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   everything about perming - waving your hair

Information, methods, tips & tricks.

The inventor of the permanent wave - perm
Karl-Ludwig Nessler.Anniversary of the perm

In 1906 the first chemical treatment for curling hair was invented by the German hairdresser Karl-Ludwig Nessler. After 100 years people are still perming their hair. In 1909 Nessler finally received the patent - a process by which hair was wrapped tightly around a metal rod, treated with sodim hydroxide and then heated for ten minutes with specially machined cylindrical... more

Other related links:
HairWeb.de - Gallery - 100 years Perming
HairWeb.de - Karl-ludwig Nessler
Germany Embassy Washington D.C. - A German invention turns 100


What exactly is perming?

A perm or a wave is, chemically speaking, one of the most intensive procedures reshaping the hair's structure into curling hair.

Two chemical processes take place through reducing agents (ammonium thioglycollate) and oxidizing agents (hydrogen peroxide). The reducing agents break the disulfide bonds. The curlers shape the hair in the desired curls and the oxidizing agent reform the disulfide bonds in new positions.

If your hair is longer than 30cm it is difficult to perm. Due to the weight your curls open up. Short hair tends to curl faster.

Before perming/ waving hair it is important to know if your hair has been chemically treated before (like colouring or bleaching) and what your natural hair is normally like. It is also important to tell your stylist if you take medication or if you are pregnant.

If your pregnant health care providers prefer that you do not perm or colour your hair during the first trimester.

By the way... did you know that the reverse process of perming is used to straighten the hair. <<< Read more about gleamy - straight hair >>>

Editorial department: Please leave perming/ waving to professional hair stylists. Professionals have their experiences with working with chemical products which can cause severe irritation and inflammation of the scalp. The hair stylist isable to judge wether your hair is (un)suitable for a perm.

If not, there is no turning back - once your hair has been permed/ waved your hair is PERManently damaged and cannot be repaired.

Related link: Hair facts |


Perming and colouring hair

Sex  and the city: Season 5Hair CANNOT be double-processed without causing damage and hair cannot be double processed if you wait a few weeks between treatment. Hair colouring and perms are treatments to make a permanent change in the colour or shape of the hair. Those processes make the hair shaft porous and damage the cuticle. Doing both is doubly damaging and damaged hair cannot be repaired.

We advice to use a temporary hair colour (are available in shampoos, conditioners and mousses). They only coat the outside of the hairshaft. No physical change of any kind takes place within the hair. The products wash out after one or two shampoos.

Some people think that you can protect your hair from chemical damage by using a good conditioner or conditioning treatment before you colour or perm your hair. The ingredientss in as well dyes and perms easily penetrate past conditioning ingredients (otherwise they would not be able to change your hair colour or shape) inside the hair shaft.


Hair care for permed/ waved hair

Besides leaving perming to a professional it is also very important to take good care of your permed and therefore damaged hair. It is important to use products (shampoo and conditioner) especially for permed hair. Buy a separate conditioner for your hair and feel free to overuse conditioner and keep it on the hair ends (but away from the scalp) for as long as possible. Do not overwash or manipulate your hair.

In Summer you need to take care more of your hair. The sun and swimming in lakes, sees and pools can be extremely harmful to your hair. For more hot summertips for your hair... click here

After-care tips for permed hair


  •  After washing your hair use a conditioner that's especially formulated for permed hair.
  • Also your shampoo will guarantee to maintain your perm. At the moment there are lots of special "permed" hair products available.
  • To comb your hair use a wide-thooted brush working form the ends up to keep your curls in good shape.
  •  Do not blow-dry your hair with too hot a setting. Use an appropriate styling product (e.g. foam or lotion) that will protect your hair from the heat of your blow-dryer.
  • Do not wash your hair too often! After having a perm you should at least wait two or three days to wash your hair. Every perm damages your hair extremely and leaves your hair dry as the perm's chemicals strips away your hair's natural essential fatty acids. You will notice that you don't have too wash your hair that often after having your perm!
  • Avoid everything that can damage your hair: too much combing, too much shampooing and blow-drying.

Related link: Tips for curly & frizzy hair