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At Home Perms and Body Waves

By: Jody Ehrhardt - Updated: 3 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 home Permanent Body Wave Natural

Home perms and body waves aren't what they used to be. In prior years the only way to get a soft, healthier, more natural looking perm was to schedule an appointment with a stylist and spend a lot of money. Nowadays, however, at home perms and body waves have come a long way and with the proper selection and technique you can get salon gorgeous curls in the privacy of your own bathroom.

Preparing for Your At Home Perm or Body Wave

If you are going to skip the salon treatment and give yourself a perm you definitely need to take the time to prepare your hair for the process. Since salon perm and wave products are available in a wider variety and strengths, hair usually doesn't need as much prep as when undertaking a home perms. For the best results with home perms follow these simple suggestions.
  • Never attempt to perm your own hair if it has recently been coloured. After any other chemical processing wait at least two weeks before getting a perm.
  • Visit a salon and get a good haircut prior to giving yourself a perm. The cut will remove any dead ends, split ends, and unhealthy hair strands so that the perm will take better to your hair. And a good cut will allow the perm to lie naturally and look smoother once it is complete.
  • One week prior to giving your hair a perm wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo. This will remove build-up and allow your hair strands to absorb more of the perm solution. The day before perming wash your hair with a very mild shampoo, such as a shampoo formulated for children.
  • Practice rolling your hair a day or two before applying the perm solution. Once the perm rods are in allow your hair to dry. When the rods are removed you will get a general idea of the potential curl pattern and allow yourself time to make any adjustments before setting in the real curl.

Selecting the Right Permanent Curl Product

In order to get the look you want and avoid damaging your hair you need to select the proper perm solution and perm rods. Most perm solutions are available in one of two types. Normal or alkaline perm solutions are formulated for healthy hair that has not been previously chemically treated. Colour-treated or acid perm solutions are formulated for chemically processed or damaged hair. With both of these solutions you should be able to choose the product strength. Fine hair, or hair that already has a bit of wave will do well with a milder strength solution, where as hard to curl hair, coarse hair, and limp hair will probably need a stronger formulation.

Once you have selected the proper perm solution you will need to select the right perm rod size. Perm rods come in three main sizes- small, medium, and large. The small rods, which are usually yellow, blue, pink, or grey in colour, will provide a very tight curl pattern. Medium rods, which are usually white or beige, will provide a slightly looser curl. These rods are usually used at the crown of the scalp to ensure proper curling of the longest, and heaviest hair. Finally, large perm rods, available in purple, green, orange, and black, give a good curl pattern to medium length hair and provide a soft wave, or body perm, to longer hairstyles.

The How To for Perfect Curls

Once you have your supplies in place and you have properly prepped your hair, it is time to begin the perming process. Starting with damp hair separate your hair into three sections- left side, right side, and back. Clip back the left and right sections so that the back hangs down. Begin rolling by choosing a small section of hair, usually about an inch to two inches in diameter, at the crown of the head. Place a perm paper over the section of hair and slide the paper almost to the very end. Wrap the ends of your hair and the paper around your perm rod. Gently begin rolling the rod downward until you reach the crown of your scalp. Secure the rod and continue the process on the section of hair directly beneath the first roller.

Once you have rolled all of the hair from the back section you will need to tackle the left or right side. When rolling the side sections, roll the hair from the middle of your crown in a backwards direction towards the base of your skull. Roll the front section of the crown towards your forehead. Finally, roll the remaining side sections downward towards your neck.

Once your hair is completely rolled it is time to apply the perming solution. To prevent drips place pieces of cotton or a rolled up old towel under the perm rods around your hairline. Start applying the waving lotion in the same sequence that you originally rolled your hair. Make sure that you coat the entire rod, top, bottom and both sides. Once the solution is applied leave it on the hair for the time period indicated by your home perming instructions.

Once the time period is up choose one rod to test for curl. When testing curl unfasten the rod and only unroll the curl for about two turns. Do not totally unroll the perm rod. Once unrolled push the loose hair up towards your scalp to see how much wave or curl is present. If the amount seems just right roll the loosened perm rod back up and secure. Now it is time to rinse. Run hair under warm water for at least five minutes making sure that the water reaches all areas of the perm rod.

Once the hair is completely rinsed blot each individual perm rod dry with a towel or extra absorbent paper towel. When most of the excess moisture is removed it is time to apply the neutraliser. Apply the neutraliser in the same pattern that you applied the perm solution, making sure that you thoroughly cover each perm rod. After the last rod, repeat the process to ensure good distribution of the neutraliser. After application allow the neutralizing solution to sit on the hair for at least five minutes. Then, gently remove all of the perm rods from your hair. Once hair is loose gently massage the neutralizer into the hair strands being careful not to pull or tug on the newly formed curls. Finally, rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water.

To get the best results from your perm or body wave do not blow dry your hair and do not wash your hair for at least three days.

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