Loose Perm Looks: 28 inspiring ideas to convert you

A loose perm is the relaxed-curl version of the perm – a chemical treatment that sets the hair in a permanent wave. Depending on your desired finish, your hairstylist will pick from various sized rollers (from tight to loose) and apply them to your hair, along with a perming solution to help set the wave or curl pattern.

Permed hair tends to go in and out of fashion. Big curly perms being hugely popular in the 1980s, however, people more recently opt for a more casual loose perm that offers versatility. If properly cared for, a perm can last approximately 6 months and it’s a great option for those looking to add a distinctive curl pattern to straight or wavy hair. Even curly girls can have a loose perm to give their tight curls a bit of a relax.

So, to help inspire and showcase perms in all their glory, we’ve curated 30 fashion-focused looks that spotlight the loose-curl perm…

Poison Ivy Perm

Zendaya at awards ceremony with long hair loosely curled and swept over to the side.
Zendaya rocks the loose locks. Credit: Joel C Ryan/AP/Shutterstock

If there’s anything we’re learning from the red carpet and catwalks this season, it’s that ’90s looks are going nowhere. The best way to get in on the trend? With a Poison Ivy-inspired perm! Zendaya shows us how it’s done.

Girls with big frizzy loose permed hair leaning into sunlight cuddling cat
Drew Barrymore would be proud. Credit: Instagram.com/iam_dytto

It doesn’t matter if you’ve watched this cult classic film starring Drew Barrymore or not.  Seeing how these beauties pull off Drew’s iconic hairstyle from the movie will seriously make you want the style. Style your curls like a celeb with TRESemmé Curl Definition Hair MousseCredit: @iam_dytto

A 200ml bottle of TRESemme Curl Mousse Front of Pack

Big Loose Curls

woman with big loose perm curl and blonde hair posing
Carrie Bradshaw, is that you? Credit: Instagram.com/eivilocs

Heading to the office or spending a night out on the town? And just like that… this loose-curl perm will help you channel Carrie Bradshaw vibes down to a T. Credit: @eivilocs

Black woman with thick long spiral permed hairstyle dyed candy floss pink
Credit: Shutterstock / Elena Rostunova


Hispanic woman with thick loose curled hairstyle dark roots and copper lengths looking to camera
We’re totally inspired by spirals! Credit: Instagram.com/nathaliebarros

This voluminous permed look is a great way to wear your hair down with some extra oomph. And if your hair tends to fall on the finer side, you’ll have volume like never before. Credit: @nathaliebarros

A front view of a SheaMoisture Coconut Hibiscus Curl Enhancer Smoothie container

Editor’s tip: To really make your curls pop, try using the SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancer Smoothie. Work a generous amount of the product throughout your damp lengths, blow dry with a diffuser and watch as your volumised waves come to life.

Body Wave Perm

Loose perm: Close up shot of a woman with long golden blonde loosely waved hair drinking water, wearing bikini top
A softer wave is great for those wanting to keep things subtle. Credit: Instagram.com/meredithmickelson

You can easily have beachy waves on and off the beach with this surf-inspired wavy perm. In our opinion, this cool-girl style will totally make everyone think you’ve been vacationing in Cali. This look is truly wash-and-wear. Credit: @meredithmickelson

Young woman sitting in car, smiling and looking off camera. Beautiful long hair with soft loose waves, with balayage tint
Head for the beach. Credit: Instagram.com/beautybycherise

To keep things simple while still giving your mane a noticeable refresh, try getting a larger loose-wave perm. So she hasn’t been for a swim yet, but the beautiful balayage sets off the soft waves to perfection. Credit: @beautybycherise

Shag Haircut

Mylie Cyrus at event with blonde softly wavy wolf cut hairstyle, wearing blue eyeshadow and orange lipstick
Perms and a shag cut go perfectly together. Just ask Mylie. Credit: Shutterstock

If you’re after something a little more ‘rock chick’, look no further. This loose perm puts a great spin (geddit?!) on the classic shag haircut, making it stand out with lush waves.

Young woman with shy smile wearing a wolf cut shag/mullet with soft loose curls
Cry wolf (cut)! Credit: Instagram.com/spellbound_manes

When you want both shag and mullet, these soft curls and wolf cut will do the trick for you. Credit: @spellbound_manes

Girl smiling to camera. Beautiful glossy red hair in a long mullet/shag with soft loose curls
Could this flaming hair be more beautiful? Credit: Shutterstock

Have some fringe fun. Don’t be afraid to work curly bangs with this hairstyle for extra style points.

Soft-permed Pixie Cut

Short pixie cut with curls. Woman in San Francisco posing wearing glasses
Feeling pixielated. Credit: Instagram.com/hairbyrachelrenae

You don’t need to have Rapunzel-length locks to get in on the loose perm hair trend. As proof, please turn your attention to these stunning coiffes.

These loosely permed pixie styles bring all the focus to the crown of your head, making it feel high-fashion and on-trend. Credit: @hairbyrachelrenae

Loose perm: Close up shot of woman with a loosely permed short black pixie cut
What’s not to love about this pretty longer pixie? Credit: Instagram.com/that.hair.nerd

Loose curls work equally well with a long pixie cut. Adding length of top and wearing it tousled makes for a softer look that’s ideal for thick hair. To keep your curls hydrated and ready for styling, choose a sensitive shampoo like Dove Nutritive Solutions Daily Moisture ShampooCredit: @that.hair.nerd

Dove Daily Moisture 2in1 Shampoo and Conditioner Front of bottle

Wet-Look Loose Perm

Loose perm: Close up sepia photo of woman with a red hair, wet-look perm hairstyle
Move over, Ariel! Credit: Instagram.com/jrsprawlsphoto

Breeze through your fave festival like a sea Goddess with this wet-look, loose-curl perm hairstyle. Plus, it’s perfect for short and long-haired ladies – bonus! Credit: @jrsprawlsphoto

Beautiful black women wearing an unstructured upstyle with soft wet-look ringlets. Decorated with Diamante hair accessories.
Permanent princess. Credit: Instagram.com/layeredonline

These soft ringlets are given definition by this wet look. We’re in love with this unstructured updo that’s all kinds of chic – fit for a princess. Credit: @layeredonline

Vintage Loose Curl Perm

Black and white picture of Marilyn Monroe lying on beach smiling. Hair is loosely curled and tousled
The hair that launched a million Marilyn imitators. Credit: Instagram.com/vxntagemonroe

Marilyn Monroe was the hair style icon throughout her career, and her appeal doesn’t fade. We love the looser curl of her latter years. This short cut fits pretty much every face shape. Credit: @vxntagemonroe

Profile view of woman with tousled thick loose curly hair in a mushroom haircut with severe undercut and fade
Channel modern Monroe vibes with this asymmetrical curly ‘do! Credit: Instagram.com/hairbyrachelrenae

Adding a tapered undercut and high fade will take this gorgeous look from vintage to avant garde! Credit: @hairbyrachelrenae

Loose Spot-Perm

shot of woman with soft loose perm curl hairstyle shoulder-length
Instant volume? Yes, please! Credit: Instagram.com/permsfeed

Perms don’t always have to be done all over, don’t you know? Strategic thinking is required. If you’re looking for more volume in certain areas, it’s possible to only perm those sections.

As you can see, this look loosely perms only the mid lengths of her mane, creating a tonne of natural-looking volume. Credit: @permsfeed

Young Asian woman with fine brown shoulder-length hair. Long fringe with hair permed into loose curls from midlengths
Soft loose curls make the most of fine hair. Credit: Instagram.com/rinka___aimi_

This look is a great style for anyone with fine hair as it creates soft volume around the face without being overwhelming. Credit: @rinka___aimi_

French Bob Perm

Women in Paris sitting at cafe. Has soft brown French bob with loose curl perm.
Oh la la! C’est très chic. Credit: Instagram.com/wannabe_parisian__

This short loose perm cut into a cheeky-chic French bob is great for the retro-devotee who wants to keep their hairstyle looking vintage and modern all at the same time. Just don’t blame us if Hollywood starts calling! Credit: @wannabe_parisian__

Young woman with brown highlighted hair in tousled French bob style permed with loose waves.
Do make waves. Credit: http://Instagram.com/Toniandguyspain

If you’re looking to soften an angular face, getting a chin-length hairstyle is your best option. Adding voluminous curls in the right places can have a softening effect on angular lines, which is exactly what this sexy and sophisticated hairstyle does! Credit: @Toniandguyspain

Sun-Kissed Loose Perm

Woman with beautifully glossy, highlighted hair in soft blonde tones. Loose wavy perm
Sun-kissed curls never go out of style. Credit: Instagram.com/rafaelbertolucci1

‘Expensive’ sun-kissed blonde highlights give a brightening boost to your loose perm. This will keep your ‘do feeling intentionally stylish, making it the perfect style for year-round wear. Aftercare is essential to keep your highlights looking good. Credit: @rafaelbertolucci1

Young Asian woman with facial jewellery and strong winged eyeliner. Beautiful lob hairstyle with soft loose curls with varied highlights
Parisian street style at Fashion Week. Credit: Shutterstock

For an edgier look. try a tonal mix of cashmere, ash and silver with a few dark accent streaks, which looks just beautiful.

Multi-Textured Perm

Close up shot of a woman with loosely permed, strawberry blonde and highlighted bob hairstyle
Champagne glow. Credit: Instagram.com/thepaintedgrove

If you’re worried about your perm looking a bit too uniform and unnatural on your long hair, a multi-textured perm (AKA a perm with varying curl sizes) could be perfect for you.

This soft bob focuses all the curl on the bottom half, while the smooth top lengths make the champagne blonde colour just gleam. Credit: @thepaintedgrove

Loose perm: Side view of a woman with long auburn hair with layered loose perm hairstyle starting from above the ears
You can wake up like this, too. Credit: Shutterstock

The best thing about this sort of perm? You can get it done all over or just on your ends, for a cool-girl ‘do that’s full of laid-back allure. Credit: @thedays_dean

Boho Perm

Festival queen has never looked this good. Credit: Instagram.com/vanessahudgens

Has stalking Vanessa Hudgens’ eve-changing mane left you feeling envious? You can make your hair look as good as hers by getting a boho perm hairstyle, like this. Credit: @vanessahudgens

Loose perm: Close up shot of a woman with dark brown hair with medium layered loose wavy hair styled to the side
Boho waves can be yours. Credit: Instagram.com/fran_says

Or perhaps you prefer a looser wave? The mix of layers and loose waves will make feel like a true boho queen. Credit: @fran_says

Loosely Permed Bob

Woman with mauve graduated bob with loose curls
To bob or not to bob? Credit: Instagram.com/agiart_byivana

Think you’re too ‘old’ to get a loose curl perm hairstyle? Well, this gorgeous, graduated bob hairstyle will make you think again.

Not only will it give you enviable volume and bounce, but adding a dash of colour will  instantly take your mane game from drab to fab! Credit: @agiart_byivana

Young woman with cognac blonde hair in long lob hairstyle with soft loose perm curls
Clever curl! Credit: Instagram.com/franckprovostmerignac

Who doesn’t love a lob? Adding a side order of loose soft curls can elevate this look to breathtaking. Credit: @franckprovostmerignac





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