Q: If you get a perm, and then go to volleyball practice, and sweat, will that affect the perm?
A: If a perm is processed properly, the curls will be stable when you leave the salon. The biggest concern I have is that if you intend
to follow your stylist’s advice and not wash or get your hair “wet” for three days, the sweat is going to sit on the hair and can make for a very sour odor.
The reason for the “3 day wait” is to allow the hair time to normalize after a perm. It is a
precaution that has been implemented because some women and men have hair that needs the time to stabilize after perming, so that the
cuticle layer closes and the hair is less prone to damage.
The process of perming the hair uses the alkalinity of the perming chemicals to open the cuticle
layer and break the chemical side bonds of the hair. The neutralizer reforms the side bonds in the curl pattern created by the hair
being wrapped on the perm rods. Some women have sweat that is much more alkaline than men’s sweat, and this could be an issue if it is
sufficiently alkaline to undo the neutralizer and weaken the curl.
The biggest risk, however, is simply that the sweat or moisture will reopen the cuticle layer of the hair and result in frizz in the hair.