Managing Curls: A Review of Affordable Products for Natural Waves and Processed Perms -

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Managing Curls: A Review of Affordable Products for Natural Waves and Processed Perms

Perm or permanent wave is a hairstyle that uses heat or chemicals to break and reform the cross-linking bonds of the hair structure, leaving the hair curly for quite a while. It has been practiced since 1872 and has undergone a various innovation and advancement through the years.

Tight perms through cold-perming solutions has been sported even before our great grandmothers, but the modernized digital perming was popularized in the Philippines when the Koreanovelas and KPop craze started; thus, there was an influx of women who like to have the same romantic curls like those that they see in the boob tube. Perm is a wash-and-wear hairstyle that frames the face beautifully that’s why I myself is so hooked to those lovely romantic curls (plus my husband lovingly approves of me having my hair permed).

I wrote this article because there were just few blog entries and product reviews to maintain and enhance the perm (also for natural curly hair) that are accessible online and some of those products reviewed; if not available in the market, are way too expensive. And as a practical mother who is into affordable yet quality products, I want to help as much as needed by sharing to you the products that I have tried and tested for you ladies who are having a hard time maintaining those wavy locks.

The products that I will highlight were used for more than a month (some through the years) just to prove their effectiveness. And take note that I bought them all out-of-pocket, not from the manufacturers of the products. I have tried a lot of products both affordable and pricey hair  products designed specifically for permed hair yet I will just talk about the affordable ones that work amazingly like their expensive counterpart…. again for practical reasons.

So to get started I’ll give you a brief background about:

How I Got The Perm: My Perming Solution

The very first time I permed my hair, it took me time to decide whether or not I will have it digitally made or have it cold-processed.  I did some research weighing and knowing the differences between the two and although digital perm is highly-advisable since it has more defined and softer curls, for practicality reasons, I opted for the cheaper alternative.  AND I DID IT MYSELF. I permed my hair for the 4th time now since 2011. The most recent was just last November.

Just to let you know, the big difference between the two is that-cold perm has more defined curls when wet and they become loose when the hair is dried up, while digital perming has loose curls when wet but they become more defined when the hair is dry.

Disclaimer: To be honest, I don’t promote self-service for complicated hair services like cold-perming because you might not like the end result or there might be some other complications like allergic reactions since of course you are not trained. So as much as needed, have it done professionally.

Why I did it myself though is first, I want to cut short the expenses (practical mom as always); second, I prepared myself for whatever the result (either good or bad) and be responsible for my own actions (without blaming anyone in case it didn’t work fine); and third, because I just have the guts to do it on my own (and felt liberated every time I successfully permed my hair).  So seriously ladies, if you want to experiment to do the cold-perm yourself like me, just take responsibility for your actions.

And instead of buying the Pagoda solution that most local salons are using to cold-perm the hair, I came across Monea Clear Perm Water Element (my trusted cold-perming solution) from Watson’s.  I have been using it since then.

this is the perming solution that I used (credits from:

Reasons Why I Stick With Monea Clear Perm Water Element Are:

1.       It is super affordable. You can buy it from Watson’s and other leading department and beauty stores at P185+ per pack (with the combination of the perming and the conditioning solution).
2.       The instructions are easy to follow.
3.       It goes with cloth-like strips that you use to coil in your hair for a better grip with the curlers.
4.       The smell is a bit strong though still milder compared to the ones used by the local salons.
5.       The consistencies of the curls are amazing. For 4 years, I always get the same result of having soft and bouncy curls and they last long.

I used two sets of curlers (one set is big and the other is small) just to have curl dimensions. Before I started, I placed used newspapers and trash bags on the floor so the solution will not directly spill on it while I am applying the solution. I also put a pair of hand gloves to avoid the perming product to have a direct contact on my skin.

Products to Maintain the Curls

Having your hair cold-permed is easy, but the hard part is how you maintain and define the curls. To set an expectation, when you have your hair curled, be aware of your hair’s texture as it becomes frizzy, coarse and dry. That’s why a lot of women regret having their hair permed (and usually have their long curly hair cut after several months or sometimes within a month) because if the tresses are not managed well, it becomes super dry, tangled and damaged.

Shampoo and Conditioner

Curly and permed hair needs a high level of moisture to maintain and improve its manageability, to save yourself from the frizz, and to give shine. So the first thing that you really have to check when buying your shampoo and conditioner is the moisturizing capabilities. And that’s what I‘ve focused when I started checking for products to use.

Human Nature Moisturizing Shampoo

I love Human Nature simply because the products are natural and mostly are sulfate and paraben-free. I ordered Human Nature’s Moisturizing Shampoo in 200 ml to try as soon as I had my hair permed. According to its packaging, it is 96.4% natural and is a great rescue for dry and rough hair.

I chose the Lush Vanilla scent. Based on its claim, it has CREAMFoam technology, which acts like a lotion to soften and nourish your hair. And it contains Philippine coco nectar, amino acids, vitamins and minerals which are great for your tresses.

The first time I used it, I fell in love with the smell. Aside from Vanilla, it somehow reminds me of the bubble gum scent which I like. I have observed that it is mild and gentle. When I lathered my hair and rinsed it, I was expecting a soft feel but I was a bit disappointed when my hair felt rough instead. But when I used the Human Nature Moisturizing Conditioner after the shampoo and had my hair dried up, the result is so wonderful! My curls are super healthy, shiny, soft to touch, light and manageable and that’s why I did not bother put other products for me to enjoy the awesome result.

The only downside that I can think of for this shampoo is, if you are a person who is used to have plenty of bubbles and have this soapy feeling produced when you lather, sad to say that the shampoo doesn’t produce as much bubbles as you expect. Again it is mild and gentle; thus, I have to either have 2-3 large globs of shampoo (since my hair is thick) just for me to have that “feeling” that my hair has been thoroughly cleaned." Because of that, my 200 ml bottle was consumed I guess after 5-6 washes only (but at least I know what to do next to prolong the use). Although, this is just a mild issue that can be tolerated.

these are some of the products I use to maintain and take good care of my perm

Human Nature Moisturizing Conditioner

For the conditioner, I ordered the 200 ml Human Nature Moisturizing Conditioner in Mandarin Fresh. The smell is citrusy (orange) which is so relaxing! I love the rich thick texture of the conditioner. What I usually do is to apply it in my hair, massaging the conditioner in my scalp, adding more into the tips, combing my hair through my fingers just to eliminate the tangles and then leave it on for 3-5 minutes.

And when I rinse it, I can attest to how soft and silky my curls are! I use Human Nature Moisturizing Conditioner whenever I go out of the house because my hair tend to be softer, shinier and my curls are more defined so I just put a little styling cream for the curls to last the whole day. And the smell lasts long!

Palmolive Naturals Intensive Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner

Just like I mentioned earlier, having your hair permed or if you have natural curly or wavy hair, it is best to  invest with shampoos and conditioners that offers intensive moisture. The reason is that, with the reformation of the hair structure due to the chemicals or the heat from perming, the moisture from the scalp is not reaching up to the tips. Many of these moisturizing shampoos and conditioners contain additives and ingredients that effectively smoothen the cuticle layer, sealing in the moisture which your curls badly need and offering definition to the waves.

Palmolive Naturals Intensive Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner is true to its promise. Looking at the back of the bottle, it says “Palmolive researchers have dedicated years in understanding how to combine the latest hair care science with the goodness of natural ingredients and to give effective, high quality products for your every hair need.

The product is rich in moisturizing formula, with extracts of Coco Cream and Milk protein, to hydrate the hair. I use the two (shampoo and conditioner) alternately with Human Nature Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner along with Rejoice Anti- Frizz Shampoo (which will be my next topic).

There are days when I am rushing or sometimes when I am lazy, I just use Palmolive Naturals Intensive Moisture Shampoo without the conditioner and my curls are still luscious, smooth and silky soft. One great perk about it is that, Palmolive Naturals Intensive Moisture and even the Conditioner are very affordable and you can buy even from your favorite sari-sari store nationwide. And the wonderful fragrance truly lasts the entire day so this definitely is a perm must-have.

Rejoice Anti- Frizz Shampoo

Rejoice is known for its tagline of “Mega Salon Smoothness.” The shampoo is loaded with Coconut oil that controls the frizz since that is one of the worst enemies of permed hair aside from tangles and dryness. I use the shampoo alternately in a week with Palmolive Naturals and Human Nature shampoos. You might be wondering why, right?  My hair has this tendency of going dry, lifeless and limp when I stick to only one hair product in a week or so, that’s why I use several products alternately.

Rejoice Anti-Frizz shampoo indeed manages and controls my stubborn frizz and it amazingly leaves my hair healthy looking and shiny so I intentionally use it whenever I go out just like the Human Nature Moisturizing products.

Cream Silk Dry Rescue Conditioner

This is one of my favorite conditioners when it comes to managing my permed hair from tangles, to moisturize the strands and for long-lasting smoothness without coarseness and dryness.

According to the description seen at the back of the bottle, Cream Silk has the Reborn Technology, “a formula with purified ingredients that makes your hair reborn.” It repairs and protects the hair, making it soft and smooth every after wash.

I use this daily, simultaneously with Dove Intense Repair Conditioner (will discuss next) and Human Nature Moisturizing Conditioner. I love the scent and the fact that my hair feels smooth, silky and shiny. It also rescues me from dryness and my curls are tamed whenever I use it.

For only P5+ per sachet that promises moisturized, well-managed curls, will you not buy and use it? This I swear is a great product.

Dove Damage Therapy Intense Repair Conditioner

This conditioner is also another favorite as it is a great damage therapy solution for coarse and dry hair due to extreme hair processes like perming. According to the description, Dove Damage Therapy Intense Repair Conditioner contains Fiber Actives to reconstruct the hair deep inside and also the patented Micro Moisture serum to strengthen and nourish the hair starting from the roots to tips.

I love how my perm looks hydrated and shiny as well as it feels bouncy and light-weight whenever I use it. I normally use this conditioner when I am at home and I don’t need to put styling crème just to let my hair breathe. I like the irresistible feel of my curls after using it. Affordability and availability wise, Dove Damage Therapy Intense Repair Conditioner  is a winner.

The only downside of it is that, when you use the conditioner consistently for how many days, I have observed that it makes my hair flat and limp. Maybe it’s because I have oily hair type so it makes my hair strands feel heavier (maybe it’s just my hair). It also has silicon so for those who are into natural products and are not quite comfortable with chemicals added, then this is not the best product for you.

Styling and Maintenance for Curls

Bench Fix Professional Shape Shifter (Shaping Fiber Crème)

My husband is using the Bench Fix Hairlastic Flexible Fibers for quite a while now and it works just fine for him so knowing that Bench has a wide range of professional hair styling products, I decided to browse one time in Watson’s for something that will work best for my perm. And I came across Bench Fix Professional Shape Shifter (Shaping Fiber Crème) for only P99. And honestly, it seem like I just found a treasure after a hunt! I love the product so much as it gives me the best hold of my permed hair without the feeling of oiliness and stickiness.

What I like about it is that, when you take a dollop of the product and rub it in your palms, it doesn’t leave a sticky feeling in your hands, unlike other hair lotions and mousse that you can’t wait to wash your hands just to get rid of the residue. So sometimes when I am on a rush, after applying it in my palms, I don’t have to wash it off and worry about the sticky feeling.

And true to its claim, the Shaping Fiber Crème defines and enhances my waves every after the application and my perm has a great hold which lasts the whole day. My curls are still light-weight and bouncy, unlike other mousse products which make my hair heavy.  The fragrance is also like a burst of sunshine! It smells amazing and is long-lasting.

As for the application, I usually put this product when my hair is still damp. I have my head down so the waves our tumbling upside down. With the dollop of Bench Fix Professional Shape Shifter (Shaping Fiber Crème), I crimp them thoroughly until the entire of my hair has the crème. And when I come up, voila! Well-defined waves cascade in my shoulders beautifully.

Monea Salon Professional Series Curl Defining Milk Hair Lotion

This is the perm hair product that I have been using for years now. I have been faithful to it since I have tested its effectiveness when it comes to taming the frizz, defining my waves, and in managing the texture and volume. I love the smooth, light-weight shiny finish plus, the perming solution that I used is of the same brand.

Monea Salon Professional Series Curl Defining Milk Hair Lotion is available at Watson’s, SM Department Store and other leading department store at P99 so it is super affordable compared to the other mousse specifically for curly/wavy hair.

When it comes to styling my perm, especially during special occasions where I want a fuller, curlier finish, I put Bench Fix Professional Shape Shifter (Shaping Fiber Crème) first for a great hold and to define the shape of each curly strand. After which, I apply a generous amount of Monea Salon Professional Series Curl Defining Milk Hair Lotion for a smoother, shinier and more manageable result.

But if it is just for a daily basis, I just put Monea Salon Professional Series Curl Defining Milk Hair Lotion alone which still gives a wonderful finish.

Natural Coconut Oil

I wrote an article entitled: 15 Natural Home Remedies for Health and Beauty and I had discussed the benefits of coconut oil especially for the hair and the scalp.

“Coconut oil according to research is the only natural oil that that reduces protein loss; thus, highly recommended for a healthier hair and scalp. Coconut oil is also a wonderful organic remedy for hair damage and breakage. Coconut oil is known to be able to penetrate the hair better than any other natural oils. “

I use coconut oil as an intensive hair mask treatment every other day or sometimes 2x a week to tame the frizz and to have a longer, healthier and tangle-free curly mane. I bought a bottle of natural coconut oil from our local wet market sold only for P20 and I swear that it really is a good investment especially if you are into organic and natural ingredients for your curly hair.

What I do is to pour a generous amount of coconut oil in my palms, rub and gently massage my scalp with and then spread it entirely to my hair up to the tips. I make sure that I put more on the permed part to moisturize it. I sleep with the oil in my hair overnight (I recommend that you use a shower cap) and when I wake up, I love the silky, shiny and smooth feel of my waves. Coconut oil intensely repairs the coarseness, dryness and damage caused by the chemicals from the perming solution and it adds moisture.

The only downside of it is that, if you are not comfortable with the sweet coconut smell (like having coconut cookies in your head) then you really have to bear with it. Other than that, I would recommend that you do this natural hair mask using coconut oil rather than the ones sold commercially with chemicals loaded already.

Human Nature Sunflower Oil

I believe this is the third time that I will highlight Human Nature Sunflower Oil as my “not-so-secret” beauty product because of its affordability, effectiveness and versatility. I first mentioned Human Nature Sunflower Oil as one of the best products I have used ever since I laid my hands on it. I used the sunflower oil to lighten my stretch marks and underarms which are aftermath of my pregnancy. It worked wonders too in treating and eliminating my chicken pox(shingle) scars way back June of this year.

Sunflower oil is a potent source of lecithin, carotenoids, tocopherols and appreciable quantities of vitamins A, D and E which is easily is absorbed by the skin and the scalp that’s why I am also using it as my leave-on conditioner to tame the frizz and to manage my rebellious curls. It is gentle and light-weight so it doesn’t leave a sticky, oily feeling when I apply it entirely in my hair.

Whenever I go out and think that it will take hours, I bring with me my Human Nature Sunflower Oil to rescue me from frizzy and dry hair. There were issues of spillage so I normally put the oil in a smaller bottle or decanter to prevent it from happening and to save room, too. Other than that, I surely would recommend that you invest with this amazing product of Human Nature.

before styling - looks untamed and the curls are loose (just use shampoo and conditioner) 
after styling with the products I have discussed definitely define the curls

And so to sum it up, again my intention is to help you guys with your perm (digital or cold-processed) as well as your natural waves to be enhanced, defined and maintained through proper selections of products that are definitely affordable and readily available over-the-counter. I know how it feels to maintain the curls, especially the effort of making it shiny, healthy, tangle free and moisturized so to save you from investing a huge chunk of money with products that has a more affordable counterpart, then I suggest that you give all the products I have mentioned a try.

Just a head’s up, they might work well with my hair type (I have medium-to-oily hair type) but may not work with you so just like what I normally do, don’t buy the bottle if you are just testing but buy them first in sachets (I’m talking about the shampoos and conditioners) to save money. Also, I recommend that you do a skin test first to check for any allergic reactions.

More importantly, have a treatment maybe 2x or 3x a month to lock and maintain the moisture of your hair. Sometimes shampoo, conditioner and leave-on is not enough, you also need to have either a hot oil (which you can do at home) or a hair mask just to have a healthy scalp and hair. Don’t forget to crimp, Crimp, CRIMP as it does magic to define your amazing curls!

styled and crimped!!

And lastly, every perm and natural curly hair is different from each other. Try to experiment with how you can enhance your lovely curls more. You can watch YouTube clips to get a ton of advice from other v-loggers or read articles on how they maintain and take good care of their permed hair and then formulate your own. Knowing and having your own hair routine and maintenance is the ideal way of bringing out the best of those lovely, sexy curls. So toss that hair and let it frame you amazingly!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Pwede bang i-perm ulit kahit kakaperm lang? Uulitin lng sana ung process kasi medyo straight pa dn ung ibang hair.

  3. Pwede bang ulitin ung perm kahit kaka- perm lang? Medyo straight pa rin kasi ung ibang part ng hair

    1. Most salons naman allow na ulitin ang service pag may sablay pa but you can ask the salon where you had it done to check if they do that.

  4. Hi! Pwede po ba i-perm ang rebonded hair?

    1. Hello! Based on some studies, pwede naman daw but with precaution.

      Read this,

  5. Kung lampas po ng balikat ung buhok ko ilan po ung kailangan kong bilin po? Saka ano po ung marerecommend nyong diameter ng tod if gusto ko lng po mgkavolume ung hair ko?

  6. Kung lampas po ng balikat ung buhok ko ilan po ung kailangan kong bilin po? Saka ano po ung marerecommend nyong diameter ng tod if gusto ko lng po mgkavolume ung hair ko?


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