how long does a perm take

How Long Does a Perm Take?

The idea of a perm can be thrilling and nerve-wracking. You long for the bouncy, defined curls that will transform your look, but the thought of how long the process will take might b  a concern. The truth is the duration and cost of a perm are not set in stone and can vary depending on several factors. 

On average, a traditional perm process can take anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours. However, some types of perm, such as digital or express perm, can be completed in as little as 30 minutes to an hour. 

How Long Does it Take to Get a Perm?

how long do perms take

From the strength of the perm solution used to the texture and length of your hair, each factor plays a role in determining the outcome. But regardless of the time it takes, know that the result will be worth the wait. With the right stylist and patience, you’ll be flaunting your gorgeous new curls in no time. So sit back, relax, and let the perm magic unfold.

Factors Affecting Perm Duration

Are you curious about How long does it take to get a perm? It Depends on several factors. These include the type of perm, the length and thickness of the hair, and the stylist’s experience and technique.

The Condition of The Hair

 If the hair is damaged or in poor condition, the perm solution may not penetrate evenly or effectively, resulting in a longer processing time.

Additionally, hair previously treated with chemical processes, such as coloring or straightening, may require more time to perm due to the added stress on the hair.

Type of Perm Solution 

Different kinds of perm solutions have different processing times. Some perm solutions may require a longer processing time, while others may work more quickly. It’s important to talk to your stylist about the type of perm solution best for your hair and follow the instructions carefully to ensure the best results.

Length and Thickness of the Hair

Longer and thicker hair will require more processing time than shorter and finer hair. The stylist will need to ensure that each section of the hair is evenly saturated with perm solution and that the hair is evenly rolled on the perm rods.

Stylist’s Experience and Technique.

A stylist with more experience and expertise in perm techniques will be able to complete the process in a shorter amount of time than a stylist with less experience.

Perm Stylist

Additionally, a stylist’s Technique can also affect the perm duration, as a stylist who is efficient and quick in handling the hair will take less time than one who is slow.

How to Shorten The Perm Process?

Shortening the perm process can be an excellent option for those who are short on time or want to reduce their time at the salon. Here are some tips for shortening the perm process:

Use a Fast-Acting Perm Solution

Some perm solutions are designed to work faster than others, and using these can significantly shorten the perm process. However, it’s important to remember that faster solutions may be harsher on the hair, so choosing one appropriate for your hair type and condition is essential.

Opt for a Digital Perm.

A digital perm uses heat and air pressure to create curls or waves, which can be faster than traditional perming methods. However, it’s vital to ensure that the stylist is experienced and knowledgeable about digital perming techniques to ensure that your hair is not damaged.

Consider the Length and Thickness of Your Hair

Longer, thicker hair will take longer to perm than shorter, finer hair, so if you have longer hair, you may want to consider getting a shorter haircut before your perm appointment.

Many people usually ask how long does a perm take for short hair? On average, a perm for short hair can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. However, some short perm techniques, such as spiral perms, can take longer, up to 3 hours.

Use Smaller Perm Rods

The size of the perm rods can impact the perm time, as smaller rods will perm the hair faster than larger ones. However, the size of the rods will also affect the size of the curls or waves. Choose the right size for your desired look.

Consult With a Professional Stylist

Before you make any changes to the perm process, it’s essential to consult with a professional stylist. They can help you determine the best way to reduce the perm process duration without sacrificing the quality of the result.


Shortening the perm process is possible with the proper techniques and products, but it’s crucial to consider the potential risks therefore, you should consult a professional stylist before proceeding. Even if it takes a little longer, a well-done perm is always better than a rushed one that leaves you with damaged hair.

Pre-Perm Preparation to Minimize its Duration

If you’re getting a perm, you want to ensure that you take the proper steps to minimize the process’s duration and get the best results possible. Here are some tips on preparing for a perm:

Timeframe for Washing Your Hair Before the Appointment

Avoid washing your hair for at least 24-48 hours before your appointment. It will help to ensure that your hair has the right amount of natural oils to help protect it during the perming process.

Hair Products Restrictions Before a Perm

Don’t apply hair products like oils, gels, or mousse to your hair before your appointment. It can make it more difficult for the perm solution to penetrate your hair and may result in a less effective perm.

De-Tangling Your Hair

Brush your hair thoroughly before your appointment to remove any tangles or knots. It will make it easier for the stylist to work with your hair and minimize the risk of damage during the perm process.

Communication is Key.

Make sure you clearly understand what you want from your perm. Bring in photos or discuss with your stylist to ensure that you’re both on the same page.

Protect Your Hair Before the Perm Treatment

Avoid exposing your hair to extreme temperatures, such as hot styling tools or the sun, in the days leading up to your appointment. It can weaken your hair and make it more susceptible to damage during the perm process.

4 Risks of Shortening the Perm Process.

When shortening the perm process, be aware of the potential risks involved, as these can affect the result and the health of your hair. Here are five potential risks to consider:

Damage to the Hair.

When the perm process is shortened, the perm solution may not have enough time to properly penetrate and process the hair. It can result in hair damage, such as breakage, dryness, and split ends.

Damaged Hair After Perming

Uneven Curls or Waves

If the perm solution is not given enough time to process evenly, the curls or waves may turn out uneven, which can be challenging to fix.


There is a risk of underprocessing the hair, which can cause damage and result in hair that is brittle, dry, and prone to breakage.

Ineffective Perm

If the perm process is shortened too much, the perm solution may not have enough time to work, resulting in an ineffective perm that does not produce the desired curls or waves.

How to Extend the perm process?

Extending the perm process can be beneficial for those who want to ensure that their hair is thoroughly processed and that their curls or waves last as long as possible. Here are some tips for extending the perm process:

Use a Mild Perm Solution.

A mild perm solution will allow longer processing time without damaging the hair. It can help ensure that the hair is thoroughly processed and that the curls or waves are uniform and well-defined.

Opt for a Traditional Perm

Traditional perming methods, such as rod setting, usually take longer than digital perming techniques, but they can be a gentler option for those who want to extend the perm process.

Use Larger Perm Rods.

The perm rods’ size can affect the perm time, as larger rods will perm the hair more slowly than smaller ones. If you want to extend the perm process, consider using larger rods to give the perm solution more time to work.

Perm Rods

5 Risks of Extending Perm Process.

Increased Cost

Extending the perm process can add extra expenses, especially if you purchase additional products or tools. It can be a significant burden for individuals on a tight budget.


Prolonging the perm process can take considerable time, especially if you do it yourself. You will need to spend hours in the salon or in front of the mirror, which can be a significant time commitment.

Damaged Hair

The perm process can be harsh on your hair, and extending it may worsen things. The chemicals used in perms can cause damage, leading to dryness, breakage, and split ends.

Scalp Irritation

Perming solutions can cause scalp irritation and redness, especially if left on the scalp for too long. It can lead to discomfort and itching and can be especially problematic for people with sensitive skin.

Unpredictable Results

The longer you extend the perm process, the less predictable the results will be. Achieving a uniform curl pattern can be challenging, and you may end up with uneven, frizzy hair. It can be incredibly disappointing if you have spent a lot of time and money trying to get the perfect perm.


The length of time a perm takes is important because it directly affects the final results and the health of your hair. It is crucial to follow the recommended processing time for the perm solution being used, as leaving the solution on for too long can result in over-processing and damage to your hair.

Troubleshooting Common Perm Issues.

Troubleshooting common perm issues can be challenging, but you can achieve the desired results with the proper knowledge and tools.

Here are a few common perm issues and ways to resolve them:

Overprocessed Perms 

It can cause damage to the hair, making it brittle and prone to breakage. To fix this issue, trim the damaged hair and use a deep conditioning treatment to help restore the hair’s health.

Poorly Defined Curls

If your perm doesn’t produce well-defined curls, it may be due to using the wrong size rods or insufficient solution. Make sure to choose the correct size rods for your hair type and use enough solution to ensure even saturation.

Limp or Flat Curls

If your curls lack volume and bounce, it may be due to too much solution being applied to the roots or the rods being placed too close together. To fix this issue, try using a volumizing mousse or applying the solution further away from the roots.

Uneven Curls

If some parts of your hair have curls and others do not, it may be due to uneven saturation of the perm solution. Apply the solution evenly and consistently throughout the hair to resolve this issue.

Frizzy Curls

Frizzy curls can be caused by a lack of moisture or using the wrong products. To resolve this issue, use a deep conditioning treatment and apply a leave-in conditioner or anti-frizz serum to the hair.

Final Thoughts

The time it takes to get a perm varies depending on factors such as hair length, type, and desired style. On average, the process can take anywhere from 1.5-3 hours. However, it is essential to remember that every individual’s hair is unique; therefore, the timing can vary. 

It is best to consult a stylist to get an accurate estimate of the time it will take to get your desired perm. It is also recommended to allow extra time for preparation and aftercare. Getting a perm is time-consuming, but the results can be worth the wait with beautifully curly and voluminous hair.


How long do salon perms take?

The typical time for a salon perm can range from 2-3 hours. This includes preparation, processing time, and the application of the perm solution, which is usually left in the hair for 1.5-3 hours. 

Does the length of hair affect the process?

Yes, the length of hair can affect the perm process. Longer hair takes longer to process, as the perm solution needs more penetration time. On the other hand, shorter hair may take less time as there is less hair to process, and the perm solution can reach the roots more easily.

Can you get a perm in one day?

Yes, it is possible to get a perm in one day. However, the timing may depend on the stylist’s availability and the salon’s schedule. It is best to book an appointment in advance to ensure you can get a perm on the desired day and at a convenient time. 

Do perms damage your hair?

Yes! Perms can cause some damage to your hair, as the chemical process used to create the curls can weaken the hair fibers and make them more prone to breakage.

Can you dye permed hair?

Yes, you can dye permed hair. Can I perm bleached hair and can I dye permed hair are common questions. However, it is essential to wait a certain amount of time after getting a perm before coloring your hair, as the chemicals from the perm can make it more vulnerable to damage. It is recommended to wait at least 2 weeks after getting a perm before coloring your hair.

Can you use heat tools after you get a perm?

No, Excessive heat and frequent use of heat styling tools can weaken the hair fibers and increase the risk of breakage. Using heat protectant sprays and avoiding heat tools at high temperatures is recommended. 

Does getting a perm hurt your hair? 

Getting a perm can damage your hair as the chemical process used to create the curls can weaken the hair fibers and make them more prone to breakage.

When should your next appointment be?

It is best to discuss this with your stylist to determine the appropriate timing for your next meeting.

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