What Is A Root Perm? An Expert Explains

Root Perms Are A Lifesaver For Flat, Lifeless Hair

12 November 2018
photo of woman with voluminous hair root perms

Emily Arata

Senior Editor

12 November 2018

Perms have a bad reputation outside of the beauty world. Whether you grew up during the permanent wave’s heyday or have seen photos of your mom’s failed at-home perm from the ‘80s, there’s a strong chance you associate the process with frizzy, unmanageable ringlets. We don’t blame you! However, times have changed and today’s perm is not the one you fear.

One style that particularly catches our eye? The root perm. For more information about what this style of permanent wave can do, we consulted Madison Wade. The Shu Uemura artist gave us the rundown on what to know before asking for this service in a salon. Whether you’re working with peekaboo highlights or dark brown hair, the root perm may work for you.


What is a root perm?

We’ve come along way from the clunky, unflattering perms of decades gone by. In modern hairstyling, the permanent wave is a tool that can create texture and volume for even those most resistant hair types. The best part is that they don’t require much upkeep. When cared for properly, most perms will last about six months.

While other types of perm focus the chemical perming solution all over the head, a root perm specifically takes place close to the scalp. Women often invest in them when they’re frustrated with flat, limp hair that just won’t hold any volume.

Doing a root perm opposed to doing a traditional perm will create volume and lift at the root...Meanwhile, doing a traditional perm will create more wave and curl from the roots to the ends throughout the whole head.

Perms work by breaking the bonds in your hair, resetting them in a new shape and sealing them into place. A root perm will ensure you’ve got effortless body from the moment you wake up to when you go to sleep, all without much effort on your part.


Who should try a root perm?

As a matter of fact, Wade identifies root perms as an ideal styling choice for busy women who don’t care to spend time wrangling their hair every morning.

“The perfect candidate for a root perm would be someone who is wanting to put less time and effort into styling,” she says.

Of course, there’s no rule saying you either have to go for a perm or suffer lifeless hair forever. To begin, speak with your stylist about your concerns regarding your mane. He or she will be able to recommend a customized routine of care products designed to create the results you want.

From the L'Oréal portfolio of products, we love Shu Uemura’s Muroto Volume line. Muroto Volume Shampoo gently purifies while respecting the balance of the scalp. Hair feels fuller, light, and airy after use. Don’t let that volume love stop at your shower, either: the brand’s Volume Maker Hair Volumizing Powder is a must-have brush that fits perfectly in any purse or gym bag for after work touchups.

Still not impressed and tired of doing the work? If you try this routine for several weeks and feel it isn’t for you, it’s time to take the perm for a spin.

For more information about root perms, use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.

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