Styling Permed Hair: Can You Flat-Iron, Curl, or Braid Your Permed Hair?

Perm, is that buzzword from the past that conjures images of gigantic curly hair full of frizz and pizzazz. But more recently, this buzzword has been making a comeback as a new and improved hair trend. From upgraded techniques that cause less damage to the ability to create softer, more natural-looking curls, perms are making waves across all hair platforms as the next best option for your style.

One of the most common reasons for getting permanent waves is to save the time you need to style your hair in the morning. Perms eliminate the need for using hot styling tools, making your morning routine much simpler. Since perm is a chemical treatment, there are some do’s and don’ts when styling your hair.  So, let’s get into the dos and don’ts of styling them, why you may or may not want a perm and some common dilemmas about styling your permed hair with hairstylist Andrea Haynes @babehairxo.  

Cute young student girl with permed hair

How do You Style a Permed Hair in the First 48 Hours?

“What’s the best style post perm within the first 48 hours? Nothing. It’s best for the first 2-3 days to let your hair rest, meaning, no putting it up, tying it back, or styling it at all. In fact, you’ll even need to wait to get it wet” Andrea explains. “A perm is a chemical process that breaks down strong, natural bonds in the hair and reforms them to the shape of the rod used.”

What’s the Best Method for Styling Permed Hair in the Morning?

“Moisture. Keeping your new curls moisturized is the best way to style them day in and day out whether it’s morning or night. Invest in conditioning treatments and oils that saturate hair without leaving it greasy”, says Andrea. “If your hair is a bit wild in the morning, use a refresher spray that moisturizes better than water. Water is good too, but once it evaporates, your hair can be left frizzy. Finishes it off while it’s still damp with a mouse that does not contain alcohol” recommends Andrea.

Cute girl with permed hair outdoor

Can You Brush Your Hair After a Perm?

As counter-intuitive as it seems, brushing your perm is not the best way to encourage a soft curl pattern. “To avoid frizz and get the best from your curls, use your fingers to lightly divide pieces. You can also use a very wide-tooth comb to gently piece apart the individual curls” recommends Andrea.

“To impact the health of your curls the most though, think anti-frizz. To achieve less frizz, get a silk cap to sleep in at night. This reduces the friction between your hair and the fabric over the pillow you sleep on. It also reduces your need to brush your hair in the morning.” 

Cute girl with permed hair wearing a red dress

Can You Straighten Permed Hair with a Flat Iron?

According to Andrea, you should avoid heat straightening. “This is highly not recommended, for a few reasons. When the hair is permed, the core bonds are broken and then reformed. But it leaves your permed hair in a more sensitive state. Sometimes you’ll experience dryness, and you’ll need to increase the moisture in your hair-care routine. Flat ironing can only increase the dryness and high heat can damage the sensitive reformed bonds.

If you do decide to flat iron it, make sure to prep the hair with a cream-based, thick heat protectant. Don’t use a high heat setting, but slowly increase the temperature as needed.”

Can You Curl Your Hair after Permanent Waving?

Andrea points out that hot styling tools are not compatible with permed hair. “As with flat ironing a perm, any sort of heat can decrease its longevity and add dryness. It’s no different with curling a perm. It’s not recommended, but if you decide to do it, use low heat and a thick, cream-based heat protectant. Don’t let the iron sit long against the hair for the best results.”

“In the end, it’s better to engage with your curls like you would natural curls. Treat them liberally with moisture products, wash sparingly, and enjoy the curl pattern that takes shape” says Andrea.

Can You Braid Permed Hair?

“The real question is, when. Braids and perms go hand in hand. A braid compliments the beautiful movements of the curls, but make sure not to braid too tightly. Executing a tight braid can harm the perm and hurt your scalp. Keeping your braid loose and gentle is the best way to go” Andrea reveals.

young pretty woman with permed hair

Can You Dread Permed Hair?

The verdict is split on whether you should dread permed hair or not. Some professionals will say no, but some may have the skill set to do so. “Make sure to get the health of your hair tested before moving forward with this. Also, talk to someone who has had it done before and learn from their experience” recommends Andrea.

Last Updated on November 11, 2022 by Gaga

About the author

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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.

 

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