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Commit To The Curl: What You Need To Know Before Getting A Perm


You heard it here first: perms are on their way back! Don’t worry, you don’t have to face the poodle spirals from the ’80s. Instead, the modernized texturing is a wavier, looser version of what was popular 40 years ago; think beachy waves instead of those tight spiral curls.


However, even though the perms of today are more natural-looking than their predecessors, it is still a chemical treatment. You shouldn’t book an appointment to get a perm until you have a clear understanding of the effect it could have on your locks.


Here are a few of the things you need to think about before you head to the salon for a perm:


Perms Work Best on Healthy Hair

If your hair has already been subjected to a chemical process such as relaxing or bleaching, you may want to wait to get a perm. Doubling up on the chemicals can lead to severe damage, dryness, and breakage.


Similarly, if your hair is already very dry or breakage prone because of frequent heat-styling, a dry climate, your genetics, or even illness, this may not be the best time to think about perming your hair.


The best time to have a perm—rather, when the perm is most successful—is when you have healthy hair. When your hair is strong and prepared for this treatment, it can deal with the chemicals better than if it were weak and damaged. Treating your hair with a chemical treatment like a perm will likely worsen hair that’s already in bad condition. If you’re not sure about the condition of your hair, it’s best to have a consultation with a hair professional.


Styling A Perm Takes Practice

You may be thinking that getting a perm will give you a wash-and-go style. However, it can be challenging to learn how to best manage your new hairstyle, especially if your new texture is drastically different from your natural hair.


If you’re new to wavy hair and curls, then it will take some trial and error to find new styling methods and products that will suit your textured hair. You will need to learn to use a diffuser to help accelerate drying or to leave enough time for air drying. You may also want to consider cutting back on using heated hair styling tools; this can lead to even more hair damage.


Some of the new products you may need to introduce to your beauty routine include:

  • Mousses that are designed for curly hair that offer added moisture and protect fragile permed hair. These will help to keep your curls in good condition and control frizz and static, making your curls bouncy and soft.

  • Hair gels that contain moisturizing ingredients to help smooth and define curls.

  • Anti-frizz serums to tame frizz and make permed hair appear shinier.

  • Curl enhancers to tame frizz, add moisture, and keep your curls healthy.

You can test out products until you decide what works best for your new hairstyle; consider getting sample or travel sized versions of the products you’re interested in to avoid committing to something you’ve never used.


Limit Your Exposure to Water

If you want your waves to last, you need to limit your exposure to water. If you continuously subject it to activities like swimming or frequent shampooing you will damage the longevity of your new waves. Getting your perm wet opens the protective layer of your hair and releases the chemicals used for the perm.


Avoid Chemical Treatments Before And After

Once you have had your perm, you will have to avoid having your hair colored for at least a month, and even then you need to speak with a stylist before going through with it. Coloring your hair before a perm is also extremely unwise, as mentioned above, it can cause your hair to be too weak for the perm that will follow.


The bottom line: it’s best to avoid any chemical treatments before and after your perm to allow your hair time to recuperate.


Always See A Consultant Beforehand

It may be tempting to order a do-it-yourself kit and try to perm your own hair at home, however, seeing a consultant before committing to any chemical treatment on your hair is a wise choice. Before you even book a consultation you should do some research about the different textures that are available.


When you see your consultant you can explain exactly what you want and discuss what you need to do to achieve it. Your stylist will be able to fully explain what is right for you and let you know if your hair is healthy enough for a perm treatment.


Many salons, like Cualtzin Salon in Alexandria, Virginia, offer a variety of texture services and can even quote you a price during consultations depending on your hair length, thickness, and a variety of other factors.

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