Taylor Swift's Spiral Perm

Taylor Swift with a spiral perm
Taylor Swift - Photos by PR Photos
Q: Hi! I have just a few questions. How long should my hair be for a spiral perm? My hair is really thick, and it is about to my shoulders right now. How much longer should I grow it out? Second, how long do spiral perms take?
When I was a kid, I often got normal perms and I thought that took a long time, but I heard spirals take longer! And last, are spiral perms right to achieve a look like Taylor Swift's?

A: The only requirement for having your hair permed with a spiral perm technique is that the hair be long enough to wind around the tool needed to create the size of curl you want.
Your shoulder length hair should be plenty long to work with. The factor you will want to consider is that the tighter the curl you create, the shorter your hair will appear once curled.
Spiral perms differ from traditional perms in that they create even curls along the length of the hair by wrapping the hair on long tools in an overlapping manner. (Traditional perm wraps wind the hair on a short rod over and over itself in layers, creating tighter curls on the ends and looser waves nearer the scalp.)
Perm processing is pretty standardized. There may be a few minutes' difference depending on the thickness and texture of your hair, but generally the chemical process takes 15-20 minutes for the waving, 5 minutes of rinsing, 5-10 minutes of neutralizing, and another 5 minutes of rinsing. The more time-consuming part of a perm service is often the act of wrapping the hair on the tools. This can vary with the size of the tools (and therefore the number of tools needed) and with the length of the hair.
Taylor Swift's long hair with curls
Taylor Swift - Photos by PR Photos
Based on the photos of Taylor Swift at the 2010 Grammy Awards ceremony, her hair was indeed curled into long spiral curls.
See also:
Taylor Swift hairstyles
Technique to wrap a spiral perm
A guide to permanent waves
Taylor Swift's digital perm