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What Is Digital Perm? Style Guide & 10 Unique Ideas

Do you like a hairstyle that uses a curling iron but you wish to shorten styling time? Do you crave a natural soft wavy hairstyle that’s easy and quick to style?

If your answer is yes, the digital perm is for you! Its long-lasting results and ability to give the wearer Rapunzel-like waves in a method healthier than a normal perm (aka ‘cold perm’) has convinced women everywhere to take a chance on the beautiful style. 

This perm hairstyle has received much attention lately and seems to attract people with short, medium, and long hair equally. It’s incredibly versatile and shortens the time you expect to spend with the curling iron.

Digital perms are different than regular perms. As digital perm is in trend, many are interested in this and want to know about the maintenance, styling tips, styles, and procedures.

What Is Digital Perm?

digital perming

Digital perm is an innovative hair treatment for loose curls or waves. It is a perming technique to get natural-looking waves on straight hair. 

This perm transforms hair into gorgeous big waves that look completely natural. The method, which consists of using an acidic perm solution and hot rods, is safer than a regular perm.

It is done using a machine hence the name. The machine features a digital display that stylists use to manipulate the temperature with. It changes the literal structure of hair so that it features more waves and curls.

The Process:

The technique requires using a cream type of solution to relax the hair. After this, the hairdresser applies curlers of different sizes to the hair depending on the desired effect.  

The curlers are then connected to a machine that controls the temperature the hair is exposed to. This method prevents hair damage as the temperature is adapted to the specific hair type.

In the end, the hairdresser applies chemicals to the hair to stop the action of the perming chemicals.

Things to Know Before Getting Digital Perm

Before you go and make an appointment with your hair stylist, be sure you understand what a digital perm is and whether it will give you the results you’re looking for.

  • The digital perm gets its name from the machine it uses. Unlike a cold perm, which uses a solution and indirect heat, a digital perm uses a solution and heat through hot rollers.
  • Digital perms give large, soft, natural-looking curls/waves, which is why they’re preferred to a cold perm. The results are also beautifully shiny and silky.
  • If you spend a lot of time curling your own hair, you’ll love what a digital perm offers. No more cramping your hand to make your straight hair have some shape!
  • The processing time for a digital perm depends on your hair length and texture. Typically it takes 2 to 3, but if you’re getting your hair cut as well, then add in another hour.
  • A consultation is recommended if your hair is any of the following: bleached, dry, damaged, has been treated with color. Stylists will say the ideal client is someone who has healthy uncolored hair, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a digital perm.
  • A digital perm is considered high maintenance. We’ll tell you more below.
  • If you’re a swimmer (whether it’s the ocean or your pool in the backyard), you’ll have to wear a cap to protect your perm since saltwater and chlorine will damage it.
  • Digital perms are costly, but if you’re someone who uses a lot of hair products to get volume and texture, or you spend a lot of time curling your own hair, then you’ll find the cost worth it.

Beautiful Digital Perm Hairstyles

You’ve probably desired to achieve more volume and better texture in your hair, but you do not know how to proceed. Here are 10 digital perm hairstyles to consider.

1. Layered Multi-Textured Perm

digital perm curly hair

Flashback to 2011 when none could go without noticing Annalynne Mc’Cord’s gorgeous blonde curls. What a unique hairstyle.

Recreate this celebrity’s look by getting your hair styled into layers and with a multi-textured perm.

2. Blonde Classic

digital perm for blonde hair

It becomes increasingly difficult to look away once you set your eye on Rose Bertram, the Dutch model. You’ll agree that her hair is naturally curly and blonde. 

So, you want to achieve classically curly locks like this blonde model? Consider going for a dye job first to bleach your hair blonde. Eventually, go for either a stacked or spiral digital perm.

3. Luscious Body Perm

digital perm hairstyle with bangs

Every girl dreams of having full-bodied curls that lusciously cascade down her back. You can achieve this fantastic look with a curling wand.

Consider going for a body wave perm, as it gives you big, bouncy, beautiful curls and reduces your daily maintenance efforts.

4. Beach Wave Perm for Short Hair

digital perm short hair

A beach wave perm is ideal if your hair’s on the finer side. It’s a timelessly chic short permed hairstyle with beautiful waves.

The short, curly hair appears relatively thicker and has better body movement than the long, straight variant.

The curls can help you achieve a better balance and look younger if you have a thinner face.

5. Beach Waves + Straight Bangs

long digital perm hairstyle

The digital permed beach wave might do magic if you always have to reach for your curling tongs daily. It will give you ocean-ready locks throughout summer.

The style looks effortless and sexy on long hair and is generally soft and natural. It further gives some structure to the uneven and messy waves.

6. Asian Hair Perm

Korean digital perm

New perming processes were developed to yield more effective results with the Asian hair type since it tends to be stronger, thicker, and straighter than Caucasian hair.

The digital perm uses a heat tool to seal in the curly style, helping you achieve an Asian hair perm. Eventually, the hair gains a softer and more natural feel.

7. Feathered Perm

layered haircut with digital perm

Similarly to straight hair, wavy hair responds pretty well to perming. The material your stylist uses to set your curls is exceptionally significant.

It determines your ability to go from mermaid waves to spiral coils, finger waves, or ringlets. This feathered perm will refresh your hairstyle and give you a more defined look.

8. Messy Lob

digital perm hair

The edgy wavy perm hairstyle is characterized by longer hair in the back and shorter length on the sides and top of the head.

Though controversial, this style is highly versatile, and you can wear it in various sizes and with different hair textures.

The lengths between the back and top appear less noticeable, creating a soft appearance.

9. Side Swept Hair

shoulder length digital perm

This simple, easy-to-style digital perm hairstyle lets you wear your hair on one side. It allows you to experiment with different finishes, including styling your hair in a side braid or ponytail.

The hair falling over one side of the face softens your features and creates a youthful appearance.

10. Fluffy Waves

digital perm for thick hair

The soft fluffy hairstyle is classic and universally flattering. The haircut suits women of all ages. It’s easy to wear, and you can adapt it to complement your hair thickness and texture.

The style offers a great way to show off your hair texture while creating volume. Soft perm bob style requires low maintenance.

How to Care for Digital Perms

Before you leave your hair appointment, your stylist will tell you how to care for your perm. Here are the basic care instructions:

  • Wait 24-48 hours to wash your hair to avoid rinsing out the solution that was used to perm your hair. Until this time period is up, wear a cap when you shower.
  • You don’t need to shampoo your hair every day (more like once a week), but conditioning is a must to restore your hair’s health. Olaplex Repair Treatment is a great one, but you can also make a protein mask. Also, use shampoos designed for curly hair.
  • Don’t use a blow dryer since it will loosen your new curls and cause frizz. If you absolutely have to, be sure it’s on a cool setting, and use a diffuser if you have one. Also, do not rub your hair with a towel to dry it. Opt for air drying instead.
  • To comb your hair, use a wide-toothed comb when your hair is wet. You can also finger comb it while you’re in the shower or afterward when hair is damp. Avoid combing hair when it’s dry since that will loosen curls.
  • For sleep, use a satin pillowcase. Before you go to sleep, wrap your hair up to protect its shape.
  • Avoid unnecessary heat and damage – saunas, chlorine swimming pools, and even steam rooms can all wreak havoc on a digital perm. If you do go swimming, put on a cap.

How to Sleep with Digital Permed Hair

How to Sleep with Digital Permed Hair

After getting a digital perm, there are a few things you’ll need to change to make sure your hair stays looking gorgeous. One of the most important things to know is how to sleep with a digital perm:

  • Purchase a satin pillowcase for all of your pillows. Satin, in general, is better for hair than a typical cotton pillowcase. You can purchase two satin pillowcases online for less than $10.
  • Work in a leave-in conditioner before putting hair in loose braids for overnight wear.
  • The other way to sleep with your hair is via the ‘plop method,’ where you loosely gather hair in a t-shirt towel, microfiber cloth, or cotton t-shirt. You can purchase a t-shirt towel online or in stores for about $10 -13. Lay the towel flat out, flip your hair over onto the center of the towel, and press your head down on your hair. Then grab the towel at its furthest point from your head, and bring it across your head to secure it, tucking in any loose pieces.


Can a digital perm damage hair?

Yes. Since a digital perm involves the use of chemicals to restructure your hair, there will be damage. However, you can restore its health after your perm through the use of protein masks and regular conditioning.

Can I get a digital perm on bleached hair?

You can, but it’s not recommended. Bleaching your hair damages it, so getting a digital perm is doable, but only if you use a quality solution for highly damaged hair.

How long can a digital perm last?

Typically, digital perms last between six months to a year with great care and maintenance. If you aren’t taking care of it properly, it obviously won’t last as long.

How much is a digital perm?

A digital perm is certainly not on the cheap side. Expect to pay at least $150, possibly more, given that a digital perm is more work than a cold perm. The cost may also increase to as much as $400 based on the length of your hair.

Are a digital perm and a Korean perm similar?

No, a digital perm uses heat and chemical solutions to change the hair’s structure and make curls or waves. A Korean perm only refers to Korean-inspired wavy hairstyles.

Digital perm vs. cold perm – which is better?

In terms of the process time and cost, a cold perm is better. However, in terms of results, a digital perm is better because it results in natural-looking waves or curls.

Can I get digital perms on Caucasian hair?

Yes, Caucasian women can get digital perms. But since different hair types react differently to the perming process, a consultation is helpful before getting a digital perm.

Digital perming is a considerably short process that gives you more natural, voluminous, and tighter curls at a pocket-friendly cost. The coils last longer and require less maintenance.

More interesting is that you’ll have similar flowering rings that you would otherwise achieve when using a curling iron.

You no longer need to worry about which digital perm hairstyle suits you right. With the above-refined list, you can be sure to land one or more that would enhance your looks.

Just be sure to take good post-perm care to make your heat-treated hair less vulnerable to damage.