Can you straighten a perm without ruining it

Ah, to have gorgeous curly locks. Some people are born with it, while some aren’t. 

Fortunately for us who aren’t, we are blessed with many other ways to achieve our desired curls. Be it through hair curlers, curling irons, or curling rods.

One curling method, in particular, is quite different from the rest, as the process yields long-lasting results and doesn’t necessarily involve heat. Have you figured it out yet? You guessed it, perms!

‘Perm’ is meant to be short for the word ‘permanent’. Despite its name, however, the effects of the treatment are temporary. 

Just like many other things, they don’t stick around forever. Quite a letdown for those hoping for lifelong curls, but good news to those who miss their straight hair dearly. 

Maybe your perm turned out too frizzy, too kinky, or too unflattering for your taste. On the other hand, you may like how your hair looks but are thinking of straightening it for a short while. 

So it all comes down to this: can you straighten a perm without ruining it? 


Can you straighten a perm without damaging it?

Can you straighten a perm without damaging it

Let’s be real here; getting a perm without even the slightest risk of hair damage is next to impossible. 

Although it isn’t as intense as bleaching or coloring treatments, the process involves chemically altering your hair, which can be harmful if done often. So it’s doubtful that you’ll be able to get away with straightening a perm without damaging it.

Straightening it means either heat styling it or chemically treating it another time. Both options can prompt hair damage one way or another.

That said, it may seem like there’s just no way out of your curly predicament. 

But don’t worry, there is hope. We’re here to tell you all the ways you can straighten your perm with as little harm done to your hair as possible. 

What happens if you straighten a perm?

In order to know what happens when straightening a perm, we first need to understand the basic concept of perming.

Perms cause chemical changes in the wave pattern of your hair, meaning that it doesn’t only affect its texture but also its inner structure. This happens by applying a perm solution that breaks and reforms the bonds found in your hair so that it curls.

Depending on the procedure you choose, you can either adjust its outward appearance and texture alone, or you can apply a perm solution to alter the bonds again to straighten it.

How long after a perm can you straighten your hair?

The amount of time needed for your permed hair to rest ultimately depends on the overall condition of your hair. 

Do not, I repeat, do NOT try to straighten your hair immediately after getting a perm. Attempting to do so right after the process will do more harm than good.

If your hair is in good condition, a hair stylist would typically suggest around two weeks before you can straighten it to allow your hair to adjust to its new state.

It may take longer for other hair types, especially those who regularly put their hair through lightening or chemical processes, as this makes their hair more susceptible to damage.


Can you straighten a perm with a flat iron?

Can you straighten a perm with a flat iron

Yes, you can! It isn’t a permanent solution by any means, but it can straighten your hair for a little while if that’s what you’re looking for.

Straightening your hair with a flat iron simply changes its physical appearance without removing the chemicals in it, making it perfect for a temporary look. Your perm will reappear after your first shampoo or when it gets wet.

Of course, this particular straightening method doesn’t come without a few side effects. You should be sure to use a heat protectant as it can make your hair more prone to more damage and dryness.


Can you get a perm to straighten your hair?

You can get your hair chemically curled, but did you know you can get it chemically straightened too?

A reverse perm is a process wherein the perm solution is applied to adjust the chemical bonds in a way that straightens them. Instead of creating curls, it takes them out of your hair. Neat, huh?

Still, you need to keep in mind that, like the traditional perm, it’s a chemical treatment. That makes it more suitable for those with naturally curly hair and less for those with already permed hair. Remember, your hair needs time to recover!


How long does it take for a perm to straighten out?

Another way of straightening a perm without ruining it is by waiting it out. This is your safest bet as you don’t have to risk heat styling it or chemically treating it again.

A perm can last about three to six months but can vary based on your hair type and how you maintain it. 

There are several other factors as well, including how often you use heat styling tools and your exposure to chlorinated water. These can deteriorate the quality of your perm.

To sum it up, it’s just a matter of regularly checking in and keeping it in good condition.


How to permanently straighten permed hair at home

How to permanently straighten permed hair at home

Before you attempt to do this at home, remember it’s best to consult a professional first to discuss the best course of action. Everyone’s hair responds differently to specific treatments. 

  1. To start, you will need a comb and a perming kit containing products meant specially for chemically treated hair, such as a curl remover. This is important since you need it to be gentle with your hair.
  2. Apply waving lotion to freshly washed hair and comb it carefully until it falls straight.
  3. It is highly recommended you ask for a friend’s help with this step, as it can be quite a hassle to do on your own. With that said, let your hair sit for about 10-15 minutes before rinsing it with warm water for five minutes.
  4. Wrap your hair with a warm towel and gently squeeze out the excess water. You must take extra care not to twist or apply too much friction.
  5. Comb your hair, then apply a neutralizer. Let it sit for five minutes, and rinse your hair another time afterward.
  6. Dry your hair with another towel and comb it again. Allow it to air dry or if you’d like to be quicker, use a blow dryer on low heat.

Almost done! All you need to do now is take note not to use shampoo until after 48 hours and stay clear of ponytails, clips, and just about anything that could affect your hair's texture.


How to straighten a perm without chemicals

Are you not too thrilled at dousing your hair with even more chemicals? No worries! Here’s a chemical-free way to straighten your perm:

  1. Wash your hair immediately after getting your perm. Use a color-protecting shampoo and conditioner.
  2. Next, apply a deep conditioning treatment or a hot oil treatment. Cover your hair with a shower cap after. 
  3. Leave it on overnight, then rinse.
  4. If you still have a few curls sticking out of your hair, you can pluck them out using hair shears or use a blow dryer to style it how you want.

If you straighten a perm, will it go back curly?

Whether or not your perm will go back curly depends on how you straightened it in the first place.

Using a flat iron is a temporary fix, so your perm will most probably bounce back unless the passage of time has already started straightening it out.

A perm solution like curl removers, however, is a different story. It removes the curling chemical bonds and straightens your hair permanently.


Can you curl permed hair?

So maybe you find that your perm doesn’t seem to be curly enough. Can you curl it more?

Indeed you can! Your hair may be more delicate in its current state, but it’s versatile enough to handle some hairstyle changes here and there. 

This opens up some room for more questions: how will you curl it? Can you use a curling iron on permed hair?

Just like how you can use a flat iron on your hair, you can also use a curling iron to enhance your waves. Just remember to use a heat protectant as always.

Ultimately, it all comes down to how you straighten a perm that determines whether or not it turns out ruined. A good hair routine, choosing the right treatments, and enough dedication can go a long way to keeping your hair, permed or not, healthy and beautiful!

Last Updated: August 7, 2022

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