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. If any of this describes you, read on, because Madison Reed is here to help with easy solutions for bad perms...
How to Get Rid of a Bad Perm
- 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 Color Protecting Shampoo and Conditioner to cleanse and hydrate your hair.
- 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 it out in the morning. Deep conditioning will help loosen tight curls and tame frizz on over-processed hair.
- 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.
- If none of these options work, or if it has been too long since your perm, you may just have to have patience to grow it out. Easier said than done, we know, but here are a few blog posts with tips and tricks on how to grow out your hair gracefully, and a post on how to color hair that has been permed or relaxed.
Fall in love with a new shade >> Take our quiz
Bad Perm Reasons
- If your tresses aren’t in tip top shape, the chemical process of a perm can damage it further, making your hair look and feel drab and unhealthy.
- If your stylist doesn't allow the perm to process for the right amount of time, hair can either get too curly (making it look frizzy) or not curly enough with limp, loose waves.
- 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. Not exactly the look you were going for.
Tips to Prevent a Bad Perm
- Healthy hair responds best to chemical processes and styling. So show your locks some love with nourishing 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. Before you perm...confirm.
Have you tried our virtual hair color tool? >> Check it out
And there you have it—all the deets on perms gone wrong. Got any perm tips to share? Questions for our Color Crew? Let us know in the comments below.