How to Perm Your Long Thin Hair Yourself

To get curls like Chely Wright, use larger rods.

Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The cure for thin, flat hair is a perm. There's nothing like lively, bouncy and full curls to ramp up your style and get those thin, straggly tresses off your scalp. And when you whip your hair into shape with a perm, you get something else you might not expect -- like more time to sleep in. Styling a perm takes minutes a day. No more curling, teasing and coaxing for you. Your mornings are about to get a little easier.


Shampoo with clarifying shampoo. Leave the suds on for a few minutes before rinsing, but don't scrub your scalp. You don't want to irritate it right before you pour perm solution all over it. Towel dry and comb out the tangles.


Gather your rods. For long hair, you're going to want to use a larger rod. Rods are color coded according to size. White, purple, peach and orange are all in the range you want to use for long hair. Don't use anything smaller such as gray, pink, blue or red. If you want more curl, stick with the white ones. For barely there wave, go with the orange.


Start placing the rods in your hair. Place the first row straight down the center of your head, from the bangs to the nape -- just like where a Mohawk would be. Place each rod directly behind the first, and use small, 1/4-inch partings for each rod. Divide each side in half, placing two rows of perm rods on each side.


Place a perm rod by lifting up a thin 1/4-inch section of hair, measuring no more than 2 inches wide. Use the tail of the pin-tail comb for precise parting. Comb the parting straight up from the scalp and fold an end paper over the ends. Put a rod on the underside of the parting and start rolling down with even tension. When you butt up against the scalp, pull the locking band across the top of the rod and slip the cap into the hole on the other side.


Puncture the tip of the perm solution bottle -- alkaline perms work best on fine, thin hair. Squirt the solution on the top and underside of each perm rod.


Put a plastic cap over the rods and wait for 20 minutes.


Rinse with warm water for five full minutes to get all the perm smell out. Towel blot and apply the neutralizing solution just like you did the perm solution. Wait five minutes, remove the perm rods and rinse.

Things You'll Need


1.Clarifying shampoo

3.Pin-tail comb

5.End papers

7.Plastic cap

9.Neutralizing solution


4.Perm rods

6.Perm solution (alkaline)



Tips & Tricks


Perm solution runs and drips. It could ruin your clothes, so use a vinyl haircutting cape if you have one. If not, pick one up at your local beauty supply store.

Chemical burns are gruesome and painful. Do not allow perm solution to lie on the skin of your neck, forehead, face or shoulders. Gently blot away any excess solution to prevent chemical burns.


Related Videos




"Milady's Standard Textbook of Cosmetology"; Milady, et al.; 2008 "Teen Vogue"; Curl Power: Get Wavy Hair for Summer; Eva Chen; June 2011

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