How Much Does It Cost To Get A Perm? (Updated Prices)

As fashion trends evolve, some things remain timeless—like the allure of a head full of curly or straight hair, achieved through a process known as perming. However, the decision to get a perm often hinges on one major factor: cost. 

The pricing for perms can vary significantly based on a multitude of factors, from your hair’s length to your stylist’s expertise. This comprehensive guide aims to demystify the costs associated with getting a perm by diving deep into the particulars.

The Price Tag Varies With Hair Length

When it comes to determining the cost of a perm, your hair’s length is one of the most significant factors. 

If you have short hair, up to your jawline, for instance, prices generally start at the lower end of the spectrum—around $40 to $60. This lower cost is due to the reduced time and materials needed to treat shorter lengths.

For those with medium-length hair that falls around the shoulders, you’re looking at a mid-range cost—typically between $60 and $100. 

Hair Treatment Products

Meanwhile, if your hair cascades past your shoulders, the price escalates accordingly, often falling within the $100 to $200 range. This is because longer hair demands more time, labor, and product, escalating the cost of the perm.

Pre-requisites: Hair Length and Suitability

Before you set your heart on a particular type of perm, it’s essential to understand that not all hair lengths or types are suitable for this treatment. 

Generally, experts recommend having at least 4 to 5 inches of hair to even consider getting a perm. If your hair is shorter than this, the perming rods won’t have much to work with, and the results could be less than satisfactory.

Additionally, it’s crucial to consider your hair’s health. Over-processed, damaged, or dry hair may not be the best candidate for a perm. A pre-perm consultation, which can cost between $20 to $50, can help gauge your hair’s readiness for the process.

Diverse Perming Methods and Their Costs

Perms aren’t a one-size-fits-all service. There are different methods, each with its own price range:

untreated hair

Acid or Hot Perms

Acid perms, which often utilize glyceryl monothioglycolate, require heat application to effectively curl your hair. These perms are generally considered softer and have a more natural look. They work exceptionally well on fragile, sensitive, or damaged hair. 

Typically, you can expect an acid perm to cost you between $50 and $150, dependent on the salon’s prestige and the stylist’s level of expertise. If you have particularly long or thick hair, some salons may charge an additional fee.

Alkaline or Cold Perms

Alkaline perms use ammonium thioglycolate, eliminating the need for any heat application. They offer a strong, firm curl and work well on healthy, coarse, or resistant hair. These perms are generally priced between $40 to $100. 

This method is often quicker than the hot perm, but it can be harsher on fragile hair. Again, the salon’s reputation and your hair length can influence the final price.

Digital Perms

Digital perms involve advanced technology that controls the temperature of the perm solution to create more defined curls or waves. The cost can be on the higher end due to the specialized equipment used. Expect to pay between $150 and $300 for a digital perm. 

Testing Hair Health

These perms are best for those looking for a modern, loose, and wavy look. Due to the high price tag, it’s usually undertaken by those sure about the style they wish to maintain for a while.

Exothermic Perms

Exothermic perms have a unique aspect—they generate their own heat. This self-heating feature aids in speeding up the chemical process, making it more convenient for both the stylist and the client. 

Prices for exothermic perms generally range between $60 and $100. The method is generally quicker and offers a variety of curl tightness options.

Dual-action Perms

Dual-action perms combine the best features of both acid and alkaline perms. They offer versatility in curl tightness and are suitable for a range of hair types. 

As they require a mix of both solutions and can be labor-intensive, they can be pricier than other methods, ranging from $70 to $200.

Perm Softener

Organic Perms

Organic perms boast of using less toxic or harmful chemicals. They can be less damaging to the hair but come at a premium cost—usually ranging from $100 to $250. This price range reflects the higher costs of organic ingredients and the often longer application time required.

Style-Specific Costs

Straight Perms

Known alternatively as Japanese straightening or Korean magic perms, this treatment can permanently straighten your hair. Because it often involves multiple steps and special solutions, it is one of the more expensive options, costing between $150 and $450.

Spiral Perms

Spiral perms create tight and bouncy curls that often require the stylist to spend more time than on a traditional perm. This meticulous work can run you between $100 and $300 depending on various factors like the salon’s location and the complexity of your hair.

Body Wave Perms

This type provides a softer, natural-looking wave and typically costs between $70 and $150. It’s ideal for individuals looking for less dramatic, easy-to-manage curls.

Beach Wave Perms

These perms are crafted to give you a carefree, natural beachy wave look. They require specific perming techniques and cost between $100 and $250.

Hair Wrapping

Volumizing Perms

These perms provide not just curl but also body and volume. Costs can range from $60 to $100, but could be higher if your hair is particularly long or thick.

Root Perms

These perms target only the roots to give your hair a lift, and they usually cost between $40 and $100. They work well for people with flat, limp hair and are cheaper due to the less amount of chemicals used.

Spot, Partial, or Plain Curl Perms

Perfect for those looking to curl only specific parts of their hair, these specialized perms range from $30 to $80. It’s a more economical choice for those who want to experiment with different volumes and curl sizes on particular sections of their hair.

Factors That Can Affect the Overall Price

Location: The Urban Premium

When it comes to beauty services, your location can have a significant impact on how much you’re likely to pay, and perms are no exception. Living in an urban area with a high cost of living can bump up the cost of your perm by as much as 20%.

 For example, if the standard price for a basic alkaline perm in a suburban area is around $80, that same service could cost upwards of $100 in a major city like New York or San Francisco. 

Applying Hair Cream

The elevated costs in urban centers reflect the higher operating costs for salons in those areas, including rent and salaries. It’s always wise to factor in your location when budgeting for a perm.

Stylist’s Expertise: The Price of Perfection

Experience comes at a cost. Stylists with a long history in the business or specialized training can charge a premium for their services, sometimes adding as much as $200 to the base price of a perm. These stylists often have extensive portfolios and a dedicated clientele. 

Their expertise ensures not only the quality of your perm but also the health of your hair. If you have particularly challenging hair or are looking for a very specialized style, investing in a more experienced stylist could be a wise choice, despite the higher upfront cost.

Type of Salon: The Luxury Experience

The ambiance, comfort level, and even the brand of products used can vary significantly from one salon to another, affecting the overall cost of services like perms. Luxury salons offer more than just a perm; they offer an experience. 

From plush chairs to complimentary beverages and high-end hair products, these added comforts can bump up the cost of your perm considerably. Don’t be surprised if a basic perm that costs $70 in a standard salon ends up costing well over $100 in a high-end establishment.

Hair Drying

Hair’s Current Condition: The Hidden Costs

Your hair’s current condition is an often-overlooked factor that can influence the final cost of your perm. If your hair is damaged, dry, or has remnants of previous chemical treatments, your stylist may recommend preconditioning treatments to ensure that your hair can handle the perm. 

These additional treatments could add between $20 to $50 to your final bill. Ignoring the need for such treatments to save money can lead to disappointing results and even damaged hair, necessitating more expensive corrective treatments later on.

A Few Final Considerations

Initial Consultation: An Investment in Getting It Right

Before you make any permanent changes to your hair, it’s usually advisable to book a consultation with a professional stylist. 

During this one-on-one session, which can cost an additional $20 to $50, the stylist will analyze your hair type, and condition, and discuss what you hope to achieve with a perm. 

They can guide you through the various perming methods and styles to find the one that’s best suited to your needs. While this does add to the overall cost, the consultation is a valuable step that can help ensure you’re happy with the end result. 

Hair Rollers

It can also potentially save you money in the long run by preventing a poorly matched perm that you may want to correct later.

Perms for Men and Kids: Broadening the Market

Perms are no longer exclusively a woman’s domain. Men and children are also getting in on the trend, seeking everything from subtle waves to more defined curls. Generally, perms for men and children start at a lower price point, around $30, and can go up to $100. 

The lower starting cost is often because men and kids usually have shorter hair, which requires less time and fewer materials to perm. However, the stylist’s experience and salon’s location can still significantly affect the price.

The State of Your Perm

The cost of getting a perm isn’t just influenced by urban versus rural locations, but can also vary considerably from state to state. For example, in high-cost states like New York or California, a chemical perm can range from $80 to $120. 

This compares to states with a lower cost of living where you might find prices that hover closer to the $45 to $60 range. 

Rolling Hair Perm paper

The geographical price [1] differences can also affect the cost of additional treatments or services you might require, so it’s wise to take your location into account when budgeting for a perm.

The Lifespan of a Perm: Caring for Your Investment

The longevity of your perm can vary based on several factors, including the type of perm, your hair’s natural characteristics, and how well you adhere to post-perm care guidelines. A well-executed and well-maintained perm can last up to 6 months. 

If you’re spending anywhere from $40 to $300 on a perm, it makes sense to take all the steps necessary to prolong its life. How Can I Choose the Best Type of Perm?

How Much is a Perm for Men or Kids?

Perms are not exclusive to women; men and children are increasingly interested in this treatment. For men, the cost usually starts at around $30 for a basic perm and can go up to $100, especially if the desired look is complex. 

Hair rollers attached

Similarly, for children, the price starts at a lower point—around $30—and can go up to $60 or more depending on the style and length of the hair.

Chemical Perms Across States: A Cost Comparison

Chemical perms are among the most commonly chosen methods. The price for these perms can vary depending on geographic location. In states with a high cost of living such as New York and California, expect to pay towards the upper end of the $45 to $120 range. 

Conversely, in states with a lower cost of living, like Mississippi or Indiana, you might find prices closer to the $45 mark. Location-based variations are essential to factor in when budgeting for a perm.

How Long Will a Perm Last?

The longevity of a perm varies, but you can typically expect it to last anywhere from 3 to 6 months. The duration can significantly depend on your aftercare routine and the natural growth rate of your hair. Given that a perm is a somewhat long-term commitment, the initial cost should be weighed against the expected lifespan of the style.

Rollers plug into the machine

Making Your Perm Last Longer: Tips and Tricks

Proper care can extend the life of your perm, thereby offering better value for the money spent. Investing in specific, high-quality hair products designed for permed hair is advised, even if these products come with a slightly higher price tag. 

Sulfate-free shampoos, conditioners for curly hair, and hydrating hair masks can range from $10 to $30 each but can extend the life of your perm by weeks.

The Benefits of Getting a Perm

Perms can dramatically reduce the daily styling time, offering a more “ready-to-go” look. This time-saving can be a significant advantage, translating into economic benefits as you save on other styling products and electrical tools. 

Plus, perms can provide added volume and texture to otherwise limp or fine hair, potentially eliminating the need for other expensive volumizing treatments.


From the type of perm to your stylist’s expertise, numerous factors can affect the final price tag. By understanding the different elements contributing to the cost, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed decision on whether a perm is the right investment for you.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts