A perm is a chemical treatment that curls your hair. Get a perm today and you'll still have curly hair next month!
The word perm is shorthand for permanent wave. The earliest versions of perms were used on wigs, since the chemicals were too harsh for the human scalp. As the technique progressed, it briefly included electric heat and spools for winding the hair. Today's perms use chemicals and curlers — and nearly identical chemicals are used to straighten or relax curly hair. While perms were extremely popular in the 1980s, you don't see many people with perms today.