Spiral Perms: Your Guide to Achieving Perfectly Defined Curls

Spiral perm, also known as a “spiral wrap,” is a chemical process that creates long-lasting curls and waves in hair. It’s a popular hair styling technique that has been around for decades and remains widely used today. A spiral perm can add volume and texture to the hair, making it especially suitable for those with fine or straight hair who want to add some depth to their look.

Definition of Spiral Perm

A spiral perm is a type of permanent wave that creates tight, defined curls from root to tip. The process involves wrapping the hair around specialized rods in a spiral pattern before applying a chemical solution that breaks down the protein bonds in the hair shaft.

Once these bonds are broken, the hair is then rinsed and neutralized to reform new protein bonds which create permanent curls.

Brief History of Spiral Perm

Spiral Perm hair

The first recorded use of permanent wave solutions dates back to 1872 when a Frenchman named Marcel Grateau invented an early version of what we now know as perms using heat-based curling tongs. However, the modern-day spiral perm first gained popularity in the 1980s when big, bouncy curls were all the rage.

During this time, stylists began experimenting with different curling techniques and discovered that wrapping individual sections of hair in tight spirals produced more defined results than traditional perms. Soon after, spiral perms became one of the most sought-after styles within beauty salons across America.

Importance of Spiral Perm in The Beauty Industry

Spiral perms are not only essential for adding texture and volume but also serve as an excellent base for other hairstyles such as up-dos or braids. Additionally, they provide clients with long-lasting results without having to rely on daily heat styling or additional products.

Spiral perms have helped revolutionize the beauty industry by providing a low-maintenance option for those looking to achieve defined curls or waves. This technique has become an essential tool in every stylist’s repertoire and continues to be celebrated by clients worldwide who seek the perfect spiral perm.

How Spiral Perm Works

Spiral perms are a popular hairstyle that many women and men choose to create long-lasting curls in their hair. This trendy hairstyle works by using a chemical process that helps to manipulate the structure of your hair.

It involves wrapping your hair around perm rods that spiral down the length of your hair, creating bouncy and defined curls. The chemical solution that is applied during this process helps to break down the disulfide bond in your hair, allowing it to be reshaped.

Chemical Process Involved in Spiral Perm

The first step towards achieving perfect spiral perm involves applying a waving lotion on the hair which contains ammonium thioglycolate. This chemical compound helps break down the bonds in the hair shaft and enables it to be reshaped.

After that, a neutralizer is used to lock in this new structure into place by oxidizing and hardening these bonds again with hydrogen peroxide.

Equipment Needed for a Successful Spiral Perm

Several pieces of equipment are needed for a successful spiral perm, including perm rods of different sizes (depending on how tight you want your curls), hair clips, gloves, towels or capes for protection against chemicals, combs for detangling and separating curled sections of hair,and plastic bottles or sprayers with applicator tips for even distribution of product.

Step-by-Step Procedure for Achieving A Perfect Spiral Perm

The procedure for achieving perfect spiral perm starts with sectioning off damp or towel-dried clean hair into small pieces neatly separated from each other with cling wrap or end papers before wrapping them carefully onto chosen sized perm rods according to desired curl size.

Once set up on all rods necessary, apply waving lotion evenly avoiding scalp while ensuring every strand is covered adequately before leaving it on for the set time.

After that, rinse off the waving lotion thoroughly with warm water to rinse out any remains before applying neutralizer to fix the curls permanently.

Rinse again after a given period and remove rods gently before blow-drying or air-drying your new curly hair. By following these steps, you can achieve a perfect spiral perm which will give you long-lasting curly hair that is both bouncy and soft to touch.

Types of Spiral Perm

Spiral perms come in a variety of types, each with a unique visual effect. The three most common types are the classic spiral perm, pin curl spiral perm, and multi-textured spiral perm.

1. Classic Spiral Perm

Classic Spiral Perm

The classic spiral perm is the most popular type of spiral perm. This style creates long, bouncy curls that cascade down the hair in an even pattern.

It is perfect for those who want a natural-looking hairstyle with voluminous curls. To achieve this look, hair is wrapped around horizontal rods from the roots to the ends, creating uniform spirals throughout the hair.

The size of the rods used can be tailored to fit your desired look. For tighter and more defined curls, smaller rods can be used.

On the other hand, larger rods can be used for looser and more relaxed waves. While this style works best on longer hair lengths (shoulder-length or longer), it can also be done on short hair for a tighter curl pattern.

2. Pin Curl Spiral Perm

Pin Curl Spiral Perm

The pin curl spiral perm is another popular type of spiral perm. This style creates tight ringlets that start from the root and bounce towards the end of your hair.

It’s great for people who like to have springy curls that last all day long without falling flat. To achieve this look, small sections of hair are rolled up into tiny spirals using bobby pins or clips instead of traditional perming rods.

After applying perming solution to each section and allowing it to set in place, they’re removed one by one until all sections are curled evenly throughout your head.

This method requires close attention to detail as well as patience when removing each pin curl carefully without disturbing its shape or disrupting its position on your scalp.

3. Multi-Textured Spiral Perm

Multi-Textured Spiral Perm

A multi-textured spiral perm is a combination of the classic and pin curl spiral perms. It features two or more different-sized perming rods to create a dynamic, natural-looking effect. This style works best on people with hair that is at least shoulder-length.

The larger rods are used on the top layer of hair to create bigger curls while smaller rods are used underneath for tighter ringlets. The goal is to achieve a natural, cascading look that’s both full and bouncy.

This style takes longer than traditional perms but offers amazing results that require little maintenance. After the initial setting process, simply scrunch your curls with your fingers to create volume and bounce, and use a good quality hairspray or mousse to hold them in place throughout the day.

Factors to Consider Before Getting a Spiral Perm

1. Hair Type and Texture

Before getting a spiral perm, it is important to consider your hair type and texture. Not all hair types are suitable for a spiral perm, especially if the hair is already damaged or weak.

If you have thin or fine hair, a perm may not hold well, whereas thick, coarse hair may require extra processing time to achieve the desired result. It is also important to consider any prior chemical treatments on your hair such as coloring or relaxing as these can weaken the hair and affect its ability to hold a curl.

2. Hair Length and Density

While spiral perms can be done on different lengths of hair, it’s important to consider that shorter hairstyles may not create the same effect as longer ones. Typically, spiral perming works better on long or medium-length hairstyles where the curls have enough room to form.

Additionally, it is important to take into account the density of your hair. Very dense hair may require more product and processing time while thinning out very curly natural locks through layers will make them more manageable.

3. Face Shape and Personal Style

It is also essential that you think about your face shape when considering getting a spiral perming. Some styles complement certain face shapes better than others; for instance, those with round faces might want looser curls while those with angular jawlines might want tighter coils closer together at their necks for balance.

Additionally, it’s essential to consider personal style when getting a spiral perm. If you prefer an edgier look or are into retro styling trends then this could be perfect for you but if you prefer more low-key styles then this look might not be for you.

Overall, there are several factors that should be considered before deciding whether or not to get a spiral perm. By taking into consideration these factors such as hair type and texture, hair length and density, face shape, and personal style, you can ensure that you make an informed decision that will result in beautiful curls that enhance your natural beauty.

Maintenance Tips for a Perfect Spiral Perm

Washing and conditioning techniques for maintaining the curls

One of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining spiral perm curls is washing and conditioning your hair properly. It is recommended that you only wash your hair once or twice a week to avoid drying out the curls, which can lead to frizz and breakage.

When washing your hair, use a sulfate-free shampoo that is specifically designed for curly hair. This will help keep the curls intact while also providing adequate moisture.

After washing your hair, apply a nourishing conditioner that is also designed for curly hair. Be sure to focus on the ends of your hair, as they are more prone to dryness and damage than other parts of your hair.

Leave the conditioner in for at least 5 minutes before rinsing it out with lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water as it can strip away natural oils from your scalp, which can lead to dryness.

Tips on how to avoid frizz and breakage

Frizz and breakage are common problems associated with spiral perms, but they can be avoided with proper care and attention. First of all, try not to touch or brush your curls too much as this can cause them to become frizzy and lose their shape.

Use a wide-tooth comb or just finger comb through your curls instead. When drying your hair after washing it, avoid rubbing it vigorously with a towel as this can lead to breakage.

Instead, gently squeeze out excess water with a microfiber towel or an old t-shirt. Another way to prevent frizz is by applying an anti-frizz serum or cream before styling.

How to maintain the curls over time

Maintaining spiral perm curls over time requires regular trimming of split ends and deep conditioning treatments every few weeks. It is also recommended that you use a diffuser attachment when blow-drying your hair to help keep the curls intact.

When sleeping, try using a silk or satin pillowcase to prevent friction that can cause frizz and tangles. Avoid excessive heat styling as it can cause damage to your hair and lead to breakage.

If you need to use heated tools like flatirons or curling irons, make sure to use a heat protectant spray or serum beforehand. With the right care and attention, your spiral perm curls can last for several months and keep looking great.

The Pros and Cons of Getting a Spiral Perm

Advantages of getting a spiral perm

A spiral perm is an excellent way to add volume, texture, and bounce to your hair, giving it more body and life. It’s a great option for those who have straight or limp hair that struggles to hold a curl or style. The spiral perm process also helps to create defined curls that last longer than traditional curls.

Another advantage of getting a spiral perm is the versatility that comes with the style. You can choose between different types of perms depending on your preferred hairstyle and personality.

For example, if you want to keep it classic and elegant, you can go for the traditional spiral perm. Alternatively, if you want something funky and edgy, you can try the pin curl or multi-textured perm.

Furthermore, spiral perms require minimal daily maintenance once the curls have set in place. You do not need extra styling products or special tools to maintain the look, which makes them ideal for people with busy lifestyles.

Disadvantages of getting a spiral perm

One disadvantage of getting a spiral perm is that it requires harsh chemicals such as ammonia-based solutions to break down the hair’s natural bonds before setting it into its new shape.

This process can cause significant damage to your hair if not done properly by a professional stylist. Another thing to consider before getting a spiral perm is your hair type and texture.

If your hair is already chemically treated or damaged from previous treatments such as coloring or bleaching, it may not be suitable for any additional chemical process like perming.

Additionally, while some people find them low maintenance after they’ve been set into place by an experienced stylist., others find them challenging to maintain over time especially if they don’t use appropriate products like moisturizing shampoos and conditioners formulated specifically for curly locks.

While spiral perms can transform your hair into a beautiful, voluminous, and curly style, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before committing to a treatment. Consult with an experienced stylist to ensure that you have the right hair type for a spiral perm and if it is the right fit for you.

Frequently Asked Questions about Spiral Perms

What is the difference between traditional perms and spiral perms?

Traditional perms and spiral perms are both chemical processes that add curls to straight hair, but the key difference between the two is in the shape of the curls. Traditional perms create curls that are uniform in size and shape, while spiral perms create long, cascading curls that look more natural.

Spiral perm rods are longer and thinner than traditional perm rods, which allows each section of hair to be wrapped around them more times. This creates a tighter, corkscrew-like curl pattern.

Can you color your hair after getting a spiral perm?

While it is possible to color your hair after getting a spiral perm, it’s important to wait at least a week before doing so.

The chemical process involved in coloring your hair can be harsh on already-processed hair, so it’s important to give your hair time to recover from the perm before adding any additional chemicals.

Additionally, if you’re planning on coloring your hair after a spiral perm, it’s best to choose a gentle dye specifically formulated for use on permed or chemically-treated hair.

How long does it take to get a spiral perm?

The length of time it takes to get a spiral perm will vary depending on various factors such as the length and thickness of your hair as well as desired outcome.

Generally speaking, however, you can expect the process to take anywhere from 2-4 hours from start to finish. This includes consultation with an experienced stylist who will determine which type of spiral perm will work best for your specific needs.


Getting a spiral perm can be an excellent way to add some fun and flair to straight or lifeless locks. With proper care and maintenance techniques such as washing and conditioning correctly, avoiding frizz and breakages, and regular trimming, you can enjoy beautiful curls for several months.

It’s important to give your hair a little extra TLC after getting a spiral perm to ensure that it stays healthy and vibrant. With the right knowledge and preparation, you can go through the process of getting a spiral perm with confidence and ease.

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