What is a Digital Perm?

Perms are back. I know, I thought it was a thing of the 90’s too. Sure, my 76 year old grandmother still gets hers done every few months, but I’m talking about 20 somethings, 30 somethings – namely me – perming their locks. Thankfully, perms have received a revamp of sorts and now they’re gorgeous. No more “Best in Show” poodle hair, no more Tina Turner puff balls. Whether you’re going for Surfer Girl Locks, Movie Star Waves or the famous Kate Middleton you really can get it – with a perm. I know! 

When I thought about getting a perm, it was  a little like getting a tattoo. I thought I would need at least half a year to think about it. The good news is that unlike a tattoo, a digital perm is much less permanent. It usually last four to six months. While it might be emotionally painful for some, (what if it doesn’t turn out? What if I look like a poodle?!) there is about zero physical discomfort, unless you count butt numbness from sitting in the chair.

Like everything else in the 21st century perms have gone digital, and like just about everything else it’s made life better. This Japanese invention uses heated rollers, regulated by a digital temperature panel.  With a digital perm every curler in your hair is attached to a computer that can be programmed to heat up to very specific desired temperatures, giving the stylist a greater degree of control over the whole process. Which means you can have just about any type of curly look you want, even the much loved Victoria’s Secret Runway Angel wavy hair men melt for.

what is a digital perm 1

After the perm, people may be surprised at how tight the curls are initially. Be prepared for this, and don’t panic when you find that the curls don’t look the way you expected right away. The curls loosen quickly!

The Difference

So what’s the difference anyhow? The biggest difference between the digital perm and the regular (cold) chemical perm is the chemical application process. Digital perms require heat application, that’s why it’s called a hot perm. The “old” method only required the perm solution to be applied cold directly to the hair.

what is a digital perm 2

Another large difference if the way your hair behaves afterward. With a digital perm your hair takes on more and more curl as it dries, whereas with the traditional perm you’d have to apply some type of moisture in the form of gels or curling creams to achieve that curl. With a digital perm, the only styling you have to do is a bit of hair spray and a twirl of your finger and you’re done!

what is a digital perm 3

Lastly, because of the high temperatures  the rollers cannot be kept too close to your scalp, which means that a digital perm won’t add as much volume at the roots as a cold perm would. However, this also means that you will get those gorgeous loose curls.

what is a digital perm 4

Jeana Shandraw

Jeana Shandraw

Rarely caught without a camera, Jeana is an adventurous traveler with a passion for people, cultures and food that has led her to 38 countries in 5 years. When she's not using her powers for social good, she enjoys photography, cooking and building LEGOs with her son. On occasion, you may also find her crocheting cute things to hide in her husband's underwear drawer.

Previous post

Simply Sipping The Best: Twisted Roots Vineyard

Next post

Meet Super Mickey in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Super Adventure!


  1. January 16, 2014 at 9:54 am — Reply

    Oh wow, that looks amazing, and your hair turned out beautiful!

    • January 16, 2014 at 10:22 am — Reply

      Thank you Samantha!

  2. January 16, 2014 at 9:46 am — Reply

    As soon as I read your first sentence, my heart started racing. I’m SO not ready for the perms of the 80s-90s! Now, if my hair could come out at gorgeous as yours, I’d be willing to try it once my hair is long again. Plus, I love your bangs!

  3. January 16, 2014 at 8:41 am — Reply

    You look gorgeous, love the change in your look!

  4. January 16, 2014 at 7:41 am — Reply

    How cool. I am one of those tha loved having perms because my hair is so strait. So I am happy they are coming back and the improvements are awesome.

  5. January 16, 2014 at 7:10 am — Reply

    You look so great!! I will have to try out this digital perm! I remember my mom did this to me once when I was little and my hair was OUT OF CONTROL! I hated her for that. LOL

  6. January 5, 2014 at 1:22 pm — Reply

    That came out gorgeous!

  7. December 26, 2013 at 2:35 pm — Reply

    Holy Moly! Your hair came out fabulous!!!! I’d love it if I could achieve the same results. Thanks for informing us of this new way to do perms.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *