Digital Perm: What Are Digital Perms and How Do They Work?

A beautiful white girl with healthy hair has digitally permed hair instead of a traditional perm to create natural-looking waves.

A perm is a chemical hair treatment people all over the U.S. use to turn their wavy or straight hair into curls. The treatment has been used for decades and is relatively well known. But there’s a newer type of perm on the scene that has many scratching their heads – the digital perm.

If you’ve heard about digital perms and want to learn more about them, this is the article for you. In it, we’ll cover everything you ever wanted to know about the digital perm.

What Is a Digital Perm?

A digital perm is a perm that’s really big in Asia. It helps to create permanent curls in those with wavy or straight hair. It may also be used in people with curly hair to achieve an all-new curl pattern. The name of the perm is a nod to the high-tech process used to create the curls.

The perm does also require the use of chemicals and heat. The perming technique originated in Asia, with a company called Paimore Co. This company trademarked the name “digital perm” and is known for giving the curling technique its start.

The stunning white girl showcases her radiant smile and beautifully textured wavy hair, achieved through a digital perm for a natural-looking result.

When compared to a Western perm, the digital perm really stands out. It utilizes rods like typically perms do, but the rods are heated using a digitally controlled mechanism. When you see someone getting a digital perm, you’ll instantly stop and stare because of the machines used. It looks more like brain testing than hair styling.  

Digital Perm Hair Tutorial

Can You Do Your Own Digital Perm?

Before we get into how a digital perm is done, you should know that this perm type is very advanced and should only be done in salons. First, you’d have a very hard time getting your hands on the tools and machinery needed for the process.

Most don’t have the money for them. On top of that, the process is lengthy and customized to the person getting the perm. It requires intimate knowledge of hair styling and hair care.

Lastly, just like perms popular in the US, digital perms have the potential to be very damaging to the hair. And that risk goes up exponentially if you don’t know what you’re doing.

With her healthy hair flowing in soft waves, the white beauty emanates confidence and joy, a testament to the magic of a digital perm.

How a Digital Perm Is Done

With all the previous information understood, it’s time to get into how the digital perm is done:

The way digital perms work is by breaking down whatever hair texture you have naturally and reshaping it in the shape of the rollers or rods used throughout the process. But what makes the digital perm super unique is how technology is used to propel the treatment.

The first step is to use chemicals to release your natural texture, rendering your hair textureless. Then, the hot rods (connected to heating machines) will be used to impart curls to your hair, sometimes in very tiny sections. The stylist will treat each strand of your hair to painstakingly create your desired look.

Embracing the best of both worlds, the lady's digitally permed hair blends the elegance of natural waves with the convenience of a chemical process.

What Type of Curls Can You Get With a Digital Perm?

Digital perms don’t usually result in the curls you’d expect from a traditional cold perm. The perms we’re used to often result in tight curls, and sometimes these curls can end up looking unnatural.

Digital perms create curls that are on the looser side – as a result; they tend to look more natural. With that being said, you should expect loose curls from a digital perm.

What Do I Need to Know Before Getting a Digital Perm?

If you’ve decided that getting a digital perm is the right choice for you, this section is for you. Here’s what you need to know before getting a digital perm:

  • Digital perms aren’t for everyone. If you’re looking for a perm with tight curls, you might be better off with a regular perm (one that’s popular in the US). Digital perms are for those who are looking for natural-looking curls that could be mistaken for their real hair.
  • Digital perms carry a high damage risk. Not only does the digital perm process entail applying potent chemicals to the hair, but it also involves heated rods. Both of these things drive up the damage risk of the hair treatment. So, if your hair is damaged or colored, a digital perm isn’t a good idea and could leave you with damaged hair. You should also stay away from other types of perms and chemical treatments and nurse your hair back to health.
  • You need a consultation to get one. Since not everyone is a good candidate for a digital perm, you should definitely get a consultation from a qualified professional before your treatment. It’s at this appointment that the stylist will determine whether the treatment is a good fit for you. And if it is, they’ll create a plan of attack designed to get you the results you’re looking for. This is crucial, as creating a plan on the fly can negatively affect your results.
  • Digital perms aren’t low maintenance. If you want to preserve your hair’s health and keep it looking good post-perm, you’ve got to do some maintenance on your recently-permed tresses. We’ll address that later on in the article.
  • Digital perms aren’t cheap. Some will have to save for a while to afford a digital perm. The process requires a lot of time and resources, and that cost is passed on to clients. On average, digital perms start at about $150 and climb depending on the length and thickness of your natural hair.
  • Digital perms take a long time. If you’re going to the salon for a digital perm, you should plan to be there for at least half of the day. The wrapping, rolling, processing, and product application steps add a lot of time to the treatment.
  • Digital perm curls aren’t really permanent. Though “perm” is in the treatment’s name, digital perms are not permanent. Eventually, your curls will fall, and you’ll have to get another treatment to perk them up again.
  • Your curls will fall a bit in the first few days. When your stylist spins your chair around and you see your freshly permed hair, you might think this is your final look. That’s not the case, though. In the first few days and after your first wash, your curls will fall a bit. They shouldn’t droop low, but they won’t look exactly the same as they did while you were in the salon.
Her hair, once straight and sleek, now boasts captivating waves thanks to the artistry of the hair salon and the wonders of digital perming.

What Not to Do After a Digital Perm

Just like the perms you might be used to, there is a period of time when you have to be very careful with your hair to preserve your new curls. And there are also some things you’ll have to avoid to keep your hair healthy and your curls looking good in the long term.

Here’s what not to do after a digital perm:

  • Don’t wash your hair for the first 24 to 48 hours post-perm.
  • Don’t pull your hair up into a ponytail for the first month. Doing so could leave a harsh kink wherever the scrunchie was.
  • Don’t wear a hat soon after getting your digital perm.
  • Don’t heat style your hair for at least the first 48 hours.
  • Stay away from other chemical treatments, specifically hair color, for at least 5 to 7 days. Though, it’s best to avoid it for longer.

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The white girl's thin hair has been transformed into a voluminous crown of wavy locks, courtesy of the skillful hands of a talented hair stylist.

How Long Does a Digital Perm Take?

Digital perms can take 3 hours or longer from start to finish. But if you’re getting yours done at a busy salon, it can take a lot longer. But you should know that the amount of time it takes will depend on your stylist, the length of your hair, how tight you want your curls to be, and more. That’s why we recommend blocking out at least half a day for your appointment.

How Long Does a Digital Perm Last?

Digital perms are known to last anywhere from 3 months to about a year. There are lots of factors that ultimately affect how long your digital perm will last. And these include your hair care routine post-perm, whether the perm was done correctly in the first place, and more. So, your digital perm could last for more or less time than you expect.

With her Caucasian hair expertly treated, the lady radiates charm and allure, her digital perm enhancing her natural beauty.

What Are the Disadvantages of Digital Perms?

Digital perms come with a unique list of disadvantages, and it’s important that you know about all of them before selecting this hair treatment. The main disadvantage is that it can be damaging to your hair.

Fine hair and already-damaged hair are more likely to be damaged from digital perms than healthy or coarse hair types. In addition to that, digital perms are known to be expensive and time-consuming, which can put some people off from giving them a try. 

And the disadvantages don’t end there.

When you get your digital perm, you’ll have to go through the process of styling and caring for a new hair texture. The process of trial and error can be exhausting and disappointing at times. Just know that you will eventually get used to your new texture, and this will no longer be an issue. 

Also, when you first get your perm done, you’ll notice that your hair is dying for moisture. The hair-altering chemicals, in addition to the heat, will strip your hair of its natural oils, making it feel dry (or even crispy) to the touch. You may eventually figure out how to remedy the dryness, but it can be hard to cope with at the beginning.  

The mesmerizing waves adorning the white beauty's hair are the result of a Korean digital perm, offering soft curls that perfectly frame her face.

Can I Wet My Digital Perm?

If you like to wet your hair down daily or hop in the pool now and again, it’s important to know whether it’s okay for your hair post-digital perm. The answer is, “It depends.”

If it’s been days since you got your digital perm, you’ll want to minimize the amount of water that comes in contact with your recently-permed tresses. But if it’s been weeks since your chemical treatment, you can enjoy much more freedom with your curls. You can wet them down as much as you want. 

But no matter how long it’s been since your digital perm, it’s a good idea to protect your hair from chlorine-treated water.

Chlorine can quickly dry out your hair, making it brittle and prone to breakage. And if your hair is colored, it can also fade out. If you want to know how to minimize the effects of chlorine as you enjoy the water, read this article

The lady's medium hair length has undergone a remarkable transformation, transitioning from straight to wavy with the help of a digital perm service.

How Do You Sleep With a Digital Perm?

Sleeping with a digital perm isn’t hard by any means. You’ll focus on preserving your curls and keeping them from losing moisture. When you sleep on cotton sheets or under a cotton comforter without hair protection, you may be greeted with a mess of dry curls in the mirror the next morning.

To prevent this, choose one of the following nighttime hair protection options: 

  1. Cover your hair with a silk or satin scarf. The fabric the scarf is made of won’t suck the moisture from your curls, nor will it rough up your new texture. To prep your curls for bed using this method, you’ll pull them into a high ponytail at the crown of your head near your widow’s peak. Then, wrap the silk or satin scarf around your head and knot it in the front. You can also direct your hair towards the back of your head and wrap the scarf around all of your hair, allowing your mane to hang in the back (covered by the scarf). 
  2. Pop on a silk or satin bonnet. Silk and satin bonnets are great for those who prioritize volume. The bonnet is less likely to smash your curls at night than a scarf is. And it’s much easier to use than a scarf as well since there’s no tying involved. You’ll just pop it on your head, stuff your hair under it, and go to bed. 
  3. Sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase. For those who don’t like the idea of sleeping with anything on their head, silk or satin pillowcases are ideal. They carry many of the same benefits as bonnets and scarves, but they allow you to sleep without any hair prep. The only thing to be aware of with satin pillowcases is the fact that your hair could still end up going all over the place and end up smashed in the morning. 
Her stunning wavy locks, achieved through a digital perm machine, perfectly complement her smile and give her a captivating and effortless style.

How Do You Sleep With a Digital Perm?

Digital perms can definitely damage your hair. Many who get digital perms complain that their hair felt drier than usual. Some even experienced breakage in the months following a digital perm.

A little dryness is expected after a chemical treatment like a digital perm – your hair is doused in chemicals that force the hair cuticle open and change the internal and outer structure of the hair. There’s also heat involved, which compounds the issue.

But the worst hair outcomes concern those who already have hair damage or who got their digital perm done by someone who was improperly trained. 

That’s why it’s crucial to find a stylist who not only knows how to do digital perms but has extensive experience doing them and cares about the health of your hair as well. Going with a random stylist is just not the way to go. 

Rocking the perfect balance between natural waves and stylish elegance, the white girl's hair, treated with a Korean perm solution, adds a touch of enchantment to her overall look.

How to Preserve Hair Health With a Digital Perm

Caring for your hair after getting a digital perm isn’t difficult, but it does take some care and attention from you on a regular basis. 

  • Follow your stylist’s instructions. The first thing you should do is heed your stylist’s instructions. We touched a bit on what not to do to your hair post-digital perm. But, based on your specific hair type and texture, your stylist may give you more personalized instructions – follow them.
  • Don’t dry your hair with a bath towel. One of the easiest ways to dry your hair out and rough up its cuticles is to dry it with a bath towel. As harmless as it may seem, these towels can make your hair brittle and dry, doing much more harm than good. Instead of your bath towel, use a microfiber towel. And don’t rub your hair vigorously with it either – pat or gently squeeze the water out. 
  • Use hair care products targeted toward curly hair. After a perm, you’re officially a curly girl. So, you’ve got to do what curly girls do when it comes to formulating your post-perm hair routine. Curly hair products are a bit heavier than those for straight hair, and they contain more hair-nourishing ingredients to keep your hair looking and feeling great. Opt for those instead of your regular hair products. 
  • Get regular trims. Split ends are part of the game with perms. It’s not unusual to notice lots of them in the months following your perm. Get rid of them right away before they travel up the hair shaft and result in severe breakage. 
  • Moisturize your hair like it’s your job. Use moisturizing shampoo, a hydrating conditioner, or a deep conditioner, then follow that up with a leave-in conditioner. Then, apply your styling products. And whenever your hair feels dry, give it a boost with either some water or your leave-in conditioner spray. 

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So, there you have it – everything you need to know about digital perms. We hope you found all the information you were looking for, and we wish you the best with your hair now and in the future.  

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