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Fixing a Perm That Lost Its Curl

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I had a perm done late night two nights ago. We got done with it at about 2am. It looked great. I went home and went to sleep. When I got up I spritzed it with cool water put a little product in it and went about my day.

Then this morning I had to take a shower so I took a cool one so I didn't ruin the perm. I did rinse it. I was told that it was OK to rinse it as long as it was cool water. When I got out I ran my fingers through it to get most the tangles out. Then I used a wide tooth comb just like I was told to. As I combed it, it started going straight.

I thought maybe it was just because it was wet. I put a little curl creme through it and used a diffuser to dry it, exactly how I was told to. I flipped my head upside down and everything. Once it was pretty much dry it looked curly. Then when I was trying to style it and was using the wide tooth comb to pick out some of the tangles it just started flattening. Now most the curl is gone, it just looks like a frizzy mess.

I work at Sally beauty supply so I know about how perms work, but not a lot. We used a Quantum perm in the red box, just in case anyone knows that perm and how well it works.

So I was wondering a few things. Even though my hair was so curly the first night is it possible that the perm just didn't take? And if so, how can I get it to take? Can I even do another perm? My hair is pretty dried out. It's not falling out or anything, just very dry. Also we sell deep conditioners and things at my work, but if anyone knows any better way to also get more moisture in my hair that would be awesome.

By Julieanne from Asheville, NC

Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By likekinds [41]05/18/2014

If you had a 'bit of a wave', it's possible the perm was underprocessed. If this is the case, it would be OK to redo the perm. Keep in mind that since the hair has been processed one time already, the 'redo' processing time should be less than indicated on the package.

One very important step I haven't seen in any of the answers is this: Do A Test Curl! This will tell you the correct processing time for the entire head.

Actually, there could several reasons why the perm resulted in just 'a bit of a wave'. Two are: The perm was not correctly neutralized or the rod size was too large. Remember, Do A Test Curl!

By Valeria R.12/10/2013

I'm a licensed cos. If the perm is that weak so soon then the first step was rinsed off too early, the curl wasn't fully formed. As for washing hair for a couple of days why would anyone want to do that after all the hair went through for the perm? Of course you can get it wet right afterward. I wouldn't shampoo it but wet should not be a problem that's what neutralizer is for. It re-hardens the hair that would normally take 2 days to neutralize naturally.

Other than that I have given plenty of perms, and then applied a little conditioner, blown the hair out, and hot ironed all in the same day. Older ladies have their hair done this way all the time with a semi permanent tint plus a lot of backcombing and hairspray same day too. When that hair gets washed again the curl and/or body will be there, if the perm was done right. Kids are different. They have immature hair and sometimes the perm does not take no matter or even worse it takes on one side of the head only. Better to wait.

By weezie_f02/26/2013

I just got a perm on Saturday 2:30pm. Conditioned only with hot water Monday morning 6:30am. Shampooed and conditioned this morning. I was told that I could condition and put product in, just not shampoo for 48 hours. And the only thing shampooing does is make it frizzy, my hair stylist said, it doesn't remove the perm. I made the mistake, I guess, of combing it this morning (I always towel dry my hair and then let it air dry before I comb it) which I wasn't told NOT to do, and it's frizzy and flat. :/ Guess we'll try again tomorrow! I'll try taming it while it's still wet, finger combing.

By Anonymous [848]02/28/2011

pmlparrott, just remined me of a situation a couple decades ago. I was working in a large upscale salon and one particular evening three perms were being done by three different stylists. The clients were all regulars and the same solutions for each were used as had been done for each before. Anyway, it was an extemely humid summer evening. All three of those perms had to be re-done. I am wondering if there were humid conditions in your environment the night you had your perm done? It wasn't humid inside the salon but it was very humid outside and one has to go outside to get home. Was it raining or moist snow conditions outside? Even with an umbrella the moisture in the air could have possibly affected your hair. Come to think of it, even alot of steam from the shower could affect the perm if not wearing a shower cap.

By Pamela02/25/2011

I have had perms all my life. I have always rinsed my hair with no problem in loosing the curl.. I took my daughter to a salon to have a perm done, at first it was beautiful then within 24 hrs the perm left her hair. I took her back to the salon and what they found out was that her hair soaks up water. This meant that the perm solution could not soak in her hair. They had to put her under a hair drier for some time to help with this. You might as a professional if this could be your type of situation too.
I might be different but I have never had problems rinsing my hair in the shower and I always put a little cream rinse on it so it is managable.

By Lou [3]02/25/2011

No water or much of anything else for forty eight hours after a perm and absolutely no creme rinses. Creme rinses shorten the life of a perm drastically.

By Anonymous [848]02/24/2011

Truly you should not have even gotten your hair wet at all for at least 24 to 48 hours but the problem sounds to me to be that you're combing/brushing it after it's dry. You should only gently go through it with a hair pick if need be but preferably not at all. Even naturally curly hair will look straighter after combing or brushing it when it's dry.

Try washing and styling it again without combing/brushing once dry and give it a light coat of hairspray. If there's still no curl then talk to a few of the professional hairstylists that come in to your store. You'll know which ones are professional because you work at a Sally's. ;-)

By Joan [13]02/23/2011

When I used to get perms at beauty shops, the beauticians always told me not to even get my hair wet for at least two days after a perm.

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