If you’ve been thinking about giving your super-straight locks a serious makeover with a perm, there’s certain things you should know BEFORE you have the treatment. Not only do you need to inform yourself of what happens before and during the treatment, but there’s some extremely important things you should know about what happens afterwards. We’re here to give you the low-down on the top 10 things you HAVE to know about perms!
1. Never Wash Your Hair Right Afterwards
Seriously: do NOT wash your hair right after getting a perm. It can seriously mess it up! Either you’ll end up washing out have the curls, or you’ll end up with a set of curly locks you absolutely hate. (And I’m talking from experience here, ladies.) Leave it alone for AT LEAST 24 hours, 36 hours being the best timeframe.
2. The Perm Will Damage Your Hair
I’m not going to sit here and lie to you: perms are extremely damaging to the hair. I mean, that’s to be expected, right? You’re completely changing your hair texture from straight to wavy or curly- that’s going to do some damage. That being said, pay extra close attention to tips number 3 and number 5.
3. Make Sure You Have a Good Conditioner
Perms damage the hair, usually leaving locks feeling incredibly dried out, brittle, and fried. What’s the best way to revive dry hair? Conditioner, of course! Make sure you’ve invested in a good conditioner to use after shampooing, and you may also want to consider a leave-in conditioner that will moisturize all day long. (You may even consider all-natural options like coconut oil!)
4. The Perm Will Take Awhile
Much like any other hair treatment, you’re going to be sitting there for awhile. And usually, perms take even longer than color treatments. Keep that in mind. You will want to set up a morning or afternoon to get the perm. It will take HOURS- and yes, that’s with an ‘s’, meaning it will be more than 1 hour. (Probably closer to 3 hours total).
5. Perms Work Best on Bare Hair
If you bleach your hair, you’re probably already suffering with some pretty damaged locks. Trying to get a perm done on top of the bleach will most likely result in hair that is extremely frayed and brittle, and depending on how light your hair is, it may cause breakage. On the other hand, if your hair is dyed, the perm may not take as well as it would if your hair was its natural color. That being said, if you have recently colored your hair or had another hair treatment, it’s best to wait. You will get the best perm results on hair that is bare and all natural.
6. Final Results Typically Don’t Show Right Away
What you walk out of the salon with is NOT how your hair will look a few days from now. (Something to remember if you end up walking out of the salon HATING your perm like I did one time). The perm needs time to really sink into the hair molecules and take shape. So give it a day or so. You will end up with curly or wavy manes that looks a lot more fabulous than it did right off the bat. (Hey, we really can’t blame the hair for being shocked at first!)
7. You Can Still Go Straight
Just because you have decided to perm your hair doesn’t mean you’re never able to walk around with straight locks again. However, this is where your beloved straightener is an absolute must. (If you don’t already have one, I highly recommend purchasing one before you get the perm. There will be some days you miss your straight mane!). If you decide to go straight for the day, make sure you have a heat protectant and plenty of conditioner for your hair. A perm is bad enough for your hair, and adding heat on top of it will only cause more damage- and that’s why specialized products are essential.
8. Research Rod Sizes Before Doing the Perm
There is a total of 6 perm rod sizes to choose from, and you need to make sure you know which one you want before walking into the salon. (Seriously, don’t let them pick for you. I did that and ended up with WAY too small of curls I did not like). To make it easier on you, we’ll go through the 6 rod sizes together.
Red: The smallest rod for extremely tight and kinky curls.
Blue: Another small rod for tight curls.
Pink: A medium sized rod for tight to medium curls.
Gray: Another medium sized rod for medium curls.
White: A larger sized rod for soft curls.
Purple: The largest rod for soft waves.
9. Air Drying is Best
You might be in love with your hair dryer to create outstanding volume and a flawless finish, but it’s the opposite when it comes to perms. You will get the best results by simply letting your hair dry, letting the new curls do their magic and shine through. (Not to mention the extra heat on your hair will only cause more damage, so skip the hairdryer!)
10. Use Products to Soften or Intensify
After you get your perm, you’ll love the results for a few days or weeks. But then you’ll probably want to switch it up a bit! That’s where product will come in handy. While a straightener and heat protectant will give you the straight look, you can also use curl product to intensify or soften your curls. That’s right! If you’re in the mood for softer curls for Friday night date dinner, try using a specialized product that will tone down and soften curls. If you’re looking for bold, obnoxious, look-at-me curls for the club, consider a product designed to really intensify curls and bring them to life.