Everything To Know Before Getting A Straight Perm

When you think of perms, you may think about the spiral curls so popular in the 1980s or the tightly coiled coifs that your grandma might’ve gotten when you were growing up. The curly style is even back in fashion now, according to The Trend Spotter. Most of the time, when you consider perms, you probably think of curls or waves, but you can also get a straight perm (via Byrdie). Hairstylist Mateo Lara explained to the outlet that straight perms aren’t something people do as frequently as the types with rollers because there are other treatments to achieve straighter hair. “This isn’t something people normally ask for anymore,” Lara said. “They tend to do a keratin treatment or Brazilian blowout instead.”

Of course, keratin treatments and Brazilian blowouts have certain risks you might wish to avoid, which is why you could find yourself considering trying a straight perm. Here are a few things you need to know about the beauty treatment before you schedule it for yourself.

Here's how to decide which straight perm is right for you

Byrdie explained that a straight perm differs from other types of treatments that straighten hair because it’s permanent. Sure, new hair that grows won’t be permed straight, but the lengths that are there when you get the service will stay straight. According to Briana Dunning, a hairstylist specializing in body wave perms, “A straight perm is great for someone with curly or frizzy hair who wants it to be straight and smooth.” 

The type of straight perm you should get depends on your curl type (via Byrdie). The Trend Spotter reported that straight perms are suitable for Afro-textured hair. But not every straightening treatment is ideal for all types of hair. If you have type 2a wavy/curly to 3c curly/coily hair, then a “thio”-based perm will work well for leaving your locks straighter. If type 3b curly/coily or 4c kinky/coily better describes your hair’s texture, then you should opt for a perm containing a sodium hydroxide formula. 

Once you’ve had the service, you shouldn’t ever apply the other type of perm to your hair. “Even if it’s just on the ends or you feel that it’s been a ‘long time,’ those chemicals are still in there and can have devastating effects, basically making the hair melt — think Nair hair removal,” Dunning warned (via Byrdie). As with taking care of curly perms, you still need to avoid washing straight-permed hair for 48 hours (via The Trend Spotter).

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