mr. Noji has gotten the treatment 10 more times. “I love my curls. I feel so much more self-confident,” he said. “The waves add a lot more personality that feels a lot closer to my own.”
‘Showy, But Not In-Your-Face Showy’
Perms are, of course, no stranger to Americans. Hair bands. Hair spray. Hair teased. The ’80s is one of the most memorable decades for hair in the United States. If your chunky television was on, there they were: stiff, bouffant, larger-than-life ringlets that smelled damaged and demanded moisturizing.
Unlike its overly gelled, overly spritzed American cousin, the “Korean perm” is much more subtle. It’s almost unnoticeable so as to appear natural.
Ben Duong, a 19-year-old student in Greenville, S.C., described his loose coils as “showy, but not in-your-face showy.” His hairdo even convinced two pals who accompanied him to his second perm appointment to try it themselves.
Tyler Jung, 26, an analyst in New York City, said there were only two types of people in the world: those who understand the hairstyle and those who do not.
“There are some people who don’t notice or don’t pay attention at all, and this could be interpreted as the perm ‘not working,’” Mr. Jung said, as he adjusted his wisps in a video interview. “But in a way, it means that it doesn’t look artificial or outlandish, which is the worst feeling you can have about a new haircut.”
The Korean perm (“perm” is short for “permanent wave”) is distinctive for other reasons: Its top curls are tender and loose; the hairstyle is versatile and can be combed over or worn with bangs; and the sides and back of the head are faded short with clippers and scissors. For a little more money, a person can choose what’s known as a down perm, which relaxes and flattens stubborn strands that stick out, creating a smoother appearance.
“Karl Nessler is credited with creating the first permanent wave machine in 1906, and they soon became commonplace in most beauty salons,” the hair historian Rachael Gibson wrote in an email. Ms. Gibson added that the perm has far outgrown its beginnings when the style was executed with “methods used in the textile industry to alter fibers.”
“The ‘machineless’ perm, using just chemicals to alter the hair texture, was created in 1932 by Zotos, with home perm kits becoming widely available in the 1940s,” Ms. Gibson said. In the early 1900s, Garrett Morgan, a trailblazer for Black inventors, discovered an effective hair straightener, or what’s better known today as a relaxer. Instead of creating coils, this chemical treatment straightens tendrils. Though relaxers have historically been used among Black people and other communities who have natural curls, treatment and applications to accentuate these curls have contributed to some of the most iconic hairstyles for Black men.
Though it’s not clear where this modern style of perm originated, some of the most well-known Korean male celebrities, including the soccer player Ahn Jung-hwan and the K-drama “Winter Sonata” actor Bae Yong-joon, are widely credited as popularizing the men’s perm during the early aughts, said Sehwa Jin, a hairstylist and owner of Naamza, a Los Angeles salon that specializes in hairstyles popular with Korean men.
Since then, “various styles of the wave perm,” another term to refer to this hairstyle, have emerged, including the one making the rounds with Gen Z-ers and millennials today, said Mujin Choi, a South Korean celebrity hair stylist who has worked with BTS.
Mr. Jin added that several interpretations of men’s perms had existed in Japan and South Korea for decades, but the differences lay within “each country’s fashion and style.” The methods and tools behind this perm, however, are not so different from those of the springy American manes that dominated the late 20th century.
Both use chemical solutions and plastic curling rods. Both may apply heat, depending on the desired look, and both keep their curl from two to six months, depending on one’s commitment to aftercare, which includes moisturizing, avoiding humidity and using products made for treated hair. And, to borrow a line from Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde,” each abides by the same cardinal rule: “You are forbidden to wet your hair for at least 24 hours after getting a perm.”
You get a perm, you get a perm, everybody get a perm!!!
@naam.za_ You get a perm, you get a perm, everybody get a perm!!! ����♂️����♀️ #naamza #asianhaircut #asianhairstyle #menshaircut #perm #menperm ♬ rock yo body - ★
The American price tag, which can range from $120 to as much as $400, is on the premium end of men’s hair treatments and dependent on several factors, including location, number of hair products needed and tip (men’s perms are considerably cheaper in South Korea, ranging from $25 to $165). Despite the hefty entrance fee, Gen Z-ers and millennials continue to flock to studios with the enthusiasm of K-pop “stans.”
Christian Kon, a recruiter in Los Angeles, spent part of his childhood in Japan, where men’s perms are more customary. Every three months since 2011, Mr. Kon has gotten the hairstyle. For him, convenience far outweighs the cost.
“A perm is low maintenance. I wake up, and my hair is done,” Mr. Kon, 30, said. “I already have volume. I already have texture. I already have curls.”
Mr. Noji believes that he has also fully committed to the perm. But sometimes he misses his natural strands.
“Every so often, I think about going back to my straight hair,” Mr. Noji said. “But then I remember, that’s the thing with perms: They’re not actually permanent.”
The Perm as Gateway
Though hair fads come and go, the modern men’s perm has evolved. It’s become something akin to a gateway.
After treating their tresses, the young men who spoke to The New York Times said they had invested more thought (and cash) into their general self-care practices. The alchemy of heat and harsh perm solutions can damage the scalp and hair follicles, and failing to consistently massage one’s locks with hair oil can result in a dry, frizzy look.
“If you want to keep your curls for a long time, you have to put in a little bit more effort to care for it as best as you can,” said Dylan Norng, 22, a substitute teacher in Fontana, Calif. Mr. Norng’s routine consists mostly of using conditioner and patting his tendrils with a microfiber towel before air-drying them.
Mr. Jung, on the other hand, has directed his attention from the strands atop his head to the ones on his face. Since his initial perm in 2020, he has undergone an eyebrow tint and a lash lift. “I feel like I can do anything now,” he said.
These delicate curls may signal a broader shift from an antiquated male beauty standard of the past, to a freer and more expansive one today.
“We’re in a moment, in the United States at least, where younger generations are very critical of something like toxic masculinity,” said Dr. Lee, the professor who studies Korean culture and beauty standards. The hairdos of beloved K-pop boy band members and lead actors from Korean dramas offer an alternative, she said.
“Something like a boy perm becomes an aesthetic way of wearing that and symbolizing that,” she said.
K-Pop, K-Drama, K-Everything
Draw a graph measuring the proliferation of men’s perms, and it will most likely match one charting the popularity of K-pop groups and K-dramas in the United States. The prevalence of those pop culture exports can be seen in two distinct time periods that also converge with the rise of various social media apps.
In the early 2010s — when Instagram didn’t have ads and young millennials still used Facebook — there were the boy bands BigBang and SHINee, the “Gangnam Style” singer Psy and the drama series “Boys Over Flowers.” In the 2020s, which have brought the TV streaming boom and the pandemic, that has become TikTok, BTS, the K-pop girl group Blackpink and “Squid Game.”
Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, major American news outlets and talk show hosts zeroed in on Korean people wanting plastic surgery to “look white,” Dr. Lee said (for example, some Americans obsessed over Asians’ undergoing double-eyelid surgery).“Fast forward to the current moment, where we see all of these trends toward ‘looking Korean,’” she continued. “I think that shift really illuminates the way in which Korean pop culture has blown up and become a global sensation.”
Naamza, the Los Angeles-based hair studio, was founded in 2018, and before 2020 men’s perms accounted for only 30 percent of its business. Today, that percentage has more than doubled, according to Naamza’s manager, Han Kim. Across the country, in New York City, Salon Jatel saw the number of requests for the hairstyle jump to 22 between January and March 2023, from four during the same period in 2021.
While there has been a spurt in demand for the men’s perm, the requests still come from a relatively small portion of clientele, said Harumi Mikami, a stylist at Salon Jatel.
Mr. Kim said the hairstyle was “rapidly growing and growing” and attributed a change in the demographics of the salon’s patrons to the mass consumption of K-pop and TikTok. From 2018 to 2019, about 90 percent of Naamza’s clients were Korean and Korean American and “young male professionals who were already familiar with perms,” Mr. Kim said. The rest were similarly aged men of other identities. After 2020, he continued, that shifted to 70 percent Asians and Asian Americans (including Koreans and Korean Americans) and 30 percent non-Asian men.
The impetus for Eric Ambriz’s perm was a desire to try something new. “I have very thick, straight hair, so going to curly was very fun,” said Mr. Ambriz, 32, who is Mexican American and works for his family’s trucking business in Oxnard, Calif. “It makes you feel like a different person.”
But for many like Mr. Norng, who is Chinese and Cambodian American, observing Asian male celebrities sporting a similar cut for much longer was especially validating. “If it looks good on the K-pop idols, it must look good on us, too,” he said.
Mr. Jung, who spends about $300 at a salon every three months, shared the sentiment — and doesn’t intend to go back. “If you have some disposable income, why wouldn’t you want to look like a Korean idol?”
Continue reading the main story
Why are perms so popular men? ›
A perm should only be considered if your scalp is healthy. Perms can make a big difference in your appearance. Perms are popular because they're refreshing and new, and affordable for men. The perm lasts for 3-4 months and most men who have it are happy with the life changing results.Why are people getting perms again? ›
Well, one reason could be because more and more people are embracing their natural texture and looking for ways to enhance it without having to resort to damaging techniques like bleaching or heat styling. With a perm, you can easily add body and curl without having to damage your natural hair.Is it common for boys to get perms? ›
There's no doubt about it, the perm is the “it” style for men of all ages right now, but it's an especially popular style among teens and students.Are mens perms making a comeback? ›
Iles says that there are more men than ever requesting perms because “the added texture makes their hair manageable without having to use so much styling product.” This can be seen on TikTok, too, where most of the videos feature young men who are trying out the treatment on hair that's longer on top but more closely ...How often do men get perms? ›
How Long Does Men's Hair Perm Last? The longevity of perm hair for men is mostly determined by your hair length. Short permed hair can last anywhere from three to four months, depending on how often it is trimmed. It can last anywhere from six to eight months for those who like longer hair.What are the cons of getting a perm men? ›
Does getting a perm hurt your hair? A perm isn't as detrimental to your hair health as bleaching. But the process may weaken and dry strands, according to a PeerJ study. If you already have damaged hair, you may be more prone to a brittle feel or even breakage.When did boys start getting perms? ›
The boy perm is a thing: How this '80s trend is making a comeback... with guys. In case you're wondering: They still smell terrible. Perms, the trend responsible for some of the most cringeworthy 'dos of the '80s, are making a return — with guys.Are perms unhealthy? ›
Perms can cause damage to your hair over time. If you don't take care of your scalp health, you could experience hair loss. Scalp health is important because once a hair follicle gets damaged, you can't grow new hair from that follicle. It's important to get perms only from a trusted salon.Are perms coming back 2023? ›
Soft perms for the men, not just the ladies
Korean perms were all the rage for the ladies in 2022, but this 2023, this loose-curl style is predicted to make a debut for all the men in the area!
Curly-haired consumers are embracing their natural textures while trying out new haircuts and hairstyles, and 2023 is coming in hot with big curl transformations, according to the brand. Curly Fringe— The new year sees a resurgence of a beautiful, heavy curly fringe to soften and showcase the face.
Who started the perm trend? ›
London, October 8, 1906. German hairdresser Karl Ludwig Nessler, best known as Charles Nestlè (in those days a pinch of Parisian charm was indispensable for success in the field of coiffure), performs the first “official” perm in his beauty salon on Oxford Street in front of a crowd of colleagues.What is the best age to get a perm? ›
The Right Age
According to Hairfinder, a lot of professionals won't perm a person's hair until they are 18 years old. However, if a child doesn't want to wait until they are fully grown adults, one hair specialist recommends that they be at least 16 years old before getting their first perm.
A perm is a chemical treatment that can make your hair permanently curly or wavy for a period of time. They can last up to six months, depending on how fast your hair grows and how you treat it. Permed hair needs to be treated and cared for differently than non-permed hair.Do perms stunt hair growth? ›
Will Perm's Cause Hair Loss? Unfortunately, this is not a cut-and-dry answer. A well-executed, professional perm should not cause hair loss or damage to your hair of any kind. However, a poorly executed perm (most commonly DIY home perm kits) can damage your hair, resulting in hair thinning and loss.How long do perms last for guys? ›
An average perm for men lasts for about 2 to 6 months.
But this depends on your hair type and your routine. You might have to go get your hair permed again after about four months. But there are certain ways to extend the lifespan of your perm.
Will a Perm Cause Hair Loss? Because the chemicals used during a perm alter your hair's structure, there is a risk of damage. However, when performed by an experienced professional, your perm shouldn't cause hair loss or damage your hair in any way.Are perms a thing of the past? ›
Traditional perms are still done today, though not as common anymore because nowadays, people prefer more low-maintenance styles and gentler chemicals.Are perms a lot of upkeep? ›
Though they may make life a bit easier, it is important to remember that it is a chemical proess which can leave your hair a bit more fragile than normal. Perms require a bit of care and specific types of products in order to maintain your hair's health and the look you want.How much does a perm cost for a man? ›
Men's and kids' perms can also range from $30 to $800, since the cost will still vary depending on factors like hair length and desired style.Do perms fade or grow out? ›
According to O'Connor, perms can last up to six months; however, unlike hair color, a perm won't wash out and can't be chemically reversed. A perm always has to grow out, but thankfully, they typically grow out as natural-looking waves. When it comes to perms, maintenance is key.
Who shouldn't get a perm? ›
Doubling up on the chemicals can lead to severe damage, dryness, and breakage. Similarly, if your hair is already very dry or breakage prone because of frequent heat-styling, a dry climate, your genetics, or even illness, this may not be the best time to think about perming your hair.Did you lose to a guy with a perm? ›
“DID YOU LOST TO A GUY WITH A PERM?” Barkley said, referring to Neal Broten. “Yeah, I did,” Gretzky meekly admitted.What is a Korean perm? ›
"A Korean hair perm is a type of perm that is specifically designed to give your hair a natural-looking wave or curl," Tyler explained. "It is a popular choice for those who want to add body and volume to their hair, as well as those who want to achieve a more polished and put-together look.Should a 13 year old boy get a perm? ›
Many recommendations from professional hair stylists to medical professionals indicate that chemically changing a child's hair before puberty is not recommended. Children's hair before this time is typically thinner and more fragile and can be easily damaged by even the most gentle perms.Do TikTok boys perm their hair? ›
But now, the perm is back thanks to TikTok where the style has become particularly popular with men. Scroll through TikTok's hashtag #perm and you'll find endless videos, posted overwhelmingly by men, who have taken to the social platform to document their hair transformations.How long does a perm take? ›
How long does getting a perm take? 'The process can take two hours depending on hair length. We start by discussing the texture and curl that you want, then place rods accordingly specific to what we've discussed. Two days later you can wash your hair and see your new waves dry naturally.What can ruin a perm? ›
A shampoo, conditioner, or any product really, with an excessive level of alcohol in the ingredients can bring damage and frizz to your perm.Does water deactivate perm? ›
It's highly recommended that you wait three days before washing your hair. And try not to get caught in the rain! Not washing your hair will keep water from deactivating the perm and making the curls fall apart.Can GREY hair be permed? ›
Gray hair is usually very resistant, so your stylist will probably use an alkaline type perm, either a cold perm or an "exothermic" perm. Alkaline perms give a well-defined curl to coarse, resistant hair.Which perm lasts the longest? ›
The straight perm (also known as a reverse perm) is a Japanese style of hot perm which applies heat (often through a flat iron) and chemicals to straighten hair. The results of a straight perm are long-lasting which is why some people go for this option as opposed to other hair straightening techniques.
Can a perm last 2 years? ›
While perms are considered a permanent hair treatment, the curl pattern created actually lasts anywhere from a few months to a year—not forever.Do curls make you look older or younger? ›
Women with curly, textured hair tend to look younger than straight-haired counterparts as they age. Because of the natural volume that comes with having curly hair, thinning is less noticeable.What are the rarest curls? ›
The last, but most rare type of curl is the coily curl. This curl type is similar to that of an afro and when observed carefully, looks like the angular letter 'Z'. These curls require the most amount of moisture, as the hair type is much thicker than the other curl types.
As you get older, your curls may drop, loosen, or even form new curl patterns due to hormonal changes, like menopause. Environmental factors such as gravity, climate, and pollution also play a part. The thinner and weaker your aging curly hair is, the less likely it is to actually curl.Why did everyone have a perm in the 80s? ›
Big hair that was "often permed to achieve the desired volume" is especially associated with women of the mid 1980s as well as male rockstars of that era, especially of the glam metal genre. Television shows such as Dynasty helped popularize the high volume bouffant and glamorous image associated with it.Why did men get perms in the 70s? ›
By the early 1970s, the Afro was becoming mainstream and fashionable. Its popularity grew so much that it was fashionable for white men to get their hair permed to create a mass of tight curls. Afros were left natural – as in, the hair was not treated with harsh chemicals to straighten or alter the hair structure.What is a straight perm called? ›
As the name implies, a straight perm—aka Japanese hair straightening, thermal straightening, or thermal reconditioning—is a treatment that uses chemicals and heat to permanently straighten hair.Can anyone look good with a perm? ›
Not every perm will look good on you as it does on your favourite celebrities. If you are still unsure, consult your stylist and ask for their expert opinion. Bring along pictures that you like so they can advise if it's possible to achieve something similar with your hair length and texture.What not to do after perm? ›
- Wait 48-72 hours before shampooing your hair. ...
- Do not stand under a shower head for 48 hours. ...
- Avoid getting into a swimming pool or hot tub for 7 days. ...
- Do not brush or pull hair for 24-48 hours. ...
- Do not use a flat iron, curling iron or blow dryer for 48 hours. ...
- Avoid coloring your hair for 3 to 7 days.
What is a Hippie Perm? A Hippie Perm is essentially a throwback to the big hair that was SO popular back in the 1980s. Both men and ladies were into this phase where they perm their hair into small tight curls to achieve the huge voluminous hair that just seemed to be EVERYWHERE. 1980s Hairstyle.
How do you sleep with permed hair? ›
Keeping your permed hair safe overnight might be the most difficult task yet. Regular cotton pillowcases can cause friction that damages your hair. Sleep on a satin pillowcase instead to give your hair the freedom to move without damage. You could tie your hair up in a loose bun, braids, or do the plop method.Do perms thicken hair? ›
Adds Body To Your Hair
If you are someone who has very thin or fine hair, you may have a problem with your hair looking very flat. By adding a perm to your hair, you give it a great deal of body. This can help your hair to look much fuller and can really make your hair appear thicker than it actually is.
Thinning hair due to hair loss conditions
Affecting both men and women, people can suffer permanent hair loss when left without intervention. If you have this condition (along with other forms of hair loss related to medical conditions like alopecia areata), perms are not the solution for getting your volume back.
Hair color can damage a perm if the hair is not thoroughly prepared before the coloring process. Experts suggest waiting at least two weeks, after getting a perm, before lightening or coloring with permanent dyes or bleach.Can I wear a hat after perm? ›
Wait at least 48 hours before washing your hair. Until then, wear a hat or pull hair back with a pretty hair accessory.Are perms trending for men? ›
The modern men's perm is loud for a hairstyle so soft. On TikTok, the hashtag #menperm, referring to one of the latest hair trends to be born from the app, has garnered more than 20.7 million views. Those videos often begin with a man in a salon chair, pictured from the shoulder up.Are perms still smelly? ›
The reason that perms smell is because of the chemical reaction to the ingredients ammonia thioglycolate used to break down the bonds in your hair. Perms now days do not have as strong of a smell as they did in times past however. The quality perms only have a faint smell that will only slightly linger.Are reverse perms a thing? ›
The reverse perm, aka straight perm, uses the same chemical as regular perms, but instead of curling rods, the stylist will use a flat iron to straighten the hair.Why did people get perms? ›
The history of perming ethnic hair
She developed it to help African American women who wanted to change the tight curl of their hair to a wave, although it also proved to help with Caucasian women's hair, adding curl to their straight hair.
Avoid washing your hair for 48 hours after getting a perm as the curls continue to set. Even after 48 hours, you'll want to wash your hair sparingly. Shampooing or getting your hair wet too often will cause your perm to fade faster. The drier you keep your curls, the longer they'll last.
Why did my perm go away so fast? ›
One common reason why SOME perms don't last is because the stylist did not sufficiently soften your hair. When this first step is not done well, your hair won't be able to take on the new curls, resulting in limp and vague curls that straighten in a jiffy.Can I shower after a perm? ›
Wait To Wash Your Hair After 48 Hours
Within 48 hours of getting a perm, you should avoid washing your hair to avoid damaging your curls and increasing frizz. For this reason, salons often advise customers to wait at least 48 hours before washing their hair.
- Spiral Perm. With a spiral perm, our stylist will place a rod into your hair in a vertical alignment. ...
- Body Wave. This style uses larger rods. ...
- Spot Perm. We know our clients don't always want curls everywhere. ...
- Pin Curl Perm. The pin curl pin can give you plenty of bounce. ...
- Textured Perm.
Hairdressers stress that a perm swells the hairshaft, which can cause already-porous curly hair to become dry and frizzy, the opposite effect of what a curly intended.Are perms coming back in 2023? ›
Soft perms for the men, not just the ladies
Korean perms were all the rage for the ladies in 2022, but this 2023, this loose-curl style is predicted to make a debut for all the men in the area!
Brushing through your permed hair is a big no-no. You see, brushing will cause your curls to separate and will make your hair frizzy, which probably isn't the look you're after. Instead of brushing, gently detangle your hair with your fingers or use a wide-toothed wooden comb.How long will a perm last man? ›
An average perm for men lasts for about 2 to 6 months.
You might have to go get your hair permed again after about four months. But there are certain ways to extend the lifespan of your perm.
While perming is very drying on the hair and can affect its quality, it will not usually cause hair loss. It can, however, result in bald patches if the chemicals and heat used for the perm burn the scalp.How long do perms take for guys? ›
"The process can take two hours at least depending on hair length, and for long hair can take as long as four hours.What is a Japanese perm? ›
What is Japanese Straight Perm? It's a revolutionary new technique that originated in Japan to permanently straighten curly, wavy, frizzy and hard to manage hair. The process combines both chemicals and heat to soften the bonds of the hair to reform the bonds in a straight pattern.
How long can c curl last? ›
While this hairstyle can last up to three months, it offers a more natural way of enhancing the contouring effects of your jawline by using the hair to shape your face.
It involves curls and waves that, although not exactly permanent, will last several months when done correctly. Perming your hair involves the use of chemicals to set these curls. Permed hair seems deceptively low-maintenance, but it can be a challenge to maintain especially if your locks aren't at their healthiest.Why do perms look bad at first? ›
Perms dry out your hair considerably, resulting in more damage. The chemical process of getting a perm can be hard on damaged hair, making your curls look and feel drab and unhealthy.How long should a man's hair be for a perm? ›
"Generally, two inches is the minimum length of hair for a perm because it is enough to be wrapped onto the perm rod. The perm result varies on the length of the hair for example, if you have 2-3 inch long hair, a super slim sized rod can fit there but your curls will be super tight.Who should not get a perm? ›
Doubling up on the chemicals can lead to severe damage, dryness, and breakage. Similarly, if your hair is already very dry or breakage prone because of frequent heat-styling, a dry climate, your genetics, or even illness, this may not be the best time to think about perming your hair.How long does a perm last? ›
A perm is a chemical treatment that can make your hair permanently curly or wavy for a period of time. They can last up to six months, depending on how fast your hair grows and how you treat it.How long does a body perm last? ›
A body wave perm is a type of perm that can give you loose, natural-looking waves. The curls are usually less defined than with other types of perms and can last anywhere from four to six months—though how often you wash your hair will affect how long it lasts.