Permed Hair Not Curly Enough?

February 16, 2017

I went to a salon this morning for a perm. The goal was to get some curl for my long semi straight hair. I showed her pictures and we agreed to try with the knowledge that the perm may not turn out exactly how I want. When I left the salon I only had a mild curl.


As my hair has dried throughout the day it has straightened more and more. Does this mean the perm didn't take or will I be suprised when I get to wash it and apply product to it in 3 days? This is my first perm so I am not sure what up expect. Thank you!


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February 22, 20176 found this helpful
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If the hair is healthy in all other respects, just under processed, there should be no problem in giving the perm over. A competent hairdresser would take many factors into consideration, including that the hair was previously processed to a limited degree.

If a perm is given to long hair (past shoulders), the weight of the hair can put tension on that hair near the scalp causing the perm to appear lax there. However, if the perm was given properly on healthy hair, there would be just as much curl near the scalp. It would not appear so because of the tension. Proof of this can be seen by cutting the hair short. This happens with naturally curly hair, as well.


Hairdressers are licensed by a state board of cosmetic art examiners. Being licensed by the state does not mean what it use to. A successful perm/ cold wave depends on several factors, the two most important being elasticity and tensile strength. When was the last time you saw a hairdresser test the hair for elasticity and tensile strength before proceeding with a perm?

Long hair takes much much longer to wrap. A lot of hairdressers will cut short the processing time because they know the perm solution has been on the first wrapped hair longer than usual. Hence, under processed hair and little curl. There is an easy way around this but most hairdressers wont do it. That is to wrap the hair using very dilute solution or even water. Only after the entire head is wrapped should full strength solution be applied, beginning with those areas most resistant, usually the nape and temples.


Give me a client with healthy hair, having proper elasticity and tensile strength; and I will give her a perm that will last til it's cut off. It doesn't matter if her hair is down to her kidneys.

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February 23, 20170 found this helpful
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I'm so sorry that you have had to go through this. It sounds to me that they did something very wrong. When I got a perm on my long hair in the 90s, I left the salon with very curly hair.

I know that the chemicals can be very damaging to your hair so perhaps you are lucky that they didn't actually ruin your hair. I would ask for a refund and go somewhere else. Even a beauty college should do a better job than that! Good luck.

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41 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

February 18, 2018

I got a perm yesterday and it was supposed to be a body perm. It looks like I curled my hair many days ago and it's fallen out to a very loose wave. There are several straight pieces and one almost completely straight piece in the very front. What do I do to make it look more full and curly?

I wanted some volume! I'm supposed to go back to her in two weeks to get my hair dyed too. I was supposed to look beautiful for my fiancé's army graduation in three weeks. This isn't what I paid for, what do I do?


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February 19, 20180 found this helpful
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Go back immediately and have her fix it. The longer you wait, the more likely she wont give you a refund because shell say its something you did

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February 2, 2020

3 days ago I got a perm. The week before I got chop stick curls and loved them, so I decided to go for the perm. I went to the salon for a consultation and showed pictures of what I wanted. Then I went to the salon to get the perm, to say I'm unhappy is an understatement. They used number 2 perming solution and small rollers. It was left on for around 15 to 20 minutes. My hair was in great condition and no medication so unsure what has gone wrong.Perm Not Curly


My hair has a loose small wavy curl, mostly fuzzy.

I've washed my hair and put a deep conditioner on it. I even bought curl spray and nothing is helping. I'm left with this. The salon said they can't do anything and advised me to leave a conditioner on. I'm now left with hair nothing like I asked for and no idea how to fix it. Any advice please.

Perm Not Curly
Perm Not Curly
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January 23, 2017

I just got a perm 2 days ago, but I don't think my friend put the rollers tight enough. What can I use to get more curl in my hair?


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January 24, 20171 found this helpful
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Let your hair air dry after washing (i.e., leave yourself enough time you don't need to blow dry it before leaving for work). And while it's drying, dab a bit of gel on your hands, rub your palms together then scrunch the gel into your hair.


I'm not sure that's an adequate word: scrunch. With gel-covered palms, grab handfuls of almost-dry hair and squeeze. Repeat. I've found it to be remarkably effective.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 523 Posts
January 24, 20170 found this helpful
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Perm rods should not be wound tightly, as this can cause hair breakage. If your friend proceeded to perm your hair without fully understanding the results you wanted, or without the knowledge to obtain those results, any corrective work you may choose to have done, should be done by a professional.

The two main reasons for permed hair not being as curly as desired are, the perm rods used were too large in diameter and produced a wave rather than a curl. The other is that the perm was under processed (assuming your hair had the proper elasticity to be permed). If too large rods were used but the perm was fully processed, you should accept what you have.


Do not subject the hair to more processing.

If the correct size rods were used but the hair was under processed, then the perm can be given again.This could be considered a delicate procedure and should be carried out only by a well seasoned cosmetologist. (The hair probably should be wrapped with water, not wave solution. The solution should be applied after all hair is wound. The solution more than likely should be diluted by a third with water or a placenta conditioner such as Hask). See a professional.

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December 29, 2019

I did a retouch Wave Nueveau curly and half curly and the ends came out straight! What went wrong and how can I fix it?

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March 26, 2017

I had a perm done yesterday, at a salon. When I got home I noticed that some bits at the back looked like it hadn't taken and a piece at the front of my hair. I thought I would ring the salon just to mention that. I was though in general happy with the perm, but when I woke this morning it looked like the perm has dropped out!

I have a bit of frizz at the front and the rest looks straight. Does anyone know what could have gone wrong? I'm going back to the salon on Thursday as that's the day the lady works. I've not added any products, combed it, or washed it. I haven't even run my fingers through it.


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March 26, 20171 found this helpful
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By all means, keep your appointment to go back. By any chance are you pregnant or on high hormones? I have been told by numerous hairdressers that if you are in either of these states, that perms don't take.

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May 11, 2017

I got a perm yesterday and it seems like it just keeps getting straighter. My hair is long and layered. I was only at the salon for maybe two hours which surprised me. I just knew it was going to take much longer. The solution was on my hair for about 20 min. Was that long enough? And how do I know if she used enough rollers? It looked fine when she first took it down, but then she picked it to trim my ends which confused me too.

Shouldn't she have done that first? I did tell her that it looks like its getting straight. She said to put leave in conditioner in and wait until I can wash it. She said that it should look better after that. Is that true? I'm so confused because the shorter hair seems straighter.


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May 12, 20171 found this helpful
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Two hours is the average time for a cut, perm, set and comb out. If your hair is quite long, it could have taken longer.

There is no way for the reader to tell if the 20 minute processing time was adequate. Perms come in different strengths and different types of hair would require different processing times with the same perm solution.


Again, there is no way for the reader to know if enough rods were used. If your hair is quite long, and depending on the size rods used, there probably should not have been a space anywhere on your scalp to lay your little finger. Many hairdressers skimp in this area and don't use enough rods.

The little ringlets at the end of the hair is the most sought after part of a perm. All cutting of the hair should be done prior to giving a perm so these are not cut off. If hair ends need to be cut after the perm, something was done incorrectly. Maybe the ends were overprocessed and burned. It could be that the hairdresser needs a refresher course in this area. I would never seek the services of a hairdresser who cut the hair after giving a perm.

A conditioner, leave in or otherwise, will have no effect on how much curl you have nor how much you keep. After expressing your concern, the hairdresser should have offered to make an appointment to examine your hair.

All hairdressers make mistakes. The better ones offer to correct their mistakes at no expense to the client. Trust is built this way.

I do not agree that you should go back to the same hairdresser to have any corrective work done. The fact that she cut your hair after the perm coupled with the fact that all she advised was the use of a conditioner upon learning your hair seemed to be getting straighter, tells me you need to find another hairdresser. If she does corrective work, the results might be worse than what you have now.

Until you can wash it? This is nonsense. If you got a good curl and then waited 48 hours, you could shampoo your hair 5 times in one day and it would have no effect on the curl.

Wet your hair now. It is the only way you can tell if you have a decent curl. A properly given perm does not get straighter. However, over the course of months, it can lose some of its spring and bounce.

If the shorter hair has less curl, I would guess there was uneven application of the perm wave solution. The hairdresser should have done no less than 5 test curls, two of them in areas where the hair is known to be more resistant.

Count your losses. Find another hairdresser, one who will be honest about whether they will be able to correct your hair to your satisfaction.

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May 13, 20170 found this helpful
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Thank you so much for your advice. I did go back to the salon but I didn't see her . she wasn't there even though she knew I was coming that day. I seen another lady that tried to help me . she had to do a lot to get my curls to stay .( a lot of gel ..) She also cut my hair to see if that would help , it didn't . I still found some hair that was almost straight.She told me that that's what I will have to do since my hair is long. I don't agree . my hair is to the middle of my back and layered . She did call the lady that did the perm to let her know everything. She said she would fix it in a couple weeks. With everything you told me I will take your advice and go to someone else due to the fact she did a few things wrong . thank you so much for your advice and time .

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October 7, 2020

I would like to know some suggestions. I permed my hair last year. Then I shaved it low to the point where it couldn't be braided, but was not shaved completely off. Now my hair has grown out some and parts of my hair have lost its curl pattern and when I twist or braid it looses out.

Please help me because it's a struggle.

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October 2, 2017

I got a perm a few days ago and finally washed it after the required 3 days. I requested tight curls, but when my hair dried it was barely even wavy. Can I go back and get a refund or a redo?


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
October 2, 20170 found this helpful
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Beauty shops have to guarantee their work.

  • Your hair was only permed 3 days ago and this wouldn't be a good idea to have it permed again so soon.
  • This can damage your hair or it can make your hair very brittle and break.
  • Since you followed the directions given to you by the shop and waited the 3 days they will need to refund your money.
  • I wouldn't allow them to perm my hair again. The chemicals are very strong and it isn't a good idea to perm your hair again so soon.
  • Let the perm grow out some, go to another shop, have them trim the dry, dead ends and get a new perm.
  • Explain to them what happened at the last shop and see if this shop can do a better job and give you the curls you want in your hair.
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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
October 3, 20171 found this helpful
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A bad hair experience is no fun and you paid your money, explained what you wanted and since this did not happen, you are entitled to some sort of recourse/remedy. You will have to decide if you really want a redo at this shop or if you want a hassle when requesting a refund.

  • Have you used this shop/hairdresser in the past? Or is this a new shop to you? I'm only asking this because if you have used this shop before then they should have some record of what solution was used before and maybe the condition of your hair.
  • It is true that hair salons should guarantee their work but that does not mean they will not give you a hassle if you ask for a refund.
  • Do you remember if there was a sign about their policy posted in the shop or if there is any type of statement on your receipt? If there is something posted, then I believe you may have to follow that policy (unless you sue/small claims court).
  • What was the condition of your hair before the perm?
  • Did the hairdresser make any remarks about the condition of your hair or question that you may not be able to get a "curly" perm?
  • Whatever remedy you decide on just be prepared to fend off any remarks/questions of this type.
  • Many hairdressers say that if your hair is in good condition then it may be safe to get a redo in 2-4 weeks but recommend an 8-12 week wait just to be safe.
  • There is definitely a risk of damage to your hair from having the perm reapplied so soon to your hair after the first treatment.

This is not something that I am familiar with but researching your problem it appears there is not a lot of success in getting a refund in this situation so be sure you know what you want to do before going back.

I would definitely recommend that you return to the solon/shop and discuss this with them as soon as possible. I do not recommend calling them as this just gives them a head start on preparing an answer before you arrive.

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March 7, 2015

I permed my hair last night. I have really long hair and used medium sized rollers. We followed all the directions as told. It didn't hold well though. I woke up to it being wavy and some parts even looking straight. My mom says she should've left it longer, but my grandmother thinks she should've used 2 boxes and left it on longer since my hair is so long. I'm wanting to redo it tonight. What do I do?

By Hali L


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March 8, 20153 found this helpful
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Personally, I would not re-do the perm right away. I'd live with it for awhile. But, I have no experience with perms. It is just my opinion from reading about other people's experiences. There are several ladies on here who are hair stylists. Hopefully, they will see your question.

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December 9, 2018

I permed my hair yesterday and the curls did not take. My hairstylist says its because the colour I had on my hair was running out and the metal base mixed with the perm that is why it did not hold the curls.

My hair was tinted 4months ago. Please help.

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December 13, 2017

I got a perm today, and there weren't any curls when she took the rollers out. It's dried now, and still no curl, not even a wave. Should I go back and ask for a refund?


Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 424 Answers
December 13, 20170 found this helpful
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Oh yes. If you say there are no curls and you had the perm today, go in right away and show that there are no curls.

You can ask for a refund, it is possible that they will offer to do your hair again. It is up to do as to whether you want to go thru the process again.

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January 2, 20180 found this helpful
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I would first address the hairstylist, requesting a refund. If the hairstylist refuses to give you a refund, request to speak to manager, if you get no where I would tell them you are taking them to small claims court. You never know they might change their mind. Do not agree to have your hair redone by this stylist. There might be tension between the both of you. Slso, there is a second time your comes out unsatisfactory. Also, do not repent your hair until you see a new stylist and show them your hair and let them judge what is the next srmtep to remedy your hair.

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