What is a permanent spiral?

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A spiral permanent is a type of permanent wave. The appearance of a spiral perm can vary depending on the width of the perming rods used, the skill of the stylist, the client’s hair, and the chemicals used to define the permanent curl. The spiral perm look is closely associated with the fashion of the 1980s, when the high volume look of this style was very popular. It’s important to remember that a spiral perm is more of a technique than a specific look, and if you’re considering getting a perm, you should talk about the look you want very specifically.

This technique uses long standing rods instead of rollers. It is ideal for clients with longer hair as the rods can accommodate the entire length of hair. The hair is treated with chemicals to relax it and then wrapped around the permed rods, starting at the ends and working its way down to the scalp. The stems are left on for a set amount of time and then a neutralizer is applied to define the curls.

When done well, the end result of a spiral perm is a cascade of corkscrew curls. Curls are usually very firm and elastic and can flare out in many directions depending on how the shanks were handled during the perming process. The tension of the curls creates a lot of volume in the hair as permed hair cannot touch the scalp.

When a perm is done right, it can last about six months. Like other perm styles, a spiral perm will relax over time; curls may be a little looser and less elastic, but if they start to flatten, you should complain to your hairdresser. Special products also need to be used to care for a perm, to ensure it holds and nourishes your hair after the chemical process required to leave it has worn off.

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Perms are among the most famous hair styles because when one goes wrong, the client can be forced to live with it for months. Perms are also very hard on the hair and require the hands of a skilled stylist to get the best results. The client should always talk to the stylist before making an appointment for a permanent position, and it’s a good idea to ask for a client portfolio so you can see the type of work your stylist does. It also helps to bring photos of the desired look so there is no confusion.

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