How To Perm Short Hair Without Rollers? [2 Methods EXPLAINED]

The perming process dates back to 1872 when rollers were designed as hanging chandeliers and powered by electricity. Over the years, a lot has changed. We are no longer inclined to use rollers to perm hair.

Did you know that you can perm hair as short as 2 inches long without rollers?

In this article, we will discuss and explore two of the most popular and effective methods that you can use to perm short hair without rollers.

  1. French braid technique
  2. Twist and curl technique

1. French Braid Technique

The French braid method is a versatile way of doing a perm on short hair without rollers. It is particularly advantageous for short hair as it helps curl sections of the hair that may be too short to wrap around rollers.

Required Items:

  • Perming kit that is best suited for your hair type
  • Warm water
  • Cotton band
  • Plastic cap or paper
  • Towel
  • Rat tail comb

Process [Step by Step]

  1. Choose your desired braid pattern. The pattern of the braids will determine the style of your curls.
  2. Part the hair in rows using a rat tail comb. The direction of the partings depends on your desired style and you can part your hair from front to back, left to right, or vice versa. You could also part your hair from top to bottom. The thinner the partings, the smaller the diameter of the curls.
  3. Install the French braid on each parted row. Tight braids will create tight curls. Loose braids create loose curls.
  4. Place a cotton band around the hairline to protect your face and skin from coming into contact with the perming solution.
  5. Using the nozzle of your perming solution bottle, squeeze the solution into the braids. Apply the solution on all sides of the braid, top, bottom, and sides, and ensure that the braids are well-saturated.
  6. Cover your hair with a plastic cap or plastic paper.
  7. Do a test curl by unraveling the end of the braid slightly after every 5 minutes to prevent the risk of overprocessing. Different hair textures and hair types will process differently. For instance, fine hair will process faster than coarse or grey hair.
  8. Once you notice the hair has formed a curl, rinse off the perming solution with lukewarm water. Allow water to run through the braids for around 5 minutes.
  9. Dab the hair with a towel to remove excess water. You can also air dry.
  10. Apply the neutralizer on the braids ensuring all areas are well saturated. Leave the neutralizer for 5 minutes.
  11. Rinse the hair with lukewarm water.
  12. Unravel the braids gently to avoid ruining the curls.
  13. Apply some more neutralizer on the hair and leave it for 5 minutes.
  14. Rinse the hair with lukewarm water.
  15. You can use a hair drier or air dry the hair.
  16. Style your curled hair as desired.
Perm Short Hair Using French Braid Technique


Avoid securing the ends of your French braids with hair pins when doing a perm. Metal may react with the perming solution.

Avoid doing the braids too tight. It could cause hair breakage or traction hair loss.

2. Twist and Curl Technique

The twist and curl technique is an effective and easy way to perm short hair without using rollers. The hair forms elongated curls from the twists. Elongated curls give hair more length making it very suitable when perming short hair.

Required Items:

  • Perming kit that is best suited for your hair type
  • Warm water
  • Cotton band
  • Plastic cap or paper
  • Towel
  • Rat tail comb
  • Styling cream

Process [Step by Step]

  1. Part the hair into your desired sections. Large sections will produce thick curls. Small hair sections create curls with a smaller diameter.
  2. Detangle each section and apply a styling cream to hold the hair in place when twisting.
  3. Twist the hair in two-strand twists.
  4. Cover the edges of your hair with a cotton band to protect your eyes, face, and skin from coming into contact with the perming solution.
  5. Apply the perming solution following the instructions on the kit.
  6. Ensure that all sections soak from the root to the tip of the hair.
  7. Wear a plastic cap or a plastic paper
  8. Do a test curl after every 5 minutes by unraveling one of the twisted sections. The hai forms an s-shape when processed.
  9. Rinse the hair in lukewarm water.
  10. Use a towel to dry the hair or air dry it. The neutralizer penetrates better when the hair has less water on it.
  11. Apply neutralizer an all sections. Ensure that the hair is soaked. Let it stay for 5 minutes.
  12. Untwist the hair gently, apply the neutralizer again, and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  13. Rinse the hair with lukewarm water.
  14. Air dry the hair and style it as desired.
Perm Short Hair Using Twist and Curl Technique


While installing twists, avoid too much tension on the hair. It could cause traction alopecia and hair breakage.

Final Words:

The French braid and the twist and curl technique are great alternatives to rollers that create absolute curls on your short hair. These perming methods can be done at home.  

Curls on short hair last about 3-4 months and fade away as your hair grows out. How you maintain your short hair also determines how long the curls last.