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What Is a Digital Perm?

Marjorie McAtee
By
Updated May 21, 2024
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A digital perm is a type of perm said to achieve natural-looking results without excessively damaging hair. The process generally involves the application of chemical agents to soften and relax the hair. Once these agents have set in, hair is usually wrapped around curlers and heated to a temperature specific to the needs of the hair. The curlers are typically wired to a digital temperature regulation device. The digital perm is said to be suitable for all types of straight hair, and may offer a curly hairstyle that is easy to maintain.

Most hairdressers like to make sure hair is in good shape, and not too coarse, before performing a digital perm. Hair is often first shampooed and coated with a protective conditioner. Chemical relaxers are then typically applied to the hair, and may be left in for 40 minutes or more, depending on the hair's structure. These solutions are usually rinsed off before the perming curlers are applied. Hairdressers believe the chemicals used in a digital perm aren't as harsh as the chemicals used in some other types of perm, and that they may improve hair's texture and appearance.

Differently sized curlers can be used to create different types of curls with a digital perm. The lower portion of the hair is generally permed to give curls a natural appearance. Large curlers typically produce large, bouncy, wavy curls, while small curlers may produce ringlets.

Once the curlers have been applied, they are normally connected to a heating unit. The heating unit is intended to digitally regulate the temperature to which the curls are heated, specific to the needs of the individual's hair. The heat interacts with the perming chemicals, producing curls while minimizing damage to hair follicles. It can take more than 40 minutes to complete this part of the digital perming process.

After the digital perming is complete, the curlers are generally removed and a final chemical solution is applied to stop the action of the perming chemicals. The chemicals are then usually washed from the hair with water about ten minutes later. Additional conditioning agents may be applied. Hair may then be dried and styled, but it usually shouldn't be washed with shampoo for at least 48 hours after the digital perm is performed.

Those who benefit from digital perming are usually advised to style the hair by allowing it to air dry or by blow-drying it carefully with a diffuser attachment. Styling products are not generally considered necessary. Curl-defining shampoos and conditioners can help enhance the appearance of curls on a daily basis.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Marjorie McAtee
By Marjorie McAtee , Former Writer
Marjorie McAtee, a talented writer and editor with over 15 years of experience, brings her diverse background and education to everything she writes. With degrees in relevant fields, she crafts compelling content that informs, engages, and inspires readers across various platforms. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a skilled member of any content creation team.

Discussion Comments

By anon934271 — On Feb 19, 2014

Actually, it's not something new. I only today had a conversation with one of my clients who is in her early 60s and is a former hairdresser. I was telling her all about about the digital perm and how fabulous they are and described how they work. She then told me they had them back in her day but phased them out early in her career!

By orangey03 — On May 26, 2012

What will they think of next? This sounds funny, but it really seems like a great idea.

I have long, straight hair, and I have had my share of perms over the years. The chemicals always do damage, and they often even burn the skin on my neck and scalp.

It would be great to get a perm that uses gentler chemicals. It would also be awesome to have natural looking curls. I have had everything from a perm that made me look like an electrocuted poodle to perms that didn’t curl my hair enough, so having “smart” curlers that could sense the right temperature could result in curls designed specifically for my hair.

Marjorie McAtee

Marjorie McAtee

Former Writer

Marjorie McAtee, a talented writer and editor with over 15 years of experience, brings her diverse background and education to everything she writes. With degrees in relevant fields, she crafts compelling content that informs, engages, and inspires readers across various platforms. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a skilled member of any content creation team.
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