My Permed Hair!

I’ve recently decided to get my hair digital permed because after I had gotten it done a first time (about a year ago) and walking out with results that I loved, my perm had grown out and I felt like I could  never go back to my natural straight hair.

My go-to salon for all my hair treatments is Top Cuts Salon wedged in between Little Italy and Chinatown. The boyfriend had been going to his stylist Johnny for over 10 years and had recommended Johnny for a hair cut I wanted when I had first moved to New York City. My first cut turned out exactly as I had wanted and I learned Johnny was pretty much amazing at anything and everything I’ve requested for my hair. The salon isn’t fancy, but don’t let the appearance of the salon deceive. It has always been busy when I’ve gone in for treatments and the ladies that wash your hair are amazing at scalp massages!

A digital perm uses hot rods with the temperature regulated by a machine. A major difference between a digital perm and other perms is the texture and shape of the wave. An ordinary perm, or “cold perm,” makes the wave most prominent when the hair is wet, and loose when it is dry. A digital perm makes the wave most prominent when the hair is dry. It is said that a digital perm is feels much softer, shinier, and less frizzy than a cold perm. 

My entire treatment took a little over 2 hours with the following steps (or at least from what I remember!):

  1. Wash & shampoo hair – probably my favorite part of the entire treatment! I wish I could get my scalp massaged the entire time!
  2. Dry & Trim/thinning of the hair – My hair was blow dried after the wash. I didn’t want to get my length cut any shorter since I trimmed my hair a couple months ago and it’s shorter than when I came in a year ago so Johnny went through my hair to slightly thin it out and prep it for the digital perm.
  3. Rinse hair – A quick  rinse after trimming.
  4. Digital Perm – With my hair still wet, the perming chemical was brushed onto my hair and sections of hair was rolled into the rollers with a piece of fabric & rubber band securing it.
  5. Heat the rollers! – After placement of some not-so-fancy pieces of fabric/heat-resistant pads so that my scalp wouldn’t burn, the rollers were plugged in with the wires for the machine that would then heat the rollers. I think I sat with the heated rollers in my hair for about an hour.
  6. Neutralizing Solution – The rollers are unplugged and are removed. The sections are pinned in rolls and a neutralizing solution is applied to the hair and left to sit for another few minutes.
  7. Wash & condition – After maybe 10-15 minutes of sitting with the solution in my hair, I was then whisked to the sinks to wash out of the solution and condition my hair.. and enjoy another scalp massage!
  8. Dry & Style – In the salon they dried my hair & taught me a new way to dry my hair (It’s great in the case a diffuser isn’t accessible).

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A few of my favorite products to use with my perm include,



 Bumble and Bumble’s BB Curl Conscious Defining Creme, $29 – Right after washing my hair and squeezing as much water off as I can, I like to apply this defining creme to keep the frizzies away. I apply a nickel sized around throughout my ends and finger-curl my ends and leave it alone to air dry.


Bumble and bumble BB Curl Conscious Reactivating Mist, $26 – After a long day or if I’m on day 2/3 of not washing my hair and my curls/waves need a little bit of waking up, I like to spray this reactivating mist. It doesn’t weigh my waves down and keeps my waves soft to the touch.



Organix Awapuhi Ginger Dry Styling Oil – I love using this when my hair starts to get a little unruly. Use a nickel sized amount, rub between the hands, and scrunch the hair to tame the frizz!

The Bumble and Bumble products have lasted me a while, in fact, I didn’t even have to purchase any of the products this time around since I’m still trying to use up the remaining half of the products! If you’ve stumbled upon this post while searching for more information on digital perms, I hope this helps you make a decision! Definitely do your research on salons and stylists in your area since not all salons are capable of doing digital perms. If there are any questions that I wasn’t able to answer in this post, feel free to ask below!


  • Brie Ferullo

    Hi, i’ve been looking into doing a digital perm and i like how yours is cause it’s not “curls”. What did you tell your stylist on how you wanted your curls? So that it’s more beachy waves versus curls?

    • mariel

      Yes, I mention the texture I’m going for and share a few pictures as reference. Most recently I haven’t been able to get a digital perm done (due to my stylist not wanting to incur more damage to my ends) so instead he did a regular, body wave perm which will essentially also give you beachy waves. Show your stylist the type of wave you’re looking at having and I’m sure your stylist will know which option is best for your hair type!

  • jerushaaimee

    Hi Mariel!

    I asked over a year ago about your digital perm, and I finally took the plunge! Now I’m back to ask about maintenance and care. Do you stay away from hot tools? Do you just use the above b&b products to style? How about shampoo/conditioner and conditioning treatments? How long can I expect the perm to last? Do you wash your hair everyday? I’ve also heard you’re not supposed to use hair ties? Thanks in advance!


    • mariel

      Hi Jerusha! How do you like your digital perm? I’ve updated the products I use (I recently re-permed my hair) and I’ll have to do a post about all the products I’ve been using. In short, I use Briogeo products now (Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Rosarco Milk Leave In Conditioner) after I’ve washed and showered. I usually wash my hair every other day (haven’t swapped shampoo or conditioner), I can go about 2 or 3 days if I co-wash (currently using Lush’s avocado co-wash). I generally tend to stay away from tools unless I’m going to an event where I need to amp up my waves.

      Hope this helped a bit! If you’d like to chat more, feel free to email!

  • jerushaaimee

    Awesome! Thank you!!!

  • jerushaaimee

    Is a digital perm truly wash and go? Did you do anything besides Bumble and Bumble’s BB Curl Conscious Defining Creme and finger-curl, in the pictures above?


    • mariel

      Hi! I towel dry my hair, being careful to just scrunch it in the towel vs rubbing and then I put a quarter size of the creme in my hair (scrunching it in, finger combing here is fine too..) and then I create inch sections and finger curl. I blow dry with diffuser so that my hair isn’t soaked and once it’s still damp and not dripping, I continue to air dry and finger curl every so often until it’s fully dry. No other heating/styling tools were used!