What effects does it have?

What is it?

A salon treatment using chemicals to permanently cause hair to curl.

It's also known as Permanent hair waving.

How long does it last?

The effects last for several months.

More information

Hair is made from keratin proteins. These keratin proteins are held into shape by chemical bonds.

These bonds can be broken if a chemical (normally thioglycolate) are applied to the hair, allowing the hair to be moved into new shapes like curls or waves by wrapping it around rollers. Another chemical can then be applied to the hair (normally hydrogen peroxide) that reforms the bonds, fixing the hair in the new position 1.

To speed up this process, some hairdressers will use a “drying hood” which produces heat which encourages the chemical reaction.

An alternative to chemical curling is to break the chemical bonds by hair curling using heat. This is much more of a temporary solution as it will generally only last a few days or until the hair becomes wet.

While called permanent hair curling, the effects will only last for a few months, and you will have to return to the salon to have the treatment reapplied at this point.

Prices for permanent hair curling range from £40-100. Different shapes of wave or curl require different amounts of work, affecting the price.


  1. 1 Peacock, Libby (2005) Good Hair, New Holland Publishers, London.

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Page last updated: August 2017