Can You Wet Your Hair After a Perm? Will Water Impact the Curls?

Studio portrait of an attractive young woman posing with wet hair against a grey background
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Have you ever thought about getting a perm? If you have straight hair and wish it could be curly, then a perm is what you are looking for! Perms involve chemical processes that make hair curly.

Before the perm, wash and condition your hair with protein-rich products but do not deep condition it because it might alter the hair’s ability to work with the perming solution. 

Perms are usually permanent (it’s in the name, really). Until your hair grows or you cut it, the perm will last. If you want to maintain the perm consistently, re-perm every two to three months.

But what about after? Can you wet your hair after a perm? Will the wetness harm the perm process?

After you get a perm, you should follow a specific form of instructions to manage and wash it. In this article we’ll discuss the common recommendations for after-perm washing and care.


Debunking Myths Associated With Perms

There are so many myths and rumors that surround getting a perm and how to care for them. Some of them are true, and some of them are not. So let us look and verify which ones to believe or discard.

  1. Washing your hair after 48 hours is okay – The longer the better. Washing your hair can damage your curls and increase frizz. For this reason, hairdressers recommend waiting as long as possible before cleaning it.
  2. You are free to use any shampoo after a perm – Perms may bring about dry hair. The process involves harsh chemicals which may make your hair prone to dullness or breakage if left unattended. For this reason, you are encouraged to use hydrating shampoo to help undo the damage done by the chemicals.
  3. It’s a bad idea to blow dry your hair after a perm – Blow drying your hair after a perm is a bad idea as it results in split ends, dryness, and breakage. Better to learn to properly towel-dry your hair.
  4. Oiling your hair after a perm is not recommended – Regardless of your texture or style, oiling your hair is good. However, experts recommend against it at least a week after getting a perm, but after that, it is perfectly okay. It is even recommended to oil your hair before washing to keep it well moisturized.

Can You Wet Your Hair After a Perm?

For the perm to settle in, the hair usually requires 24 hours. It would help if you didn’t wash it. Wait for at least 48 hours after the perm. Do not get wet because it could rinse your perming solution. Even walking in the rain can ruin your perm. Treat your hair with extra care. We recommend using conditioners and ammonium-based shampoos that work well for permed hair.

Wait for at least 48 hours after the perm. Do not get wet because it could rinse your perming solution. Even walking in the rain can ruin your perm.

Blow drying is also not advised as it might result in further damage to your hair and thus cause even more drying. Instead, we recommend towel or air drying.

If you feel like you have to blowdry your hair, use a diffuser at the blow dryer’s end to spread out airflow evenly.

Use a detangling or leave-in conditioner and finger comb. 

Finger comb your hair until it is dry, then use a wide-toothed comb to untangle. To keep it from having a dull look, you can use an anti-frizz hair product and a shine spray to get more shine.

The most important reason it is advisable to wait a while after getting a perm before wetting it is to allow for adjusting the hair to the new patterns.

The chemicals used in a perm are strong enough to break the bonds in your natural hair and force them to reform, thus generating new forms, the curls. 

This is because a protein that gives strength to your hair, known as Keratin, is gone when the chemicals come in during the perm. Neutralizers like hydrogen peroxide are then applied to aid the Keratin in your hair to be remade around the rods, thus leaving your hair curly. 

Products Recommended for Use After Getting a Perm

Here we recommend using products that moisturize your hair well. Hydration is essential to reduce the effect brought about by the harsh chemicals and curb dryness.

The following are some of the products that will be of benefit to you after getting a perm:

  • Conditioners and deeply moisturizing shampoo – Argan oil and coconut milk are among the most common hydrating ingredients to look out for. They help your permed hair restore balance by hydrating strands and sealing split ends. Argan oil also helps to reduce breakage. Conditioners and shampoo can give a soft and bouncy touch to your curls and keep it that way for a long while.
  • Natural oils – Oils help to keep your hair soft and supple. Most oils will help strengthen your hair. Apply oils at least once a week on permed hair.
  • Leave-in conditioners – These help to control frizz and in reducing split ends. Some brands will help lock in moisture onto your hair, thus keeping it soft and hydrated.

There are products that we don’t also recommend using after a perm. These include silicones and alcohol. Silicones will make your permed hair heavy and greasy, while alcohol tends to cause dryness of the hair, making it frizzy and fragile.

However, if you feel you must use products with these ingredients, try to minimize the concentration of these chemicals.

To improve your curls, go for moisturizing formulas in shampoo and conditioner; however, be careful not to go for ultra-creamy as they tend to overload the hair and interrupt curl formation.

Keeping Your Perm Looking Bouncy

You wouldn’t want your perm to look terrible after spending time and money on it, so let’s talk about the few things you can do to ensure your perm looks as stunning as ever:

First, as said earlier, refrain from dryers! They dry out the hair until it looks like a straw instead of letting it air dry. When wet, hair is more fragile, so don’t rub it; wrap it in a towel to absorb the water. 

Using your fingers, brush your hair with your fingers.

If you want to dye your hair, we recommend waiting at least a month to ensure that the dye will not interfere with the perm. Keeping all this in mind will guarantee that your perm will look as good as possible for a long time.

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).