South African Perm Hairstyles

South African Perm Hairstyles

South African Perm Hairstyles is having a moment. From waves to ringlets, women everywhere are embracing styles that give their hair more movement, texture, volume, and bounce.

Straight haired ladies looking for a significant change should consider a perm, which will make their curly dreams come true without the need for daily heat styling.

Meanwhile, naturally curly textures can also benefit from the curl-enhancing and smoothening powers of a perm.

What You Need to Know About South African Perm Hairstyles

From curly to coily, black hair comes in so many glorious textures. But when it’s time for a new look, straightening curly hair can be a chic and sleek way to change things up.

Enter: the South African Perm Hairstyles. To some, this term connotes getting permanent curls in your hair, but for black people, it’s the opposite; it means chemically relaxing natural hair so it becomes straight.

What Is a Perm Hairstyle?

A relaxer, also known as a perm for black hair, is a chemical treatment that straightens curly hair by breaking down the bonds in the hair shaft.

There are two types of relaxers:

  • Lye-based relaxer: This is the stronger formulation and is generally used by professionals. The active ingredient is sodium hydroxide. 
  • No-lye relaxer: This milder formulation is what most home relaxer kits are. The active ingredient is calcium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide.

Perms for black hair shouldn’t be confused with perms applied to naturally straight hair types. The latter uses ammonium thioglycolate as the active ingredient and creates waves or curls.

Below, we detail the facts, debunk myths, and give you the lowdown on perms for black hair.

How Long Do South African Perm Hairstyles Last?

As its name suggests, a perm is permanent. However, new hair growth comes back in curly. Maintaining straight hair requires getting touch-ups at the roots.

These are usually needed every six to eight weeks for optimal results. Beware of doing this more frequently—relaxing hair too often can lead to over-processing, which causes thinning and breakage.

The Myth That Relaxers Make Your Hair Grow

A common misconception is that relaxers promote hair growth; this is false. Repeat: Relaxers do not make hair grow. It might seem like they do only because straightened hair shows the true length of your locks.

A healthy scalp is key for growing tresses long and strong. Avoid frequent hair washing, if possible. Scalp massages are great, too—level that up with a dollop of coconut oil for ultimate nourishing.

Perms and Color Treatments

Semi-permanent and even permanent colors are generally fine to use with relaxers, as long as your hair isn’t bleached.

Rinses can be applied on the same day as a perm, but other color processes should be used a minimum of two weeks after.

When You Should Not Get a Relaxer

Relaxers have been around for decades, and home relaxer kits are easy and inexpensive; but if not used correctly, they can cause serious, sometimes irreversible damage to the hair and scalp.

There are times when you should steer clear of this chemical process altogether. Avoid perms if your hair is in any of the following conditions:

  • Damaged
  • Thinning
  • Breaking
  • Bleached

Using a relaxer on top of damaged hair will only exacerbate the problem. And again, having a healthy scalp is essential, as the chemicals can be harmful to your skin as well.

If you want straight hair but your fried tresses say no, try wet sets for a gentler approach to straightening. Otherwise, keep rocking your beautiful curls until your hair has had a chance to rehab.

South African Perm Hairstyles for Different Hair Lengths

Perm hairstyles look stunning on long locks, and they are fun when it comes to crops. Once your hair is long enough to be wrapped around rods, you can nail a perm.

Yet, you need to understand that length stands for weight, and heavier hair is not so good at holding a curl. Nonetheless, a perm can last longer on fine or thin locks, even if they are quite lengthy, so it’s better to discuss the procedure with your hairdresser beforehand.

Short South African Perm Hairstyles

We’d say that girls with crops are less likely to be happy with the 80’s poodle-like curls. But they can rest assured – though there are different types of perms available for short-haired ladies today, the approach they practice is more or less the same.

“The process of wrapping is totally different than the traditional perm. We wrap it so it’s very relaxed and effortless — not springy or uniform.

When I teach other stylists how to do it, I have them think about how they would do a curling iron set. I customize it to your head shape and the exact result you want,

”says Briana Dunning, Beverly Hills hairstylist who worked with Rosario Dawson and Bar Paly, to Refinery29. And you can check the results of this customization below.

10 Best South African Perm Hairstyles

Curly South African Perm

Curly Perm hairstyle

A perm can enhance your natural curl pattern, making it more consistent or defined. Alternatively, those with natural curls can change to a looser style, like beachy waves, with a perm. It’s all about the technique your stylist uses to create your new hair texture.

Wavy South African Perm

Wavy South African Perm

Like straight hair, wavy hair responds well to perming. Depending on the type of material your stylist uses to set the curls, you can go from mermaid waves to ringlets, finger waves, or spiral coils. A perm will give you a more defined look and completely refresh your hairstyle.

Long South African Perm

Long South African Perm

Perms suit hair of all lengths, so if you’ve always wanted to have a mane of cascading curls, your dream can come true. Lengthy locks look fantastic with both tighter curls and looser waves, or a very natural mixed perm. However, bear in mind that the perm process can take several hours on very long, thick hair.

Short South African Perm

Short South African Perm

Short hair looks fantastic with a perm. However, because there’s less hair to work with, your stylist will need to use smaller rods to set the curls – meaning you’ll get more of a ringlet-style look. The result is a cute mop of retro-style curls with a youthful and free-spirited finish.

Shoulder Length Hair Perm

Shoulder Length Hair Perm

Shoulder length hair suits almost every style, including curls. If you want to change up your length as well as your hair’s texture, a perm could be the answer. The curling process will make your hair look shorter than it is without needing a cut. Plus, curly hair looks thicker and has more volume than straight hair.

Medium South African Perm

Medium South African Perm

For women who love the fashion of the ’70s, a medium hair perm complements the style perfectly. Take your cues from Penny Lane in Almost Famous and opt for softer curls with plenty of texture. You’ll end up with a mane that looks effortlessly cool, wild, and free.

South African Perm For Fine Hair

South African Perm For Fine Hair

Spiral perms and beach waves are the best options for fine hair as they immediately add volume. The decision depends on the final result you want to achieve. While beach waves look more casual and effortless

and won’t change the length of your hair too much, a spiral perm will give you defined, bouncy curls and make your hair look a lot shorter.

Black South African Perm

Black South African Perm

Black hair can be permed to make the curls looser or change the natural curl pattern. You can also get a straight hair perm if you have natural Afro-textured hair and want super straight results – similar to those achieved with a relaxer.

Like all chemical processes, however, a perm will cause some damage. Use deep conditioning treatments and keep your hair moisturized to avoid breakage.

Bleached Permed Hair

Bleached Permed Hair

Curly blonde locks are a stunning look, but your hair transformation won’t be overnight. That’s because perming and bleaching are chemical processes, and both will damage your hair to an extent.

As a result, it’s recommended that you space the treatments several weeks or months apart to avoid breakage.

Some salons will also apply a bond restoring treatment, like Olaplex, before and after the bleaching to ensure your hair stays as healthy as possible.


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