Even though home perm technology has dramatically improved over the past decade, it is still one service that is best left in the hands of a trained professional. In the not so distant past, giving yourself a home perm was much like playing a game of Russian roulette. There was a very good chance that your hair would over-process, resulting in a head full of frizz. Even though today’s perms are much more mild, they can still go horribly wrong.
When it comes to great results from a perm, timing is absolutely crucial. When waving lotion (the part of the perm that alters the curl pattern of the hair) is left on the hair too long, the hair will become dry and damaged. Professional perms are usually left on the hair for no longer than 20 minutes, but hair that has been colored or highlighted can process in half that time. It takes a trained eye to know just when the waving lotion has been on the hair long enough. Rinsing the hair too soon or too late can mean the difference between a great perm, a fizzy perm, or a perm that isn’t curly enough.
Rinsing the waving lotion from the hair is also an area where most do-it-yourselfers make mistakes. The solution must thoroughly be rinsed from the hair. In the salon, this step is timed for five whole minutes. This amount of time is much longer than it seems, and as a result, most women who try to perm their own hair do not rinse it well enough or long enough. If any spots are missed, the perm results will be uneven. It is much easier to rinse the hair in a salon’s shampoo bowl than bent over at your kitchen sink.
The final step is applying the neutralizer to the hair. This is what re-hardens the bonds in the hair, making a permanent wave permanent. In order to get a good curl, the neutralizer must be applied evenly and thoroughly and allowed to process for the recommended amount of time. If neutralizer is left on the hair for too long, the hair can become damaged or the curl may be stripped from the hair.
Another advantage of getting a perm in a salon is that you will receive expert advice for caring for permed hair. Permed hair cannot be shampooed for 24-48 hours, or else the curls may turn frizzy and the life of your perm will be severely shortened. A professional stylist can also recommend the proper shampoo and conditioner for your specific needs.
Can you attempt to perm your own hair? Sure you could. But with all of the potential things that can go wrong, why take the chance?