The Best Home Perms

The best home perms give you a look you won't regret.

Photo: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Forget the home perms from the 1980s that left your locks out of control and resulted in eternally embarrassing photos. Advances in technology have improved the way home perms work, so you can bring some life into your stick-straight hair. The best perms will give you a look that will make your coworkers wonder if you showed up to work with your natural hair.

Shopping Around

Home perms come in alkaline or acid-based solutions, which differ in the amount of ammonia -- the pungent odor you smell in hair salons. If you want tight curls, like Beyonce’s natural hair, the best perm solution for you has an alkaline base. Alkaline-based home perms are also good if you have thick locks or if your hair relaxes too quickly after getting perm. If you have baby-fine hair, an acid-based home perm is better for your delicate locks. This type of perm solution can also result in wavy hair or loose curls like Shakira’s if you have thick hair.

What to Seek

Because you don’t want your perm to look just like your grandma’s, the best home perms let you choose the type of curl you want. To end up with the least amount of damage, dryness and (ugh) frizz, look for a perm kit that comes with conditioning agents, as well as extra conditioner in the kit. Sometime you can buy the conditioner separately, too. Because no two heads of hair are the same, the best home perm is most important the kind that matches your hair type so you get the waves or coils you crave with the least amount of damage to your tresses.

Common Pitfalls

The ugly truth behind perms is that they must damage your hair to grant you your beauty wish. The chemicals in home perms break down the natural bonds in your hair that lock in moisture and make your tresses strong and flexible. You can call this collateral damage. Be careful if you have sensitive skin because the chemicals can make your scalp feel like it’s burning. Brunettes also need to think twice about using a home perm because the hydrogen peroxide in the solution might lighten your hair to an unexpected or unwanted color.

Best Results

To have the best home perm experience, your tresses need to be in great shape. To prepare your mane, use a deep conditioner in your hair at least once a week. Start the conditioning treatments about a month before you plan to become a curly girl. After your locks bounce with ringlets, don’t style your hair with heat -- including a blow dryer -- or you’ll end up with dry, dull locks.

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