What Does a Perm Smell Like: Definitive Answer [2023]

Having a perm can be like riding a rollercoaster – exciting yet slightly nerve-wracking. But for many people, the most memorable part of the experience is the smell. It’s a unique aroma that can be both overwhelming and comforting.

Whether you’ve had a perm recently or you’re considering getting one, understanding what it smells like is important. In this article, we’ll explore the unique scent of a perm and give you tips for reducing the intensity of the smell.

Key Takeaways

  • The distinct smell of a perm is a result of the chemical ingredients used, such as ammonium thioglycolate, sodium hydroxide, and guanidine carbonate.
  • The smell of a perm can vary in intensity depending on the perm solution used and may be overwhelming initially but fades over time.
  • Shampooing the hair after a perm, using a deep conditioning treatment, applying a leave-in conditioner, and using dry shampoo can help reduce the perm smell.
  • Environmental factors, such as heat and humidity, can intensify the perm smell.

The Unique Scent of a Perm

Have you ever wondered what a perm smells like?

With its chemical ingredients and solutions, a perm has a unique scent that can affect your senses.

Let’s talk about what this scent is and how it can affect you.

Chemical Ingredients

You’ll notice a distinct scent of chemical ingredients when you get a perm. The smell is usually a combination of a variety of chemicals, such as ammonium thioglycolate, sodium hydroxide, and guanidine carbonate.

Ammonium thioglycolate is a type of acid that helps break the sulfur bonds in the hair in order to restructure it. Sodium hydroxide, also called lye, helps to further break down the hair structure and make it more malleable. Guanidine carbonate helps to reduce the time a perm needs to stay in the hair in order to be effective.

All of these chemicals come together to give a perm its unique smell. While the smell can be off-putting for some, it’s the key to achieving the desired look.

Perm Solutions

Smelling the combination of ammonium thioglycolate, sodium hydroxide, and guanidine carbonate is part of the perm experience, and it can help you get the beautiful look you desire. Perm solutions are designed to help you achieve your desired style and look.

Here’s what to expect when you opt for a perm:

  • A pungent odor that may last a few minutes or hours
  • Hair that’s more manageable and easier to style
  • Visible curls or waves that last for several weeks

Perms can seem intimidating, but don’t be scared – the results are worth it! With the right perm solution, you can have the locks of your dreams. So, don’t be afraid to take the plunge – you’ll be glad you did.

Smell Effects

Discover the unique scent of a perm as you inhale its pungent odor. The smell of a perm is unmistakable. It’s a combination of chemicals and fragrances that can be quite strong. It’s an odor that you may have experienced before, but it’s still unique to a perm.

Depending on the type of perm solution used, the smell can range from mild to strong. It can be a bit overwhelming at first, but it’s an experience that many people have come to know and love.

After the perm is finished, the smell will start to fade and you’ll be left with a pleasant, fresh scent. The smell of a perm is a reminder of the bond that it creates between you and your hair.

Inhale deeply and let the scent of your perm take you away.

Tips for Reducing the Intensity of the Perm Smell

To reduce the intensity of the perm smell, try the following:

  • Shampoo your hair after the perm is finished. This will help remove any chemical residue on the hair.
  • Use a deep conditioning treatment after the perm to help lock in moisture and reduce the smell.
  • Use a leave-in conditioner before styling to help keep your hair healthy and reduce the perm smell.

In addition, using a dry shampoo on your hair regularly can help absorb excess oils and odors, and a light-scented hairspray can add a nice scent to your hair.

What Contributes to the Perm Smell

You frequently smell the perm due to the presence of harsh chemicals. It’s a combination of sulfur and other thio compounds that make up the distinct odor. These chemicals are used to break and reform the bonds of the hair, giving it the desired curl.

The smell can be quite strong in the salon and can linger for a few days after the perm is complete. It’s also possible to smell the perm when the hair is wet, as the scent of the chemicals is more intense when the hair is damp. The smell can also be worse in certain environments such as a hot, humid room.

Additionally, the smell may last longer if the perm isn’t properly cared for or if the perm is touched up or redone too often. Taking the appropriate steps to reduce the intensity of the perm smell can help make the experience more pleasant.


Though many people may dread the smell of a perm, it doesn’t have to be something to fear. By following the tips mentioned, you’ll be able to reduce the intensity of the smell and enjoy your freshly styled hair.

The truth is, a perm can have a unique scent, but it doesn’t have to be unpleasant. With a little know-how, you can make the experience a pleasant one.