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Why Did my Perm Not Take

If you’ve ever had a perm, you know how frustrating it is to spend hours at the salon only to have it fall out a few weeks later. 

Perms are supposed to last for several months, but they can sometimes fall flat just a couple of weeks later. Permed hair can be challenging to maintain, and many people give up on their curly locks after a few unsuccessful attempts. 

In the following article, you will learn why your perm is falling flat and what you can do to fix the problem. We’ve also added some tips on how to improve your perm that didn’t last as long as you expected. 

Error in the Perm Liquid’s Exposure Time

Error in the Perm Liquid's Exposure Time

Expose the hair to the perm solution for just the right amount of time for the chemicals to work their magic. Leaving the perm solution on the hair for too long can cause the hair to become brittle and break.

On the other hand, removing it too soon results in a bad perm.

The ideal exposure time for a perming solution is between eight and fifteen minutes. If the perm solution is left on for less than eight minutes, it will not be strong enough to break the disulfide bonds in your hair.

As a result, your perm will be loose and may not last as long as you’d like. 

Another essential thing to remember is that your hair should be dry and unprocessed for the first 48 hours after your perm. Treat your hair thoroughly and allow it to rest for at least a few days if feasible.

See also: Can I Dye And Perm Hair On The Same Day?

Lack of Heat

When you perm your hair, the chemicals weaken the hair bonds. If the perm liquid couldn’t alter the chemical bonds in your hair, it was not strong enough. 

Lack of heat is one of the reasons why the hair bonds become weaker and can’t hold a curl. To fix this issue, use a diffuser. It will help distribute the heat more evenly, which will minimize damage and help your curls last longer.

Too Much Heat

Too Much Heat

One of the biggest mistakes people make is using too much heat on their hair. The source of too much heat can be anything from heat styling techniques like blow-drying to straightening or curling.

Even everyday activities like sun exposure can cause your perm to fade faster. 

The heat damages the hair proteins that give your hair its shape, causing bad perm and making hair loose and frizzy. If you want to keep your perm looking fresh, limit your exposure to heat as much as possible.

And when you do need to use heat styling tools like a curling iron and blow dryer, make sure to use a lower setting and protect your hair with a heat-protectant product beforehand.

Hair Not Soft Enough

When hair is soft, the cuticle layer opens up and allows the chemicals to penetrate the cortex or middle layer of the hair, and it causes the hair to curl.

If your hair isn’t softened enough, the chemicals won’t be able to penetrate as deeply, and the procedure will result in a bad perm.

There are a few ways to soften your hair before a perm. One is to use a deep conditioning or hot oil treatment to your hair a week or so before your salon perm appointment.

Aside from hot oil treatment and deep conditioning, you can also ask your stylist to use a pre-perm treatment during your perm service. 

Damaged Hair

Damaged Hair

When getting a perm, your stylist uses chemical processes to break down the bonds in your hair. The chemical treatments make it possible to reshape your hair into curls or waves.

However, the chemicals also weaken the hair shaft and make it more susceptible to damage. A perm can worsen if you already have damaged or dry hair.

In addition, if you don’t take care of your perm correctly, your hair can begin to look frizzy and lose shape. If you have damaged hair, it’s best to avoid getting a perm. There are plenty of other hairstyles that will suit you just as well and won’t put your hair at risk.

Tips to Fix Bad Perm

Below, we will discuss some tips and tricks to fix bad perm. Remember, with a little bit of patience and determination, you can have a fabulous hairstyle despite things looking bad at the moment.

Regular Haircut

Regular Haircut

With time, you may notice that your curls become less apparent. It’s essential to get a hair trim every three to four months to maintain your perm.

While it might seem counterintuitive, trimming your hair helps prevent split ends and keep your curls and hair healthy and bouncy. When you let your hair grow too long, the tip of the hair has a tendency to become dry and brittle, which can eventually lead to frizz and flyaways.

Less Washing, More Conditioning

To keep your curls looking their best, wash your hair less frequently.

Frequent shampooing can strip away natural hair oil, making hair brittle and more likely to break. Instead, use a good deep conditioner once or twice a week and a dry shampoo between washes.

Use Protein Treatments

Protein treatments help fortify the hair shaft, making it less likely to break or damage. In addition, protein treatments can help improve the hair’s elasticity, meaning that your curls will be less likely to lose shape. 

There are a variety of protein treatments available on the market, but you can also make your own using egg and yogurt or avocado and coconut milk. For best results, use a protein treatment every few weeks. 

Dry the Hair Properly

Dry the Hair Properly

Drying your hair may seem simple, but if you want to make your curls last, it’s essential to do it correctly. First, avoid using a towel.

Towels can be too rough on curly hair, causing frizz and damaging the cuticle. Instead, opt for a microfiber cloth or an old t-shirt. Gently squeeze the water out of your hair, then blot it dry. Once your hair is mostly dry, you can start to style it.

Correct Hair Brush

Many people with curly hair tend to reach for a paddle brush, which can damage your hair. Instead, try using a brush with softer bristles, like a boar bristle brush. These brushes are gentler on your hair and won’t cause as much breakage. 

Another option is to use a wide-tooth comb that will detangle your hair without causing any damage. And if you’re looking for an even more gentle way to style your curls, just use your fingers.

This method might take a little longer, but your hair will be thankful.

Avoid Tight Hairstyles

One way to keep your curls looking their best is to avoid tight hairstyles. Tight hairstyles stress your hair follicles, leading to breakage and frizz. These hairstyles include ponytails, buns, and cornrows. 

Instead, opt for loose styles that allow your curls to flow freely. You might also want to try using a diffuser when you blow-dry your hair to minimize damage.

Change Your Old Shampoo and Conditioner

Opting for products specifically designed for curly hair will help ensure that your curls stay hydrated and bouncy. Use color-protecting or hydrating shampoo and look for formulas containing moisturizing ingredients like jojoba oil or shea butter.

By using color-protecting shampoo, you can avoid products with harsh sulfates or alcohols that can strip away natural oils and lead to frizz. 

See also: The 20 Best Shampoos and Conditioners for Permed Hair


Permed hair needs some TLC if you want it to look its best and last as long as possible. There are a lot of factors that affect the longevity of your permed hair.

In this post, we’ve outlined perm mistakes that affect how well your perm will turn out and how long it will last. By understanding those factors, you can take steps to make sure your curls last as long as possible.

We hope this article was helpful and that you feel more confident in taking care of your perm. 

Permed Hair FAQs

Below we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding hair perms. 

Can I Dye my Hair After Perming?

Can I Dye my Hair After Perming?

It is possible to dye your hair after you have it permed but wait for at least a month before doing so. If you decide to dye your hair, use a gentle, low-ammonia hair dye designed explicitly for color-treated or damaged hair.

The chemicals in hair dye can further damage perm-treated hair, making it more likely to break or become dry and brittle. It is best to have a professional hair consultation to avoid further hair breakage.

How Often Should I get a Perm?

It’s generally best to space out your perms since the chemicals can dry and damage your hair. The key is to make your hair healthy before your next salon perm appointment.

You can probably get a perm every four to six months if you have healthy hair. If you have brittle or dry hair, you should wait eight to twelve weeks between perms.



I’m Aida and this is my blog where I write mostly about beauty & make up related stuff, but I like to spice it up a bit with lifestyle and photography posts. Or with whatever that comes to my mind. Hope you will enjoy the reading enough that we will ‘see’ each other more often!

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