The curly perm for black hair became popular in the 1970s as an alternative to existing chemical hair processes that straightened hair. The idea behind the curly perm was to allow the wearer a way to change the texture of the hair without needing time-consuming daily styling. The Jheri Curl, named after the product's inventor, Jheri Redding, involved a two-step process that removed the natural curl pattern of the hair and used a reshaping lotion to create a new permanent wave pattern. The result required minimal home maintenance by the wearer and styles were accomplished with the use of appropriate moisturizing lotions. This was not like store-bought home permanent kits because it had to be done by a stylist. The Jheri Curl and similar products included ammonium thioglycolate as a primary ingredient and required various maintenance products that the user needed to apply.
More modern versions of the curly perm for black hair may be less damaging because different application processes are used. Further, the natural curl pattern of the hair is loosened, not completely removed. Such processes allow the wearer to add manageability to black hair.Learn more about Chemical Hair Treatments