The Difference Between a Body Wave & a Spiral Perm

Body waves are designed to yield looser curls than other types of perms.

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If you're interested in sporting a beautiful body wave or wearing sexy spiral curls, it's important to know the right info about the processing these permanents entail. From the toll on your wallet to the techniques used, spiral and body wave perms yield different results.

Beauty Benefits

Body wave perms bring a loose wave to straight hair -- think of Veronica Lake's luscious waves coyly covering one eye. Spiral perms create bouncy, tight curls, ala Shirley Temple. However, these examples don't mean your hair will turn out exactly like these celebs' -- your results will be determined by your hair type and length. For instance, spiral terms tend to take full effect on hair that's shoulder-length or longer, while body wave perms can be used to "stretch" naturally tight curls to a looser state.

Tendril Techniques

Spiral and body wave perms utilize the same types of chemicals, but the rollers or rods used differ in size and the position in which they're rolled. Spiral perms employ long, narrow rods which are rolled vertically against the head, while body wave perms are rolled horizontally and the rollers used are larger. Both perms give tighter or looser results depending on the width of the rods or rollers used.

Locks' Length

If you're seeking a spiral perm, it's helpful to have hair that hits someplace near your shoulders; this type of perm, which is wrapped in small sections around a rod, is more easily achieved when working with extra length. A body wave, however, can be done on hair that is only a few inches long, since only a slight wave is being introduced, not an actual curl.

Cost of Curls

The cost of spiral and body perms will vary in accordance with the market in your area. Spiral perms, however, because more of the stylist's work and time are required, tend to be twice as expensive as body perms. Spiral perms take more time because they are typically done on fairly long hair.

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