8 Rules to Get the Beach Wave Perm of Your Dreams

Would you like to have those sassy beachy waves on a permanent basis? A perm treatment can make your dream come true. And don’t make the lingering image of regular perm scare you off! Perm techniques have come such a long way that they really look like your natural texture, while the grow-out is much softer and less noticeable than a color service. Here are the top tips for getting the beach wave perm hairstyle along with inspiration images to show to your stylist.

1. Manage Your Expectations

Modern perms are a great way to add volume and texture to even the straightest hair but it’s best to have a realistic approach to your first perm. You can expect your texture to be upgraded by about one level. So, if you have pencil-straight hair, a perm will give you bendy/wavy hair. Naturally, wavy hair turns to curls, and curls get tighter and fuller.

This is a stunning example of a natural curl pattern on hair that was permed and given time to heal from heat styling. A real goddess!

Modern Perm on Hair with Natural Curl Pattern

Instagram / @tiptopknot

Perming can also help you even out hair that has multiple textures. If you have hair that’s straight in some parts and curly in others (think straight on top, wavy at the nape), perms are an effective solution that creates a uniform texture. A perm can help you achieve an overall look that’s easier to style and maintains its shape longer.

2. Choose a Flattering Beach Wave Perm Hairstyle

Don’t underestimate the impact the cut will make on your overall wavy perm look. Here are some inspirational ideas!

#1: Mid-Length Style with Wavy Perm and Highlights

Yep! You can perm color-treated hair. Chemicals have come a long way since your mom’s last traditional perms. With the advancements in lighteners and bond protectors, stylists are able to safely use perms on hair that’s been colored and even bleached, and flowy beach waves are great for showing off dimensional color.

Highlighted Permed Long Waves

Instagram / @pinkkiliekki

#2: Wavy Perms Shag

A curly shag is one of the best cuts to create volume and movement for your beach wave perm. Your stylist will cut a cascade of layers throughout your hair that will lift and create a bouncy yet balanced look.

Wavy Perm Shag Cut

Instagram / @rebeccaforsyth

#3: Wavy Bob

Beach wave perms can take a straight bob from boring to timeless in a single appointment. This look creates a new silhouette for your bob and completely changes your look by creating volume and balance. By choosing looser waves, you don’t risk finding your shoulder-length hair dramatically shorter after the perming process.

Inverted Bob with Wavy Perm

Instagram / @tiptopknot

#4: Razor Cut Tousled Waves

After the rods come out, ask your stylist for a razor cut to sculpt your new waves and carve out any extra bulk. And permed curl pattern in the hair can create heaviness and bulk that a razor addresses beautifully. Remember, movement is a must for beachy waves.

#5: Beach Waves and Bangs

Textured bangs are a great way to get extra volume and balance to a beach wave perm. It’s an excellent way to get the most out of your new waves. And bonus: it’s absolutely stunning when you pull your hair up in a ponytail.

Wavy Perm with Curly Bangs

Instagram / @medinahair204

#6: Wavy Hairstyle with Framing Bangs and Layers

This look with soft curls and trendy curtain bangs on curly hair texture is so effortless and fun. Perms almost always need to be reshaped after the perm service so the layers fall correctly. Be prepared to visit your stylist and renew the layering that will give you the most volume and movement.

Beach Wave Perm Hairstyle

Instagram / @medinahair204

#7: Short Hair Wavy Perm

It’s a common misconception that only long manes can be permed. Whether you want a body wave perm to ease day-to-day styling or consider spicing up your look and adding volume and texture with beach waves, short hair comes alive with a perm hair treatment.

Wavy Perm Treatment on Long Pixie

Instagram / @salon5.sg

#8: Mullet with Wavy Strands

Female mullet is not for the faint of heart, but it delivers a rocker cool look that’s definitely going to get noticed. Your stylist might cut the shape of the mullet first and then roll or wrap the hair to apply perm solution. Perm takes flat limp locks to bouncy muller magic in a single appointment.

Female Mullet with Wavy Perms

Instagram / @crown.thistle

#9: Men’s Wavy Perm Hairstyle

A wavy perm is not just for women! Wavy men’s hairstyles are on the rise, so if your hair is long enough to wrap around a larger rod or a foam roller, adding texture is an awesome way to change your look.

Perm on Short Thick Men’s Hair

Instagram / @tocakademy

3. Get Ready for New Styling Products and Techniques

Although perms are easy to style, they really come alive with proper curly and wavy hair styling. This is what gives perms an effortless look that’s entirely different than the classic perm of the past. Before your perm, you probably had straight hair and stayed away from using the extra product, not to mention that you never knew what frizz actually is.

Now the game will change and you’ll need to master new techniques and use more products to bump up that bounce! First, you might want to learn to plop and diffuse your hair. Then, you will need a gel to scrunch hair, a curl cream to create hold and a light aerosol spray to lock in the look. Find a stylist that will equip you with a detailed styling tutorial and recommend their favorite products customized to your hair’s density.

Products to Use on Permed Hair

Instagram / @tiptopknot

4. Buy a Diffuser Attachment

A diffuser attachment is a must-have for perms. The heat helps shape your hair into a consistent curl pattern and plays a huge role in creating all that extra volume you see in wavy perm inspo pics. You can upgrade your dryer and look for a model that comes with a diffuser or you can purchase a universal attachment diffuser online.

Drying Wavy Perm Hair with a Diffuser

Instagram / @dysonhairpro

5. Find the Right Stylist

Once you’ve set on the preferred look, take time to find a good stylist to get it. Consultations are key here. Schedule a consultation with a stylist before your perm appointment where you’ll be able to discuss the condition of your hair and your perm goals. Supplemental conditioning treatments and a healthy trim will help ensure the best curl formation.

Beach Wave Perm on Middle Length Hair

Instagram / @tiptopknot

6. Opt for Larger Rods

Larger rods create bigger, bouncier and more realistic curl patterns. Orange, cream, purple and teal rods form waves that look beachy and resemble naturally textured hair. Gray and white rods leave more of the 80s frizzled perm look.

Rods Used for Wavy Perm

Instagram / @lathersalonaustin

Or, try foam rollers. It’s another fun way to create beach wave patterns. This method has become a popular way to skip plastic rods. It creates more relaxed, loose waves.

Flexi Rods Used for Beach Wave Perm

Instagram / @houseofblonde

7. Request a Bond Protector

Bond protectors such as Olaplex control the chemical reaction in the hair and preserve hair’s integrity. This allows previously colored hair to be permed safely. Bonus: there’s no more waiting 24 hours to get hair wet after a perm. Request that your stylist uses it.

Bond Protector Used in Salon Perming Process

Instagram / @tiptopknot

8. Maintain the New Texture

There are many factors for how often you should get a perm to maintain your new hair texture. They include your curl preferences, haircut shape (shorter styles require more frequent perming), and even the season (you might want to air dry in the warmer months if you live in a colder climate). I recommend perming every 3 months to maintain a curly appearance.

Beachy Perms Before and After

Instagram / @tiptopknot

Hope these tips and looks persuaded you to give perms a try. Follow me on Instagram @tiptopknot for even more perm inspiration.