For anyone sick of their predictable and “boring” straight hair, a perm is a godsend. In just a couple of hours sitting in a salon chair, you can get those voluminous curls and spirals you’ve always dreamed about.
But not everyone gets their dream curls after a perm. Many women even end up cursing the very idea of a perm when theirs doesn’t turn out the way they had hoped.
Some people get stuck with hair that is way curlier and kinkier than they had imagined, making daily styling nothing short of a nightmare.
Does that sound like you? Don’t worry – not all hope is lost! There are still ways to “undo” or at least loosen up the curls you have from your perm if you end up hating your new look.
In this post, we’ll be looking at ways to deal with the extra-curly perm. And if you’ve been wondering how to relax a perm that is too curly, we’ll try and convince you not to do it!
Let’s dive in.
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Your Perm Has Turned Out Too Curly. Now What?
When you get a perm, the salon stylist uses solutions and chemicals to alter the structure of your strands.
It changes the texture of your hair, turning it from straight and limp to curly and voluminous.
Sadly, sometimes your mane turns out to be too curly, so much so that it is kinky and unmanageable.
Many people think that once your perm is done and you aren’t so keen on it, your only option is to tolerate it until it grows long enough to be cut off.
But in reality, there are multiple things you can do to try and “undo” how curly your hair has become.
The options you have depend on how soon you realize that you don’t like how your hair has turned out.
Whether you realize it as soon as your perm is done or a few days after will dictate the things you can do to loosen up your perm.
Don’t Panic And Run To The Salon For More Services
But before we get into your options, I just need to say one important thing.
Whatever you do, never panic and run back to the salon to ask for another chemical treatment to get rid of your curls.
Getting a relaxer or keratin service might be tempting if you regret your perm right away.
But trust me when I say that it’s a bad idea if you want to maintain the health and integrity of your hair.
Some smoothening hair treatments are suitable for permed hair, like a Brazilian blowout.
However, you must not forget that a perm uses harsh chemicals on your hair, which weakens it and makes it more fragile.
So, immediately following up with even more chemicals will simply harm it.
Your hair is already damaged and porous from your perm.
You don’t want to make it worse by getting another treatment done on impulse.
Sure, you might end up with straight, manageable hair again, but it will likely be so unhealthy that it’s prone to breakage and snapping off.
It’s so not worth it!
Luckily, there are other (read: healthier!) things you can do to loosen up your curls from a bad perm.
And your options depend on how quickly you realize you want to “rescue” your hair.
How To Loosen Curls Immediately After Your Perm
If you want to reverse the effects of the perm on your hair, you have the highest chance of doing so immediately after your salon appointment.
Since the perm is quite fresh for the first day or two, it will be easiest to loosen up your new curl pattern then.
So, if you had your perm done within the last two days, here are your options for loosening up those tight curls:
Wash Your Hair With A Clarifying Shampoo ASAP
As Elle Woods once said, the golden rule of getting a perm is to not wash your hair within the first 48 hours.
Shampooing your locks will wash away the chemicals that altered your tresses to make them curly.
This is a huge no-no for anyone who gets a perm because it will “undo” the entire service.
Related Post: How To Revitalize A Perm
But if you don’t like how your curls ended up in the first place, that’s exactly what you want to happen!
Perming solutions take about 28 hours to settle into your strands.
So, if you don’t like your perm, wash your hair as soon as you get home (or any time before the 28-hour mark).
This washes out the chemicals that are still working to make your new curl pattern permanent.
A clarifying shampoo will work really well for this.
This type of shampoo is meant to detoxify the hair and give it a cleanse so deep that it gets rid of all the stubborn dirt, minerals, and chemicals in your strands – the ones regular shampoo can’t wash away just like that.
For this, I recommend the Davines SOLU Shampoo.
This clarifying shampoo is great for removing all kinds of build-up on your hair, like leftover leave-in conditioner.
It contains buckwheat extracts as well to feed your hair nourishing vitamins, minerals, and amino acids as you wash it.
Treat Yourself To Hot Oil Treatment At Home
Another way to loosen up those new curls of yours is by giving them a deep conditioning treatment as soon as you can, post-perm service.
Moisturizing your hair with a heavy product can flatten your hair, smoothing down those unruly and frizzy curls.
While you can always use your favorite deep conditioner for this, you can also try using natural oils to give yourself a hot oil treatment.
Thick and heavy oils like coconut oil, olive oil, and shea butter will work best for that.
Just warm up the oil of your choice in your microwave, slather it all over your hair to saturate every strand, and put on your shower cap to trap in the heat.
Leave it in your hair for a few hours or even overnight before washing it out with shampoo.
Et voila! Smoother, less frizzy curls.
Recommended Post: Is Coconut Oil Good For Low Porosity Hair?
Turning Kinky Curls Into Loose Waves During Styling
If you only realize that you don’t like your perm that much days or weeks after getting it, then doing my tips above might not help.
The perming solution will have already settled in your strands, locking in your curl pattern for good.
So, what you have to focus on now is how you style your hair.
There are small but impactful things you can do to gradually stretch out your curls, loosening them up bit by bit.
Plus, doing these tricks will make your hair look wavier and more relaxed each time you go out, which is the important part.
Style Your Hair With Heavy Leave-In Conditioners
Moisture is awesome for curly hair.
It makes your spirals and waves more defined while adding tons of shine to them.
But it also helps weigh down your curls, elongating them to look more relaxed if you’re sick of how kinky and big they are.
For this, you want to find a leave-in moisturizer that has rich and nourishing ingredients, like avocado oil, shea butter, coconut oil, and cocoa seed butter.
Use a generous amount of that leave-in and distribute it through your strands to weigh it down and stretch it out more.
One that I personally love using is the SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt Hydrate + Repair Leave-In.
Not only is it a dream to detangle and style with, but it’s super rich and moisturizing – perfect for elongating kinky curls.
This leave-in contains super nourishing ingredients such as shea butter, soybean oil, baobab oil, manuka honey, and more.
These will help tame your hair as you style it, making it look more relaxed and wavier instead of big and coily.
It also helps tame frizz, which is always a plus for curly locks.
Recommended Post: Best Leave-In Conditioner For Permed Hair
Straighten Your Hair Regularly With A Flat Iron
Another thing you can do to stretch out your curls over time is by straightening your hair a couple of times a week.
Yes, this isn’t an immediate, permanent solution.
But if you do your due diligence and straighten your hair regularly, the curls from your perm will loosen and be less kinky.
What you must understand is that the effects of the perm will never be reversed completely with this method.
But over time, you’ll notice slight differences in how poofy and big your curls are.
Note that you should allow about a week or two after you perming service before using heat on it.
Don’t do it right away – using hot tools on newly-permed hair may damage it further and make it incredibly fragile and brittle.
Always make sure you use a heat protectant, too.
Whether you hate how your curly hair looks as soon as you step out of the salon or only realize that you regret getting a perm days or weeks later, there’s always a way to loosen up those coily curls.
Remember not to panic and book another chemical service for your hair, lest you be stuck with brittle, damaged strands.
You can go for the immediate steps to reverse the perm instead, like shampooing and deep conditioning, or adjust how you style your hair little by little to stretch it out gradually.
Fingers crossed you end up with the precise curl or wave pattern you were hoping for from the start!