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There is nothing better than the feeling of coming out of the salon, feeling like a brand new, beautiful you with bouncy, curly locks that you are so sure will be the envy of everyone… sure, you’ve just spent an absolute bomb to get your hair done, but you’ll justify to yourself that you can’t put a price tag on being F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S.

Except when your beautiful curls start to fall flat just within a few days of washing your hair. But hey, don’t fret – Daily Vanity is here with 11 very simple tips on how to maintain permed hair and help you keep your beautiful locks for longer.

In This Article
  1. Maintain permed hair 101

Maintain permed hair 101

Step 1: Hold off dyeing your hair right after

maintain permed hair - How To Keep Your Perm Longer Dye Hair

Dyeing your hair right after your perm – all in one sitting – is probably not for the best if you want either to last. We understand that it’s convenient to get everything done in one appointment, but the road to being beautiful is a long and arduous one.

Why? Perming uses some very strong, harsh chemicals that will majorly dry out anyone’s hair, so if you choose to dye your hair right after that, you’re not giving your hair enough time to recover its lost moisture, and let’s be honest – nobody wants to step out of the salon with their hair feeling and looking like a broomstick.

Also, not letting your hair rest and dyeing it right after, even assuming you have super resilient hair, might disrupt the curls from properly forming, resulting in flatter looking and less long-lasting curls.

You want to come out of the salon looking like a million dollars, not a I-did-my-hair-six-months-ago sort of look. Not cute.

We suggest waiting for at least a week before doing any other treatments to your hair if you would like to maintain permed hair that you spent hours doing – after all, we all know the old adage: beauty is pain, and apparently, one that requires a lot of patience too.

Step 2: Wait at least 48 hours before washing your hair

maintain permed hair - avoid washing hair until 48 hours after perm

As mentioned earlier, your hair needs to rest after its perm, in order for the curls to fully form. Otherwise, you could be deactivating your curls with it either coming out flattened, or worse – uneven.

Any contact with water will hinder your perm, so be sure to wait at least 48 hours before washing your hair, as difficult as it is in our hot, humid weather, you’ll just have to grin and bear with it – tell yourself that the journey’ll be worth it all, at the very end when people stare in wonder at your beautiful curls. Who’s laughing now?

DV Tip: If you really need to get rid of the grease in your hair, consider using a dry shampoo in the mean time. Of course, it’ll also be smart to do your perm on a day that you know you won’t be perspiring that much for the next 48 hours. This way, you’ll be able to maintain permed hair and wow people with your beautiful locks for longer.

Step 3: Limit washing your hair every 2-3 days

maintain permed hair - limit hair washing

Speaking of water, try to also keep washing your hair to a minimum. Well, we’d say try to wash your hair every three days or so – but if you’re more on the oily side? Maybe wash it every other day.

We know it can be difficult, but hey, all for maintaining permed hair, right?

Step 4:Avoid water-related activities if possible

maintain permed hair - How To Keep Your Perm Longer Swimming

And yes, since contact with water flattens curls, this means getting caught in the rain, swimming and other water-related activities are now your worst enemies – especially swimming.

Since our pools are chock-full of chlorine, a super harmful chemical that dehydrates hair, it can cause your curls to disappear much quicker than anticipated. If you really do want to swim, you can counter that by slathering on some conditioner before stepping into the pool.

You might be wondering how this works. Well, since curly hair is porous, using conditioner prior to swimming will fill those holes and prevent the chlorine from seeping in, which both prevents your curls from falling flat(ter) than it normally would without any hair protectant, and from drying out.

Step 5: Bathe in cold water

maintain permed hair - How To Keep Your Perm Longer Cold Water

As relaxing as it is to shower in hot water, especially after a long day, it isn’t good for your hair, especially if you’re trying to maintain permed hair. And if there’s anything we’ve learnt – it is that the ultimate pleasures in life – sugary treats, fried foods, and now, hot showers – are often the things that are harmful for us.

What hot water does to your hair is to dry it out, and damage the cuticles, so you wind up having dull, frizzy-looking, brittle hair.

Plus, there’re a whole host of other health benefits to showering with cold water, like keeping your skin perky, bright and healthy, and giving you a boost in your immune system. But that’s not all, it even stimulates weight loss – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

10 minutes of bliss or a myriad of health benefits and a glowing appearance? A no-brainer decision, we think!

Step 6: Switch up your shampoos and conditioners

maintain permed hair - How To Keep Your Perm Longer Wait

Parting from beloved products – especially if you’ve just bought them! – can be painful, but you can’t very well be using the exact same products pre-perm, and post-perm, as the things that’ve worked on your virgin hair prior aren’t likely to work for chemically treated hair.

Instead, either ask your hair stylist for recommendations on what hair products to use, or buy shampoos and conditioners that specifically target chemically treated hair (look out for the label!).

P.S. If you really want to go the extra mile to maintain permed hair, try to use sulfate-free shampoos/conditioners as sulfate is a particularly drying chemical. Also, use a tonne of conditioner – you’ll thank us later when you come out with a head full of bouncy, shiny locks.

P.P.S. Invest in deep conditioning which you can easily use with organic products like coconut or jojoba oil. They pack a whole lot of moisture that will keep your curls looking beautiful, luscious, and shiny. Alternatively, you can also invest in hair masks to maintain permed hair.

Step 7: Change your comb

maintain permed hair - change comb

Because curls get tangled very easily, what might’ve worked on your previously straight hair most definitely won’t work for curly hair.

With curly hair, you’re going to need to invest in a wide-toothed comb so you don’t end up pulling endlessly at your hair. This can cause you to potentially damage your curls when the comb doesn’t come through.

Step 8: Avoid styling tools that use heat

maintain permed hair - How To Keep Your Perm Longer Styling Tools

Well, we don’t think you would even be reaching out for styling tools if you’ve already got a perm, but let’s consider the situation where you hypothetically just want to have straight hair again for just one day.

Unfortunately, styling tools that use heat are not great ideas for permed hair. When they are used to straighten out curly hair, it becomes super damaging to your curls – and what is likely to happen is that you’ll loosen the curls. This results in flattened, non-bouncy curls, and in the worst-case scenario, your curls will be killed completely.

So much for maintaining permed hair, right?

Step 9: Sleep tight and right!

maintain permed hair - How To Keep Your Perm Longer Sleep Right

Yes, even your sleeping position matters because nobody wants to wake up with a head full of frizzy, unkempt hair.

To avoid that, we recommend sleeping with your hair tied in a silk scarf or on a silk pillowcase. The key here is to minimise the amount of friction on the outside of the hair (and hence, silk is your best bet), thereby reducing the appearance of texture and frizz. This helps you to maintain permed hair for much longer as well because you wouldn’t need to spend the extra effort to style it with tools that could ultimately damage the curls.

Step 10: Avoid styling your hair in tight hairstyles

maintain permed hair - avoid tight hairstyles

We know that Singapore’s weather can be unforgiving most of the time, but before you put your curls into a ponytail with an elastic band, think about the damage it can cause to your beautiful locks.

If you’re looking to maintain permed hair, it is important for you to keep your hair loose. This means that you should avoid wearing your hair in tight hairstyles, or wearing it up in a ponytail with elastic bands.

As your hair is typically more sensitive after perming, the tightness from the elastic band can put tension on your hair and cause the strands to easily break and become damaged.

If you really need to put your hair up because of the heat or because you want your hair to be out of your face temporarily, we’d recommend using a wide elastic band covered with silk fabric. The silk fabric will keep your hair neat and relaxed without additional tension on it.

And before you tie your hair up, apply some serum, mousse, or oil to make your hair softer and less prone to breakage first.

Step 11: Go for regular touch-ups

maintain permed hair - go for regular touch-ups

If you’re really looking to maintain permed hair and keep it permanently curled, and you have no issues with budget whatsoever, the best way to do it is to go for regular touch-ups at the salon you did your curling at. You can do so every 12 weeks so that your hair will never look flat and your curls will always be bouncy.

It will be a huge investment especially if you’re making regular appointments, so only do it if you feel that it is reasonable for you!

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