How Long Does a Perm Last? (+ Tips To Make It Last Longer)

Published on: Sep 13, 2022 • 6 min read


A perm is a great way to change your hair texture. If you’re considering getting a perm, you will likely wonder how long they last.

After all, perm appointments are cheap or short.

The good news is that perms last a relatively long time - as long as they are done by a professional and experienced hairstylist, rather than trying to DIY at home.

how long does perm last

This article shares all the essential information you need to know about how long permed hair lasts.

You will also learn some must-know tips and tricks to make your perm last longer.

How Long Does a Perm Last?

Most perm chemical treatments last three to six months.

However, the actual length of time your hair perm lasts depends on many factors, including:

  • The type of perm. We will dive more into this later, but typically, looser perms like beach waves and loose waves tend to last shorter than other strong perm solutions like straight and spiral.
  • Perm maintenance, especially directly following the treatment. Proper treatment is key to success when it comes to a perm.
  • Your natural hair type: texture, length, and thickness. Does hair length matter? Yup. Longer hair may not hold onto the perm as well as shorter. Thicker locks may also be more challenging to maintain. Hair growth also plays a role. If your hair grows fast, you will need to perm the “new hair” growth.

What Perm Lasts The Longest?

The three types of perms that last the longest include: straight perm, spiral, and digital perm.

Let’s take a closer look at these perm solution styles and how long they last.

Straight Perm

A straight perm is hair perming that subdues natural curls and waves, creating a slick, super straight appearance.

While hair thickness will play the most significant role in how long this straight hair hot perm lasts, this perm typically lasts up to six months of wear.

Spiral Perm

Are you dreaming of wavy hair? How about ultra curly locks? Then you want to use the spiral.

The spiral perm is a perming process that creates luscious spirals of desired sizes and requires a length of at least eight inches.

Although proper aftercare plays a role, these cold perms can last up to six months.

Digital Perm

A digital perm is the most long-lasting perm style available. It involves heat and chemicals to restructure the hair molecules.

The perm rods are entirely digitally-controlled for ease of control.

With proper aftercare, digital perming can last up to a year.

How to Make Your Perm Last Longer

Whether you opt for modern hair perms like digital perms or opt for something looser and wavier like a beach wave perm, it’s essential to know how to make it last longer.

Here are a few tips to get the most prolonged wear from your beautiful modern-day perms.

Resist Over-Washing

Your perm requires oils in order to “hold onto” the new texture.

If you wash your hair too often, you will strip the natural oils and cause the perm to fade prematurely.

When you wash your locks, consider drying with a hair-friendly microfiber towel.

Consider a Deep Conditioner Mask

Using a deep conditioning hair mask regularly (once or twice a week) will help extend your perm’s longevity with proper nourishment.

Your usual conditioner simply won’t do the trick.

Reduce Frizz at Bedtime

Even though you’re sleeping, your perm can still get ruined.

It’s best to wrap your perm with a silk scarf or switch to silk pillowcases.

These will keep your curls or new straight locks safe from frizz, which can be detrimental to the look and feel of your perm.

Use Protein Treatments

Unfortunately, perms reduce the amount of protein in your natural locks - whether you go for hot perms or a cold perm.

You can replenish these proteins by choosing protein-rich treatments or make your own by combining egg, banana, and yogurt.

Avoid Other Hair Treatments

Sure, you might want to change your hair color soon after getting your perm.

But you should avoid this at all costs - unless you want to ruin your hair structure completely.

Needless to say, hair perming uses many chemicals, and some include high heat.

These are both damaging to your strands.

If you go and do another treatment with harsh chemicals or heat, such as dying or bleaching, you will ruin your perm - and your natural hair.

That said, you should avoid heat styling too regularly, too. This includes items like a curling wand, straightener, and hair dryer.

Choose the Right Hairbrush

You don’t want to use just any old brush. Switch to a wide-toothed comb when your hair is still wet, and switch to a paddle brush when it’s dry.

Oh, and while we’re at it - please don’t be rough on your hair. How long perms last depends on how gentle you are with them.

Choose the Right Products, Too

If you opted for a straight perm, you want to get a shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for this traditional perming method.

On the other hand, if you go the wavy or curly route, you will 100% want to buy curly-friendly products.

How Often Should You Get a Perm Touch Up?

Hair perms need touch-ups, just like bleached and dyed hair.

Touch-ups will typically take place every three or four months. This gives the hairstylist plenty of outgrowths to work with.

At this point, they will also trim the ends to keep your hair healthy.


Can I Use Hairspray On a Perm?

Although it may seem counterintuitive, you can 100% use hairspray on a perm!

In fact, you may find that you need hairspray, especially a few months after you get the original hair perming done.

Hairspray will ensure that your curls look “on point,” which may be extra crucial before a special event.

So, go ahead and let the hairspray loose - your final look will thank you.

What Happens If I Perm My Hair Twice?

A perm isn’t precisely the best thing for your hair. Chemicals (and sometimes heat) break down the natural texture, allowing the new consistency to integrate.

That said, doing two perms is not ideal and should be avoided - especially if you struggle with hair thinning or hair loss.

If you’re struggling with a bad perm and want it redone, you should wait at least eight weeks before trying again.

The longer you wait, the better your hair will hold up to the additional treatment.

Of course, this all depends on the level of hair damage the hairstylist is working with.

They may require additional time or have you undergo some treatments to restore hair health.

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