Different types of perms: loose curls for long hair, spiral, & more

Nothing boosts your confidence like a good old hairstyle. And if it’s permanent, there’s no maintenance hassle too. A perm is a way to go if you’re bored of your hair and looking for something long-term, even when you get out of the shower. Let’s look at all the different types of perms: loose curls for long hair, spiral, and more.

body wave

What is a perm?

A perm is short for a permanent hairstyle. It involves treatment of anywhere from 2 hours to 5 hours. The treatment is used to break down particles of your hair. The result is your natural texture changing into your desired style. Typically, your perm should last you about three to six months with care.

Spiral types of perms

spiral perm

Spiral perms were all the rage back in the ’90s and ’80s. Getting a perm back then was a luxury and not one many could afford. The tell-tale sign of a prosperous life was then a perm.

Tight spirals curls were all the rage back then but are also sported nowadays.

You can choose the tightness of your curls and the type of spiral perm.

Regular spiral

The typical 90’s perm. This one is a tight style that leaves your locks super curly and full of volume. The process can take up to 5 hours for the treatment to finish.

Ombre effect

Give your spiral perm an even more trending look. You’ll look like a hundred bucks with a new color at the bottom.


You can also experiment by giving your spiral perm a brush through. Once you do this, the result is a windswept look like on a beach or atop a hill. Keep your tresses to one side and see the magic.

Products needed for a perm

While you need to book appointments and can’t just waltz into a salon and ask to get your hair done, there are other options. You can also get a perm done at home by yourself. Take a look at the products you’ll need:

Protein shampoo

A good hairstyling session always starts with a deep cleanse of the scalp from root to tip. For this, you’ll need good shampoo. A protein shampoo is recommended to protect your hair from the intense treatment it is about to receive.

The goodness of black rice

A highly rated option by the users of Amazon, Nexxus KeraPhix Black rice shampoo for damaged locks makes for a great damage control treatment. It uses the science of Proteomics research and puts it into practical everyday hair-care usage.

Sulfate-free and healthy  

Wholesome natural ingredients are what you sometimes need to cancel out the harmful chemicals from coloring or heat treatments to your hair. Give yourself the goodness of blackberry and quinoa to boost it up before you get a perm!


You’ll also need some endpapers to cover your tips. The endpapers are wet and used to cover the ends of your hair. When the rod touches the hair, the endpaper enables the chemicals to rapidly infiltrate the locks without any chemical damage.

You can buy a set of 1000 papers for less than $5.

Rollers or rods

Your rods will depend on the size of your hair. If you’re looking to style medium or small hair, a rod set should be more than enough. Rods without any rubber bands are the best since breakage is avoided. No-heat rods are the best of all as they also don’t cause any heat damage.

All sizes of cold wave rods

Now whether you’re growing out your length or cutting it short, there is no need to buy a set of new rods each time! Buy this one with all five sizes suited for long, medium, or short hair.

Variety pack with rubber bands

Clips like these also cover the entire length and cling to it. It has several vents for better saturation. All the different sizes mean you can use them at different lengths of your tresses. Whether you have long or medium hair, this is the only buy you’ll ever need.

Acidic Perm solution

Based on your hair type, you will require a solution. Now, this is the solution that will do most of the work. You will need a solution for breaking down structure bonds to readjust them to your liking.

Argan oil enriched

If you’ve got locks with low elasticity, or coarse or thick Asian hair, an Acidic solution is the one for you. Try to choose one that has a natural moisturizing agent like this one with Argan oil. The best part is it can combine with lotion or water to make the perfect combination for you.

Alkaline solution

If you’ve got locks that are colored or tinted, damaged or fragile, an alkaline solution will work best for you. Some alkaline solutions will be exothermic and therefore self-heating. They’ll be doing half the job for you.

Feels so lively

This is one such solution by Zotos. It’s self-warming and does a lot of the job for you. Since it’s alkaline, it is milder on the scalp than its acidic counterpart.

Flexible options

This one by Quantum is rated Amazon’s Choice because of its splendid results. Not only can one expect the best of curls after using this product, but also expect minimal damage.


This is usually part of the perm solution you are using. Applying a neutralizer is the last part of the whole process. It has the effect of sealing the cuticle and rebonding the structure of the hair. The desired texture is then achieved.

Shampoo and conditioner for the chemically treated scalp

You will need a shampoo meant for a chemically treated scalp to maintain your hair. There are also special shampoos in the market for curly hair that will add an extra bounce to your locks.

Curly hair treatment

This shampoo set is a great option for newly curled tresses. It maintains the hair’s porosity and strength, adds a shine, and gives it a bouncy lift. Nobody wants curls with deadweight that makes it look droopy.

The curl next door

The most desired curl next door is the way to any curly-haired girl’s heart. We love the reviews and takes on this one. Not only is it anti-frizz, but it’s also vegan and cruelty-free. It comes with a shampoo and conditioner as well as a curl-defining cream.

Despite all the love it gives your hair, it is bereft of phthalates, sulfates, parabens, and talc. Shea butter, aloe vera, and argan oil infuse the goodness of nature into your curls.

Beach wave perm rods

Beachy waves are a type of very loose curls that give the effect of no-effort carefree natural wavy hair. There are quite a few ways you can achieve them. Some people like to leave their locks in a braid after washing them overnight.

You can also curl your length with a curling rod and leave a couple of inches out to achieve this effect.

But if you are looking for something permanent, you can also get a perm.

Any good solid rods can be used for this purpose. All that differs is the method of wrapping your lengths around the rod. Instead of wrapping it closely and tightly, you will wrap it around with much more distance.

Types of perms

You can get several different types of perms to change up your look! Back in the day, limited options were costly to achieve. With the number of resources, you can practically get a makeover overnight at your home!

Let’s look at all the variety to choose from.

Body wave

body wave perm

No, it’s not anything like the dance move. But yes, it does add some bounce to your hair’s body. With the body wave, you’re looking at adding a little bit of wavy texture to otherwise very straight or boring hair.

For four to five months, you can expect a full-body wave style that will make you look stunning.


straight perm

Also known as a reverse perm, this one is for those with wavy or curly hair types but who desires a sleek look. The bonds in your strands are broken down and cause them to look sleek and shiny from without.

Nowadays, this process is also achieved through Rebonding or Smoothening.


The spiral type has been one of the most popular since the heydays of perming. You can expect tight neat tiny curls with this style. Since this style will require a lot of chemicals to be used, it is best suited for those with healthy hair. This means your strands shouldn’t be brittle. It’s not for those who are suffering from hair loss or hair fall issues.


multi-textured perm

If you’re looking for a change in your hairstyle but also want to go offbeat, a multi-textured look is a way to go. This look is achieved by using many rods of varying lengths and sizes. Keep in mind that you’ll need an expert stylist for this one. It’s difficult to achieve at home by yourself unless you are quite the pro!


It’s the most natural-looking one there is! Since curly-haired women do not usually have hair that gets curly from the roots themselves, a stacked perm looks quite realistic. Here the style involves straight hair from the roots and curls towards the ends of the length of hair. Long hair of equal lengths is preferable for this hairstyle as the look that will be achieved will already be of layered style.


spot perm

Just like it sounds, a spot perm curls only one section of your tresses permanently. If you’ve got a layered haircut, you can get the curls on one layer of your hair. This adds a little bounce without too much hassle and volumizes it instantly.


Add volume to your tresses by only curling the roots. This is especially useful when your hair is thinning out and making your face look flat. It can also act as a touch-up for a previous perm that is now growing out.


No visible curls, just good old bounce to the hair. A volumizing perm is perfect for those looking to achieve the best volume without a complete change in hairstyle. Just add a lift of bounce with this type, and you don’t have to worry about maintaining it for another 4-5 months!

Loose curl perms for medium hair

For medium length, you don’t have the option to go for super tight curls like a spiral. But what you can get is loose curls like beachy waves. Another option is natural-looking multi-textured curls that look effortless and won’t shorten the hair length much.

Multi-textured perm

A variated style that uses multiple sizes of rods. It achieves a natural look since not all strands are uniformly curled. The variety comes in not only the rod sizes but also how it can be achieved. You can use rods or fabrics or even rollers.

Partial perm

partial perm

Also known as spot perm, this type is unique as it only targets a specific section of your hair. If you’ve got layers in your hair, you can choose to add curls to only one layer. Or you can target just the roots for volume in thin-looking hair. Or you can only curl the ends of your tresses.

The validity is about three to six months. The treatment will. However, take just as much time as a full perm. You can expect to be in the salon for three to five hours.

Perm that doesn’t damage your hair

There are a couple of options you can go for in damage-free perms. Thioglycolate is a harmful chemical that is used in the effective perming of hair. Without this, it is difficult to achieve a long-lasting result. Nowadays, there are options like natural perming with only natural ingredients and no parabens or sulfates.

You can also opt for styles in perming that use fewer chemicals and hence cause less damage. For example, a digital perm will use solutions that have milder chemicals than thioglycolates. It will last only 3-4 months but you’ll be satisfied knowing it hasn’t caused much harm.


Let’s take a look at some of our top user questions.

What is the loosest perm?

Beach waves are very loose curls that will look natural. If you want something less loose, you can go for stacked curls. They start a couple of inches below the roots with large curls, unlike spirals.

Which hair perms are best?

It depends on your face cut, hair type, cut, and personal preference. Back in the day, the spiral was all the rage. However, now beach waves are in. All favor large loose curls as compared to the high-maintenance tight curls.

How long does a body wave perm last?

This style can last four to five months in high-quality condition. If you take great care in its maintenance, it can even last six months.

Can you get loose curls with a perm?

You sure can. Nowadays, you can get everything from a partial to loose curl perm. Everything is possible in the world. All you need to do is decide!

What type of perm is most suitable for long hair?

If you’ve got straight locks and want a change of scene, you can go for the full spiral look. With tiny ringlets, your locks will look stunning. If you’ve got a long, wavy, or curly type, you can also go for a straight option.

How much does a loose curl perm cost?

You can expect to pay anywhere between $60 to $100 for a typical perm. The price range goes all the way up to $200 depending on the size of the curl, the length, and other factors.