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I Got A Perm In The Year 2020 (And Then Again In 2021) And Loved It, Despite Not Being A Grandma

Honestly? It's been low-key life-changing.

Hello! My name is Stephanie. And right before the pandemic started last year, I decided to get a perm.

And because my hair is so thin, I usually opt for short cuts, like this pixie cut.

A person sitting, eating yogurt
Stephanie Hope / Buzzfeed

Even though I do love this cut, I wanted to at least see what my hair could look like if it was curly. So I decided to get a perm!

Going into it, I'm not going to lie: I was really scared I was going to look like the clown emoji or my grandmother.


However, after showing my hairstylist a bunch of photos from Pinterest of how I want my perm to look (and not look), he assured me he would make it look exactly how I wanted. I basically asked for looser curls in the front so they'd grow into a cute fringe and tighter curls on the top, but not *too* tight.

My hairstylist used three different rods: white, purple, and the peachy one.

A person at a salon with perm rods in
Stephanie Hope / Buzzfeed

My stylist explained that each rod is a different style and will result in different tightness of tendrils in your hair. The skinnier the rod, the tighter the curl. If you're looking for the "grandma" look, you'll do skinnier rods. If you're looking for bouncy loose curls, get thicker ones. Pretty simple stuff!

Ta-da! He permed only the top of my head because of my pixie cut, and did a taper of curls into the straight part of the back of my head.

Stephanie Hope / Buzzfeed

Here's a little before and after of my perm! It looks like the perm made my hair lighter, but it's actually just my previously bleached hair shining through.

Stephanie Hope / Buzzfeed

As my hair started to grow out, I found that I really loved how it looked at every length. Every few weeks, the style of my hair looked completely different. The curls would move my hair in various directions. I had so much volume, and honestly, my confidence in my look really skyrocketed with this perm!

The author posing for the camera
Stephanie Hope / BuzzFeed

My stylist told me that I wouldn't need to re-perm my hair for a few months but would need a trim. (That pixie mullet is real, peeps!)

Let's talk about care, though. How do I keep my curls looking good?

The not-so-great news is that my curls get out of whack when I sleep. I would sleep on my satin pillowcase and would wake up and look like some type of peacock. The only way for me to get my curls looking normal again is to wash, dry, and style them. The good news is...that process is pretty easy!

A person posing for the camera
Stephanie Hope / Buzzfeed

First, I wash my hair with sulfate-free shampoo and rinse with cold water to keep the curls looking 🔥. Then I use a cotton T-shirt and squeeze the water out of my hair while bending forward. Afterward, I apply argan oil anti-frizz serum and finish with styling creme, which I apply by ~scrunching~ it into my hair. That's it! No heat.

Two styling products
Stephanie Hope / Buzzfeed

I let my hair air dry, but as it's air drying, I will continue scrunching it so the curls stay tighter. Once it's dry, I'm ready! It does take a while for my hair to dry, so I do this in the early morning. This has been my only routine for the entire time I've had a perm.

Get Love Beauty sulfate-free shampoo for for $12.50; Soapbox argan oil anti-frizz serum for $9.99; and Rusk flexible styling creme for $14, all from Amazon.

After six months with my perm (and getting a trim halfway through), I went again for another one to curl the new hairs that had grown in.

Stephanie Hope / Buzzfeed

This time around, my hairstylist only used the purple rods because my hair was much longer. If we had used anything smaller, the curls would have been way too tight.

The result? Another really adorable hairstyle, IMHO.

A person with a perm smiling
Stephanie Hope / Buzzfeed

You just can't go wrong when you choose the right rods for your perm.

Here is an 11-month difference of my hair from the first perm to now. Obviously, the curls are not as tight anymore but I love how natural it looks at the moment.

Stephanie Hope / Buzzfeed

I am definitely due for another perm.

Let's talk the pros of getting a perm! ✨

Pros: It's very easy to maintain! A simple wash, style, and dry, and I'm ready to go. It was also a really good investment. It cost me about $90 for the perm and a cut, which lasted me about six months before I needed to re-perm my hair.

Now we need to talk about the cons of getting a perm. 🙅‍♀️

Cons: It's literally *permanent* (hence the name). So if you want your hair to be straight for a day, you have to flat-iron it, and it's really hard to keep it straight. Also, it's HIGHLY recommended you do not color your hair when you have a perm. However, you can use semipermanent color. I have been too paranoid to ruin my hair; I haven't colored it in a year, resulting in all of my grays shining through.

Lastly, it's a serious commitment. If you want to go back to your regular hair, you'd essentially have to chop off all the permed hair or flat-iron it every single day.

Me, when I'm sick of my perm one day.

Searchlight Pictures

In conclusion: I LOVE MY PERM. And would recommend it! I really don't have any regrets and it has been such a fun year of cute hairstyles (even though no one has *really* seen it because we've been stuck inside). Perms: They're not just for grandmas!

A person smiling, posing for the camera
Stephanie Hope / Buzzfeed

Have you had a perm before — and did you like it? Or are you thinking about getting one? Share in the comments!