Cosmetology: Permanent wave theory 1

Permanent waving Theory review to pass cosmetology and barbering written exam at state board for Permanent waves. Perm Theory for state board written exam.

Permanent waving

Chemically and permanently rearranging straight hair into curly for using perm roads, Permanent wave solution and Permanent wave neutralizer. The hair stays curly unit it is cut or relaxed. The new growth needs to be perm retouched to take the curly form.

Perm Wave procedure is part of chemical texture services

Hair Structures effected by Perm, Relaxers and Soft-Curl Perm, are:

  • Cuticle: the outer layer of the hair that is responsible for hair porosity based on the overlapping imbrications on the hair.
  • Cortex: the middle layer of the hair, responsible for hair strength and elasticity. Perm solution and relaxers penetrate to this layer and rearrange the disulfide bonds to a curly or straight form.
  • Medulla: the innermost layer of hair, is not involved in perm/relaxer process, but could be subject to chemical burns if the hair is over-processed.

Hair bonds

  • Hydrogen bonds: Are side bonds in the hair that are broken by water.
  • Salt bonds: Are side bonds in the hair that are broken by pH change.
  • Disulfide bonds: Are side bonds that are only broken by chemicals.
  • Peptide bonds: Are end bonds that link amino acids in a long polypeptide chains; not affected by chemicals unless the hair is overly processed resulting in hair breakage.

Client Consultation for Chemical Texture Services

  • Always ask open-ended questions (not yes or no questions) about the clients' past texture services, their current hairstyle, and desired finished style.
  • Evaluate hair texture, porosity, condition and wave pattern.
  • Fill out a client record card
  • Perform a test for presence of metallic salts if necessary.

Client Record Card

  • Must be updated with each permanent waves, relaxer, and soft curl permanent wave services.
  • Has to be include the client's hair analysis
  • Service procedure, tool size and the chemical used.
  • Processing time, type of products used, and their strength, wrapping techniques, and end results.

Client Release Form

  • Must be signed before perm, relaxer, and soft curl permanent wave services.
  • It does not completely release the salon from responsibility due ti malpractice but lets the client be aware of possible hair damage due to exposure to the high pH of the product.

When analyzing the scalp:

  • Look for cuts, abrasions and diseases, if present, sent the client to the physician; do not perform permanent wave, hair relaxer, and soft curl permanent wave services.

Analyze the hair to determine:

  • Hair porosity: is the ability of hair absorb moisture
  • Density: is the amount of hair per square inch
  • Elasticity: is the ability of hair to stretch and revert
  • Texture: is the diameter of hair, the general feel of the hair.
  • Direction of growth: cowlick, hair stream, and whorls need to be considered when wrapping hair for permanent waving.

Permanent wave steps:

  • Physical process involves wrapping the hair on a perm rod.
  • Chemical process involves using a permanent wave solution and permanent wave neutralizer to chemically set the hair into a curly form.

The Permanent wave wrapping

  • Choose the size and shape of the curl, and what type of curl is desired (spiral or croquignole)
  • Keep even tension when wrapping the perm
  • Using too much tension when wrapping the hair on a perm rod will result in hair breakage since the perm solution softens and swells the hair.

Perm tools: perm rods

  • Concave rods are the most common type of perm rods; they have smaller circumference in center and larger circumference on ends that produce a tighter curl in the center and a looser curl in the sides of the strand.
  • Straight perm rods produce uniform curls since the rods are equal in circumference along the entire length of the rod.
  • Long rods are designed for longer base section where the perm rod is positioned on the scalp.
  • Short perm rods are used for areas on the head where the long rods are too long to fit.
  • Soft bender rods are 12 inch long rods that are covered with soft foam over a flexible wire that could be bended and reshaped, allowing the rod to cover a large base section, and the even diameter along the rod allows to shape it to uniform curls. Soft bender perm rods could be used for spiral and croquignole curls.
  • Loop circle rods are 12 inches long and have uniform diameter that produce even curls for very long hair. They can be fastened together to form a circle.

End Papers

  • Are absorbent papers for hair ends used during wrapping the perm. They are designed to protect the hair ends from getting fishhooks after they are exposed to the permanent wave solution by being extended beyond the hair ends.

End Paper Wraps

  • Single flat wrap uses one end paper on the top of the hair strand that is being wrapped on a perm rod.
  • Double flat wrap uses two end papers; one on the top and the other under the hair strand being wrapped on a perm rod.
  • Bookend wrap uses one end paper that folds around the hair strand enveloping the strand. Bookend wrap works well on short hair that could be extended with the use of the end paper to be able to wrap around a perm rod.


  • Section is also called a panel. Lost perm wrapping is done on 9 or 12 panels.
  • Subsections are also called base sections. Each perm rod is placed on its own base Section.