Should You Perm Your Hair?

December 30, 2008 by Kristie Leong MD  
Published in Hair

Are you ready for a change? Here are some points to consider before you perm your hair.

Are you considering getting a permanent? A permanent wave can be a quick way to add wave or volume to lackluster hair. It can be particularly helpful for the woman who spends inordinate amounts of time trying to coax her naturally flat hair into wavy ringlets only to have it fall flat in two hours. If you’re spending more money on hair spray than you are on shampoo, a permanent may be your answer. Of course, as with anything, there are pros and cons to this procedure. Should you take the plunge and perm your hair?

It may reduce the amount of time you spend on your hair

If you’re tired of firing up the curling iron every morning and polluting the house with hair spray chemicals to get your hair to hold a wave, you may want to think seriously about perming your hair. When you perm your hair, it can be a real time saver. Who knows? You may even be able to sleep an extra thirty minutes with the time you save not having to wrestle with your hair.

It can add volume to fine hair

If you’ve always had flat, lifeless, fine hair, a perm can really pump up the volume. It may be your one opportunity to have “big hair”, if that’s your goal. On a humid day, you’ll no longer have to worry about your hair collapsing like a wet dish rag.

It can be a fun change

Who doesn’t want a little change in their hairstyle every once in a while? If you’ve had stick straight hair since your high school yearbook picture, now may be the time to find out what it’s like to perm your hair and get oodles of volume.

It’s damaging

Of course there are drawbacks to any chemical procedure. When you perm your hair, you break protein bonds which can weaken the hair shaft. If you get perms too frequently or continue to use heat on your permed hair, you can end up with an overprocessed mess. If you decide to get a perm, be prepared to do regular deep conditioning and don’t plan on perming too often.

It can make it difficult to color your hair

Unless you want seriously damaged hair, it’s best to choose between the two treatments. Although you can perm colored hair, over time damage will build up. If you have bleached or double processed hair, perming can be a disaster and should be avoided at all costs. Decide which process is most important to you and nix the other one if you want shiny, healthy hair.

It can be expensive

Perming your hair adds another ongoing expense to your budget. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be done more than every four to six months, in most cases. Factor in the time you’re spending styling your hair and the cost of hairspray and it may be a wash.

It can be restrictive

When you have straight hair, you have more options in terms of how you can wear it. It’s difficult to pull permed hair back into a ponytail for the gym or into an elegant updo. You may be stuck with a single look which could get old after a while.

Some people have reactions to the perm solution

If you perm your hair, there’s a chance you may have an allergic type reaction to the perm solution resulting in an intensely itchy scalp, redness, and rash. Sometimes this can happen when the perm solution is left on the scalp too long. If you develop these symptoms, it can be unpleasant enough to make you wish you’d never seen a bottle of perming solution.

The bottom line? If you decide to take the plunge and perm your hair, be sure to get a professional consultation and go to someone who’s qualified to give you the competent treatment you deserve. Don’t try to do it yourself if you’re not a hairdresser. Some things are worth the price.

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2 Responses to “Should You Perm Your Hair?”
  1. Bonnie Says:

    my hair dressser gave me a perm i told her i have bleached steaks so what can i do with the damage thank you Bonnie

  2. emily ..x Says:

    i think you have to have quite long hair to have a perm as it takes about 1 inch of you lenth maybe more! so you have to ahve long hair to have a perm !!


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