Q: Hi, I have a question to ask you about perming my hair. I went in about a month and a half ago to see if the hairdresser
would perm my hair. She said that she could but it would turn mushy because I have bleach in it. Do you think if I dyed my hair brown
and went in, that I would have better results, or would that make it even worse? I really want a perm because I hate having to curl my
hair in the morning. What do you think?
A: I think your stylist should have been clearer with you about her reasons for refusing to give you a perm service. Whenever a person’s
hair reaches the point that a stylist believes the hair will become “mushy” if given another chemical service, then that person’s hair
is dangerously damaged.
My advice for the immediate is for you to start conditioning your hair carefully. Be sure to
condition the hair every day, and begin using a deep conditioning crème at least twice a week.
In the meantime, since it is possible that your stylist was wrong, or that she simply didn’t want to
admit that she didn’t feel experienced enough to handle your bleached hair, I advise you to consult a different salon and ask for their
opinion. There are many formulations of perms available for tinted and bleached hair (since these hair types require special care) even
for high-lift tinted hair. These perm formulae are created to be very gentle to the hair, and often can be used on even the lightest
shades of bleached hair without damaging the hair.
Resolving the issue may require giving the salon time to get the necessary perm formula in stock, or
you venturing to your local beauty supply store to pick up the product yourself if you can (some of the perm formulas require that the
person using them be licensed and qualified as a cosmetologist and cannot be sold to the general public).
Never hesitate to seek a second opinion – even about your hair. Just as with any other profession,
hairdressers are capable of making mistakes, misjudging and – sad to say – sometimes downright misleading a client (for whatever
reason). I don’t mean to imply anything negative about the stylist you visited, just that there may be more to the response you got
than was presented, and at the very least, you deserve to get a clear answer as to why your hair would be unsuited to being permed. I
make this assertion based on the fact that if your hair were in such dire condition that it couldn’t withstand a professional perm
service, then surely you would be aware of the signs of damage that would be present.
Even if the second salon/stylist is willing to give you a perm, insist on a strand test to be safe.
Have her take a few strands of your hair and submerge them in the perming solution (as well as a few in the neutralizer) for 5-15
minutes and watch the hairs carefully for signs of breakdown. This will at least let you know whether the perm formula is safe to use on your hair.