Getting a perm can be an exciting way to switch up your hairstyle and add some texture to your locks. However, if you’ve recently gotten a perm, you may be wondering about the proper care and maintenance of your new ‘do. One common question that many people have is whether or not it’s safe to get your hair wet after a perm. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about washing and caring for permed hair.
What is a Perm?
Before we dive into the topic of getting your hair wet after a perm, let’s first define what a perm actually is. A perm, short for permanent wave, is a chemical treatment that adds curls or waves to straight hair. The process involves applying a solution to the hair to break down its natural structure, then wrapping sections of hair around rods and applying a neutralizer to re-form the hair’s bonds in the desired shape.
Who Can Get a Perm?
Perms can be done on most hair types, but they work best on healthy hair that hasn’t been color-treated or otherwise damaged. If your hair is overly dry or brittle, a perm may cause further damage. Additionally, if you’ve previously bleached or relaxed your hair, it may be too fragile to handle a perm. It’s best to consult with a stylist before getting a perm to determine if your hair is a good candidate for the treatment.
When Can You Get Your Hair Wet After a Perm?
After getting a perm, it’s important to avoid getting your hair wet for at least 24-48 hours. This allows the bonds in your hair to fully set and ensures that your curls will last as long as possible. If you get your hair wet too soon after a perm, it can disrupt the curl pattern and cause your hair to become frizzy or flat.
How to Care for Permed Hair
Once your perm has fully set, you can begin washing and styling your hair as usual. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when caring for permed hair:
1. Use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner.
Sulfates can be harsh on permed hair and strip away its natural oils, which can lead to dryness and damage. Look for a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner that will help keep your curls hydrated and defined.
2. Avoid heat styling.
Heat can cause your curls to become frizzy or fall out altogether. Try to avoid using hot tools like curling irons or straighteners, and opt for air-drying your hair whenever possible.
3. Use a diffuser.
If you do need to blow-dry your hair, use a diffuser attachment to help distribute the heat evenly and maintain your curl pattern.
4. Protect your hair while sleeping.
Sleeping with your hair loose can cause it to become tangled and lose its shape. Try wrapping your hair in a silk scarf or sleeping on a silk pillowcase to help preserve your curls overnight.
Pros and Cons of Getting a Perm
Like any hairstyle, getting a perm comes with both pros and cons. Here are a few of the main benefits and drawbacks to consider before deciding if a perm is right for you:
- Adds volume and texture to straight hair
- Can reduce the need for daily styling
- Can last for several months with proper care
- Can be customized to create different types of curls or waves
- Can cause damage or breakage if not done properly
- Requires special care and maintenance
- May not work well on all hair types
- Can be expensive to maintain over time
Alternatives to a Perm
If you’re not sure if a perm is right for you, there are a few alternatives to consider:
1. Heatless curling methods.
If you’re looking for a way to add curls or waves to your hair without chemical processing, there are plenty of heatless methods to try. These include using foam rollers, braiding your hair before bed, or using a curling wand with no heat.
2. Temporary curling treatments.
If you’re not ready for a permanent change, there are temporary curling treatments available that can last anywhere from a few days to a few months. These include curling mousses, gels, and sprays that can help enhance your natural curl pattern.
Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Perm
If you’ve decided that a perm is right for you, here’s a step-by-step guide to the process:
1. Consult with a stylist.
Before getting a perm, it’s important to consult with a stylist to determine if your hair is a good candidate for the treatment. They’ll also be able to recommend the best type of perm for your hair type and desired outcome.
2. Prep your hair.
In the days leading up to yourperm appointment, avoid washing your hair and styling it with heat. This will help protect your hair from damage during the perming process.
3. Get your hair permed.
At your appointment, your stylist will apply a solution to your hair to break down its natural structure, then wrap sections of your hair around rods to create curls or waves. The process may take a few hours, depending on the length and thickness of your hair.
4. Apply neutralizer.
Once your hair has been wrapped around the rods, your stylist will apply a neutralizer to re-form the bonds in your hair in the desired shape. This step is crucial for ensuring that your curls last as long as possible.
5. Rinse and style.
After the neutralizer has set, your stylist will rinse your hair and remove the rods. They’ll then style your hair as desired, using a diffuser to help enhance your curls.
Comparing Perms to Other Types of Chemical Treatments
Perming is just one type of chemical treatment that can be done on hair. Here’s how it compares to other popular treatments:
Perms vs. Relaxers
Relaxers are another type of chemical treatment that can be used to straighten curly or wavy hair. While perms add texture and curl, relaxers break down the natural curl pattern in hair to create a straighter look. Both treatments require careful maintenance and can cause damage if not done properly.
Perms vs. Keratin Treatments
Keratin treatments are designed to smooth and straighten frizzy or curly hair. Unlike perms, which create texture and volume, keratin treatments work to tame and straighten hair for a sleek, polished look. These treatments can last for several months and require minimal maintenance.
Tips for Maintaining Your Perm
To keep your perm looking its best, here are a few additional tips to keep in mind:
- Avoid using hair products that contain alcohol, which can dry out your curls.
- Don’t brush or comb your hair while it’s wet, as this can cause breakage and disrupt your curl pattern.
- Consider getting regular trims to keep your ends healthy and prevent split ends.
- If you notice any signs of damage or breakage, consult with your stylist right away to prevent further issues.
The Best Products for Permed Hair
When caring for permed hair, it’s important to use products that will help maintain its texture and definition. Here are a few of the best products for permed hair:
1. Curl-defining shampoo and conditioner.
Look for a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner that are specifically designed for curly or permed hair. These products will help moisturize your curls and keep them defined.
2. Leave-in conditioner.
A leave-in conditioner can help add moisture to your hair throughout the day, preventing frizz and breakage.
3. Curl-enhancing mousse.
A curl-enhancing mousse can help boost volume and definition, making your curls look fuller and bouncier.
Getting a perm can be a fun way to switch up your hairstyle and add some texture to your locks. However, it’s important to follow proper care and maintenance techniques to ensure that your curls last as long as possible. By avoiding washing your hair for the first 24-48 hours after your perm, using sulfate-free products, and protecting your hair from heat styling and other damage, you can enjoy your new ‘do for months to come.
- Can I wet my hair after getting a perm?
It’s best to avoid getting your hair wet for at least 24-48 hours after getting a perm to allow the bonds to fully set.
- How often should I wash my permed hair?
You should aim to wash your permed hair no more than 2-3 times per week to prevent dryness and damage.
- Can I color my permed hair?
It’s generally best to wait at least two weeks after getting a perm before coloring your hair to avoid causing damage or breakage.
- How long will my perm last?
Perms can last anywhere from a few months to up to a year, depending on how well you care for your hair.
- Will getting a perm make my hair look thinner?
Perms can add volume and texture to hair, which can actually make it appear thicker and fuller. However, if you have thin or damaged hair, a perm may cause further breakage and should be avoided.
- Can I perm my hair if it’s been previously colored?
Yes, you can still get a perm if your hair has been previously colored. However, it’s important to wait at least two weeks after coloring your hair before getting a perm to prevent damage or breakage.
- What should I do if my perm starts to fall out?
If your perm starts to lose its curl or fall out prematurely, it may be due to damage or improper maintenance. Consult with your stylist to determine the best course of action, which may include trimming off damaged ends, using protein treatments to strengthen your hair, or avoiding heat styling and other damaging practices.
- Can I style my permed hair with heat tools?
While it’s best to avoid using heat tools on permed hair, you can still use a diffuser or low heat setting to style your curls. Just be sure to use a heat protectant spray and limit your use of heat styling tools to prevent damage.
- How long will it take to get a perm?
The process of getting a perm can take several hours, depending on the length and thickness of your hair.
- Is a perm right for me?
Whether or not a perm is right for you depends on a variety of factors, including your hair type, texture, and personal style goals. Consult with your stylist to determine whether a perm is a good fit for your hair and lifestyle. With proper care and maintenance, a perm can be a fun and versatile way to switch up your look and add some texture to your hair.
I am Thomas Taw, the CEO of CITIZENSNIPS. I have experience in hair product development and chemical research, as well as sustainable resource engineering. In 2009, I co-created Sunsilk, one of the world's leading haircare brands. More recently, I was the CEO of SMOKINGPANDA LTD. I am a professional with a strong track record in delivering tangible results.