Loose PermQ: I am thinking of getting a perm because I am tired of having to style my hair every day. I don't want tight curls and I'm worried if I was to perm my hair, would it and could it be a loose enough look? What is the largest roller used? How loose can you get a perm to be without falling out completely?
A: Okay, here's the nutshell synopsis on perms and curls: If the hair is long enough to wrap around the tool less than one and one-half times, you are only going to get "body", meaning that the perming process will add sufficient bend to the hair to allow you to have extra fullness and some movement along the lengths of the strands.
Being able to wrap the hair around a given tool multiple times is where you begin to develop curl. Wrapping two to three times, and you generally develop wave and three and more times around develops what we traditionally know as curl. Of course, the way these curls stand up depends a lot on the type of perming formula used, the texture and length of the hair, and the size of the tool.
The size of perming tools in the traditional format are generally as small as an eighth of an inch (sometimes smaller) to as large as three-quarters to one inch in diameter. However, in some cases, non-traditional tools are used, and often, new tools are created allowing the hair to be permed to create larger curls in even longer lengths.
The process of perming the hair is going to swell the hair shaft, so you will see some change in the hair. But you have to find a balance between the various factors (hair length, tool size, hair texture, etc.) in order to get the specific look you want. For this reason, it is always to your benefit to consult a professional for these types of services. Your stylist has to go through training to learn about these factors and develop an understanding of how to best create the looks desired by their clients.
As for "falling out completely", the important thing to remember is that with healthy hair, and a properly executed permanent wave, the curls will last regardless of the size of the curl - as long as the various factors are accounted for.
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