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Change the Structure of Curls

Q: Hi. I am Indian, Black, and White. I have extremely curly hair. I can straighten it and it looks like a normal White person’s hair, not Black. It breaks if I do too much to it and it doesn't take relaxers. If I get a perm can it change the structure of my curls and not be poofy? Or what can I do? (My hair stylist says I have fine hair but a lot of it. I read about hair and it says fine-haired people need body but my hair does not!) Also, my skin is a pretty, caramel color. Right now I have dark brown hair. I want to put color into it almost like highlights - it is really hard to explain - I just want it on the top layer of my hair. I have been doing a lot of research and stuff on what color I should do and I was thinking a medium brown would look nice on top of the dark brown. Do you have any suggestions or constructive criticism? Thanks a lot!
 
A: Actually, one of the more common uses for perms these days is to reshape the curl pattern of the hair to something more manageable and pleasing to the individual. Just remember the size of the rods used for perming determines the size of the resulting curls. Do make sure that your stylist performs a strand test and patch test on you before having a chemical service done. If you have had a sodium hydroxide relaxer applied to your hair (even if it “didn’t take”) you cannot have a perm done until the hair that has been treated with the hydroxide relaxer has grown out and been cut away.
 
      The perming solution can also be used as a “straightener” by simply applying the waving lotion and combing it through the hair to keep it straight while the hair is processing. After the waving lotion processes, rinse the hair with warm water for at least 5 minutes, then blot the excess moisture from the hair with a clean towel and apply the neutralizer and comb it through to keep the hair straight. The hair needs to be combed straight while the neutralizer works as well, so be sure to continue combing the hair gently. After the neutralizer processes, rinse the hair for another 5 minutes with warm water, followed by 2 minutes of rinsing with cool water to help close the cuticle.
 
      As to the color idea you suggested: I think that the idea of a lighter brown tone applied to the outer layers of the hair could be a nice look. However, for this to look best, you will probably want to make sure the hair is mostly straight. The way you manage to achieve that look will depend largely on how you are able to achieve the straightening of the hair and lessening of the curl.
 
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