Perming your hair can be an exciting way to add volume and texture, but sometimes things don’t go as planned. Whether it’s over-processing, uneven curls, or excessive damage, a botched perm can leave you feeling frustrated and self-conscious. But fear not! In this guide, we’ll explore effective strategies to help you salvage your strands and regain your confidence.

I. What is a perm?

1. The definition of a perm

A perm involves a chemical process that alters the structure of your hair, resulting in permanent curls or waves for a certain duration. Typically lasting up to six months, the longevity depends on hair growth rate and maintenance habits. It’s essential to understand that permed hair requires specialized treatment and care compared to untreated hair.

2. Tips to maintain a perm

Maintaining a perm requires special care to keep your curls looking their best. Here’s how to effectively maintain your permed hair:

2.1. Wait before washing your hair:

After undergoing a perm, it’s vital to allow your hair ample time to set before washing it. This entails refraining from washing your hair for at least 48 hours post-perm. During this period, it’s essential to avoid wetting your hair and refrain from tying it back in a ponytail or bun, as such actions could disrupt the curl pattern and potentially cause your perm to lose its shape.

2.2. Use Sulfate-Free Shampoo:

Opt for sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners formulated for curly or chemically treated hair. These products help retain moisture and prevent frizz. Avoid products containing alcohol, as they tend to dry out the hair and exacerbate frizz.

2.3. Limit Washing:

Washing your hair too frequently can strip away natural oils  and cause your perm to lose its shape. Aim to wash your hair 2-3 times a week, or as needed, to keep your curls fresh without over-drying.

2.4. Condition Regularly:

Deep condition your hair once a week to keep your curls hydrated and soft. Look for products with moisturizing ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, or argan oil.

2.5. Avoid Heat Styling:

Heat styling tools like flat irons and curling irons can damage your perm and cause frizz. Embrace air-drying or use diffusers on low heat settings to style your curls gently.

2.6. Protective Hairstyles:

When sleeping, consider wrapping your hair in a silk or satin scarf or using a silk pillowcase to minimize friction and prevent frizz. You can also opt for loose braids or a pineapple hairstyle to protect your curls while you sleep.

2.7. Trim Regularly:

Schedule regular trims every 6-8 weeks to remove split ends and maintain the shape of your perm. This helps prevent breakage and keeps your curls looking healthy.

2.8. Protect from Environmental Factors:

Shield your hair from environmental stressors like sun exposure, wind, and humidity by using styling products with UV protection and anti-frizz properties.

Tips to maintain a perm
Tips to maintain a perm

II. How to fix a permed hair gone wrong?

1. Why does permed hair go wrong?

Permed hair can go wrong due to various factors, including:

1.1 Inexperienced Stylists:

If the stylist performing the perm lacks experience or proper training, they may apply the perm solution incorrectly or leave it on for too long, resulting in over-processed or uneven curls.

1.2 Incorrect Perm Solution:

Using the wrong type or strength of perm solution for your hair type can lead to undesirable outcomes. For example, using a strong perm solution on fine or delicate hair can cause damage and breakage.

1.3 Hair Condition:

The condition of your hair plays a significant role in the success of a perm. If your hair is already damaged or over-processed, it may not hold the curl well or may become overly brittle after perming.

1.4 Improper Aftercare:

Failing to follow proper aftercare instructions, such as washing the hair too soon after the perm or using harsh products that strip away moisture, can cause the perm to lose its shape or result in dry, frizzy hair.

1.5 Not Considering Hair History:

Previous chemical treatments, such as dyeing or relaxing, can affect how your hair reacts to a perm. It’s essential to inform your stylist of any previous treatments to avoid potential compatibility issues.

1.6 Hair Texture and Porosity:

Different hair textures and porosities react differently to perms. For example, coarse hair may require a stronger solution or longer processing time, while fine hair may need a milder formula to prevent damage.

1.7 Environmental Factors:

Humidity, heat, and other environmental factors can impact the outcome of a perm. Excessive exposure to these elements can cause the curls to become frizzy or lose their shape over time.

1.8 Health Conditions:

Certain health conditions or medications can affect the structure and health of your hair, potentially leading to unexpected results with a perm.

Why does permed hair go wrong
Why does permed hair go wrong

2. Tips to fix a permed hair gone wrong:

2.1. Washing Your Hair

Upon realizing that your perm has gone awry, it’s crucial to act swiftly. Either request a wash in the salon immediately or proceed to wash your hair as soon as you return home. This step is vital as it rinses out the chemicals from your hair, halting any further development of the perm.

If you’re not witnessing significant improvement, opt for a deep conditioning shampoo and repeat the washing procedure until your hair feels softer and exhibits looser curls.

2.2. Deep Conditioning:

Begin by restoring moisture to your hair with deep conditioning treatments. Look for products containing nourishing ingredients like argan oil, shea butter, or keratin. Leave-in conditioners and hair masks can help hydrate and repair damaged strands.

2.3. Try a Hot Oil Treatment:

Hot oil treatments offer a dual benefit by relaxing the hair while infusing it with essential nourishment and moisture. Over time, these treatments fortify the hair’s structure, resulting in softer, more manageable locks and minimizing unwanted frizz.

To indulge in a hot oil treatment, cover your hair with a shower cap while the treatment is applied. After rinsing, use a gentle, relaxing shampoo and conditioner, followed by a nourishing hair serum. This comprehensive process not only relaxes the hair but also helps eliminate residual harsh chemicals from the perming process, promoting healthier, revitalized hair.

2.4. Trim Any Loose Ends:

The appearance of your perm can be marred by wispy, unruly ends that curl in various directions. Consider getting these ends trimmed to enhance the overall look of your perm. Alternatively, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can opt to trim these unruly ends yourself for a tidier appearance.

2.5. Establish a Daily Hair Care Routine:

While the aforementioned tips can aid in relaxing and tidying your perm gone wrong, fully restoring your hair from the effects of the perm will require patience and consistent effort. During this period, it’s recommended to adopt a daily haircare routine comprising washing, conditioning, and applying an anti-frizz serum. Gently scrunch your hair in your fist to encourage the curls to settle into a presentable form. Whenever feasible, allow your hair to air dry naturally or utilize a diffuser attachment on your hair dryer for gentle styling.

2.6. Avoid Heat Styling:

Steer clear of heat styling tools to prevent further damage to your hair. Instead, embrace heat-free styling methods such as air-drying or using foam rollers to enhance your natural curls.

2.7. Consider a Restyle

If you’ve exhausted all other options and find it challenging to cope with your frizzy curls, consider visiting a salon for a fresh hairstyle. While it may entail opting for a shorter cut to remove damaged hair and promote healthy regrowth, there are numerous stylish perm hairstyles suitable for shorter hair lengths. You can try a new perm hairstyle with color that makes you more different and style.

2.8. Getting a haircut:

Getting a haircut might seem like an unexpected decision for many, but in cases of severely botched perms, it can be a practical solution. Moreover, it could present an exciting opportunity for a change. A professional stylist can provide you with a new short hairstyle that not only eliminates damaged hair entirely but also revitalizes your look. This could be the confidence boost you’ve been longing for, and it might even fulfill a desire you’ve harbored but hesitated to act upon.

Remember that every hair situation is unique, so it’s essential to tailor your approach based on your specific needs and concerns. With proper care and attention, you can restore your permed hair to its natural beauty.

how to fix permed hair gone wrong
how to fix permed hair gone wrong