25 Best Perms for Men to Try, Plus a D.I.Y. Tutorial!

Think of it as the best possible '80s revival ever. 

For those guys who are looking to experiment with their hair and get in on the recent curly hair trend, the man perm is making a comeback! But before you roll your eyes and write us off completely, we’re here to convince you that it’s decidedly much less ’80s reminiscent than expected. This modern version of the man perm incorporates style and texture for a look that gives you perfectly on-trend curly results.

With the help of an at-home perm kit, you can also achieve a perm style on your own. You can find perm kits online and at your local drugstore. We know it may sound intimidating, but there’s no need to worry. It’s a lot easier to do than you think!

Are you one of those considering trying out the man perm? Read on, kind sir, for some major inspo and how to achieve this style yourself:

man perm what is a man perm
Learn what a man’s perm is before you judge it! Photo credit: Ian Dooley

A perm (or a permanent wave) is a style where curls or waves are set into the hair using thermal or chemical processes. A perm specialist will typically apply a chemical solution to break down the structural bonds in your hair, and then follow that with a neutralizer. The specialist will coil your hair around rods while the first solution sits, and the size of those rods will indicate the size of your waves or curls in the finished style.

How to do a Man Perm Yourself

man perm diy tutorial
Give yourself a man perm at home, it’s a game-changer. Photo credit: Wassim Mechergui

Step 1: Start with clean hair for your man perm.

Before you begin your at-home perm, you want to make sure your hair is freshly washed.

Use Dove Men + Care Charcoal + Clay Purifying Shampoo as this shampoo helps deeply detoxify your strands.

Step 2: Wrap your hair around rods.

When you purchase an at-home perm kit, you will need rods to go with it. You can find rods in a variety of widths based on how tight of curl you want. To start wrapping your hair around the rods, take small sections of hair and put a piece of paper against the inside of your hair.

This will ensure the ends of your hair stay smooth while being wrapped. Wrap the hair with the paper around the rod, secure the rod in place, and then repeat this until all of your hair is wrapped.

Step 3: Apply the permanent wave solution.

Your perm kit will come with a permanent wave solution which is what helps restructure your hair to create the curl you desire. Saturate your hair with the solution, making sure all of your curls are completely covered. After your solution is applied, put on a shower cap, and then let your curls set.

Step 4: Wait for your curls to set.

Depending on how curly you want your hair, the time you wait may vary. It’s usually around 20-25 minutes, but we always recommend following the time on your kit.

Step 5: Rinse out the solution.

After your hair has set, rinse out the perm solution. This will take around five minutes. You’ll know you’ve rinsed out all of the solutions when you can no longer smell it. Next, use a towel to soak up excess water so your hair can absorb the neutralizer.

Step 6: Apply the neutralizer.

Once all of the perm solution is rinsed out, apply the neutralizer all over your hair. The neutralizer works to re-bond the structure of your hair. That means it locks your curls in place, ensuring your man perm lasts a long time. This will be left on your hair for about five minutes, but again, we always recommend you follow the time given on your kit. After this has set, rinse your hair again.

Step 7: Remove your curling rods.

Next, remove your curling rods and apply the remaining amount of neutralizer then scrunch your hair. Leave this amount of neutralizer on for about two minutes, and then rinse your man perm one last time.

Step 8: Dry your man perm.

Once the neutralizer is rinsed out the second time, you can either dry your hair with a diffuser or let your hair air dry. Now you’ve achieved a perfect at-home perm! It’s super important to know, once your hair is dry, you can’t shampoo for 24-48 hours. This is to make sure everything sets properly.

1. The “Wear It Wild” Man Perm

man perm wild medium length curls
Wear your curls loose and wild.

A medium-length, tightly coiled perm will result in a tousled and adventurous-looking style. Pair this look with a well-kept beard to avoid having your hair take over your entire face.

2. Side Part Man Perm

man perm side part medium length
Use your perm as an excuse to change up your part.

Get yet another change of perspective by changing your part as you learn how to style your new perm. You’ll be surprised by how much of an impact your part can have on the overall angles and perspectives of your face.

3. Close Beard

man perm short beard loose curls
Wear your curls with a closely shaven beard.

Here we have yet another example of how a closely-shaven beard can balance out your perm. Some men are hesitant to jump on the curly hair trend because of all the texture involved, and we do admit that all this volume can be a little overwhelming.

Streamlining your curls with Bed Head for Men Pure Texture Molding Paste or a hair gel for men and a well-groomed beard will take the edge off such a dramatic style.

4. Loose Waves Man Perm

man perm red blonde loose waves center part
Proof that not all perms were created equally.

It’s important to note that opting for a perm does not necessarily mean ending up with a head of coiled curls. Ask your stylist for a looser wave for a more laid-back style.

5. Man Bun

man perm man bun
Wear your perm up and out of your face.

You can always tie your curls up into a man bun as an easy-to-create and on-trend style to fall back on.

6. Mohawk Man Perm

man perm mohawk
Go for a mohawk man perm!

Need a refreshed style? If mohawks are your thing, switch up a typical mohawk my adding a curly center.

To help define these curls, use a healthy dose of SheaMoisture Men Argan Oil & Shea Butter Defining Cream. This will keep your curls tight and defined all day long without weighing them down.

7. Overgrown Fade

man perm long fade
Loose curls go perfectly with an overgrown fade.

Fake natural-looking curls by going for a medium-sized perm and ask your stylist for a slightly overgrown fade to nail two trends at once.

8. Highlighted Curls

man perm grown out highlights
Pair your new curls with a change of hair color.

Go all-in for a full-on makeover by getting your hair highlighted too. Keep in mind that between the chemicals from your perm and the ones found in hair dyes and bleach, you’ll be putting your hair under a lot of stress.

Using a moisture shampoo like AXE Apollo Clean & Strong 2-In-1 Shampoo and Conditioner will help hydrate your strands and keep them as healthy as possible.

9. Curled In Front

man perm curled front
Consider just a little curl.

Start slow and consider keeping your ‘do closely cropped with just a little curl up front to start.

10. Short Curly Cut

man perm cropped bowl cut
Cropped curls are the way to go.

Cropped curls are a great way to show off your new texture without wearing your curls too long.

11. Combed Up

man perm combed up
Comb your curls up for some volume.

Use a brush to comb hair upwards and wear your curls with a little bit of soft volume.

12. Brushed Back

man perm brushed back
Or brush them back and away from your face.

Alternatively, you can brush your curls directly back to open up your face and keep your curls out of the way.

13. Curly Bangs

man perm bowl cut brunette
File this under: ways to wear curly hair with bangs.

As you’ve most likely already guessed, it can be a bit challenging to make a man perm work with bangs. This bowl cut-inspired look manages to incorporate both curly hair and bangs in a trendy and surprisingly endearing style.

14. Bleach Blonde

man perm bleach blonde
Go bright and curly.

Lighten up your man perm with bleach blonde curls and make two bold hair changes at once.

15. Man Perm Bowl Cut

man perm bowl cut
Give an outdated cut a major upgrade with a perm. Photo credit: Indigital Images.

We know, you’re probably thinking, “A bowl cut? Really?” A curly style like a man’s perm can bring a whole new life to this once-outdated style.

16. Defined Curls Man Perm

defined curls man perm
Use gel to help define your curls.

If you have a tight curly man perm, defining your curls can make a huge difference.

Use Dove Men + Care Medium Hold Molding Paste to help define any curls.

17. Curly Half-Updo

man perm half updo
Try a half updo with your curly hair.

Have a longer perm? This is the perfect time to try out different styles. From a regular half-updo to a half-up man bun, you have a lot more ways to show off your curls now.

18. Side-Swept Man Perm

side swept man perm
Try a side-swept look.

Not quite sure how to style your new perm? Try a side-swept look. This is flattering on many face shapes.

19. Voluminous Man Perm

long curly man perm
Try voluminous curls!

If your hair is on the longer side, you can try adding more volume with a perm. To achieve this, use rods that aren’t super skinny. This will help you create a bigger curl with more of a wavy end result instead of tight ringlets.

20. Statement Man Perm

all over curly man perm
Go for a completely curly look.

Have red hair and want to make a statement? Opt for an all-over man perm. This curly style is a great way to show off your hair color.

21. Grow It Long

man perm long
Grow it long and give it curls. Photo credit: Tyler Nix

Embrace the curls by growing your hair nice and long before trying out the man perm. This length is totally carefree and a perfect canvas for tight curls.

22. Medium-Sized Curls

man perm medium curls
Go for a larger, medium-sized curl. Photo credit: Bantersnaps

Iff tighter curls aren’t your thing, try out a medium-sized curl for more volume and body.

23. Curls On Top

man perm curls on top.
Perm the top and shave the sides. Photo credit: Jurien Huggins

A man perm and a side shave are truly a match made in heaven. Going for the trending close side cut and lots of curls on top adds so much volume and drama. This look has been trending for a while now, and we don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon.

24. Side Shave

man perm side shavr
Spice up your look with a side shave. Photo credit: Ronny Sison

A side shave with longer curls on top is another great way to take advantage of the man perm.

25. Frosted Tips

an perm light highlighgts
Try out the frosted tips trend everyone loves. Photo credit: Jaclyn Moy

Frosted tips are a cherished trend of the ’90s, and curly-haired men deserve to live this frosty fantasy, too! Add some bleach blonde to your curls for a fun summery pop of color.

Whether you’re trying out a tight curly perm or going for more of a wavy man perm, you have so many options when it comes to styling and wearing this look.

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