Styling your natural hair can be an extremely tasking venture, especially when gunning for different curly looks. You likely have to spend hours every day trying to coarse a new style out of your typical hairdo. If this is what you want, why not consider a perm?

A perm chemically alters the natural texture of your hair. Its objective is to give you permanently curly hair. This way, you don’t have to grapple with complicated knots or labor over extensive hair straightening.

Because it’s a chemical alteration, it’s best to let a professional handle the task for you, else you risk causing damage to your hair shafts and scalp. 

Unlike the temporary styling measures you use that may last anything from a few hours to a few days, a perm may last for several months after an application, and this depends on your natural hair texture.

How Does A Perm Work?

Perms were an 80’s rave, but they are trending in this decade as more modern techniques create several gorgeous styles. You can manipulate your hair into a naturally blown-out look or an effortless beach wavy look like Blake Lively’s.

Some chemicals are applied to change the texture of your hair, which can create waves, spirals, or curls on your hair. Formerly, perm rods wrap around the hair, then a perm solution or lotion is applied to set the rings. After a while, the stylist rinses out the lotion and lets the hair dry before applying a neutralizer to stop the perming process. But in modern times, several methods are used in creating these looks; popular among them is the digital perm.

The perming process may take up to 3 hours before it is done, depending on the style you want. So be prepared to spend a lot of time at the salon when going in for a perm. Once the process is finished, the perm can last anything from 3-8 months, depending on your hair’s length.

Factors that Affect the Price of A Perm

Now that you understand what a perm is, you may be wondering how much it would cost to get one, particularly from a professional. 

Perms can cost anything from $30- $200, depending on these factors:

  •  Location
  • Hair length and texture
  • Perm Type
  • Stylist’s expertise 
  • Perm Styles


Some locales charge more for basic hair styling techniques than other areas. In such cases, you might spend more than the average price when getting a perm. 

In Los Angeles, for instance, a perm can cost anything from $150 – $250, while in Melbourne, a perm can go as high as $180-$400. However, it is essential to note that the price may be due to other hair services attached to the perm. The price is also affected by the style and type of perm you want.

Researching and comparing prices of different salons in your area would give you an idea of the average cost of a perm in your location.

Hair Length and Texture

Another determining factor that affects the price of a perm is the length of your hair.

Generally, short hair is easier to handle and therefore much cheaper than long hair perm. 

Short Hair Perm — $30-$80

Medium Hair Perm—$50- $150

Long Hair Perm— $80-$250

In some salons, your hair texture may also affect the price of the perm. For instance, extremely thick or unruly hair that may require other hair services like a blowout may increase the service charge.

Perm Type

Generally, perms are divided into two categories; chemical method and heat method.

The former uses chemical mixtures to alter the natural texture of the hair structure. While the latter depends on intense heat to wave or curl the hair permanently.

Digital Perm

This new perm trend is a type of hot perm that is digitally controlled. First, an acidic perm solution is applied to the hair. Next, some digitally controlled perm rods wrap each cut-out section of the hair, and the temperature is manipulated through the digital box. This type of perm is quite expensive but effective. 

Acidic Perm

An acid called glyceryl monothioglycolate is applied to the hair, after which heat is used to set the hair for a more permanent effect (which is why this method is also called hot perms)

It is more suitable for weak or damaged hair as it is gentle than a cold perm. Its pH is between 4.5 to 7.

Alkaline Perm

Also known as a cold perm, the alkaline perm is the chemical ammonium thioglycolate. This solution is so powerful that it does not need the assistance of heat to create curls. Its pH level ranges from 8.2 – 9.6. This perm method allows the coils to last longer and gives the hair more volume than heat perm.

Exothermic Perm

This method can either be alkaline or acidic because the perm creates chemical heat when mixed. Once the solution is applied to the hair, it opens up the hair shaft, which allows curls to form when perm rods are used to wrap around the hair.

Stylist’s Expertise

Your stylist’s mastery could also affect the price of a perm because a trained and certified specialist would charge more for their services than a novice. Some salons employ certified, and highly skilled hairstylists and these specialists don’t come cheap.

Perm Styles

Lastly, the type of perm styles you require may affect the price too. What that means is that some perms are more pricey than others. The beach wave, for instance, could go on an average of $60-$250 per application. A typical straight or plain perm costs less than a spiral perm.

Some Perm Styles and their average cost

  • Short hair perm — $35-$100
  • Mid-long hair perm — $45-$200
  • Straight Perm — $45-$150
  • Multi-twist perm —$70-$200
  • Spiral perm — $80-$200
  • Twist Spiral perm — $50-$250
  • Partial root perm —$75-$250
  • Stacked perm — $60- $250
  • Spot perm — $30- $150
  • Body wave —$45-$200

As steep as some of these prices are, it is worth it for the hours you spend daily slaving over your hair just to get the curls of your dreams. 

What’s more, you get to enjoy your new hairdo for longer than a few days. 

However, be sure to consult your professional stylist to know if a perm is best for your hair’s quality to avoid any further damage.

Some people can perm their hair by themselves, but if this isn’t something you have done before, it is better to seek professional help.

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