The Best Body Perm for Colored Hair

Today's body perms don't damage colored hair.

Photo: Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

So many chemicals; so little time. After putting your hair through years of chemical treatments in the form of dyes, relaxers and perms and then topping it off with daily heat and UV rays, your hair may be screaming for relief. But it’s those darn trends that keep us coming back for more. And it’s the soft, loose curls you get from a body perm that are all the rage. Fortunately, because of a commitment from the cosmetic companies to develop better products, it may not be so difficult to find a good body perm that won’t hurt your recent color job.

Paul Mitchell

No matter which perm you choose, you’re going to be putting some chemicals on your hair. But they don’t have to be as harsh as they were in the past. Cleveland-based stylist John Anthony Marinucci uses the Paul Mitchell body perm because of its gentle nature. The professional level Paul Mitchell body perms are particularly cool, too, because they don’t contain any ammonia, so you won’t have to wait until the smell wears off to go out in public.


Darby Shields, the artistic director at ISO, tells "Modern Salon" magazine that they don’t even like to use the word “perm” in the industry anymore because of all the '80s connotations it carries. Instead, they like to talk about “texturizing,” or adding body and movement to your style. According to "Modern Salon," ISO’s Option Wave is made with a low-ammonia formula that’s much gentler on your locks and can even be used with pin curls instead of rods and perm papers. It doesn’t have any thio in it, which is the activator that wreaks havoc with colored hair.


According to stylist Alison Shipley at "Modern Salon," the Beach Wave by Pravana is a great option if you also color your hair. It gives your hair body, movement and texture, otherwise known as loose curls. It’s specially formulated with keratin to strengthen your hair instead of damaging chemically treated tresses. The body perm is thio-free, color-safe and according to Shipley, really easy to use. Your stylist uses special blocks to roll your hair loosely before applying the Pravana product to get the loose, barely there curls you want from a body perm.


Ogilvie’s Precisely Right Salon Perm Formula is safe to use with colored hair and big rollers that won’t make your curls come out too tight. Lorraine Massey, a co-owner of Devachan Salon in New York City, tells "Marie Claire" magazine that the product is really gentle and eons away from the Ogilvie of old. She likes to use the home perm solution with just the curling papers, leaving the rollers out of the equation altogether, to get a loose perm that doesn’t look contrived. Just wrap your hair in the papers and twist it together. Your color and your curl will look ever-so-natural.

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