Can You Straighten Permed Hair? How Perm is a Perm?

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Yes, it is possible to straighten permed hair, however, up to a certain degree. This is a relief for those who didn’t get the perfect curls they wanted or wish to switch up their style. It is important to note that hair perming involves various chemical treatments that affect the hair to produce curls. However, can your straighten permed hair for a night out?

Straightening permed hair features several methods, such as using a flat iron or letting it fade naturally. This review highlights all the essential knowledge you need to know about hair perming such as;

  • How Perm Straighten Works
  • How To Straighten Permed Hair
  • Facts About Permanent Hair Straightening

Straightening permed hair features several ways, such as using a flat iron or letting it fade naturally.

The good news is that all methods described below are safe and do not damage the hair. However, before looking at these critical areas, there are important facts about hair perming that you should know about. 

A perm lasts for about three to six months after application. However, since the process affects the hair structure, it is recommended to conduct the straightening after one month. It is also essential to know how the perm straightening works before looking at the various ways to do it. 


How Perm Straighten Works

Perm straightening is a procedure that alters the protein configurations in the hair shafts that straighten the curls. Whether the circles are natural or done by a stylist, the methods described below work in all cases; depending on the equipment used, these options might cause the hair to get softer or harder. 

After carefully straightening the permed hair, the ideal care routine is to use a neutralizer that keeps the hair locked into its new shape. The neutralizer changes the protein bonds within the hair, allowing it to adapt to its new form. 

For those wondering about the curls returning after straightening, it depends on how you take care of it. This is the case if you have natural curled hair. For instance, if one chooses to wash their straightened hair regularly, it is unlikely that it will retain its new structure; the hair naturally returns to its normal state. 

No need to worry about that since chemical kits and other alternatives ensure you look vibrant all day. These kits and methods offer the easiest way to get the sleek and seamless result you’ve been craving. 

How To Straighten Permed Hair

Depending on the available equipment and preferences, there are various ways to straighten your permed hair. Another way to distinguish these methods is either permanent or temporal straightening. If you aren’t sure about the best option, you should consult a professional who examines the hair structure and gives recommendations. The various ways to straighten permed hair include; 

Temporal Hair Straightening 

Below is a step-by-step guide for those who wish to get a long-lasting straightening effect on their curled hair. Note that apart from the essential hair styling equipment at home, you’ll be required to have a flat iron. 

Step 1

Use a gentle shampoo and a smoothing conditioner to wash the permed hair thoroughly; avoid using products that contain sulfates, parabens, and other harmful chemicals. Ensure that the chosen conditioner and shampoo have moisturizing properties. 

After that, apply a heat protectant since we will heat the hair. Finally, you can go the extra mile and use hair care oil to give it extra moisture. 

Step 2

Choose the ideal straightening product that works best with your hair type, as your stylist recommends. It is possible to get a hair straightener with both straightening and heat-protecting properties. Apply the straightener thoroughly, though gently, through the hair. 

Step 3

It’s time to use your diffuser to blow-dry the hair. The recommended procedure is to begin at the roots as you progress to the end. Next is to start straightening; use your paddle brush to brush or use your fingers. Ensure that the hair completely dries before proceeding. 

Step 4

The next step is to run a flat iron over the hair to create a sleek and straight look. Again, getting the right tool for the job is essential if you want the best results. Therefore, here are some tips to help you identify the ideal flat iron to get. 

  • For those with thin hair, it is unnecessary to use a flat iron after drying the hair. 
  • People with short and thick hair should get one with narrow plates. The perfect size is between 1/2” to 1” long. 
  • Longer hair requires a flat iron with longer plates, one between 1 ½ to 2 inches. 
  • It is best to get a flat iron that isn’t too heavy, is easy to move around, and doesn’t exert any pressure on your hair. 

One way to use a flat iron is to straighten your hair permanently. Another critical factor in determining the correct heat setting for various hair types. Consider the following scenarios; 

Flat irons lack the heat setting property and are ideal for undamaged hair. 

An alternative for those with fine hair is to set the temperature between 250 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The ideal range for those with medium and thick hair is between 300 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Thick hair requires heat of between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Step 5

Warm up your flat iron to the ideal setting, using the guide above, after which you are free to begin straightening. The process takes time, depending on your preferred finish. A quick guide to help you out in these final stages is; 

Start by sectioning the hair into four sections, then further into manageable pieces; the recommended size is not more than 1.3cm per pass. 

The ideal place to start is the area near the neck’s nape. Gently pass the flat iron through the various hair strands, comb the section, then straighten again. Maintain a steady pace if you wish to have a uniform finish. 

Don’t forget to create and use tension to your advantage as you pull the iron across the hair. However, be gentle to avoid damaging the hair structure or causing pain. 

Create and use tension as you pull the iron across the hair. Be gentle to avoid damaging the hair structure or causing pain.

Using Gel 

The other alternative that occasionally works but is not very dependable is using gel. It involves a series of simple tasks such as; 

Step 1

The first step is to visit a stylist to examine your hair and recommend the right product. Various gels are available, and some might not be that effective on all hair types. It is also common to find products that aren’t ideal for dyed or permed hair. Therefore, you have to conduct some research to establish the perfect gel for your hair. 

Step 2

Next is to use a smoothing conditioner and a gentle shampoo to wash and condition the hair. Ensure to use quality products that reduce the risk of hair getting damaged; afterward, use a towel to pat the hair dry. 

Step 3

Allow the hair to dry for a few minutes before adding a small amount of gel to the hair. Use your palm and fingers to evenly move the lotion between the strands; begin from the roots to the tips. Did you notice that we mentioned a small amount of gel? This is because too much gel leaves the hair limp. 

Step 4

It’s time to blow-dry the hair as you use a brush to straighten it. The best way is to use a round bristle brush to pull the hair straight as you blow-dry. For those with thick permed hair, you’re advised to alternate between the hot and cold dryer settings to prevent damaging the hair structure. 

Step 5

You’re set to rock your new look. However, if you have long or thick hair, you can opt to section the hair and secure them with clips as you wait for it to dry. 

Permanent Hair Straightening 

The best way to get a long-term straightened effect is to use a perming kit available in most stores and retail sites. A permit kit contains equipment and reactants designed to reverse the curling hair effect. It is a simple process that involves; 

Step 1

Wash your hair using the ideal shampoo, then use a towel to dry it. Next is to comb the hair, then separate it into either 4 or 6 sections. Next, apply hair conditioner on each section, from the root to the tip. After that, cover the conditioned hair with a shower cap, then use your hood dryer to heat the hair. 

Wait for about 20 minutes, remove the shower cap and rinse the hair in cool water. Use the towel to dry, then comb it. 

Step 2

Rewash your hair, then style it as you want it to be using a comb; the ideal choice is the wide-tooth comb. This is the time to apply the waving lotion as you stroke these strands. Comb the lotion thoroughly through the dampened hair for about 10 minutes, that is, until the hair gets fully saturated. 

It is good to glance at your mirror to ensure that the waving lotion is working and the curled are relaxing. This process continues until you notice an apparent change to the permed hair. 

Step 3

After you’re satisfied with the result and you notice the curls are beginning to uncurl, rinse the lotion off using warm water. Warm water is the right option since it ensures all the chemical components get removed. 

Step 4

Dry all the water from the hair using a towel and apply the neutralizer provided in the kit. 

Repeating the process from the waving lotion part is suitable for a more straightened effect. You should, however, wait about 5 minutes before going over the process again. 

Step 5

You’re almost done, and the remaining bit is to conduct essential hair maintenance. At this point, the hair is well straightened. Note that the chemicals used in the perming kit can be complex on the hair, which is why you should condition it to maintain a strong structure. Conditioning also provides the lost moisture preventing further damage. 

Semi-Permanent Hair Straightening 

The semi-permanent option, also known as a keratin hair treatment, restores the hair’s structure, preventing breakage. It is a simple process that not only straightens but also smoothens the hair and allows it to shine. The results of a practical session, which takes about 2 hours, are similar to that of a permanent hair straightening process.

You’ll not have to wash the hair or conduct other time-consuming activities for this option. Instead, the process involves obtaining the chemical straightening agents and applying them to your hair. After that, the hair gets blow-dried and the treatment sealed using a flat iron. 

Apart from keeping the hair structure intact, the keratin treatment keeps permed hair straight for six months. However, it might not work on all hair types. 

Those with thin and delicate strands might end up with thicker and less frizzy hair, and if the hair is very or naturally curly, it becomes difficult to style. Therefore, the ideal audience for this option is those with medium to long hair. 

Here are some other facts about the keratin treatment option:

  • Unlike other procedures using solutions that weaken the hair cuticle, keratin treatments usually wash off gradually and do not affect the hair structure. This is one of the reasons why it is becoming a popular option for many. 
  • This procedure is the safest way to straighten permed hair. Keratin is a natural protein present in human hair. These treatments complement these natural complements, leading to healthier and well-structured hair strands. 
  • There are potential side effects to this mode of hair treatment, such as headaches, eye irritations, sore throat, nausea, and many others. You should, however, note that most of these symptoms are mild and not as severe as those from the other options. 
  • Apart from hair straightening, you can get a keratin treatment to make your hair silky, more robust, or thicker. Furthermore, some formulations can help generate smoother curls by reducing frizziness. 

Facts About Straightening Permed Hair 

Permed hair straightening involves using chemicals and tools that might damage hair if not used correctly. There are certain myths that this review clears out. This section also gives an insight into some of the basics to learn that help reduces such damages. 

1. The Ideal Option 

As reviewed, there are several ways to handle your permed hair, and they all seem doable at home. There’s nothing wrong with that option; however, if you lack the skills or this is your first time, it is better to seek professional help. The best thing to do is schedule an appointment with your stylist and allow them to conduct the correct procedure. 

3. Use Quality Products 

This is very important for those repairing permed hair that isn’t naturally curled. There are a ton of hair products and perm kits available. The best thing to do is source them from reputable brands and outlets because poor-quality options will end up causing more harm than good. 

4. The Side Effects 

The most common side effect after hair straightening is hair breakage. This is because the chemical interferes with the hair structure and makes them straight. Furthermore, the condition progresses to a scenario where it becomes harder to style the untreated hair growing. 

Other extreme conditions can be caused by the solutions featured in the straightening products. For instance, too much exposure to the carcinogen is a health hazard and causes various conditions such as irritations, respiratory difficulties, skin redness, and increases the risk of getting breast cancer. 

5. The Period 

Your preferred method and hair type determine how long the permed hair stays straight. For instance; 

  • Those with Brazilian hair can expect their hair to stay sleek for about 3 to 4 months before the natural texture kicks in. 
  • Stylists and other professionals offer quality services that keep the hair straight for about 4 to 6 months. 
  • Those who opt for the home perm kits should expect to enjoy their new look for about six weeks. 

The bottom line is that once the roots begin to grow, the straightening effect begins to fade away progressively. 

6. Maintenance Guide 

Washing straightened permed hair, especially the naturally curled, tends to weaken the chemicals’ power, making the straightening effect fade quickly. The best way to maintain sleek strands is to use a clarifying shampoo weekly and conduct deep conditioning monthly. 

Don’t forget to apply a heat protectant before going to sleep. Then, each morning as you get out of the shower, remember to spray it with a heat-styling before blow-drying. Finally, follow these simple guidelines to ensure you stand out from the crowd with your smooth hair strands. 


There are many reasons you should straighten permed hair, but most people lack the basic knowledge of how to go about it. This review highlights the three primary ways of going about them and gives a deeper insight into the expected results. 

Each option has its upsides and downsides; therefore, choose one that is ideal for your hair. Finally, if you have any concerns or worries, don’t hesitate to contact a professional to prevent damaging hair damage.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).