Q: I'm looking for a non-smelling perm for my mother. I remember finding one a few years ago, but can't seem to locate one now.
A: The thing that makes perms smell bad is the ammonia content, so generally-speaking, if you find a perm that’s lower in ammonia you’ll
find one that doesn’t smell as badly. Try looking for an acid perm, or acid-balanced perm if you can’t find one specifically listed as being “ammonia-free”.
However, you should keep in mind that acid perms, and low-ammonia/ammonia-free perms are going to
give you curls that are less “firm” than their alkaline counterparts. This makes these types of perms ideal for softer wave styles,
but if you’re looking for a hard curl, or if the hair is particularly resistant to perming, you may need to go with something a little stronger.
My advice is to visit your local beauty supply store and tell them you’re looking for an
acid-balanced perm or one that is ammonia-free. There are many, many brands of permanent wave formulas and most brands carry acid-balanced and ammonia-free varieties.