Last Updated on January 2, 2023 by Gaga
Have you recently opted for a perm to give you a head full of long-lasting, beautiful curls that you’ve longed for to add texture and volume to your flat and lifeless hair? Well, perms deliver the promise that you can wash and wear your curls effortlessly, without the need to use multiple styling tools on a daily basis.
However, such intense chemical processing leaves your hair fragile and more porous than normal. That’s why perms require gentle care and specific post-perm hair care products to maintain a healthy look. Make sure to follow aftercare instructions given by your stylist and use hair care products that are made specifically for hair that has undergone the permanent waving procedure.
Guidelines for Fresh Perms
Make sure to treat your perm with extra care during the first few days after the perming session, because perming chemicals continue to form new bonds for two or three days.
Here are some general rules and simple care techniques to prolong the life of your treatment and keep your hair in good condition.
- Refrain from washing and wetting your freshly-treated curls for at least two days. Washing your hair too early may cause the perm to drop before the curls lock in their shape.
- Don’t use a flat iron or other heat styling tools before the first shampoo following the perming service, as this may affect the bond re-forming process. Just chillax as you adjust to your new curls!
- Wait for at least a week after the perming session before swimming in chlorinated water. Keep in mind that chemicals in swimming pools can be very harsh to your perm. Take a swim raincheck!
- Refrain from combing your hair in the first 24 hours. Use your fingers to gently style the hair and twirl the curls around your face.
- Avoid putting your hair in a ponytail or a bun and avoid using hair elastics and tight clips. Leave your hair loose for the first two days after the perm service to help maintain the proper shape of your curls.
Washing Your Hair after Permanent Waving
Once the 48 hours waiting period is over it is safe to wash your hair. Make sure to use a shampoo formulated for chemically treated hair and gently massage your scalp while shampooing.
Always make sure to follow with a good conditioner. A conditioner will make combing easier and infuse your thirsty hair with moisture. Use lukewarm water to rinse the hair and gently blot with a towel to dry.
If your hair suffers from excessive dryness and breakage, incorporate a pre-shampoo treatment into your hair care regimen. This way you’ll prevent tangles and dryness and restore hair elasticity.
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Shampoo and Conditioner for Permed Hair
Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Shampoo replenishes essential moisture to rehydrate dry curly hair. It works great for hair that has undergone a perm or coloring service.
Ouidad’s Curl Quencher Moisturizing Conditioner hydrates dry curls, leaving them softer, and more manageable.
Use your fingers or a smooth-ended, wide-tooth comb to gently detangle your wet hair while it’s covered with the conditioner. Use gentle strokes to avoid breakage because your hair is very fragile after a perming service.
Deep Conditioners for Permed Locks
The perming process can strip your hair of moisture and its natural oils that need to be replenished constantly. A deep conditioning treatment at least twice a month, keeps permed hair from getting excessively dry, strengthens weakened strands, and helps maintain luster.
Argan Oil Hair Mask Treatment by Nature’s Potent (also available at Walmart) uses argan oil, hydrolyzed silk, almond oil, and pro-vitamin B-5 to strengthen and hydrate weak and over-processed hair. This conditioning treatment is highly effective for improving the manageability of permed and naturally curly hair.
Quidad’s Ultra-Nourishing Intense Hydrating Mask is formulated to replenish moisture and nourish hair that needs a little TLC. This treatment uses a blend of natural oils to restore softness, elasticity, and shine to fragile permed locks. It will make your curls bouncy and less prone to frizz.
Leave-in Treatments after Permanent Waving
Alter Ego Nourishing Spa Quench Care Intensive Nutritive Leave-in Conditioner is made to hydrate and protect thirsty chemically stressed hair. It softens your curls and leaves them shiny, frizz-free, and easy to comb.
ORIBE Curl Control Silkening Crème is designed to give definition and softness to your curls while fighting frizz and adding shine. It is formulated with ORIBE Signature Complex, which protects hair from dryness and environmental stress and prevents color fading. This creme has a clean, pleasant smell that lingers in your hair.
Protection from Harsh Weather
Overexposure to sunlight, wind, and chlorine in the swimming pool can dry out permed hair. Rain and snow can flatten the curls and cause your perm to go away faster. Apply gel or styling mousse and pull your hair back in windy weather to prevent your locks from knotting. Don’t forget to take your umbrella when braving the elements of rain, sleet, wind, or snow. Wear a hat when you go out in the sun and use sun protection for hair when sunbathing or swimming.
Porous hair is more prone to frizz and tangles. Before going to bed, wrap your hair up in a satin cloth to protect it from friction when tossing and turning in bed. Consider purchasing a silk or satin pillow to reduce friction and keep your curls intact.
Perms and Coloring
Don’t plan to color your hair before permanent waving. The neutralizing step of the perming procedure can degrade hair color. Also, make sure not to have both treatments all in the same sitting. Two rounds of chemical treatment can be too stressful for your hair and scalp when the treatments are performed in a short period.
Temporary dyes, semi-permanent hair dyes, and color glazes can be applied immediately after the perming service. The cuticle layers of your hair are raised after the perming process, so those coloring and shine-boosting products can penetrate the hair shaft easily.
Many stylists recommend waiting at least two weeks before permanent coloring service to ensure that the perm has fully set in. Also, wait at least 2 weeks after the coloring service to apply the perm solution to your hair. Freshly colored hair needs a few weeks to recover to be able to withstand the permanent waving treatment.
How to Style Permed Hair
It is not advisable to tease permed hair with a brush. Brushing can break up the curls and make them look frizzy and messy. Make sure to style your hair gently to keep your curls attractive for longer.
Let your hair dry naturally whenever possible. If you need to use a hairdryer only blow-dry your hair 85 to 90 percent dry and use a diffuser on low heat. Blow drying can mess up hair and cause split ends.
Avoid straightening your hair with a flat iron. Permanent waves can become frizzy and lose their shape gradually when exposed to heat.
Perm-Friendly Styling Products
Use styling products designed for curly hair to help repel humidity and keep the curls in place. Check the ingredient list to ensure that alcohol is not listed. Alcohol can cause hair to become excessively dry. Also, avoid styling products with silicone as they can weigh your curls down.
Mousses for curly hair will moisturize and protect fragile permed hair, keeping the curls in good shape. These products also help control static and frizz and make curls soft and bouncy.
Hair gels contain moisturizing ingredients that help smooth and define curls. They should be applied to clean towel-dried hair.
Anti-frizz serums help tame frizz and make permed hair appear shinier. Most serums can be applied either on towel-dried or dry hair.
Products known as curl enhancers are used to moisturize hair, tame frizz, and keep your curls in good shape.
Damage Repair Treatments
If your hair suffers from severe damage after the perming service, look for a salon that performs Keraplast Hair Rescue Treatment or carries products that contain Replicine Functional Keratin. This intensive protein treatment is highly effective in repairing perm-damaged hair.
A haircut is recommended after the hair “settles in” to add bounce and to get more defined curls. Don’t wait more than a month after the perm service to get a haircut. Regular trimming (every 4-6 weeks) will prevent split ends and keep your hair more manageable and healthier looking.
Perms give you beautiful, wavy hair for up to 6 months, depending on the product and your aftercare regimen. The tighter curls will generally last longer than bigger ones. When your perm grows out you may want to get it touched up.
Your stylist will suggest the best time to get a touch-up, leaving your hair time to rest between chemical services. If you re-apply perm too soon, you run a risk of damaging your hair.
Gaga is a blogger and founder of the Softer Hair website. She often says that insomnia is to blame for her first blogging attempts. Being the night owl, she hated the morning alarm. She left her office job and returned to what she loved most - writing.