Surviving the Perm: How to Care for and Restore Your Newly Curled Locks

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Any treatment that tries to change the nature of your hair is damaging. Therefore, there isn’t such a thing as a “safe perm”. The same way there are no safe straightening treatments or permanent coloring. Therefore, it doesn’t matter which type of perm you use, because you’ll always need to take steps to restore the damaged locks. Caring for permed hair takes skill and a variety of specialized products. Make sure you are prepared for this and start up an adjusted routine right after your treatment. Otherwise, your nicely curled hair will turn into an unruly tangled mop that you’ll have no choice but to cut.

How to Care for Permed Hair: 6 Things You Should and Shouldn’t Do

  1. Forget about other processing treatments for some time

In theory, you can color permed hair, but you should hold off on any processing treatments for at least 2-3 months after getting this one. This precaution is necessary to protect the health of your hair because you’ll need to spend those first couple of months restoring it after perm damage.

Note that in the best case scenario, other processing treatment simply won’t hold on your permed locks. But the more likely outcome is burned and severely damaged hair. In case you try to color your tresses, you might end up with some weird color.

  1. Learn to detangle gently

Permed hair can tangle something fierce, but brushing it out definitely isn’t an option. In fact, you should avoid brushing it altogether and start using a wide-tooth comb paired with solutions that undo the knots. The latter are a must-have for anyone with a perm because they do not only detangle your locks but also help reduce the frizz, which is an unfortunate side effect of this treatment.

You should use both a regular and a leave-in conditioner to manage permed hair. Both these products will moisturize your tresses and help seal cuticles to shape your curls. The point of using them is to make your treated locks look their best “naturally”. As you should avoid styling permed hair, you need to focus on making it look great by default, hence using detanglers and conditioners.

  1. Feed your locks with protein

To make your hair curly the perm breaks down proteins inside it to bend it out of its natural shape. Therefore, nourishing your locks and restoring proteins is the most important step for fixing the damage of the treatment. Worry not, this won’t “undo” the perm, but it will make your locks look much healthier and give them a beautiful shine.

You can either buy nourishing protein hair masks and treatments, which are available in shops, salons, and online, or make some on your own. Look up recipes for homemade protein masks or simply enjoy experimenting with the products you have in your kitchen. The best ingredients for these natural remedies are eggs, coconut oil and milk, avocado, and honey.

  1. Start using specialized hair care products

If you perm your hair, invest in a shampoo and conditioner for permed hair. At the least, you need to switch to products for curly locks. Look for those that enhance curl definition and reduce frizz.

These products are made to be gentle and to provide deep hydration, which is exactly what your damaged tresses need.

When you do choose to style, you will need to find specialized products as well.

  1. Less shampoo, more conditioner

Permed hair loses moisture at an alarming rate. That’s why you should cut down the frequency of washing it with shampoo. However, not washing permed hair is also not an option because it will quickly become oily and will look like a particularly messy bird’s nest within a few days.

The solution is to wet your hair and apply conditioner only (followed by a detangler when the hair is drying). This way, you should be able to skip at least one shampoo-wash a week.

  1. Comb while damp

Remember that there shouldn’t be any brushing going when you have permed hair. Instead, you need to comb it carefully while the locks are still damp and apply a detangler and any other products you are using.

Then, comb it again when the air is fully dry and marvel at how bouncy and beautiful your curls are.

If you can’t go without brushing completely, buy a very soft paddle brush and use it very carefully when the locks are fully dry. Note that this will mess up the curls.

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