We all remember the famous court scene in “Legally Blonde” when Elle Woods wins her case after trapping Chutney on the stand with pointed questions about proper care of permed hair, right? Well, while the real-world consequences of failing to understand proper perm maintenance may not be as severe as prison, dry hair, split ends, damage, and other issues can arise if you fail to take proper care of those luscious curls you paid good money to achieve.
A perm is a chemical treatment that can leave otherwise straight hair wavy or curly for extended periods of time, sometimes up to six months given how quickly your hair grows (via Hair Pros). After considering all the pros and cons of getting a perm, the most important thing you need to know in order to help your curls last as long as they’re supposed to is what not to do immediately following your treatment (incidentally, the same thing our villain in “Legally Blonde” failed to remember on the stand). You shouldn’t wash your hair for at least 48 hours, and you shouldn’t brush or comb it for at least 24 hours after your perm appointment. You also shouldn’t put your hair up in a ponytail until after you’ve washed it for the first time to prevent any unwanted bumps or strange patterns.
How to treat your hair after your perm
Now that you’ve avoided destroying your perm in the first two days (good job!), it’s time to keep your hair healthy and glowing while enjoying your new curls. You might notice that your hair seems a bit drier post-perm, but don’t worry. While the process is less harsh than it used to be, it still requires chemicals that can leave your hair drier and more vulnerable to damage than it was in its natural state (via I Love Virgo). You may need to wash your hair less often than you did before for this reason, but when you do wash your hair, make sure you have a deep conditioning treatment on hand. Using a super-hydrating conditioner each time you shampoo is a must, and using deep conditioning treatments once a week (the kind you might leave on for a half-hour before rinsing off) is a good idea.
As much as possible, you should avoid heat drying, as that can further dry out and damage your hair. Rather, after you’ve shampooed and conditioned, comb your hair with a wide tooth comb, put in whatever leave-in products you use, and then let your hair naturally dry. Your curls should dry in lovely fashion without the help of styling tools and without the stress towel-drying can put on the hair shaft. As your hair grows, it’s also important to get regular trims to avoid split ends from taking over. Now, enjoy those bouncy curls!
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