Have you seen the price of a salon perm lately? It is not uncommon to pay between $75-$100 for a permanent wave in a salon. That’s $75 you could be spending on shoes or makeup, or more honestly gas and groceries. But the concept of giving your self a home perm may be terrifying.
I was a licensed cosmetologist for over four years, and have both given and survived several home perms, so let me give you some insight on how to make a home perm a good memory instead of a nightmare
CHOOSE A HOME PERM BUDDY:
The first step in having a good home perm experience is to have realistic expectations. You WILL NEED A BUDDY. Do not try this alone. The home perm buddy should be a close friend or perhaps a sister or mother. This will be more of an imposition than a mere acquaintance or social friend should be asked to contribute. You are going to be spending some quality time with this person, so make sure it is someone you have fun with.
PICK A DATE:
A home perm is going to take a long time. That is a simple fact. A home perm will take two to three hours minimum, and if you can schedule an entire morning, evening, or afternoon that would be best.
If you try to hurry, or pick a date when you have several other commitments, it is going to turn your home perm into a stressful and possibly disastrous project. So get together with your home perm buddy and pick a date you can both make a time commitment of at least three hours for completing your home perm.
CHOOSE A HOME PERM KIT:
Once you have chosen your date and your home perm buddy, you are going to have to choose a perm. This can be the most intimidating step of all. I cannot speak to your individual hair type or promise any specific result, but I can relate my experiences with different brands of home perms.
The brand that I have had the best results with consistently is Ogilvie Home Perm. It is a wonderful conditioning perm, and I have never used this brand and wound up with dry frizzy hair. Although you will need to make sure that you do not use too large of rods in order to hold your curl with an Olgilve home perm. I have been so happy with this home perm that I often wished that I could use it when I worked in a salon.
Another very good brand of home perm is Loreal. Loreal is also a quality product, and if you have hair that is resistant to perming this brand may actually work a little better for you.
Here is a word of caution. You have already saved at least $50-$75 by using a home perm, resist the urge to save additional money by purchasing a cheap perm kit. The cheaper the home perm, the higher your chance of damaged hair.
CHOOSE YOUR ROD SIZE:
Another thing to consider is choosing a rod size for your home perm. Rod color indicates the size, and these colors are universal. For instance every blue rod is the same size. For modern hairstyles the colors blue, yellow, and red should never be used. If you are a mature woman blue rods can be used, but still avoid yellow and red.
A good place to start is to decide what you want your home perm to accomplish. Do you want body or curl?
If you have fine hair that is straight and lacks body and bounce a good choice is alternating gray and white rods. This will give you some curl, but if you use a blow dryer or curling iron, it will help your hair hold its style. If you really don’t want very much curl, and just want some movement, solid white, or purple and white alternating would be a good color combination to use for your home perm.
If you have medium or coarse hair that holds a curl, you will have slightly different results with your home perm than someone who has fine hair, even if you use the same color rods. For your home perm if you only want body, you should start out with purple and white alternating rods, this will give you nice wavy curls. If you want something looser go to all purple rods, or even alternate purple and peach.
If you have medium or coarse hair and want your home perm to give you visible curls, here are some rod combinations that you should consider. Grey and white rods will give your home perm a tighter curl; all white rods will give a medium curl; and alternating purple and white rods will leave you with big bouncy curls.
I highly recommend treating a home perm as a festive occasion. It will help ease the tedium. Make a few snacks, rent a movie, maybe even have an adult beverage or two. But take it easy on the alcohol for obvious reasons.
Of course there are other pragmatic items you will want to make sure you have on hand.
Ã?Â·A timer for your home perm.
Ã?Â·You will need around four full size towels and four hand towels.
Ã?Â·Make sure that you have some type of protective cape, even if it is just one made from a garbage bag.
Ã?Â·A cotton strip to catch drips. This is usually included in your home perm kit, but can also be purchased separately.
Ã?Â·A spray bottle.
Ã?Â·The home perm kit.
Ã?Â·A well lit area and a comfortable chair to sit in while wrapping the home perm.
WRAPPING THE PERM:
For a diagram of sectioning go to
Make sure that the home perm buddy who is going to be wrapping your perm has a look at this sight. It has a very good diagram of how to place the perm rods when giving a home perm. This sight also has several tips for home perm techniques.
It is important to remember during the home perm that the size of parting should be the same width and length of the perm rod. In addition to this when wrapping the ends of the hair in the perm papers make sure that the ends are smooth and not bunched together. If this is not done correctly your home perm will not be attractive because the ends of your hair will be frizzy and going in every direction. The spray bottle can assist in this process, but should not be over used, as that can result in the perm not processing evenly.
This will be the most time consuming part of the home perm. Be patient and use the time to eat a few snacks and possibly enjoy an adult beverage. Once the solution has been applied you won’t be able to enjoy refreshments.
APPLY THE SOLUTION:
When you are getting a home perm, there are basically two things that can go wrong: your hair can be dry and frizzy, or your curls may be too loose if the perm doesn’t “take”.Both of these problems are caused by this step of the process of the home perm being performed incorrectly. The solution is a very strong chemical designed to break down the chemical bonds in your hair. In order to get consistent results you must pay attention to the next two steps very carefully.
First you want to make sure that your hair is not too wet. If your home perm buddy has had to use the spray bottle quite a bit to get the hair into the perm rods, you will want to have her blot your hair with one of the hand towels.
Place the cotton all around the perimeter of your perm rods to protect your face, ears, and neck from dripping. Place a towel around your shoulders to catch extra dripping. You will also want to have a hand towel to hold during this stage of the home perm, because things are going to get messy.
Tilt your head back, and have your home perm buddy apply the perm solution slowly to EACH INDIVIDUAL perm rod. It is important to move slowly enough to allow the solution to absorb into the hair, and equally important to make sure that each perm rod is applied individually. After all the perm rods have received one application, a second application should be applied.
TIMING THE SOLUTION:
Timing is critical to your home perm. If you leave the perm solution on too long your hair will be dry and frizzy. If you do not leave it on long enough, your curls will not last, and will not be well defined. Read the directions on the box of your home perm kit for timing guidelines. If your hair is extremely dry or damaged, you may not need to have the solution on for the full time. If your hair is dry, start checking for proper curl after 10 minutes, and then every five minutes after that. If your hair is normal begin checking your home perm after 20 minutes, and then every 5 minutes thereafter.
To check your home perm, choose one rod and partially unroll the rod about 1-Ã?Â½ inches. Do not pull it taught, but rather allow the hair to sit loosely. When the home perm is processed you will notice a change in the texture of the hair. It will be separated slightly on the rod, and it will fall naturally into a curl that is the width of the perm rod. When you see this it is time to rinse.
To protect your hair from damage, and ensure the best results of your home perm remove the cotton strip and make sure you rinse thoroughly. Rinse in hot water for at least 10 minutes. You should not be able to smell the solution in your hair. This may take longer than 10 minutes, but you will get a much better home perm if you take the time to rinse correctly.
BLOT AND NEUTRALIZE:
The bonds in your hair are now broken down into the shape of the rod. The next step is applying the neutralizer which is what will “freeze” your hair into this new shape so that your home perm will last. So it is extremely important that the neutralizer be applied correctly.
After rinsing your home perm, your hair will be saturated with water. In order for the neutralizing solution to work, you need to get the excess water from your hair. It does not need to be bone dry, but you want to try to get the excess water out of your hair.
Blot thoroughly with one of the hand towels. Then let your hair air dry for 10 minutes. Have your home perm buddy blot one last time, and then apply the neutralizing solution.
Reapply another ring of protective cotton, place a fresh towel around your shoulders, and get a fresh towel to hold. Once again you will want to tip your head back slightly and have your home perm buddy apply the solution slowly to each individual rod. Apply the solution to each rod at least twice.
This solution will be very cold and very drippy.
Let the solution process for 5 minutes and then rinse for 10 minutes with warm water, and then remove the rods. Do not apply a conditioner unless one was included with the home perm kit, as it will cause your curl to relax.
After receiving your home perm you will need to wait 48 hrs before you wash your hair.
If mistakes were made and your home perm left your hair too curly or dry and frizzy, simply purchase a deep conditioner and comb your hair straight with a wide-tooth comb. Let the conditioner sit on your hair for 5-10 minutes. Then rinse. Repeat this every day until you reach your desired curl. If the ends of your hair are extremely dry you may want to get a trim.
On the other hand if your home perm did not take and you did not get the desired amount of curl do not rush out and buy another one right away. Wait at least four weeks, and make sure that you are conditioning your hair during that time.
If you follow the directions on the home perm kit, and the guidelines I have shared, you should not be faced with either of these problems. So call your sister, buy some cheesecake and a home perm kit, and get ready to be beautiful without breaking the bank.