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How to Fix a Bad Perm

by Shirley Chan {{"2015-01-27T08:00:51-08:00" | blogDate:'MMMM d, y'}}

Image by Madison Reed

Bad Perms

Whether you get permed at the salon or do it at home, there's a risk of getting too-tight curls, lackluster waves, or a “fishtail” effect with strands that hang awkwardly with the rest of your hair. Madison Reed is here to help with easy solutions for bad perms!

There are different reasons that a perm goes bad ...

Bad Perm Reasons

  1. If your hair isn't healthy, the chemical process could damage it further, making it look and feel less than ideal.
  2. If your stylist doesn't allow the perm to process for the right amount of time, hair can get too curly (making it look frizzy) or only gain limp, loose waves.
  3. If hair is resistant to chemicals or curved incorrectly around perm rods, you might get wayward ends (called fishtails) that stick straight out from the rest of your hairstyle.

How to Get Rid of a Bad Perm

  1. Wash your hair immediately. Most perm formulas need 28 hours to neutralize, which is why stylists recommend waiting 48 hours before shampooing. If you want to undo the results of a perm, use a nourishing shampoo and conditioner to cleanse and hydrate your hair. This has the added benefit of making your hair healthier for future styles.
  2. Apply a deep conditioning or hot oil treatment, cover with a shower cap, and leave on for several hours. If you want, you can even leave it on hair overnight and wash out in the morning. Deep conditioning will help loosen tight curls and tame frizz on over-processed hair.
  3. If you only have a few, short fishtail pieces sticking out of your curls, trim them carefully. You'll get the best results with hair shears, instead of normal household scissors. If that's too drastic, you can also use a curling iron or blow dryer to shape your hair the way you want it. Make sure to use styling products that protect your hair to prevent damage from the extra heat and attention.

One bad experience doesn't have to close off your possibilities. Here are tips for getting the results you want next time:

Tips to Prevent a Bad Perm

  • Healthy hair responds best to chemical processes and styling. So show your lockslove with healthier hair care and a regimen designed for your hair type.
  • Be clear about what you want. There are different types of perms to create different looks. Spiral perms create romantic ringlets, while perm rods yield more natural-looking curls. Bring pictures of what you want, and make time to discuss with your stylist. It's worth it!


More coloring perm hair information here.

Tags:  Perm Hair Perm
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