5 Best Thio-Free Perms (For Normal & Treated Hair)

best thio free perms

Are thio free perms the best choice to prevent dryness and breakage from perming?

Whether you have virgin or chemically treated hair, getting a perm always involves some degree of hair damage. Typically, choosing a specific type of perm solution decides how much your mane will suffer.

Some time ago, the American Board of Certified Hair Colorists recommended thio free perms for less hair damage.

If you are someone who hates the traditional bad-smelling thio and ammonia perms, a thio-free perm solution is a big yes because it smells okay.

Further, your hair is less likely to suffer damage if you choose the right thio-free perm.

Below, I have reviewed some of the best thio-free perm solutions and the results they produce. So, let’s dive in!

Why The Thio-Free Perms But Not Traditional Ones?

The basic perm solution contains a reducing agent that works to break the disulfide bonds in the hair strands. Most of the perms in the market have thio salts as the main ingredient.

These thio perms swell the hair cuticle, which is likely to cause dryness and breakage after the hair perming.

Some brands have replaced thio with alternative reducing agents like cysteamine, which has proved less damaging.

Also, ammonia and thio-free perms don’t smell like rotten eggs, which is likely the case with traditional perm solutions.

You should consider what type of curls you want before opting for a thio-free perm.

It is because most of these thio-free waving solutions are gentle and don’t produce tighter ringlets.

In the following, I have listed some of the best thio free perms from different brands, covering all your needs. A few of these solutions are even relatively safe for bleached or color-treated hair.

Which One Is The Best Thio-Free Perm?

Zotos Hair Texture EFX Perm and ISO options 1 and 2 are the most famous and widely used thio-free perms. I have reviewed them and a few others further down this article.

While waving your hair with the thio-free solution, it is recommended to employ larger diameter Flexi rods to produce softer curls.

1. Zotos Hair Texture EFX Perms

Zotos Professionals is a renowned brand for its high-quality perm kits. They produce different perm solutions, serving the needs of every client.

Zotos has two thio free perms. They produce soft curls and last a bit less than the thio or ammonia perm.

If you are looking for a thio-free perm that is gentle and doesn’t smell odd, Zotos Hair Texture EFX Normal & Resistant Perm is big yes!

What Does This perm kit has to offer you?

  • It’s thio-free
  • This thio-free waving formula employs cysteamine as the main ingredient.
  • You will not have to suffer the bad smell from perm.
  • It generates soft waves.
  • Texture EFX perm lasts a month less than a usual perm.

The second thio-free perm Zotos has to offer is for color-treated hair. It is gentle with no bad smell. 

This perm solution will take five or fewer minutes to produce soft waves on your colored hair. It is because your manes are more porous due to the color treatment. 

Zotos Texture EFX Perm For Color Treated Hair has the following things to offer:

  • It is an easy home perm.
  • Gentle on hair 
  • Thio-free
  • No bad-smelling odor
  • It lasts 3-4 months
  • Softer curls

2. ISO Option 1 Thio-Free Perm

ISO Option 1 is specifically designed for weak, thin, color, or permed hair. It has a good reputation among thio-free perms and has won awards for Stylist Choice for Permanent Waving. 

It doesn’t swell hair cuticle as the thio perms. It has the following standing points.

  • It is Thio-Free, which means lesser hair damage.
  • This perm does not smell bad.
  • It is easy to use at home and gets you a salon-finish look.
  • Perm kit helps you get not very tight but good curls that look exquisite.
  • The perm solution is gentle, and you attain smooth and shiny hair curls as your final look, just like the manes you get with olaplex perm.
  • It may not last long as usual perms.
  • Personally tested

The product is affordable with a lot of reputation among customers. However, it might not get you perfect curls if you have thick and strong hair.

3. True Cystem Acid Perm

There aren’t many thio-free perms available only because the idea of replacing thioglycolate salts with a gentler alternative is new. 

The true cystem waving solution is both thio and ammonia-free. It has a self-balancing formula, which makes it a perfect option for normal and chemically treated hair. 

True cystem perm isn’t available at amazon. However, you might find it at the beauty shop store. 

This thio-free perm has the following features that may interest you:

  • Ammonia-free
  • Thio-free
  • No bad-smelling odor 
  • Relatively gentle
  • Recommended if you have highlighted hair.
  • Doesn’t swell the cuticle
  • No extra dryness and breakage

4. K-PAK Thio-Free Waving Solution

K-Pak perm has a similar composition to the true cystem. However, it has a few extra pros and is more widely used.

JOICO, a famous brand for hair products, offers the K-Pak perm. While the manufacturer claims this thio-free perm to be entirely damage-free, it will cause some degree of dryness.

This perm has a potent reconstructor formula, which means it rebuilds the disulfide bonds better than most other chemical hair-waving options.

K-Pak perm is also ammonia free and doesn’t smell.

According to some reviews, this perm works well for bleached hair. However, it will take less time to generate curls than it takes for virgin hair.

Wrapping Up

Thio-free perms are reported to cause less dryness and breakage than thio or ammonia ones because they don’t swell the hair cuticle much. According to my personal experience, Zotos Hair Texture EFX and ISO option 1 perms are the best thio-free perms available online.

Products on this page are independently selected and reviewed. We may earn a commission if you buy through our affiliate links.