How Much Does a Hair Perm Cost?

Last Updated on March 14, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

While hair trends come and go, perming remains an enduring and popular chemical treatment used to add bouncy curls or waves that can dramatically transform the look of hair lacking natural texture or body.

But with numerous perm types and styles now available at a broad range of salons, what should you realistically expect to budget for this intensive curling process?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll thoroughly break down the many factors that influence overall perm pricing, from your specific hair length and thickness to the individual salon rates, the expertise level of your stylist, the perm technique used, and any extra conditioning or coloring services recommended to complement the new look.

How Much Does a Hair Perm Cost?

Prices for hair perm can range widely from $50 for basic DIY kits to $300+ for specialized salon perms.

The specific perm style and technique you choose definitely impacts the starting service cost. Pricing roughly breaks down as:

  • Traditional basic perms– Starting around $80-$150
  • Defined body wave perms– Starting around $100-$200
  • Bouncy spiral perms– Starting around $150-$300
  • Digital perm techniques– Starting around $200-$350
  • Keratin hair relaxing– Starting around $300-$500
  • Advanced Japanese straightening– $500+ at high end salons

The salon’s expertise level with the latest perming methods also affects pricing. Evaluate all the options thoroughly during your initial consultation.

Salon Suites of Palm Beach notes that prices for different types of perms can range from $40 to $300, depending on the method used like exothermic, digital, regular, wavy, body wave, and spiral perms.

 Nadula Hair Blog writes that perms typically cost $30-$150 for short hair, $60-$200 for medium hair, and $80-$400 for long hair.

Fash notes that the average cost for a perm is around $80, with prices varying between $60 and $250 depending on the region and type of perm chosen.

According to StyleSeat perms can range from $30 to $800, with costs varying based on factors like hair length, style, and the specific method used for perming.

The Basics: What a Hair Perm Means

A traditional perm works by using strong chemical solutions to break and reform the internal protein bonds that shape each strand of hair. This allows the new curled formation to take permanent hold. The basic perming process usually includes:

  • Applying the first perm solution to begin chemically softening and rearranging the hair’s inner protein structure
  • Wrapping dampened hair tightly around perm rods or using shaping tools to direct the new growth pattern
  • Applying a second solution to actually set and bond the newly curled hair form
  • Thoroughly rinsing, neutralizing, and conditioning the hair to seal the perm and restore moisture

While labor-intensive, perms yield long-lasting tight spiral curls to soft beachy waves that can hold for months. Modern options like digital perms, keratin smoothing treatments, and exotic straightening procedures provide even longer-lasting results compared to traditional perms.

Factors Influencing Hair Perms Cost

Some of the primary elements that influence the total service price for getting a perm include:

  • Your hair length and thickness – Long, dense, or layered hair requires substantially more product and time to perm successfully.
  • The salon’s location– Pricing understandably trends higher at upscale urban salons compared to rural areas due to market variables like rent, labor costs, etc.
  • Stylist’s experience level – Top master stylists with years of expertise command higher rates.
  • Products used – Professional salon-quality perms cost exponentially more than generic drugstore chemicals.
  • Added treatments – Deep conditioning, haircuts, coloring can all add cost.

An in-depth personalized consultation with your stylist determines exactly how these factors will impact your unique perm service quote.

You might also like our articles about the cost of box braids, Ombre hairstyle, or hair highlights.

Average Perm Pricing at Salons by Region

To give you a general idea based on location, average perm costs across the United States tend to run:

  • New York City– $180-$350
  • Los Angeles– $160-$300
  • Dallas– $120-$250
  • Chicago– $150-$280
  • Miami– $140-$270
  • Small Towns– $80-$180

Pricing at major high-end metropolitan salons is routinely 20-30% higher than in suburban and rural areas. Travel fees may also apply.

Additional Costs

On top of the base perm price, you’ll also want to financially prepare for:

  • Any needed haircuts or coloring prior to perming – $50-$250+
  • Salon quality shampoos, conditioners, and at-home perm care products – $20-$40
  • Reconstructing hair masks and bond repair treatments – $30-$80 per treatment
  • More frequent trims (every 4-6 weeks) to maintain the perm’s style – $40-$80 per cut

Keeping these additional expenses in mind from the start allows thorough budgeting for the healthiest, longest-lasting permed style. Proper at-home care preserves your investment.

Tips for Saving Money on Your Next Perm

Perm HairstyleIf you’re looking for money-saving options to reduce the bottom line on your next fabulous perm, consider:

  • Asking your stylist if any current salon promotions or discounts on perm services may apply
  • Checking Groupon or deal websites for perm coupons at reputable local salons
  • Getting a budget perm performed by supervised students at accredited beauty teaching schools for around $50-$150
  • Purchasing an at-home perm kit from a drugstore for DIY application for around $40 – but exercise caution with these to avoid damage!
  • Signing up for your favorite salon’s loyalty rewards program for points and discounts on future services

With some savvy shopping and strategic timing, you may be able to discover an affordable perm option that still fits your overall budget.

Preparing for a Fabulous Perm Experience

To ensure your upcoming perm appointment goes as smoothly as possible:

  • Schedule consultations with several experienced perm stylists to compare quotes and pricing
  • Select a reputable salon with consistently excellent reviews for perming and color services
  • Clearly communicate your hair goals, daily lifestyle, and ideal curl tightness during your initial consultation
  • Don’t be shy asking your stylist for detailed aftercare recommendations so your perm lasts

Taking time for thoughtful preparation and open dialogue with your stylist helps guarantee amazing, healthy, lasting permed locks for months on end!

Final Words

While prices vary widely, expect to spend $100-$300+ to get a professional salon perm depending on your hair specifics, location, perm style, and stylist expertise. With an in-depth consultation and smart salon selection, you can achieve beautiful lasting curls or waves that enhance your style within budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to know before getting a perm?

Know your hair’s texture, current condition, health, and elasticity to determine if it can withstand perm chemicals without excessive damage. Select an extremely experienced stylist at a reputable salon. Discuss your lifestyle, expectations, and willingness to commit to the perm’s upkeep. Prepare for some hair damage – perms require extra TLC.

What are the rules after getting a perm?

Avoid washing for 1-2 days. Then use very gentle shampoo and extra conditioner. Avoid heat styling for 2-3 weeks. Always comb gently starting at the ends and working up. Use intensive hydrating masks and bond repairing treatments. Get trims every 6-8 weeks. Handle hair delicately.

How long should my hair be if I want a perm?

The hair should be no shorter than about chin length all over in order to have enough length to adequately wrap around perm rods and take the lasting curl. Layers or hair shorter than approximately 4 inches can’t be successfully permed. Discuss your current cut before perming.

How often can I get a perm?

Getting perms too frequently can severely damage hair. Stylists recommend waiting at least 4-6 months between full perm treatments to allow the hair time to recover and regain strength. Perm touch-ups just on new growth every 3-4 months are safer than a full head perm. Exercise patience!

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