Cosmetology: Permanent wave theory 2

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 Wrapping Techniques

  • Croquignole technique is when the hair is wrapped on the perm rod from the hair ends to the scalp in overlapping manner.
  • Spiral wrap could be done either from hair ends to the scalp or the scalp to the ends. The hair spiral along the perm rod on an angle and never overlaps.
  • Piggyback wrap is used for extra long hair using two perm tools; one perm rod is used to wrap the hair scalp to the mid-length of the hair, then a second perm rod is used from mid-length to the rest of the hair. An end paper is used for the ends when wrapping the second perm rods.

Chemistry of Perm Waving

  • The permanent wave solution
    • Is made of Ammonium Thioglycolate (ATG).
    • Is applied to the hair wrapped in perm rods first.
    • It softens and swells the hair and opens the cuticle layer of the hair for the product to penetrate to cortex.
    • It breaks the disulfide bonds in the hair.

Perm solution Ingredients

  • Ammonium Thioglycolate: the most common permanent wave solution ingredient that is colorless liquid with pungent odor.
  • Ammonium Thioglycolate is a reducing agent that breaks down the Di-sulfide bonds in the cortex; the process is called reduction, whereby the hydrogen atom is added to the hair bond.
  • Thioglycolic Acid is another ingredient that may be in perm solution that do not have Ammonium Thioglycolate (ATG: the reducing agent), and it does not swell the cortex like ATG, so alkalizing agent is added by the manufacturers to make the product from acid to alkaline.

Types of Permanent Waves

  • Alkaline Waves or Cold Waves have Ammonium Thioglycolate for an ingredient with the pH of 9.0 to 9.5. 
  • True Acid Waves have glyceryl monothioglycolate (GMTG) for an ingredient with the pH of 4.5 to 7.0. Using heat on the perm rods saturated with true acid waves will help speed up the perm process. 
  • Acid Balanced Waves have a pH of 7.8 to 8.2. Most of those wave solution require the hairdresser to mix an activator to the solution prior to use on hair wrapped on perm rods. This creates an exothermic (rapid heat reaction) in the bottle; the peroxide ingredient in the activator increases the temperature in the perm wave solution bottle.
  • Exothermic waves are solution that create heat reaction within the product that speeds up the perm process.
  • Endothermic waves are activated by outside heat sources, like hood dryer that is applied to that hair saturated with the solution to speed up the perm process (outside source of heat).
  • Ammonia-free waves do not smell because they do not contain ammonium thioglycolate and they do not have an unpleasant odor, but they still damage the hair like any other perm solution.
  • Low pH waves are weak waves that give body waves and contain:
    • Sulfated
    • Sulfuites
    • Bisulfates

Permanent Wave Processing

  • Perm wave processing in 5-10 minutes. Periodic strand testing will determine the curl formation. Follow the manufacturers instructions for additional directions pertaining the processing time.
  • Additional time will not make the curl firmer or smaller. It will over-process and damage the hair.
  • If the hair is under-processed, it means not enough disulfide bonds were broken to take the form of the perm rod; more time is needed to complete the perm process.


  • Neutralizer is applied after the perm solution has been rinsed and the hair on the perm rods were towel blotted. It stays on the hair for 5 minutes and is rinsed out.
  • The chemical action of the Neutralizer is to re-harden and shrink the hair. It also restores the pH balance of the hair from alkaline to acid state.
  • Neutralizer rebuilds the disulfide bonds into their new shape that is conformed to the size if the perm rod.
  • The active ingredient in the Neutralizers is 5-10 volume hydrogen peroxide ( the oxidizing agent).
  • Neutralizer has an acid pH

Classification of Permanent Wave Procedures

  • Basic perm wrap or straight back wrap
    • All tools (rods) are wrapped in the same direction.
    • All subsections (base sections) are horizontal.
    • All rods are positioned in equal size bases.
  • Bricklay perm wrap
    • Base sections (subsections) are offset and are parted in a bricklay fashion that prevents hair strands to have noticeable splits.
    • Could be started from the side, crown, or back area of the head.
  • Curvature perm wrap
    • Pie shaped partings are used
    • Perm rods are wrapped following the curve of the head.
  • Double tool perm technique
    • Piggyback wrap with two perm rods
    • Some parts of the hair in the lower back could use one perm rods due to the shortness of the hair.
  • Weave technique
    • Uses zigzag partings
  • Spiral perm wrap
    • Hair spiral along the perm tool at an angle.
    • Base sections may be vertical or horizontal.
    • Concave rods, circle tools and bendable foam rods can be used to do the spiral perm wrap.
  • Partial perm wrap is used:
    • When the clients do not wish to have their entire hair permed.
    • When the clients have long hair on the top and short hair at the back and the sides, and only the top portion could be permed.
    • When the top hair portion is permed for volume.
    • When the hair perimeter is only permed leaving the top portion straight.
  • To make sure that the partial perm is transitioning smooth use a larger tool where the wrapped hair meets the straight hair.
  • Protect unrolled hair with a protective cream or petroleum jelly not to further damage it with unnecessary saturation of perm solution.

Preliminary Test Curl

  • A perm test on a strand of hair to check for processing time, the effect of the strength of the solution on the hair, the extent of damage, and the final result before doing the permanent wave service on the entire hair.

Perm for men

  • Help give fullness to sparse hair, easy manageability, wavy or curly look and controls the direction of the cowlick.

Basic Permanent wave Procedure

  • Perform a client consultation and refer to client record card.
  • Wash hands.
  • Set up Sanitary Maintenance Area.
  • Wash hands again.
  • Drape the client with 2 towels and a plastic cape.
  • Wash the hair with clarifying shampoo.
  • Section the hair into 9 to 12 sections.
  • Wrap the hair on the perm tools (perm rods) with even tension using end papers.
  • Apply protective cream around the hairline.
  • Apply cotton around the hairline.
  • Wear gloves.
  • Apply the perm solution to the rods.
  • Change the cotton around the hairline.
  • Apply plastic cap over the head wrapped with perm rods.
  • Test curl every 5-10 minutes.
  • Remove the plastic cap and the cotton and thoroughly rinse the hair.
  • Towel blot the hair on rods.
  • Apply neutralizer and wait for 5 minutes.
  • Gently remove the perm rods and apply more neutralizer to the hair and weight for 3-5 minutes.
  • Rinse the hair (rinse only; no shampoo).
  • Towel blot the hair.
  • Record the results in the client record card.
  • Undrape the client and clean up.