25 Modern Ways to Wear The Modern Spiral Perm

Unique new twists on an iconic '80s texturized look.

Spiral perms were the trendiest style in the ’80s, so much so that you’re probably familiar with the shoulder-length, larger-than-life curls that women often sported during this time. So if you’re feeling a little lost on how to wear the spiral perm in a modern way, don’t worry, we’re here to help you out!

First things first: A spiral perm is the result of the process of shoulder-length or longer hair being rolled onto a perm rod vertically. As the name suggests, this creates a spiral shape, which can also be used to create the super-tight S-shaped curls we’ve seen in the past.

If this style of perm makes you think about older generations, you’re definitely not alone. The spiral perm can often feel slightly outdated today, but with the popularity of textured looks on our feeds, this retro style is coming back in a whole new way.

We’re giving you a ton of modern ways you can show off the spiral perm today! Do you think you have what it takes? Read on for some major inspiration:

1. Straight Edge Spiral Perm

spiral perm super tight medium length curls
Curls that are all one length will give you extra volume all over.

Pair your spiral perm with a straight edge haircut that steers you away from a round style and allows you all-over volume. If you’re hoping to use your spiral perm to add volume to your strands, this haircut is a sure way to encourage that.

2. Yes to Frizz

spiral perm frizz
Get in on the frizzy hair trend. Photo Credit: Craig Alexander

Alternatively, consider going in on the layers for a rounder look and embrace the frizz that often comes with curly hair. Believe it or not, you’ll be getting in on one of this season’s biggest trends. The volume paired with a halo of frizz is super on-trend.

3. Long and Loose Spiral Perm

piral perm loose and long
Consider a looser spiral.

Not all perms were created equally! This style, in particular, shows you a very on-trend way to wear a spiral perm. Consider a looser spiral that will feel much more relevant to 2021 trends with a long mermaid-like feel. This look is also proof that perms aren’t just meant for short hair and can look equally as amazing on longer strands.

4. Red Bob

spiral perm red bob
Consider curls that make a statement.

Short bob-length curls will help you make a beautiful and eye-catching statement. This chin-length style is both edgy and sophisticated and will give a lightness to your curls that add major bounce and volume.

5. Ombré Volume

spiral perm ombre volumized hat
Mix color with texture.

Mix color and texture by bleaching your curls for a very slight ombré effect. By mixing color and texture in this style, you end up making the most of two of this season’s hottest trends.

6. Windblown

spiral perm messy windblown
Combed-out spirals look natural and windswept.

Comb out your spiral perm curls for a soft and easy windswept look. One of the great things about a perm hairstyle is the versatility it lends. You can wear your curls tighter for a more defined look or brushed out for a windswept alternative.

7. Brushed-Through

spiral perm medium brown smooth
Get this old Hollywood wave with this simple hack.

The absolute easiest way to achieve a glam Old Hollywood look is by brushing through tighter large curls. Use your hairbrush to gently brush through your perm to give your hair this wave effect. Make sure to brush gently to ensure you aren’t causing any unnecessary tugging or strain on your hair as this can lead to breakage.

8. Twist Spiral Perm

spiral perm medium brown long hat
Grow them out.

Grow your curls out and keep them nice and long. Switch out your usual shampoo and conditioner for a curl strengthening duo like SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo and Conditioner to keep your strands healthy and strong.

9. Loose Curls

spiral perm loose curls
Highlight your gorgeous color. Photo credit: Craig Alexander

Highlight your striking color by opting for long loose curls. The subtle highlights threaded throughout the bottom half of this style will draw even more attention to your strands and help you show off your curls.

10. Soft and Easy

spiral perm long loose brown curls
Soft curls are a super natural-looking option.

Soft curls that start immediately at the root of your strands are a great natural-looking option. If you’re concerned about your perm looking natural, speak to your stylist about this option. When it comes to women with naturally curly hair, the curls start right at the base of the hair at the root. By following that pattern, your stylist will give you a natural finish.

11. Alternate Sizes

spiral sperm long golden brown
Mismatch different sized curls.

On the other end of the spectrum is this more curated look. Mismatch slightly different sized curls for all-over texture and interest. This results in a true one-of-a-kind look that’s definitely magazine worthy.

12. Messy Curls

spiral perm long brown loose curls messy
A super loose messy spiral.

Embrace the messiness of a laidback look and ask your stylist for a super loose messy spiral. This undone look is one of our favorites for a modern perm as it has a very 2021-friendly vibe. This kind of perm allows you to wake up with a perfectly messy bedhead and go.

13. Eye-Catching Curls

spiral perms subtle color
Subtle color will draw attention to your strands.

Add a touch of glimmering highlights to your curls that are just a few shades lighter than your natural color. This will make your curls even more eye-catching and bold. If you’re looking for a real makeover moment, go for a color and texture shift in your strands.

14. Extra-Large Curls

spiral perm loose curls
The bigger the better.

You may also want to consider an extra-large spiral for an even more dramatic look. Not many people know this but perms come in all shapes and sizes. A larger curl shape like this one gives your strands a more natural look.

15. Understated Highlights

spiral perm highlighted brown
Threads of lighter brown make these curls pop.

Subtle thicker highlights will make your curls pop even more. This look will give you a 90s inspired style that’s all the rage these days. Throw it back to both the 80s and 90s with thick highlights in your perm.

16. Curls for Days

spiral perm dark brown long
Grow them out.

Grow your hair out until your tresses graze your elbows, and then get your spiral perm. These extra-long curls are beautiful and bold and give you access to a whole new range of curly hairstyles.

17. Loose Spiral Perm

spiral perm loose curls
A barely-there spiral will add some extra texture. Photo credit: Arianna Sharfman

A super loose spiral will give a very natural boost of extra texture in your strands. You may not have known this but even those with a loose curl pattern will sometimes opt to get a perm in order to reinforce their curls and add even more definition.

18. Curly Bob

spiral perm bob brown
Short and sweet.

 

Keep your curls short and sweet by choosing a permed bob. To make sure your curls stay in the best condition, use a shampoo and conditioner set like TRESemmé Flawless Curls Shampoo and Conditioner.

19. Rooted Large Curls

spiral perm blonde rooted large curls
Rooted color adds an extra dimension to large curls.

Large curls paired with rooted color are the ultimate recipe for adding dimension to otherwise thin hair. This is one of the best ways to fake thicker strands.

20. Rooted Bob

spiral perm blonde rooted bob
Hit two trends at once.

Go for a flirty and fun style and rock a rooted bob. You’ll be hitting two trends at once and feel super confident and bold, we promise.

21. Platinum Curls

spiral perm platinum blonde
Go all out.

Go all out by embracing curly hair and platinum locks in one bold move. While this combination is both bold and daring, it can also compromise the integrity of your hair. Make sure to compensate with a deep hair treatment to keep your strands as strong as your style.

22. Tight Spiral

spiral perm long tight brown curls
Consider a long and super-tight spiral.

The ultimate spiral perm: the long and super-tight spiral. The end result is breathtaking and striking at the same time.

23. Let it Grow

spiral perm long loose brown
Spiral perms work on super long hair, too.

Wearing spiral curls on long hair will mean that your curls will likely get a little weighed down by the length. This can work in your favor if you’re looking for a more natural option.

24. Dark, Dark Brown

spiral perm classic dark brown braid
Get a gloss, too.

Add an extra touch to your curls by asking your stylist for a gloss. This will make your dark hair extra bold and will draw more attention to your curls. Add even more shine by running TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Shine Serum through your strands.

25. Brushed-Out Curly Bangs

girl with red curly hair and curtain bangs
Don’t be afraid to perm your bangs too!

Don’t be afraid to add texture to your bangs. If you want a more relaxed look, brush out the curls for added dimension.

Thinking about trying a spiral perm? Take a picture and tag us @AllThingsHairUS!

 

Stay inspired

Sign up to the newsletter and get exclusive hair care tips and tricks.
Hair Quiz
All Things Hair
All Things Hair US
Need some style inspo? Let's chat! I'm Athena, your personal Hair Assistant.
Chat with All Things Hair in Messenger