What is Body Wave Perm?

Last Updated on December 28, 2022 by Gaga

Writen by Anuji Gunasekara, Cosmetic Chemist/Formulation Chemist

When you hear “perm,” it’s anything but difficult to think about the creased, pleated bushy perm of the 80s. Fortunately, innovation has far outperformed that. The perms are making a loosen up- comeback. Today, perms can be adjusted to give you precisely the sort of wave you need, whether you need effortless beach waves, S-pattern curls, or bohemian wave hair.

How does Body Wave Perm Differ from Regular Perm?

It’s all in the technique. A perm is generally known as a process where your hairstylist treats your hair with a chemical to alter the structure and permanently wave or curl your hair. Tiny perm rods are to use for hair with a tighter, more uniform curl in regular perms. However, in body wave perm, small sections of hair are wrapped around larger rollers of different thicknesses that don’t create a consistent wave pattern, as classic perm rods do. Body wave perm not only brings about the lustrous lock but also, it’s about enhancing hair texture and adding volume.

Beautiful brunette girl with body wave perm

Science Behind the Perming Process

On the other hand, the perm is not merely an art. Instead, it depends on the fundamental chemical composition of hair. About 95% of hair contains a single protein, keratin, which has a long, helical shape. Keratin molecules are abundant in the amino acid called cysteine, which contains reactive sulfur atoms. Therefore, two cysteine residues on two units of keratin can create a disulfide bond (S-S bond), which is a strong association that links the keratin molecules, preventing them from splitting. During the perming process, chemicals are used to fracture and re-configure the protein bonds in the strand. The most widely recognized chemicals in perms are ammonium thioglycolate-the perm salt for breaking down the “disulfide” bonds in the hair protein and hydrogen peroxide, which reconstitutes the disulfide bonds in a new curly configuration.

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate for a body wave perm is somebody who has virgin hair, implying that their hair has never been colored or chemically- treated. This shouldn’t suggest that you can’t get a perm on the off chance that you have somewhat wavy, color-treated hair. With advances in the science behind developing the solutions used for perms, there has been a positive evolution in maintaining the integrity of the hair through less damaging and soft curl formulas.

If your hair has already experienced a chemical process, such as bleaching or relaxing, you probably want to avoid a perm because doubling up on the chemicals can lead to dryness and breakage. Similarly, if your hair is currently very dry or brittle due to frequent heat-styling, it may not be the best time for a perm. 

confident young  blonde with body wave perm

Body Wave Perm Procedure

First and foremost, you ought to discuss this with your stylist. The stylist will be able to examine the structure and state of your hair, after having a conversation about your objectives for a body wave perm service.

  1. Hair is washed with clarifying shampoo to remove product build-up. It is recommended not to apply conditioner. Use a towel to remove excess moisture from the hair and section it off.
  2. Each hair section is wrapped around the rollers. For loose curls, use larger rollers. For tight curls, use smaller rollers.
  3. The scalp protection is applied along the hairline, working your way behind each ear and around the nape of the neck.
  4. The perm solution is applied to each curl and allowed the perm solution to remain on the hair for the time specified.
  5. Once the perm lotion is applied, the perm lotion swells the hair cuticle layers and enters the cortex — the perm lotion deposits hydrogen, which attaches itself to the hair structure’s disulfide bonds. The bonds are broken and become sulfide bonds. Once this step is completed, the hair is in a state to alter to the new shape of the perming rollers.
  6. Hair is rinsed using lukewarm water, leaving the curlers in place.
  7. The neutralizing solution is applied and allows the remaining recommended time. During this process. The neutralizer removes the hydrogen created during the softening and molding stage and adds oxygen. The broken disulfide bonds reform and the hair imitate the new shape.
  8. Rollers are removed from hair carefully after washing off neutralizing solution.
  9. Hair is again rinsed off to wash away any chemicals.
  10. Allow it to air dry.

Note: The procedure of perming takes about 2-3 hours, depending upon the length of the hair. Also, it takes 24 to 36 hours to settle down permed hair and look great. Wait at least two to three days before washing your hair using shampoo. The body wave perm lasts around 3-5 months, depending on your hair type and how often you are washing your hair.

Benefits of Having a Body Wave Perm

It’s an incredible way to get an air-dried finish and a great method to give straight hair a delicate twist and movement without extra heat and styling time. Moreover, a body wave perm will support any type of hairstyle and is ideal if your hair tends to go limp and lifeless. The body wave perm turns hair into a soft and natural-looking texture.

Post-Salon Hair Care

To keep your perm looking great as long as possible, appropriate upkeeping is essential. Post-perm hair care products and routines are keys to defining curls. It is recommended to use sulfate-free hydrating shampoos and conditioners formulated for permed hair and apply sunscreen to protect hair from harsh temperatures, and harmful UV exposure. Wear a swim cap to protect your locks and stay away from chlorinated water if you can. As the perming can leave hair dry and natural tendency of breaking permed hair, moisturizing is of vital importance. The lesser the heat better. Therefore, it has been suggested to avoid blow drying or straightening your hair with an iron. Also, avoid styling products that contain alcohol, which can cause frizz.

a beautiful brunette with body wave perm in winter clothing

About the author

Dragica Mitrovic Gaga
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Gaga is a blogger and founder of the Softer Hair website. She often says that insomnia is to blame for her first blogging attempts. Being the night owl, she hated the morning alarm. She left her office job and returned to what she loved most - writing.


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