When you finally get that perm you’ve been wanting for so long, it feels like a dream come true. No more waking up an hour earlier than necessary just to curl your hair with that heavy wand – or deal with accidentally burning your skin with it. You just wake up, shake your hair out a bit, and you’re ready for the day.
But you’ll realize sooner than later that it’s not all peachy after you get a perm. If you don’t properly care for your hair post-perm or switch your routine to accommodate your new curls, you could end up with dry, frizzy, damaged hair and little to no definition of your spirals.
A lot of work goes into making sure your hair is healthy and looks fabulous in the months after your perm. Not a lot of people know that though. If you’ve been wondering how to revitalize a perm, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, I’ll be taking you through all the things you need to do to revitalize your permed locks when they start getting out of hand.
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What Happens To Your Hair After Perming It?
Although perming your hair isn’t as dangerous as bleaching it, it’s still a chemical process that alters the structure of your locks.
Therefore, it can affect your overall hair health, and not in a good way.
See, to permanently curl your hair, a perming solution breaks down your strands’ disulfide bonds.
When they’re weak and vulnerable, the chemicals and agents in the perming solution strike.
They enter your hair’s cortex to change its structure from the inside out, giving you a new, wavier texture.
You may be happy to see pretty curls on your head, but you shouldn’t forget what a perm has done to your hair bonds.
To some degree, a perm will damage your hair.
For a lucky few, all that means is a little more dehydration than they’re used to.
But for others who choose to get a perm after another chemical process (like bleaching or dyeing), that means parched, brittle, dull locks that need repairing.
Don’t let the chemicals in the perming solution get the better of your hair.
Regardless of how much damage your hair incurs after a perm, it’s important to know how to care for your locks afterward to ensure that your new curls are properly moisturized, full of luster and shine, and are uber-defined.
Not doing proper perm aftercare can spell disaster for your curls.
Instead of looking like perfect ringlets, they could end up being frizzy and poofy.
How To Revitalize A Perm
Feel like your permed hair is already going through a lot as a result of the chemical process?
Here are some steps you can take to refresh and revitalize your permed locks:
Avoid Shampooing And Swimming For A Few Days
Aftercare doesn’t start a week or a month after your perm.
Some of the most important steps you must undertake to keep your permed hair intact should be done right off the bat, not just when your hair is feeling dry and brittle.
The golden rule of getting a perm is that you shouldn’t wet or shampoo your hair for at least 72 hours after your salon appointment.
You need to wait this long to let the perming chemicals settle into your hair, allowing your hair to stay curly for longer.
Washing out these chemicals with shampoo too early can lessen their impact on your hair, leaving them with flimsy waves instead of ultra-defined curls.
You should also stay away from chlorinated swimming pools for about a week.
Chlorine and other minerals can wreak havoc on newly-permed hair, destroying your newly-obtained curls.
Wash And Condition Your Hair With Sulfate-Free Products
As long as your hair is curly, try to avoid shampoos and conditioners that contain sulfates.
These stripping cleansing agents will dry out your hair and wash out the perming solution that keeps your curls intact.
Instead, go for hydrating products that can nourish your ringlets and bring out their fab curl pattern.
Recommended Post: Best Sulfate-Free Shampoo For Permed Hair
A tip I can give you is to look for hair wash products that are labeled as safe for color-treated hair.
These are usually free of sulfates and other irritating ingredients that can ruin your curls, like parabens.
One of my favorite shampoo and conditioner duos for chemically-processed hair is the Honeydew Biotin Shampoo and Conditioner Set.
These sulfate-free products are infused with biotin, keratin, and amino acids, all of which are known to strengthen damaged hair.
They also help thicken up and volumize your strands.
That’s perfect for giving your curly hair more body and movement.
This set is formulated with moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, evening primrose oil, jojoba oil, aloe vera, sea buckthorn oil, and more to leave your curls bouncy and shiny all day.
Don’t Wash Your Hair As Frequently As You Used To
Don’t get too excited about wash day.
Remember that you’re a curly girl now, and curly girls have naturally drier hair than those with pin-straight locks.
Because of the curly texture, your scalp’s natural oils will have a harder time traveling down your hair strands, leaving them more susceptible to dehydration and brittleness.
You should avoid washing your hair as frequently as you did before your perm.
Shampooing every day can strip your hair of the little sebum that has managed to coat and protect it.
So, try to go as long as possible between wash days to give your hair a better shot at staying hydrated for longer.
Moisturize Your Hair With Penetrative Oils
Because perming is a chemical process, it can leave your hair damaged and weak.
The number one symptom of this is dryness – and this is a huge no-no for curly hair that needs moisture to look shiny and defined.
Replenishing your hair with moisture is terrific for softening and conditioning the hair.
Plus, the need to moisturize your hair after getting a perm has two main purposes.
First, you need to repair the damage incurred by the perm and replenish your hair with much-needed hydration to get it back in shape.
Second, you need to ensure your tresses drink up all the moisture they can so bring out your beautiful new curl pattern.
One of the best ways to moisturize your hair from the inside out is to use natural oils.
These can help strengthen, nourish, and add shine to your locks, depending on which one you use.
Oils can also improve your overall scalp health if you use them all over your head.
There are dozens of natural oils to choose from when it comes to moisturizing your permed locks.
Coconut oil is always a cult favorite, thanks to its high amount of fatty acids that nourish the hair intensively.
Another classic is almond oil, which is rich in vitamin E and magnesium.
These ingredients strengthen the hair, and protect it from free radicals that damage it further.
These oils make for an excellent pre-poo.
Recommended Post: Pre-Poo Recipes For Low Porosity Hair
Apply them directly into your hair, and then leave it on for half an hour before jumping in the shower and shampooing it all off.
You can also use lightweight oils as a leave-in treatment.
Argan oil is a favorite for this one.
It’s weightless yet super nourishing, so you get the moisturizing benefits without weighing your curls down.
It’s a wonderful finishing oil to add shine to your curls after you style them.
Deep Condition Your Strands Once A Week
Another way to replenish your permed hair that has lost moisture is to use a deep conditioning mask.
Conditioning every time you wash your hair is important – but once a week.
This will help you switch to a thicker, more nourishing hair mask to provide deep moisture to your permed locks.
One that I highly recommend is the Kristin Ess Strand Strengthening Reconstructive Moisture Mask.
This deep conditioner is free of sulfates, phthalates, and parabens, making it perfect for your chemically-processed hair.
It’s rich in smoothening and softening ingredients, such as silk, panthenol, keratin, red algae, and lychee extracts.
One 10-minute session with this mask, and you’ll notice your curls feeling silky soft and looking ultra-defined.
Do A Bi-Weekly Protein Mask To Repair Broken Hair Bonds
Around twice a month, use a protein pack to repair the hair bonds that were broken by the perming solution.
Our hair is naturally made of proteins.
But after going through a chemical process like a perm, some of those proteins will have been broken down, leaving your strands weak and dry.
Using a protein-rich mask will help fortify your hair again.
Proteins like hydrolyzed keratin or silk can fill in the gaps in your damaged strands, making them stronger.
It can also give your hair more structure and bounce – something that will look fantastic on your curls!
Protein-rich masks are designed to repair fragile hair by boosting its elasticity and moisture levels.
They condition your strands to help make them less vulnerable to breakage and dryness.
The fact that they leave your mane feeling soft and velvety smooth is a bonus.
Recommended Post: DIY Protein Treatment For High Porosity Hair
Related Post: How To Stop Hair Loss After Keratin Treatment
Add Definition To Your Hair With Curly Products
Although the main point of getting a perm is to wake up with perfect curls every time, your locks will still need help maintaining your spirals’ definition.
Curly products that activate your new curl pattern will be a huge help with that.
The SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie is a classic in that regard.
Not only does it bring out your curls and lock them in all day, but it also moisturizes the hair deeply as a leave-in conditioner might.
That makes it an excellent two-in-one product.
It’s formulated with rich and creamy shea butter to condition your hair, which is a must after you get a perm.
It also has coconut oil and neem oil to add more shine and vibrance to your locks.
All these oils and butters also help get rid of split ends and protect your hair from breakage.
To use this, apply a dime-sized amount all over your hair while it’s damp from your shower.
Then, flip your hair over and scrunch it upwards with a microfiber towel.
This will remove the excess water and allow the curl-enhancing smoothie to define and hold your curls for hours.
Avoid Frequent Heat Styling
Heat styling is a huge culprit when it comes to hair dryness.
It can also break up the curls you’ve worked so hard to get if you do it way too frequently.
So, try to keep your flat irons and curling wands in the drawer and focus more on wearing your permed locks without heat.
Frizz and dryness are just some of the things you might notice in your curls if you still can’t resist the temptation to heat style daily.
And those are never pretty on curly hair.
Besides, heat styling your hair after getting a perm seems counterproductive, no?
You don’t want to waste your perm and sacrifice your hair health, just so you can heat style and further damage your locks, right?
If you really must heat style (for say, a special occasion or photoshoot), always use a heat protectant beforehand.
And if you need to blow-dry your hair after a shower, attach a diffuser.
This will help disperse the hot air better so that your curls’ shape can stay intact.
Related Post: Best Heat Protectant For Bleached Hair
Get Regular Trims Every Month Or Two
The longer your hair gets, the more weighed down and less defined your curls will be.
So try to book an appointment at the salon once every two or three months to get a regular trim.
Getting your ends cut off also gets rid of split ends – a common cause of frizz in curly girls.
It also lessens your chances of ending up with poofy hair that looks like a triangle, a la Hermione Granger.
In short, cutting your hair regularly doesn’t just maintain the bounciness of your curls, but it keeps frizz and flyaways at bay.
Want to make the most out of your gorgeous perm?
Take the tips I laid down above on how to revitalize a perm so that you can prevent damage to your hair.
Sure, getting a perm sounds like a wonderful solution to having to heat style your hair on a daily basis.
But that doesn’t mean curls are low maintenance.
On the contrary, it’s a must that you moisturize more, wash less, and keep heat away from your locks as much as you can.
So, when you notice that your hair is getting a little more unruly than usual – or feels more dry and damaged than you would like – remember these tips on how to revitalize your curls.
Incorporate every single one into your routine, and you’ll be back to admiring your breezy, defined waves and ringlets.