Rocking a head of naturally curly hair doesn't mean you can't try a perm. Whether you're looking to reduce your curl or amp it up, a perm can help you. It's all about changing the structure of your hair shaft so it makes a new shape. If you're rocking tight ringlets but longing for heroine waves, a perm can help you get there.
Your hair is made mostly of a protein called keratin. It's pretty strong and flexible, but sometimes it doesn't grow out in the shape you want. The amino acid cytosine in those strands of keratin links up to others to create a shape. Perms start with a reducing agent that breaks up those bonds to eliminate the natural shape of the hair. It gets wrapped in rollers or other shaping tools to create a new shape. Another chemical called a oxidizing agent is put on the hair so new bonds form to hold the new shape.
Curly perms are the perfect way to change your curls. If you're having trouble with excess frizz, just ask your stylist to give you curls sized like the ones you grow naturally. If you want to get more serious curls, ask for smaller or larger rollers. The size of the roller determines the size of the curls.
Spiral perms create spirals of hair -- slightly different than curls, but definitely not straight. If you have spiral hair naturally, use a spiral perm to tame unmanageable locks. If you're craving spirals but rocking traditional curls, ask for a tight spiral. Loose spirals may not hold your curls in check as well. If you're looking for a loose spiral but have naturally tight curls, you may have to get your hair straightened before you get your spiral.
Straightening Perms and Waves
If you want to minimize your curls, straightening perms or full-body waves are the way to go. A straightening perm will give you a smoother final product than a wave. If your curly hair is the product of a previous perm, make sure any straightener you use doesn't include lye. It can seriously damage your strands. Check with a professional before applying something you're not sure about.