23 Wavy Perm Hairstyle Ideas for a Stylish, Beachy Look

Cindy Marcus
Cindy Marcus Hairstylist, Editor-in-Chief

A wavy perm adds a permanent wavy and loose curl pattern to otherwise straight tresses. Done with hair chemicals, wavy perms last a few months to save you time from heat-styling. It’s so stylish that even icons Olivia Munn and Emma Stone have tried and tested it out!

“Curl patterns vary in size,” says Cassidy P, a stylist from Winnipeg, MB. “It’s best to get smaller curls when starting out because they’ll have more longevity. These curls will eventually fall into waves after the perming process.”

Though it saves time from styling, Cassidy reminds us that a perm still requires effort. “Dedicate 10-20mins to styling your hair, and learn what works for you and what doesn’t,” she explains.

Cassidy points out how important it is to find the right products to use for your permed hair. “Use one that reduces frizz and holds the waves without weighing them down to keep your mane healthy,” she explains. Her go-to hair product is Kevin Murphy Killer Waves cream, mixed with Young Again oil.

Waves look stunning and modish, for sure, but perms aren’t for every lady. “Ask your stylist if perming is healthy for your hair type and if it fits your lifestyle,” suggests Cassidy. “If you like to change your hair color often, perms of any kind may not be for you. Perming can be damaging to the hair, so avoiding bleach or color after is vital.”

Before your next hair appointment, check out these inspirational photos of wavy perm hairstyles.


#1: Beach Wave Perm

Getting a beach wave perm will bring out the texture and volume of your thick locks. It’ll always turn out great on a neck-length bob cut.

Grey Blended Wavy Perm for older women
Instagram @david.oshell

#2: Grey Blended Wavy Perm

A wavy grey perm is a powerful yet simple method to blend your newly grown or growing hair. This hairstyle is perfect for blending grey hair that’s growing in. The texture created by the perm hides the distinction between old and new hair, making it an ideal method for smooth hair growth.

Amazing Loose Wavy Perm Style for mid-length hair and bangs
Instagram @studio_mostton

#3: Amazing Loose Wavy Perm Style

Get a loose wavy perm for a hairstyle that will give you natural-looking volume and movement. Ask for this perm style to add body to your hair without sacrificing length. The loose waves in this style help accentuate your hair’s natural movement. While the bangs frame your face and draw attention to your eyes. To create this style, start by volumizing products into damp hair, then diffuse it dry. Finish using a diffuser to create waves and curls, then let your hair air dry. This style works well for women with straight or slightly wavy hair.

Shoulder-Length Wavy Perm for Thick Hair
Instagram @stebunovhair

#4: Shoulder-Length Wavy Perm for Thick Hair

If you’re looking for an effortless beachy look, try a shoulder-length wavy perm. Ask your stylist to use a waving lotion on thicker hair types. It helps to create texture and movement that won’t droop or become limp. The subtle waves will frame your face in all the right places as well. For extra shine, add a light gloss treatment after styling. Your strands will have more definition. Make sure to mention this to your stylist, that way you can have a clear vision of your perm.

#5: Spiral Perm

Since the perm is making a comeback, take advantage and transform your hair into a permed hairstyle. Try this spiral perm to add beach waves to your bronde, shoulder-grazing mane. Fix your spiral curls with a bit of texture, and you’re ready to stand out!

80s-Inspired Medium Beach Perms with Light Bangs
Instagram @sylvialeighc

#6: Medium Beach Perms with Light Bangs

Try an 80s-inspired medium beach perm with light bangs for a trendy curly look. Consider getting a perm if you have straight hair because curly hair is the current trend. You’ll want medium curls with layering in the crown to create a shaggy shape. If you have colored hair, having a gentle perm is crucial to maintain your hair’s health. Diffuse your hair or let it dry naturally with some curl amplifier, and you’ll have a super easy finish.

#7: Wavy Perm for Thick Hair

An alternative to keeping your straight hair natural is to try a wavy perm hairstyle, especially if you have thick hair. This will provide movement and bounce to your current look.

Permanent wavy pixie cut
Instagram @marlena._k_

#8: Permanent Wavy Pixie Cut

The permanent wavy pixie cut is the way to go if you’re seeking a hairstyle that’s long-lasting and always on-trend. We’re not all blessed with wavy hair but perming the hair is perfect on a pixie cut. The extra movement and texture give long-lasting fullness, paired with a length that’s easy to style.

#9: Wavy Perm with Balayage

Wavy perm with balayage is perfect for women who have straight hair and want to add texture to their current hair color. To get this look, ask your colorist for a balayage with solid ends and to create some soft waves.

#10: Before and After Permed Hair

Do you need a break from having straight, fine hair? No worries, this technique will give you a new fun and lively look. This “before and after” transformation is sure to make you want a wavy perm hairstyle for added texture and movement. What makes it exciting and trendy is how it can boost the fullness of your shoulder-length hair.

Tousled Waves
Instagram @aerysalon_jane

#11: Tousled Waves

Opt for a perm that offers your black hair tousled waves for added texture. You’ll adore your shoulder-grazing cut with this trend, no doubt!

Wet and Wavy Perm
Instagram @asako.nanuk

#12: Wet and Wavy Perm

Here’s a sexier perm haircut for you to wear! Forget dry hair, and rock a wet and wavy perm hairstyle that will give you a flirty and glamorous glow. It secures texture, making your dark, medium hair full of life.

wavy perm for long hair for girls
Instagram @vaneelghair

#13: Long Wave for a Curly Girl

If you opt for more texture and volume, long waves will not let you down. Daily styling will no longer be a problem as this trend will give your dark tresses a glam of its own.

#14: Wavy Bob Perm

Though your thin, chocolate hair may look flawless, you can still boost its glamour! Get ready to have some fun with a wavy bob perm to revamp your style. Adding a little bit of texture in the morning will freshen the good vibes in this neck-length, thin hair.

natural blonde wavy hair perm
Instagram @rheawhitehair

#15: Perfect on Natural Blonde Wavy Hair

Get that ultimate beachy vibe you’ve always wanted! This proves that there’s always a perm perfect on natural wavy hair to carry out more definition. Complete the look with a blonde hue.

medium length hair wavy perm
Instagram @cloudlee93

#16: Medium Waves

A layered haircut plus soft curls? You bet! Pay attention to how suave these medium waves turn out. You can’t ignore how shoulder-length, dark hair found its perfect match with a wavy perm style.

#17: Big Wave Perm

When you have such a wholesome beauty, all you need is big wavy hair that frames it. Let your black tresses grow until it extends between your shoulders and chest. Opt for the big wave perm to bring out movement and flow, making it look fuller.

soft wavy perm
Instagram @yohjitan86

#18: Soft Perm

Your long, dark tresses don’t need to turn out so conventional. Enjoy a soft perm for long-length hair to add a voluminous effect to your hair ends. It’s very necessary so that the movement will look subtle, and not overly done.

digital perm for wavy hair
Instagram @minjoohair

#19: Digital Wavy Perm

A digital wavy perm will definitely do something great for your lengthy locks. Opt for a cinnamon brown hair color that matches some natural-looking loose curls.

#20: Shoulder-Length Perm

This shoulder-length perm with soft bangs is a style you can always rely on when you have a surprise night out. It’s so stylish and the movement creates emphasis that complements your dark brown shade.

body wave perm for curly hair
Instagram @elise_cosmo

#21: Body Wave for Curly Hair

This body wave perm style has movement, giving your tresses a soft finish. If you’re looking for a new way to style your mid-length blonde hair, this is the one.

“This look is a natural wavy perm,” says stylist Elise Pastien of Minneapolis, MN. “I love perms like these because they break the mold of stereotypical ’80s spiral perms. This look is great for women who want some texture in their hair that is easy to style.”

“Moisture!” Pastien exclaims. “Hair oils such as the dry remedy oil by Aveda are wonderful for curly-haired gals. I also really enjoy the Be Curly Curl Enhancer by Aveda. Also, invest in a diffuser!”

loose wavy perm on short hair
Instagram @lily.colour

#22: Short Loose Curly Perm

The shorter your chop is, the voluminous your wavy perm hairstyle may get! This wavy hairstyle was created by perm specialist Lily B of London, UK.

Lily explains, “this look is an ultra-bouncy perm using the latest in ammonia-free perming products to create believable curls and waves. It was the perfect style for this client who already had a very loose soft wave in her natural hair but felt it was a bit flat, became greasy very easily, and the texture lacked volume.”

She continues, “the perm has reversed this, and the short hair is now full and textured while still feeling soft. I have created more curls that add height and volume, and I love how the curly fringe frames the face and totally changes the style.”

Lily also advises that if your hair is wavy but over time these waves have dropped, then a perm will help bring them back.

“I would recommend having a haircut before getting the modern perm to freshen up the ends and to add some long layers into the hair,” she adds. “This will allow the curls and waves to jump up and be able to move around. It will also make the perm last longer as the weight of the hair won’t pull the perm down.”

The best aftercare for a modern perm is to always use a sulfate-free shampoo that won’t strip the perming products out of the hair. Then, apply a curl creme or mousse into quite wet hair, and either leave to air dry or cup the hair into a diffuser.

wavy perm for black hair
Instagram @toya_lyn

#23: Best for Black Hair

Here’s a wavy perm to enhance the appearance of your mid-length curls! Its more defined finish makes it best for black hair. With this look, you can flaunt a frizz-free perm hairstyle with no effort.