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How Long Does a Perm Take? | Longer Than You Think

There is a lot of information that you should learn before getting your first perm. However, many people want to know, “how long does a perm take?”

Whether you perform a DIY or salon perm, it’s good to know what to expect. We’ll help you understand how long a perm will take and provide other helpful information about getting a perm.

What Is a “Perm”?

Perm is also known as a “permanent hairstyle.” This two-hour method involves wrapping hair strands tightly around curling rods and using chemical solutions designed to “keep” the form of the curling rod. 

To reverse the perming procedure and preserve the curls, the hair is dried after applying chemicals, and a neutralizer is used. Curly hair is often linked with perms.

However, curling rods may be available in various sizes and styles. Small, tight curls are one option, while looser waves to seem like they came directly from the beach can be styled.

Now that hairstylists have access to safer materials and innovative new procedures, having your hair permed may result in a more trendy, sleek appearance without the harmful side effects of the past.

Types of Hair Perms

A stylist can apply a variety of perms to your hair, including:

  • Body Waves. Hair curled using huge hot rollers for a lengthy period will have a natural wave pattern and won’t need much maintenance.
  • Multi-Textured. These are loose, wavy curls of varying patterns that need the slightest maintenance in the form of occasional moisturizing. Two hot rods work together to make this happen.
  • Partial Permed. They have curly ends that keep the hair mostly in its natural shape with little care.
  • Root Perm.  They acquired their full, voluminous roots by perming just the first few inches of hair away from the scalp. This type uses ceramic perm.
  • Spot Perm. These curls may be tight or loose according to the customer’s preference. It is accomplished by putting hot or cold rods in specified locations where the customer wishes the curls to be.

How Long Does a Perm Take?

A perm may take one to three hours or longer to finish. This estimate considers everything that goes into a perm, from preparation to styling. Several variables will determine how long it will take you, including:

Where You Get Your Perm

It will probably take over three hours to finish if you want to perm your hair. Applying all the chemicals evenly around your head, especially the back, may be difficult. DIY perms also tend to have a higher failure rate.

However, having your hair permed in a salon could be faster. The stylist will likely do the job more quickly than you can since they can view your complete hand and draw on years of experience.

Size of Curls

Perms let you pick from several different-sized curls. Large-curl perms are often less time-consuming since it is easier to wrap bigger areas of hair. However, if you like more defined curls, the rod-wrapping procedure alone might take more than an hour.

Hair Length

The perming process is also influenced by hair length. If you have short hair, wrapping it will be much faster than long hair. Yet, long hair works better for perms.

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How Perms Work

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It’s also essential to go through what goes into a regular perm:

Hair Preparation

Getting your hair ready to be permed is the first order of business. The first step is to clean your hair thoroughly, removing any dirt or oil that might prevent the perming solution from sticking to your hair. Next, segment your hair so it’s simpler to manage. The time required for this procedure should be about 15-20 minutes.

Application of Rollers

This step is a pain, but it’s necessary for a good perm outcome. All of your hair will need to be rolled up. Wrap huge chunks of your hair over large rollers to get loose curls. Tiny portions of hair may be wrapped in tiny rollers to achieve tighter curls. 

The stylist should apply end sheets to the ends of your wrapping before you begin to provide the smoothest possible finish. This procedure usually takes two or more hours.

Application of Perming Solution

This step should take roughly five minutes. However, the solution usually takes around 15-20 minutes to take effect.


To make sure the solution is totally removed, take your time. It might harm you if you forget about the perm and leave the solution in your hair. Leaving the rollers in throughout the rinsing process might be a hassle.

Application of Neutralizer

After being treated with the neutralizer, the hair’s bonds are reformed into rods. The neutralizing solution needs around five minutes to do its thing.

Removal of Rods

Prepare for styling by giving it a good rinse. This process shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. These are the fundamental steps of perming. Procedures may differ significantly based on the kind of perm you choose.

Professional hairstylists may recommend using Olaplex 0-8 as part of your service. When used in conjunction with a perm solution and neutralizer, Olaplex protects the hair’s bonding. Anyone who has chemically treated or damaged hair may benefit from using this.

Why Does It Take So Long to Get a Perm?

It takes many steps to complete a perm. If you want your perm to last as long as possible, there are several steps you need to do before you get started. Begin by investing ten minutes into a shampooing and clarifying routine. 

Depending on its length, it takes 30 to 45 minutes to perm your hair. A wave solution must be used and processed to complete the perm. It takes around 10 minutes to apply the solution. Towel drying will take another 15 minutes after a 20-minute processing time.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding permed hair:

How much does a perm typically cost?

Most perms are rather pricey. Depending on what kind of permanent style you desire, you may expect to spend anywhere from $30 to $150. There are hairdressers out there that may charge more than average. Include a least 20% gratuity for your hairstylist in your total budget.

Is perming bad for your hair?

Bleaching is more damaging to your hair than a perm. However, published research suggests that the procedure may weaken and dry strands. Hair that is already damaged is more likely to feel brittle and break.

Does the length of hair affect the process?

More hair means more work for the stylist when trying to perm it. It’s advised not to attempt a DIY job on long hair since it requires an even distribution of chemicals and rods to achieve a consistent effect. Layers, especially those on the shorter end, may be challenging to manage.

Can you dye permed hair?

Changing your hairstyle drastically is something you should wait about a month to accomplish. You can dye permed hair, but before making any permanent changes, it’s best to consult your hairdresser.

Can you perm dyed hair?

Yes, but know that perms tend to lighten the hair. Full-dyed hair is less likely to become frizzy when permed than highlighted hair.

Does a perm last permanently?

Perms may last between three to six months, depending on what type of perm you get, how well you take care of it, and how fast your hair grows.

So, How Long Does a Perm Take?

Now you know the answer to the question, “How long does a perm take?” So, if you want to perm your hair, you’ll need to set aside at least four or five hours. Your hair length, the kind of perm rods you pick, and most importantly, the skill of the hairstylist all contribute towards the overall time it takes.

Now that you’ve read our guide, you have a better concept of what happens during the perming process. We hope your new hairstyle turns out well.