25 Modern Ways to Wear a Spiral Perm in 2021

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 The spiral perm can often feel slightly outdated today, but with the popularity of textured looks on our feeds, this retro style is coming back in a whole new way.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 around style and allows you all-over volume.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 hair brush to gently brush through your perm to give your hair this wave effect.

8. Long Spirals

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.

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.

11. Alternate Sizes

spiral sperm long golden brown
Mismatch different sized curls.

Mismatch slightly different sized curls for all-over texture and interest. This results in a true one-of-a-kind look.

12. Messy Curls

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

Embrace the messy and ask your stylist for a super loose messy spiral.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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

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