Discover the secrets to maintaining your perm’s health and beauty. Learn how to nourish, style, and protect your curls effectively.
Perms have made a stunning comeback, offering the curls, volume, and texture many desire. No more morning hair struggles; perms make it a breeze to achieve those fabulous curls. However, while they simplify your hair routine, it’s crucial to remember that perming is a chemical process that can leave your hair more delicate than before. Ensuring your perm stays gorgeous and healthy requires specific care and products. In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of caring for your perm, from the immediate post-perm steps to long-term maintenance.
What Is Permed Hair?
Perming is a chemical process that alters hair structure to create curls or waves. There are different techniques for perming hair, including:
1. Spiral Perm
Characterized by tight, well-defined curls with volume, the curl coil’s size depends on the rod used. The rod is placed vertically to achieve a corkscrew curl.
2. Pin-Curl Perm
This technique involves applying a chemical solution to the hair’s lengths and styling pin curls set in place.
3. Root Perm
A root perm adds volume and thickness, ideal for those with thin and fine hair.
4. Stack Perm
Curls and layers are added to medium or long hair to build volume.
5. Spot Perm
Perm rods are placed in a specific area to create curls, catering to a particular hairstyle.
6. Body Wave Perm
This method uses long curling rods to achieve tousled, beachy waves.
7. Multi-Textured Perm
A combination of different curl types creates a unique and dynamic hairstyle.
How Perming Works
The magic of perming lies in breaking down the disulfide bonds in your hair. This is achieved using reducing agents like thioglycolates and bisulfites, which permeate the cuticle and outer layers of the cortex. Alkaline agents are then used to lift the cuticle scales so the reducing agents can enter the cortex. Hair fibres are set in curlers or rods to create the desired curl or wave pattern. The perming process is neutralized using an oxidizing agent like hydrogen peroxide. Traditional perming involves wrapping hair in rods, but modern techniques offer more versatility.
How to Take Care of Your Perm
Immediate After Your Perm
After your perm, allowing time for the chemicals to set and your hair to adjust is crucial. Here’s what you should do right after:
- Wait Three Days: Avoid getting your hair wet for at least three days to allow the perming chemicals to form new bonds.
- Minimize Styling: Wait about a week before styling. Gently scrunch your hair with your fingers to set your curls.
- Be Gentle: Don’t use a hairbrush; instead, finger-comb your curls or use a wide-tooth comb in the shower with plenty of conditioner.
Nourish + Moisturize Your Hair
Although modern perms are gentler than their predecessors, they’re still a chemical process that can leave your hair more vulnerable. Use nourishing, hydrating products to keep your perm looking its best and your hair healthy. Your hair will be drier post-perm, so invest in a quality deep conditioner. Deep conditioning at least twice a week in the initial weeks, then once a week, will help rejuvenate your hair.
Frequent washing strips your hair of natural oils, which are crucial for keeping it healthy and hydrated post-perm. Reduce the frequency of washing and choose natural, moisturizing, and sulfate-free shampoos. Always replenish your hair with a conditioner during wash day.
Get the Right Products
Transitioning from virgin to chemically treated hair may require changes in your product lineup. Opt for a good shampoo and conditioner with curl-enhancing formulas. While these should be moisturizing, avoid super-creamy products that can weigh down your hair and alter your curls’ shape. Additionally, a monthly cleanse with a clarifying shampoo removes excess product buildup.
Avoid products containing silicone, alcohol, or Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate (SLS). These ingredients can have adverse effects on permed hair. Silicones weigh down your hair, alcohol dries it out, and SLS depletes the natural oils that moisturize it.
Dry Your Hair Correctly
Towel drying can be abrasive on permed hair, weakening the hair shaft. Instead, gently detangle your hair with a wide-tooth comb, apply your leave-in and styling products, and let your hair air dry whenever possible. It’s a good practice to do this at night so your hair is fully dry by morning.
Get Regular Trims
Regularly trimming your hair removes damaged ends and keeps it looking and feeling healthy. Even if you’re aiming for long hair, consider getting trims every month and a half to two months, depending on your hair’s growth rate.
Avoid Heat Styling
Limit your use of heat styling tools. If you must blow-dry your hair, do it on low heat with a diffuser attachment to disperse the heat evenly. Avoid flat irons as they can cause split ends to appear faster. When using heat, always apply a heat protectant to shield your hair.
Caring for your perm is all about maintaining the health and beauty of your curls. With the right care and products, you can enjoy your stunning waves or curls for an extended period. Remember, post-perm care is essential for long-lasting, beautiful results.
1. How long does a perm last?
A perm typically lasts about 2 to 6 months, depending on factors like hair type and care.
2. Can I colour my permed hair?
Yes, you can colour permed hair, but it’s best to consult a professional to ensure the process is done correctly.
3. How do I revive a fading perm?
Reviving a fading perm may not always be possible, but deep conditioning and curl-enhancing products can help maintain its shape.
4. Can I swim with a perm?
Swimming with a perm is fine, but saltwater and chlorine can be harsh on your hair. Wear a swim cap or rinse your hair with clean water after swimming to protect it.
5. Is it possible to reverse a perm?
While reversing a perm is challenging, it can gradually fade with time. Using straightening products and tools may help expedite the process.