All about my PERM

Ok guys let’s talk about perms!! I feel like perms have a rep because when someone says the word “perm” most people’s first thought is like an 80’s or 90’s big perm. I would bet your immediate picture in your head would look like one of the pictures that comes up when you google “80’s perm.” But my friends, a perm doesn’t have to be so extreme and voluminous. So I am here to give you my perm experiences and a few tips. I am even sharing old pictures and #vulnerable because yikes awkward.

So I actually got my first perm in the fourth grade!! I don’t know what started this, but when I was 10 I  would get my mom to do my hair up in foam curlers every night so I could have cute little curls the next day. It got kind of old doing it every night because 1) time-consuming 2) uncomfortable to sleep on. So either my mom or I suggested a perm. Kinda can’t believe my mom let me do it but she actually gave perms to people while she was in college, so I guess she was just super comfortable with the idea. And the probably was getting tired of rolling my hair every night. Anyway I hated it! I got home and tried to wash it right out. I thought it was going to turn out just like the foam rollers did, but instead of curls it was more like tiny waves which was more easily prone to frizz it seemed. But I got over it I guess haha. Wish so badly I had a pic but I live 15 hours from that photo album box!

Come 7th or 8th grade I was ready to try again. My mom was like “maybe try a spiral perm??” Which I think is just the kind where they twist your hair first and roll up the pieces twisted. I don’t know how long perms last in most people’s hair, but mine seem to last until I cut the permed hair off. The first picture (ahhh!!) is probably a year or 2 after the perm. The second picture is my first day of my senior year of high school (haha) and  probably 4 years after that second perm and you can definitely tell the bottom is still going strong with the perm. Just nice and wavy. Then about 2 yeas later I cut my hair off to my shoulders…bye-bye to the perm.


So here is my natural hair. Well minus the fact I got the front lightened a bit that summer. So I do have natural loose wave and volume and you’ll see in some of these pictures that my baby hairs around my face are little ringlets.

So unfortunately for me, Virginia has harder water and less humidity which makes my hair really flat here. So here goes another perm! This picture is probably a month after that perm…so like October 2016 I am thinking. This one was a “beach wave perm.”

Here was when I really started to find the products I really liked and was figuring out how to style it better for me personally. Thanks to my curly-headed friends Taylor and Morgan.

Cue the bangs! This photo is about a year after that perm.

And here we are this summer…the second picture was taken in the last month! My hair had grown out a LOT and I cut it to my shoulders again in the spring of this year. So all of my perm was gone except maybeee like an inch or 2? So here’s natural hair. I was really liking it! BUT got back to Virginia and it just flattened back out because of the hard water and it was getting weird to fix, and I am definitely a “get up and go” kind of girl and just don’t like to spend more than 5 minutes on my hair. SO…opted for another perm!


Below are pictures of my recent perm. One thing I didn’t like about my last one was the ends of my hair were straight- “fishtails” if you know what I mean. I asked my stylist, Katelyn at Maven Salon, to give me the biggest rod that would still give me curls on the ends of my hair. With perms, the bigger the rod the looser the curl. I am happy with how it turned out.

Here’s a few tips and things to know:

1. Does it damage your hair?

Yes a little. If you color or highlight your hair, I wouldn’t suggest a perm. My stylist said its really bad for hair to have both. I hardly ever use a curling iron or straightner on my hair (like maybe twice a year?) I have lightened my hair once. So I have got really healthy hair, so it really doesn’t hurt it that bad. Just try to get your hair to a healthy state before a perm. I have also been taking extra care of it lately. Doing coconut oil masks in my hair and such just to make sure it’s getting enough moisture in it!

2. Talk it out with your hairdresser. See how confident they feel about it and even look at some of their past work. Find a picture on Pinterest and show her/ him and tell her/ him EXACTLY what you want. You can find all kinds of styles and pictures on Pinterest.

3. You might not like it the day you walk out of the salon.

Since my perm I haven’t brushed my hair once. Since I’ve been keeping it super conditioned I haven’t had to honestly! Not sure if this is right or not but this is what I have preferred for myself- when I have brushed/ combed it in the past, I only do so right before my shower rather than after. It seems to help my curls stay together. But right when you get it done at the salon, they HAVE to brush it and for me it didn’t look at all like how I wear it now and I didn’t immediately love it. But I knew that going into it from prior experience so it was totally fine and I knew I’d like it once I could fix it!

4. Deva Curl

My curly-headed friends introduced my curly-headed husband to Deva Curl and it’s all he uses. It is such a great product line and is the only thing I would suggest! We used to use the gel but now use the Deva Curl coconut cream and both love it so much. Use this stuff!!

5. It may take you a little while to figure out how to style it.

With each of my perms I feel like it took at least a week or 2 to get used to and figure out how to style. So don’t panic. If you need to use a hat or rock a bun for a little while that’s fine!

6.  Shampoo and conditioner matter.

Condition it well but also be mindful of what you are using! Right now I am using Monat but one of my favorite shampoos was an organic one with aloe I found at T.J. Maxx. Organic shampoos and conditioners make such a big difference in my opinion. Others can leave a residue on your hair that ends up weighing it down without you even knowing.

7. Any regrets?

Honestly still getting used to it! I am learning how to style it again since its only been 2 weeks and I also feel a little sorry for some pieces of my hair that don’t feel as soft as they used to haha. But overall I love it! I’ve just always thought curly hair was so fun and cute- so I am happy with it!

I don’t think perms are for everyone but I also don’t think they’re anything to be afraid of. I think bangs are scarier to get then a perm haha! They don’t have to be huge and crazy. Start off with a beach-wave perm if you want to give it a try and just see how you like it. If you give it a try tag me in your picture on instagram so I can see it!


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18 comments so far.

18 responses to “All about my PERM”

  1. Love it! I have naturally curly hair and love Devacurl. It’s a game changer for sure.

  2. Mary Mac Pitts says:

    what size rod did you use for this perm?

  3. Mom says:


  4. Chloe Florida says:

    This is so helpful! I saw your pictures on insta and wanted to know more. Thank you’

  5. Taylor Swan says:

    I am also a “get up and go” kind of person. I have been in the fence about getting a perm, but now I’m feeling a lot more confident with the idea! I start student teaching soon and wanted to get a perm to help my hair look a little more professional than my naturally big-can’t-decide-what-it-wants-to-do hair. It’s just a bug frizz ball and I hate having to get up early to do something with it.

  6. Addison:) says:

    My hair is naturally curly and I absolutely love coconut hair mask/oil I also recommend a diffuser for anyone with curls they make drying so much easier!!

  7. Sydney says:

    Lol just got to Liberty for my first year and the weather + water is so hard on my curly hair I feel you! Thank goodness for the coconut styler from deva or I’d be done for these first weeks of classes ?

  8. Kat says:

    I love this! So fun to read, I really didn’t know much about perms until now! Which shampoo is the organic one you love? Is it the one in the bathroom post? I’m on the lookout for a new one 🙂

    • marykate says:

      Unfortunately I think it was at TJ Maxx because the company went out of business! Going to keep looking but can’t find it. Will post on here or Insta if I do 🙂

  9. Macey says:

    I have been toying with the idea of getting a perm for a couple months now, and this is making me so so much more inclined to doing it, and doing it NOW!! haha

  10. Lauren says:

    Hey MaryKate! Love your curly hair!! I have curly hair similar to how you have your perm and the only thing that works for me is something called ISO bouncy creme! It gives your hair tons of volume and doesn’t leave it greasy or heavy at all and still leaves the curls together and smooth and shiny! Since you are looking for that volume I thought you might like to try it!!

  11. Ally says:

    What style of birks are your wearing? I love them!!

  12. Brianna says:

    So I’m going to get a perm today, idk if I should get the diva hair products or…

  13. Abby says:

    I just found your blog and I love it. I have naturally stuck straight hair and I always wanted curly beach waves but my hair does not cooperate with any irons. It’ll be curly for an hour and then stick straight again, would a perm be good for me??

  14. Cailyn says:

    Hi MaryKate! I’m a huge fan of your blog and how you live your life as such a honest, god loving Christian! Just a quick question. How long did the perm stay in your hair before your hair went back to normal?

    • marykate says:

      Hey! Thanks for following along. A perm pretty much stays in until it grows out…at least thats been the case for me. My hair grows pretty fast, but I still have my perm from nearly a year ago. My hairs grown out probably 5 or so inches since then so from my roots you can see where the curls and waves start about 5 inches down. I could still wear it wavy if I put product in it and especially diffused it, but I started drying it straight and have just been preferring the blow-dried look…makes my hair look fuller and healthier personally 🙂

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