25 Modern Perm Hair Ideas That Are Starting to Trend Right Now

Cindy Marcus
Cindy Marcus Hairstylist, Editor-in-Chief

Are you sick of your straight, boring hair? If so, get ready to channel your inner Mariah Carey and Blake Lively by copying their curls and waves with a perm. Perm hair is a wavy and more defined hairstyle that lasts for months. It works using chemical solutions to change the mane’s texture to wavy or curly. With the perming process, you won’t need to expose your locks with heat-styling tools every day.

A blonde and curl expert, Pauline Messina of Texas, shares a few tips about this hair trend. Her golden rule is to know how long you want to keep your permed hair.

“If you only want a 3 to 4-month new look, ask for a very soft body wave. If you want it to last 5 to 7 months, choose a tighter wave,” says Messina.

Ladies must understand that all types of perms are a commitment and its maintenance takes some work. “It’s not a wash-and-go kinda style,” Messina warns.

The essential products for permed hair are shampoo and conditioner. Messina’s faves are by Amika.

After the perm, she advises you not to use shampoo during the first 48 hours, and then no conditioner for one week. She notes, “These are the most important rules. These will make or break your perm.”

Messina would also like to emphasize how important it is to go to the right perming stylist. “Take your time and pick the perfect stylist,” she adds. “Otherwise, you may choose the wrong stylist who’s unable to explain how to style and take care of your perm.”

Before your next hair appointment, check out these photos of inspirational perm hair ideas:


#1: Dark Short Body Wave Perm

For an effortless and everyday glam, nail a short body wave perm to spruce up your neck-length hair. The touch of a brown shade added to your dark tresses will bring a natural glow to your perm haircut.

Short tousled permed bob with natural voluminous curls

#2 Short Messy Permed Bob

This short messy permed bob is perfect for adding volume and texture to your hair. The tousled curls create a carefree, natural look that works well with medium hair density. Ideal for those seeking a low-maintenance style, this curly bob enhances your hair’s natural waves, giving it a lively, voluminous finish. It’s a great choice for anyone looking to embrace a chic, effortless aesthetic.

#3: Short Mullet with Voluminous Perm

Ask for a short mullet styled with a voluminous perm. A short body wave hairstyle can create the soft beach waves you desire. This is a great option for medium to fine hair textures to get effortless body. Your stylist may use rods or pin curls with a cold permanent solution to create this style. This look can last for months until the roots need a touch-up.

#4: Curly Permed Hair with See-Through Bangs

Consider a curly permed hairstyle with see-through bangs. Try a soft digital perm with the right rods instead of considering the traditional cold wave perm. The soft digital perm technique gives your hair a similar appearance to using a curling iron. For a change, consider adding thin, curly, see-through bangs that can change the style and wonderfully frame your face without making the hairstyle overwhelming.

Permed Curls for Pixie Bob for Older Women
Instagram @kompaniettowe

#5: Permed Curls for Pixie Bob

A pixie bob hairstyle can use a permed curl. If you’re looking to add more body to your hair and texture, a perm can be your best friend, as long as your hair is not processed with many chemicals and is in a healthy state. You can do a perm with no issues. The smaller the rods, the tighter the curl, while the larger the rod, the wavier the curl. Your stylist will help you choose, depending on your end goal. The perm needs to be redone as your hair grows out, roughly every 12 weeks.

Jaw-Length Permanent Curled Bob and Bangs
Instagram @hoshiyuta

#6: Permanent Curled Bob and Bangs

A curled bob with bangs is a good permanent style. It’s perfect for a quick wash-and-go routine. A perm is great because it adds volume and texture. You won’t need any hot tools for it. To style this look, your best options would be a high-shine curl gel and a diffuser.

Mid-Long Shaggy Wolf Cut with Perm
Instagram @hoshiyuta

#7: Shaggy Wolf Cut with Perm

One can easily upgrade a shaggy wolf cut by adding a wavy perm. The curly texture of the perm adds volume, highlighting the fun, choppy layers of the shaggy wolf cut. I recommend using a good curl gel to style this look.

#8: Mid-Length Permanent Soft Curls

If you desire soft curls and your hair is smooth and straight, then a perm could be the right solution for you. Discuss with your stylist about the type of curl you aim to achieve. Remember, consultation is indispensable. Perms work best on hair that isn’t too long, as long hair can become heavy and straighten the curls. I recommend using professional home care products to ensure that your perm lasts longer.

#9: Japenese Digital Perm

A Japanese digital perm is a hair treatment. This treatment involves using hot rods and a chemical solution to create curls in the hair. This perm simulates the effect of a hot curling iron but lasts longer. Though originally invented in Korea, this process is trending among cultures with straight hair.

African American afro perm
Instagram @inesbenyoussef

#10: African American Afro Perm

An African-American afro perm could be your solution if you want to avoid heat styling and have curls every day. Your hair can most likely handle a perm as long as it is not overly processed with chemicals. Consultation is key. If you want smaller curls, ask for a coily perm.

Spiral Perm for Long Fine Hair
Instagram @dogancammm

#11: Spiral Perm for Long Fine Hair

A spiral perm for long fine hair can turn you into curl envy. The tighter uniform curls are almost angelic, creating a voluminous movement. Keep in mind that hair will spring up quite a few inches when permed, so you will naturally lose some length. Nevertheless, the stunning coily hair is worth it!

#12: Classic Perm for Thick Hair

Having a long and dense mane doesn’t imply that you can’t dream of getting some voluminous waves, too. Take it from the classic perm for thick hair. The movement enhances the already charming brown perm hairstyle with bangs.

#13: Loose Wave Perm for Thin Hair

What an exciting way to bring life to your fine locks! A loose wave perm for thin hair is to volumize and texturize your hairstyle. Your noticeable blonde color will intensify the movement on your neck-length cut.

#14: Cute Curly Perm for Black Hair

Without a doubt, you’ll start loving the depth of your mid-length dark tresses. Cheers to the fullness and volume brought by a lovely curly perm for black hair like yours.

Permed Natural Hair with Bangs
Instagram @rebeccaforsyth

#15: Permed Natural Hair with Bangs

A gorgeous permed natural hairstyle with bangs goes well with your square face. Recreate it on long, ginger tresses to flatter a fair skin tone.

#16: Flattering Spiral Perm for Short Brown Hair

Chopping your locks into a long bob is the easiest way to go for an aesthetic vibe. Take it from this stunning hairstyle, giving you that permanent hair texture and movement. The brown hue in a spiral perm for your short hair is truly inspiring.

Bouncy Medium-Length Perm with Highlights
Instagram @ohairaustralia

#17: Bouncy Medium-Length Perm with Highlights

Try a medium-length perm with highlights if you’re into bouncy hair that’s full of life. Give your locks bits of blonde for dimension and a layered cut for lots of volume and texture.

Brown Short Perm for an Oval Face
Instagram @ugljessa

#18: Brown Short Perm for an Oval Face

A short perm hairstyle solves your hair woes if you have an oval face. Opt for thin permanent hair curls to give your chin-length tresses movement, and make your light brown color pop out.

#19: Perm for Long Hair

Add some beach waves to your hair to pump up your lengthy tresses! This is the curly perm for long hair, and it looks shiny and fuller due to its brown shade.

#20: Sensational Short Beach Wave Perm

A short beach wave perm work wonders on black tresses! It’ll bring out movement and texture, making your shoulder-length bob look sensational.

Modern Wavy Perm Hair
Instagram @hairbymelc

#21: Boho Style Perm Hair

Perm hair can jazz things up on your long, dark tresses. It’s a modern way to treat your locks with permanent volume.

Flawless Perm for Straight Hair
Instagram @tabbygail16

#22: Flawless Perm for Straight Hair

Go for the flawless perm for straight hair! The look is more of a loose lived-in curl. I love that it’s low-maintenance! For women considering a perm, do your research! When looking up inspirational photos with your stylist, you need to think realistically about what can be attained with your hair/texture. Not all perms are the same. Perms are typically easy to style, and there are many great product lines out there for curly hair!

#23: Big Short Loose Curl Perm

Look how this short loose curl perm brings out movement and shape to a neck-length bob. Even without the layers and colors, your natural black tresses will be so full of life. Don’t go cheap on chemical services. There are variables that only a seasoned stylist will understand so that you will get the best kind of wave or curl. You don’t want it to be overprocessed or turn your hair into a kinked-hair nightmare. Go to a stylist who does very modern, soft, and natural-looking current work.

The rule of thumb is to use a product with a hold in it, but only a low hold. Allow your permed hair to dry into the ’80s-looking, slightly crispy curl, ringlets first. Let them dry firm and completely, then take a very thin layer of soft, shiny product such as a serum or cream on the hands and de-crunch the crispy curls. They will be soft but well-formed and springy from being allowed to set firmly first.

Some don’ts for both permed and naturally curly hair:  “scrunching” is a valuable tool, but “scrunch drying” is a mistake. Scrunching is done on completely wet or completely dry hair. While your hair is either air drying or you are diffuser drying it, do not touch it or “scrunch” it, you’ll just make a frizzy fuzzy mess of it and pull out the curl. By all means, if you’re diffusing, feel free to go upside down and lean your head side to side to get the heat into the roots for added volume.

#24: Beautiful Shoulder-Length Ash Blonde Perm

This perm technique gives great body and beautiful waves.  I recommend this perm for salon guests looking for a wave rather than a curl. It works best on medium to fine hair types in good condition.

Maintenance seems to be in line with a traditional perm which can vary from woman to woman. To style this, I recommend a moisturizing mousse or a cream gel. Keeping curly hair, natural or not, frizz-free is all about moisture. Be sure to apply the product to your hair while it’s wet and frizz-free, and don’t touch it until it’s dry.

Soft Asian Perm Hair
Instagram @justin_9406

#25: Soft Asian Perm Hair

Wear this soft Asian perm hair for effortless beauty that offers you volume and texture. If you have thin and straight locks, a digital perm works best.

This Asian hair was permed and many ladies like using an iron curler to create beautiful curls, so I decided to create this hair perm that results similar to iron-curled hair. The most important thing is that the hair texture remains smooth and has a lot of airy and light feel for the final outcome. With different styling products, the results also vary. For this look, just apply a moisturizing cream to achieve a smooth and airy feel. Apply a volumizing mousse for a hot and gorgeous hairstyle.