Cold Wave Perm | Perm Rods to get Beautiful Perms with Waves

Many people tend to get bored of their hairstyles very frequently. Perms are a boon for people who are ready to experience such bold changes in their hair texture.

It adds volume to one’s limp and flat hair. In order to let go of the non-industrious and boring hair and substitute it with the luscious, curly, and dramatic one, cold wave perm has been unearthed.

Cold wave perm is a perming technique that does not undergo heating treatment. The cold wave was invented by Arnold F. Willatt in the year 1938. The hair was to be wrapped around rods followed by the application of a reduction lotion containing ammonium thioglycolate.

What is a Cold Wave Perm

Cold Wave Perm is a hair perming technique whereby the dry hair is sectioned, wrapped and curled around a plastic rod.

Cold wave perm is a hair perming technique that has been reputed in the salons of the Philippines and many other countries. This solution is different from that used in the process of hot wave perms.

In the case of cold wave perm, the rods used are plastic curlers that produce kinky curls that are more defined in wet hair. Cold wave perm is comparatively cheaper than digital perm and the curls produced are smaller and more natural.

Cold Wave Perm Rods

Cold Wave Perm Rods

Cold wave perm rods are quite different from hot perm rods. Cold wave rods elongate one’s hair with limited access to heat.

The choice of the rod is absolutely at the owner’s discretion. It depends upon the size and texture of the curls, and which size of the rod has to be used.

How to do a Cold Wave Perm

In the olden days, women used to set their perms with the help of wooden curlers. In the present era, there are enough tools to add perms to one’s hair. Cold wave perm differs from modern perm in heating treatment.

In the case of cold wave perm, no heat is provided to one’s hair. This is one of the reasons people find it easy to perform cold wave perm at home.


Hair has to be washed by applying an adequate amount of shampoo in order to let go of any dirt, greasiness or oil present in the hair. Performing the perm on clean hair helps to get the perm in the best way.


The hair has to be pinned around the heat rods. Hair has to be secured around the curlers. It must be ensured that all the segments of hair have been curled and secured in a proper direction.

Perm Solution

It is time for the application of the thioglycolic acid lotion (perm solution) to the hair for enabling the hair to take the shape of the curlers. The function of the perm solution is to break the protein chains of the hair as a consequence of which, the hair undergoes changes in shape.


Adequate time has to be provided to the hair to absorb the shape of the curls and the chemicals from the lotion. After ten minutes of rest, it has to be rinsed making sure the proper elimination of the perm solution.


The second chemical is the neutralizing lotion is to be applied that functions as a cross-link of the solution that helps hair take the shape of the curlers.

Removal of rods

The rods have to be removed after around five to six minutes and hair has to be washed through cold water.

Cold Wave Perm for Black Hair

Cold Wave Perm for Black Hair

Perms are chosen based on hair quality, texture and length. Black hair may be curly, kinky or wavy or even a combination of so many textures.

People often try attempting a cold wave perm when they want their hair to relax in order to maintain a straight hairstyle. One must find out a hairstylist who is well-versed in black hair.

Perms usually contribute to dryness and frizz of the hair naturally so in the case of such hair, extra moisturizing must be done. This step is taken before the application of the neutralizer as the hair shaft is open in order to receive moisture.

Precautions after Cold Wave Perm

Getting a perm may feel easier but maintaining it can be a difficult task. Certain factors must be considered before and after receiving the cold wave perm.

One must be ready for a lot more investments in hair products including after perm serums and conditioners and sulfate-free shampoos.

Precautions after Cold Wave Perm
  1. The hair must not be washed through a shampoo 48 hours before receiving the perm.
  2. A lot of moisturizing must be done in order to sustain the moisture present in the hair. Hydrating shampoos and moisturizers must be used.
  3. It is advisable to wear a silk scarf to bed so as to avoid any sort of reshaping or damage.
  4. Cold wave perms are high-maintenance perms.
  5. The use of curlers and straighteners must be avoided.
  6. The hair must not be brushed or combed hard, especially in the beginning days after the perm.
  7. The hair must be left in its shape rather than wrapping it frequently in ponytails, braids, or buns. This will result in losing shape.
  8. Getting frequent perms will result in hair damage.
  9. No alcohol products must be used for the hair in order to avoid frizz.
  10. Necessary tips and product recommendations must be taken from the stylist.
  11. The shampoo to be used must be sulfate free.

If the perm has not been done in a proper way, it will result in extreme hair loss and fragile hair. It is because of the breakage of the disulfide bonds through chemical reduction.

The hair shafts get fractured and may even lead to temporary hair loss. Therefore, one must make sure that the entire process has been performed carefully.

Cold Wave Hair Vs Digital Perm

Let’s see which is better between Digital Perm and Cold Wave Perm. The digital perming technique is a procedure of curling where both chemical restructuring and heating treatment are performed. 

The process begins with the sectioning of hair followed by the application of the perm solution, it breaks the chemical structure of the hair.

Each segment is to be rolled and wrapped around curlers set to a machine. It is left to be set at various lengths and kinds. The second set of chemicals is applied and the rods are removed.

Digital perming results in soft and big curls that are more defined when the hair is dry, unlike cold wave perm. Digital perms use extreme heat which is a reason why not all kinds of perms can be performed following this procedure.

They are more expensive than cold wave perm and take a long time as well. Producing more natural curls, the hair becomes soft and shiny as well. Digital perms are ideal for Asian hair.

On the contrary, cold wave perms do not include any heating treatment in their procedure. They are not as expensive as digital perms and are more defined in wet hair. The rods are quite different from the hot perm rods.

Cold Wave Perm Products

Products required for a cold wave perm include perm rods, chemical solution, neutralizer, and other necessary products to perform the perm.

Heating rods are not required in the process due to which it is comparatively safer for one’s hair. Some popular Cold wave products are as follows.


Cold wave perms are comparatively safer than hot perms. Heating treatment results in frizz and damaged cuticles followed by extremely delicate strands. Not only this, cold wave perm requires lesser time as compared to digital perm and is lesser expensive too.

However, it may last for around three to six months only and the solution employed in the process includes chemicals responsible for fractured and fragile hair.