Q: A local salon is advertising a 24 hour perm. What exactly is that?
A: A “24-Hour Perm” is the term some salons give to the process of perming the hair using an “air neutralizing” technique. The hair is
wrapped on perm rods and is plied with the waving lotion. The difference is that the hair is not treated with the neutralizer as in a
normal perm service. In most cases, the hair is simply rinsed and allowed to air dry with the perm rods left in place. In cases of hard
to curl hair types, the waving lotion may be left in place to dry on the hair.
The technique was developed as a means to help lessen the harshness of a traditional perm on fine
hair types. Since the neutralizer of a perm is usually the harshest part of the process, and since the oxygen in the air has the same
results of neutralizing as the hydrogen peroxide in most chemical perm neutralizers, some salons offer the option to skip the chemical
neutralizer in favor of what is perceived as a gentler process.
The results of “air neutralizing” are a gentler perm result, less damage to the hair, and in many
cases, longer lasting curls. However, if you are planning to undergo any “24-hour perm” service, be sure to follow your stylist’s
instructions to the letter. Until the perm is neutralized, the hair will be in a more fragile state and can be more easily damaged.