When we think of Korean perms, most of us may have related it to tight coils or the short curls you see on Ajummas (Korean aunties).
Sure, “permed hair” is basically the opposite of pin-straight hair, but there’s actually a range of waves and curly hair in the repertoire. Remember seeing our favourite Korean stars and idols on screens with loose curls and waves?
Korean perms with S-curls or C-curls were all the rage years back and it’s clear that the trend isn’t going anywhere. Recently, the umbrella term used for coveted, trending Korean perms is a “relaxed look”. Think natural waves that give you a slimmer visage and a youthful charm.
Another reason why it’s so loved? Korean perms are low-maintenance, an effortless way to look stylish 24/7, and prone to make you stand out from any crowd. #Lazygirlhairstyles, anyone?
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If you’re searching for a hair salon to grant you a stylish Korean perm, check out this article with a list of Korean hair salons in Malaysia to visit for K-pop hairstyles!
What’s the deal with a Korean perm?
Perfect for those who want full, voluminous tresses, a Korean perm helps to create soft, loose waves in the hair and is often used to add volume and texture to limp or straight hair.
This treatment usually involves using a chemical solution on the hair before wrapping it with rods or rollers and setting it with heat.
There are several types of Korean perms available, but they’re all easy to maintain regardless of which you’ve chosen to go with. Whether it’s loose C-curls or defined S-curls, your hairstylist should be recommending either digital or ceramic perm techniques to achieve these trending wavy styles.
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It looks natural, hardly requires any styling effort, and is incredibly popular amongst those with a hectic schedule.
Plus, it’s a great investment! Think about the money you’ll save on styling tools and products, not to mention the damage your hair won’t be receiving from frequent, additional heat.
What about a “relaxed” Korean perm?
A “relaxed” Korean perm is defined by how loose and fluffy the curls are — it’s lighter, three-dimensional, and has a tad volume that’s not overdoing it.
Casual and almost like a French perm, these vertical loose curls emanate a lazy, messy vibe that’ll make you look like an unbothered fairy. What’s more, this type of Korean perm is usually paired with a layered cut that will match your face shape.
This permed look is also very versatile and goes well with any type of bangs! However, make sure you discuss the length of your bangs and type of curl with your stylist to see what can help bring out your features better.
How long does a Korean perm last?
It really depends on your hair type, maintenance routine, and type of Korean perm done. For the most part, a Korean perm that’s done by professional hairstylists can last for three to six months and even 10 months or more with proper care!
However, neglecting haircare for your permed locks can lead to breakage and frizzy hair which will drastically reduce the lifespan of your perm.
So before you get a perm make sure you have all the right and necessary products to maintain it!
Related read: 8 smart tips on how to take care of digital perm hair
9 trending Korean perms to spruce up your look!
Known as the haircut that beautifully contours the face, a hush cut can either add volume to those with flat tresses or reduce weight for those with thick hair.
Combine that with a perm and you get a feathery, three-dimensional hairstyle that looks both light and dense at the same time.
Made popular by K-pop idol IU, the bonnie perm features C-curls on the back and S-curls on the side on a short to medium haircut.
It can also be achieved with just C-curls and makes anyone look younger than they are!
Hippie perm (Jelly perm)
Also known as a jelly perm, this perm style is a nod to the big hair trend in the ’80s. Think of it as a relaxed version of a wide, bouncy perm and with smaller curls.
Whether you prefer tighter coils or more natural “I woke up like this” curls, the hippie perm gives a sense of liveliness to your overall look.
Sitting on the less curly end of the spectrum, a paper perm is all about strategically curved layers and the look of a thicker mane.
Light and casual, the curved strands framing your face will give the illusion of a slimmer face. Meanwhile, the layered design at the end of your hair helps to elongate the face shape, especially if you’ve short hair.
If you have a short, round, or square face, the paper perm is a must-try for an edgier look!
Can’t decide between keeping your long hair or snipping it off for a more youthful look? Go for the middle ground of a wolf cut and butterfly cut — party in the front and back!
The jellyfish perm gives the illusion of shorter locks from the front with the top section of the hair styled in short layers. Meanwhile, the bottom layer of the hair will be longer and textured.
Plus, with waves added into the mix, the difference in hair lengths won’t be so stark or abrupt.
Chic and with a more mature (but not ancient) vibe, the sand perm works well with all sorts of fringes, hair colour, and face shapes.
It’s one of the most popular perm styles in Korea and features lightly layered hair with soft waves billowing down, kind of like a relaxed beach wave perm.
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Best for those with short hair or who are looking for a change in their style with short hairstyles, a wind perm immortalises the wind-in-my-hair look.
A highly popular option in Korea and also trending on Xiaohongshu, the wind perm can also be described as an airy bob that adds volume to the hair roots while having faint layers at the ends.
We’d recommend pairing this Korean perm with airy or curtain bangs for either a cutesy or elegant look.
This trending Korean perm gained traction for its natural and elegant look that transforms anyone into a goddess.
Characterised by longer curtain bangs and soft and seamless curls, the Elizabeth perm can instantly add volume to your hair while tastefully accentuating your face.
Magic straight perm
Also known as a magic setting perm, this perm technique doesn’t actually give you curls or waves. Instead, it gets rid of frizzy hair and gives you the silky-smooth locks you see in a lot of K-pop celebrities and product commercials.
Although, you can, however, still get the smooth hair texture with some volume and curls if you wish to.
Feature image credit: @jameson_hintsalonsg/TikTok, @momo.in.toronto/TikTok, @oollolll___001/Instagram