Have you ever seen a lady with an envious collection of bouncy, tightly textured and shiny curls that grazed the shoulder while you are walking down the street? Did you ponder, “Is that natural or it that a perm? If it is a perm, can I have those bouncy curls too?”

In this article, we will discuss about natural curls and perms and how to distinguish the different between perm hair vs. natural curly hair. Nowadays, perm have become so complicated that if they are performed correctly, it will be difficult to differentiate which one is natural and a perm.

Natural curls vs perms: French hairdressers made the perm popular in the late 1800s. It includes curling hair in a high ponytail using a perm machine. Women’s hair is often permed before having their hair cut into weaves, braids, twists, & flips. Like permed hair, naturally curled hair can also be styled beautifully without a perm machine. Curls are often created by hand rather than using a perm machine.

A perm, often known as an exceptionally durable wave or curls, is a process that involves synthetically changing the structure of your hair from straight to wavy or curly. A super durable but isn’t forever or permanent, despite its name. The average length of a perm is between 3 to 6 months.

A hairdresser creates a perm by folding hair over the poles, commonly known as perm rollers, and applying a synthetic patterning that modifies the hair’s surface in order to create a perm hair. Similar to getting a perm in a salon, you can get one at home with a purchased pack, but the results generally won’t be the same.

Natural Curls vs Permed Curls

What distinguishes naturally curly hair from permed hair?


The primary factor or determinant is uniformity. Natural curly hair tends to curl randomly around several strands, while porous perm hair tend to curl only for a certain curl direction. Most women with natural curls have learnt to organized their hair according to the randomness principle. Women still get the choice to have what is named a “regular” perm that is all of the curls are the same shape and size. Thus, uniform and even curls are always an indication of that person has a hair perm and she does not have natural curls.

Dry or Unruly Frizzy Curls

In general, there is a tendency for permed hair to be drier. Therefore, if you encounter someone with dry or curly hair, it often means their hair has had some kind of treatment most likely to be a hair perm process.

Straight Roots

The clearest telltale sign that curls have been artificially created using perm rather than naturally occurring curls is that permed hair has straight roots. The perm curls usually have straighter hair at the root & only curly in the middle and end when the hair grows out after a few weeks. Such phenomenon normally does not occur in natural curls .

Bends and Lines

There are some unnatural bends and curves tends to be observed in perm curls. Perm curls are normally represented by the folded look of crimps such as bends and lines.

Benefits of natural curls:

  • Morning preparation does not take a lot of time. It just needs some combing and there she goes.
  • Natural curly hair has fewer knots and tangles.
  • Natural curls are of high versatility. It shows your own reflection and you can appear adorable no matter what!
  • Natural hair looks better and grows more quickly.
  • It doesn’t take up a lot of room since it is in the middle of our heads with a top knot. For instance, some women like their whole fringe covered by a ponytail or called the faux bangs since it will maximize the size of their heads.
  • Another benefit is the age distribution of the world’s population, where most men still consider ultra-tight curls among the traits of elegance.

Drawbacks of Natural curls

It takes a long time to straighten and brush your hair. Dry brushing could lead to some split ends, which would harm your hair. Naturally, using hair care products for curls will be necessary to control curly hair.

Benefits of a perm:

  • Your hair will look fantastic.
  • Perm curls look great and are simple to maintain as well as manageable.
  • Bulks up the hair -The body and volume of the hair is significantly increased after a hair perm. People having thin or fine hair should seriously consider having their hair permed to make their hair appear bulkier and voluminous.
  • Reduces the need to style your hair since curling your hair on your own requires longer time and great efforts, and you won’t need to use a hot iron for a while. The curling irons don’t have to be used for your hair every night before bed.
  • Perming reduces costs as once your hair is permed, you won’t need to go to the hair salon so frequently and this may save you money.
  • Lesser hair wash. When you perm your hair, you don’t need to wash it every so often. This enables you to be ready in just a few minutes of preparation.
  • Hair that is less tangled is safer. Since the permed hair will have lesser tangles, your hair is less inclined to break.
  • A greater room customization and creative style. Some customers choose to perm their hair in a certain particular way. The stylist may or may not use the right amount of heat to attain a distinctive curl pattern that matches the desired hair goal.
  • It cuts down on styling time. You spent a great deal of time handling hair that seemed to be bumpy-looking and rough. If you get your hair permed, it won’t be as stiff. You may use fewer curling rods without the hassle of the remaining influent curls that have been already created and placed.
  • The curls are long lasting. Since permed hair will last between 3 to 6 months, you may avoid the hassle and inconvenience of having to make frequent salon visits. You do not need to be struggling to style your hair in the morning.

Drawbacks of hair perming

  • You can’t immediately wash your hair after perming your hair
  • Washing your hair for following a perm is not advised and you have to wait at least two days. As hair will have a strong strange smell immediately after being permed, thus this will cause some inconvenience especially you are not allow to wash your hair for the next two days.
  • It can cause frizzy and dry hair. If your hair is already weak and dry, don’t think of perming it since it will make your hair even drier. Hair perming may damage the hair’s external layer; thus, hair dryness or frizz are likely to become a part of your everyday life. If it makes you feel better about it, we have to admit that women with natural curls are far more likely to handle frizz and dry locks than those with artificially permed hair.
  • It will be challenging for you to switch to other hairstyles. On permed hair, changing hairstyles is very challenging. It is only sensible to get accustomed to such an appearance for a while. Trying hairstyles, including tying your hair behind your head such as a pony tail etc.., can become difficult for you.
  • Hair becomes more fragile after perming. Since the S-S protein disulfide bonds of the hair are altered broken and altered when exposed to hair perming synthetic agents, permed hair becomes illogically exceptionally helpless. It signifies the possibility of hair breakage, increased split ends, and decreased normal hair moisture. It would be beneficial if you understand that any chemical treatment altering your hair’s texture and appearance will potentially cause serious hair damage.

Will a perm provide you with hassle-free curls?

  • It does. Hair that has been permed have very long-lasting curls and requires minimal styling thus this saves a lot of time.

How can you tell whether someone’s hair is naturally curly/wavy or they have a hair perm?

  • Trying to discern whether someone has mystery curls or natural curls and if one person’s hair was permed. A certain amount of natural wavy-curly hair will appear more shiny, voluminous and bouncier if the natural curly hair had just been freshly deep cleansed, conditioned that provided an intensive boost of moisture and nutrients that the curls craved for.
  • The presence of straight roots indicates that the hair has been permed. Natural curly hair is wavy when they grow out from the roots, unlike permed hair.
  • Unlike perm curls, natural curls aren’t uniform. While perm hair tends to go in only one direction, natural curls will move in random orientations and directions.

Final Thoughts

As hair perm process is becoming more complex, it is difficult and challenging to distinguish if that person has natural curls or permed curls. But there are tell-tale signs such as lines or bends, the grow out hair at the root is straight and not curly, uniform curls that looks unnatural etc.

Besides, if you are getting a perm, ensure that you head to an experienced hairdresser who is well adept in creating natural looking permed curls. Moreover, it is important to schedule a perm touchup once your new straight hair starts growing out from the roots in order to prevent people from seeing through your curls.