Permanent Changing PermQ: My cousin got a perm when she was 16, for a prom. Her hair was pin-straight (like mine) beforehand. But the perm never came out. She is now 30 years old and she still has it, really curly hair. She never gets it touched up or anything, it just grows that way naturally now. Is this even possible? My hair is how hers was beforehand. What's the possibility, if I got the same type of perm she did, that it would never come out? Does puberty have anything to do with it? I wish it would happen to me! Thanks.
A: Well, I can assure you that your cousin's "permanent-permanent" experience is not something I would bank on. What most likely occurred is a matter of coincidental timing. Your cousin gets a perm at a point in her life when her hair's natural wave pattern is changing (due to genetics, hormones, etc.) and the perm appears to never grow out.
There have been cases where a perm service has caused a permanent change in the way the hair grows, but these have all been caused due to damage done to the follicles by the perm. In these cases, the perm service caused chemical burns to the scalp and the resultant scar tissue in and around the follicles changed the wave pattern of the hair. However, when this happens there is no question of the cause of the change in the hair's wave pattern.
Puberty was very likely the key factor in your cousin's case. As we age and our bodies develop, especially in the formative years, our hair can change in many ways according to our genetic make-up. Fine, straight hair can grow coarser, and wavy or curly, or thick, wavy hair can become silky and smooth. Unfortunately, you can't count on having the same luck your cousin had.
Hair wave patterns
How long does a perm last?