To perm or not to perm is a question that can only be answered if you’ve considered all sides of the equation. Your stylist can’t decide for you, and you shouldn’t toss a coin either. Getting a perm is a very personal decision, and it must be made with the full knowledge of the implications.
You can start with asking yourself 7 very important questions:
1. Why do I want to get a perm?
First, ask yourself why you want to get a perm in the first place. Pinpointing the underlying motive is important because it helps you figure out if a perm is the right thing to do in your situation. Is it because you’re bored of your current hairstyle and you want a drastic change? Is it because you curl your hair with an iron everyday and you’re tired of having to do so? Or is it simply because you want to sport curly or wavy hair at an upcoming event?
2. Am I ready to alter my hair permanently?
You have to understand that the reason it’s called a “perm” is precisely because the changes are permanent. These are not romantic, voluminous waves that you can wear for a day and forget about tomorrow. When you get your hair styled or even as you curl your own hair, the curls eventually straighten out. On the other hand, a perm stays that way for a very long time, and you’re altering the chemistry of your hair permanently, which means it will never be the same way again.
3. Can my hair, in its current shape, withstand a perm?
If you already have damaged hair or your hair has undergone several chemical treatments like coloring or rebonding, you should think more than twice before getting a perm. When your hair has been treated chemically or when it’s already damaged, going for a perm will damage it further. Overstyling, especially with chemicals, can damage your hair permanently and this is the last thing you want to happen to your crowning glory.
4. What kind of look am I going for?
You should also ask yourself what you envision the result to be. After the perm, what do you want your hair to look like? Do you want tight and spiral curls or wavy tresses? Do you have a particular celebrity hairstyle in mind? Do you know exactly what size of curls you want? These questions are important because it determines how your stylist actually executes the perm. So from the very start, you should be very clear about the kind of look you’re going for.
5. Can this look be achieved with something other than a perm?
By understanding what kind of result you want, you can also assess whether or not a perm is the only way you’ll get there. Sometimes, people think a perm is what they need and end up regretting it because once the perm is done, the result is far from what they expect or envision. Additionally, this can be a function of moods and while you are insistent on getting a perm today, you could very well feel differently the following week. It’s best to give the idea time to develop so you can also reflect on it properly.
In fact, there are times when your desired result is more achievable with a curling iron or another styling tool. In these cases, you don’t even need a perm in the first place and you’ll be wasting a lot of time, energy, and money if you insist on getting one. Remember that the less permanent your solutions are, the more flexible you will be.
6. Do I want my stylist to do it for me or do I want to do it at home?
Ideally, it’s best to consult with your stylist because he or she would know the pros and cons of perming your hair, given its condition. There are also different methods to perming, and picking the right one will depend on many factors – your budget, the availability of latest technologies, what kind of hair you have, and your stylist’s recommendations. Digital or hot perms for instance tend to be more expensive and take a longer process. Cold perms are more affordable but requires more styling products to maintain.
Doing the perm yourself is generally not recommended, but if you’re knowledgeable enough and have some experience, then just make sure that you do all your research beforehand and you have the right products.
7. Am I ready for the aftercare?
Getting a perm is not just about transforming your straight hair into curly tresses. You have to understand that there’s a lot of aftercare involved, especially if you want to maintain your curls for as long as possible.