Organic Chemicals for a Hair Perm

An organic perm gives you curls without harsh chemicals.

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You may think chemicals and perms always go together. But you have alternatives that don't rely on harsh chemicals, and why damage your hair while you're trying to beautify it? An organic product might be right if you want to avoid the hassle or just the smell of chemicals in a regular perm solution. A little knowledge can help you find your best tressed look.

What Does Organic Mean?

When a perm label says it is organic, there are a few things it tells you. A certified organic product must meet standards set by the USDA. That means the process of making the product tries to be earth-friendly, so your choice of an organic perm is a green choice, too. Your organic perm may also be certified by private companies since there isn't a formal FDA definition of what an organic perm is.

Organic vs. Synthetic

Regular perms contain ingredients such as ammonia or thioglycolates that temporarily change the chemistry of your hair to add the waves and curls. An organic perm contains organic chemicals such as monoethanolamine instead. This ingredient affects the pH of your hair to get the job done. You'll also find natural ingredients that are synthesized in laboratories, such as vegetable proteins, essential fatty acids and wheat-based proteins. Plant extracts are another common ingredient. The fact that these ingredients are agricultural products is where the organic part comes in.

Proteins and Other Ingredients

The proteins you find in organic perms can help your hair recover from the process. Even organic products can take a toll on your hair. With the added proteins, it can help prevent damage by strengthening your hair so it resists breaking. An organic perm may also contain natural moisturizers to prevent your hair from drying out. Without the ammonia or other harsh chemicals, you may be less likely to experience skin irritation, which gives an organic perm another perk.


Another advantage of using an organic perm is that you can avoid potential health problems blamed on regular perm products. Thioglycolate, for example, is a common ingredient in cold wave lotions and something you won't find in an organic perm. If you get it in your eyes accidentally, you may feel a burning sensation. It can even cause more serious damage to your eyes. Vegetable and wheat proteins are less likely to cause irritation, making them safer if you have sensitive skin.

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