How To Wind a Spiral Perm Rod

Unlike a regular perm rod that is meant to add body to hair, a spiral rod can give corkscrew-type curls to it. The rod is a special long, flexible tool with locks for securing the ends to each other, with the width of the rod establishing the size of the curl. Thin rods are ideal for creating compact curls or for short, hard-to-curl hair, while thick rods add more body waves. While a spiral perm can be a tedious exercise that can last for two hours, it can save you money compared to going to a professional hairdresser.

Here are the steps to winding a spiral perm rod:

  • Wash the hair. This is to prepare it for the spiral process. Shampoo and condition, rinse, towel dry then comb the hair to remove dirt and tangles. Remoisten the hair for the procedure.
  • Separate the hair into nine square parts. There should be three at the front, three at the pack and three in the middle. This step will allow you to determine if you have an adequate supply of perm rods. Secure the rest of the hair that’s not being treated at the moment to allow you to focus on one section at a time.
  • Begin at the center of the back part. Take an inch-wide lock of hair and secure the rest to keep it out of the way. Use pins or claw clips to hold the hair in place.
  • Wind the lock of hair around the perm rod. Cover the hair ends with perm paper first. Hold the rod at an angle to the scalp then start from an inch from the butt end of the rod and wrap the hair around until you arrive at the scalp. Work slowly and keep the hair at an angle to assure equal curl measurements while avoiding any loose strands. Close the perm rod after you reach the scalp.
  • Repeat the process with the rest of the hair section. Unclip each succeeding lock before winding it. After you finish with the section, continue up the center until you reach the center front. Notice that by working your way up the scalp, the wound-up sections of hair hang down and stay out of your way.
  • Continue to work the side parts. Moisten the hair with a spray gun at regular intervals at the spiral process requires damp hair to work.

Obey the perm instructions when doing a spiral perm yourself, taking special note of the time needed for different hair types and different levels of curliness. After the perm is done, carefully unplug the perm rods without pulling the hair then rinse each lock and smear neutralizing lotion on it to set the curls. Don’t proceed with the spiral perm if the hair is fragile, dyed or damaged; also, long hair is usually too much for standard perm rods and perm kits. You may need a professional stylist to handle such special cases. Finally, don’t wash your hair for three days after the curling process, and avoid putting on coloring chemicals for a full week.


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