When can I wash my hair after a perm?

By: | Last Updated: April 13, 2023

Are you thinking of adding volume and structure to your dull tresses? Well then, perming is here for that! 

But first things first, what is a perm? 

If you didn’t know, perm has been here for quite a long time.

The word “perm” is short for permanent wave. It’s a chemical treatment that curls the hair with rod rollers. These rollers are wrapped around the hair with a perm solution that breaks the hair’s natural bonds.  

And as a result, it gives the hair a new wave pattern. 

Now the next question is, when exactly can you wash your hair after a perm? 

Well, keep reading to find out! 

How long after a perm can you wash your hair?

How long after a perm can you wash your hair

Wait for at least 48 hours before washing and shampooing your hair.

Washing your hair immediately after getting a perm may harm the curls and make it frizzy

Also, in perming, the hair’s natural bonds are broken down by the chemical solution, thereby producing a new shape.

Hence, the 48-hour time frame is necessary so the hair can fully adapt to the new wave patterns. Otherwise, you’ll end up with poorly formed curls with uneven shapes.

When can I wet my hair after a perm?

Let’s be clear, washing and wetting the hair are two different things! Washing is scrubbing your tresses clean with shampoo, whereas wetting is rinsing or spritzing water on the hair. 

Now, when can you wet your hair after a perm? 

After 48 hoursyes, it’s the same as washing your hair!

Although there’s no shampoo, wetting the hair may still destroy the chemical bond and alter the wave pattern.

Simply put, wetting the hair cancels out the curling process. 

So a piece of advice — stay away from the shower and always bring an umbrella, just in case it rains! Or better yet, check the weather forecast before going out! 

Can I wet my hair 36 hours after a perm?

Remember that the first 48 hours will either make or break your perms. 

And while there may be little to no difference between 36 and 48 hours, trust me when I say that the difference is crucial for newly permed tresses.

And nope, you can’t wet your hair 36 hours after a perm as it takes 48 hours for your tresses to adjust to their new structure. You’ll be sorry if you wet or wash it out.

The question now is, what happens if you get it wet 36 hours after perming? 

Well, water ruins the perm. It eliminates the chemical factors that curl the hair, making it loose and uneven. The curls may also straighten. 

So if you want long-lasting curls, stick with the 48-hour rule! 

How do you wash permed hair for the first time?

How do you wash permed hair for the first time

Aside from following the 48-hour time frame, you should also know how to wash newly permed hair for the first time. 

Perming changes hair proteins, making newly permed hair undoubtedly drier. This is most evident when the hair is already damaged way back. 

Hence, taking utmost care of your perms is a priority.

Begin by washing it with shampoo and conditioner specifically for permed hair. I recommend using products that have aloe vera, vitamin E, olive, argan, or almond oils, as these ingredients hydrate the hair. 

Next, rinse it with warm water. Never use hot water since this expands the pores, encouraging hair loss and thinning. 

After washing, detangle the hair using a wide-toothed comb. In doing this, make sure that your hair is still wet to prevent breakage.

And let it air dry. 

After that, use a hydrating natural mask to enhance perm appearance. 

You may also replace the conditioner with a hydrating mask if your hair is excessively dry.

What should you not do after a perm?

Perm after-care isn’t a walk in the park. It may not be as soft and bouncy as you’d expect since newly permed hair is more susceptible to frizz and dryness. 

But don’t worry! I listed a few things you shouldn’t do after getting a perm. Simply follow the list, and you’re one step away from damaged curls.

 So without further ado, let’s get started! 

1. Don’t wash and wet your hair for at least 48 hours.

Water disrupts the curling process, thereby deactivating the perms. 

So avoid water, even a tiny drop of it. And let your hair fully recover and settle into its new wave patterns for at least 2 days. 

2. Don’t shampoo every day. 

While it’s true that too much oil is detrimental to the hair, it still needs some natural oil to stay healthy. 

Surprisingly, frequent shampooing depletes the hair’s natural oil. As a result, hair becomes dry, brittle, and more prone to breakage. 

In other words, don’t shampoo every day! And when shampooing, use a sulfate-free product so that your perms stay healthy and nourished.  

3. Don’t comb your hair.

Refrain from combing your hair in the first 24 hours. After which, you may finger-comb your curls. You may also use a wide-tooth comb while the hair is still wet.

4. Don’t use heat-styling tools.

As mentioned earlier, permed hair is more prone to frizz than natural hair. And heat styling only aggravates the damage, causing breakage and split ends.  

So as much as possible, stay away from blow dryers and flat irons. But if you must blow dry, do it on low heat with an attached diffuser and apply a heat protectant beforehand. 

5. Don’t towel dry.

Avoid towel-drying your hair as it may damage the hair shaft and weaken the strands. Air dry instead. 

6. Don’t immediately dye your tresses.

Dyeing is a no-no for at least 2 weeks after a perm as both perming and dyeing harm the tresses. 

Let your hair recuperate from the harsh chemicals. Otherwise, you’ll risk damaging your hair. 

7. Don’t skip conditioner.

When it comes to chemical treatments, conditioner is your best friend! 

Make sure you follow every shampoo with a conditioner. Leave-in conditioners work wonders too! You may also deep condition your hair twice a week for added moisture. 

8. Don’t tie your hair.

Hair ties are a no-go too! Putting your permed hair in a braid or ponytail may dent the hair’s new structure and cancel the curling process. 

Hence, wait for at least 2 to 3 days before tying them up.

When can I wash my hair after a digital perm?

When can I wash my hair after a digital perm

Aside from traditional perm, there’s also what you call “digital perm”. From the name itself, it’s a modern way of perming the hair. 

In digital perm, digitally heated rods are wrapped around the hair with a perm solution applied. These heated rods activate the perm and alter the hair structure. 

And similar to traditional perming, you should only wash them after 48 hours, allowing the chemicals to settle in place. 

CHECK OUT: How to take care of a Digital Perm

The takeaway

Remember that perming is a major hair transition. So give your hair ample time to adjust and restructure.

Never wet or wash your tresses immediately. But instead, wait for at least 48 hours. Also, don’t forget to condition afterward to keep your curls healthy and nourished! 

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