Five things you need to know about getting a perm in 2021

It’s baaack! If you thought we left the perm back in the ‘80s, you’d be wrong. Thanks, in part, to one of 2021’s biggest hair trends—the curly shag—perms are back and better than ever. Here are five things you need to know about getting a perm in 2021.

You don’t have to worry about damage

If you think curly locks might be your thing, but the thought of undergoing this old-school chemical hair treatment is enough to, well, make your hair curl, this will be good news for you. 

The modern perm is much gentler on the hair than the perms we saw a few decades ago. As long as you have reasonably healthy hair to start with (so not heavily processed), you should be good to go ahead with your perm. Just make sure to treat it right—with proper conditioning and low-heat styling tools.

woman with beautiful red curly hair

You can customize your perm

Modern perms are created with modern techniques. Gone are the small, hard plastic perming rods of the past. Today hairstylists use an array of rod sizes and types as well as modern wrapping techniques to create less uniform curl patterns resulting in more natural-looking curls. The versatility of these modern techniques mean your stylist can customize your new curly look, whether you’re into big, corkscrew curls, loose, beachy waves or something in between. 

Your perm won’t be permanent

Perms today. They just don’t last as long as they used to. This is because the new perm lotions are missing an ingredient. Modern perm lotion doesn’t include ammonia, so it doesn’t penetrate the hair as deeply as its predecessors. For this reason, today’s perms are actually more semi-permanent than permanent. 

So how long will your perm last, exactly? Generally speaking, your perm will last three to six months, depending on how tight your curls are, to begin with and how well you take care of your permed hair.


You’ll need to break up with your hairbrush 

Now that you have your modern perm, you and your hairbrush can no longer be friends. 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. The best place to do this is in the shower before you rinse your conditioner out.

curly red hair

You’ll want to pick up the right hair products

Using styling products designed for your newly curled hair is key. A good hydrating shampoo and conditioner are non-negotiable to help keep your permed hair in peak condition. Adding a curl-defining cream to your styling regime is also highly recommended. A curl cream will help define your curls and keep the frizz away. 


All in all, if you’re on the lookout for a new look in 2021, a fresh, modern perm is a great contender. Perms are kinder to your hair and easier to manage than ever before, and with new techniques to customize those curls, we can create almost any kind of curly look you’re craving. Book your appointment today!