Home Permanent to Straighten HairQ: I was wondering if you can use a home permanent to straighten my hair. I had a perm before and now I'm ready to go straight. If you can, how do you, and if not, what are my options?
A: Generally speaking, straight hair that is permed can be restored to straightness easily using another perm. The trick is to make sure to use a perm only strong enough to remove the curl, without overstressing the hair with the additional chemical process.
Your local beauty supply store will likely have a product called a "curl remover" in and among the perms and straightening kits. I would recommend using this as opposed to using the same perm formula used to curl the hair. These products are generally formulated to remove "perm-created curls" and are gentler since they will be used on hair that is already chemically treated.
Barring the availability of these, you should use a perm kit that is meant for chemically-treated or bleached hair types, whatever will best provide a gentle process to the hair. To simply remove the curl you should apply the waving lotion to the freshly washed hair and use a comb to gently comb the hair straight. Keep combing until the curl releases and the hair lies straight.
You will want to enlist the aid of a friend to accomplish this, as it will be very difficult otherwise to do it properly (and safely) on your own. After allow the hair to process for 10-15 minutes, rinse the hair with warm water for at least 5 minutes and wrap the hair carefully in a dry towel and gently squeeze to blot out the excess water. DO NOT RUB, OR TWIST the towel in the hair, press the towel against the scalp to blot moisture from the scalp area. Remember that the hair is at its most fragile at this point.
Very carefully comb out the towel-dried hair and apply the neutralizer in order to set the hair in its straight configuration. Allow the neutralizer to work for five minutes and again rinse the hair thoroughly. Use another fresh, dry towel and gently dry the hair. Carefully comb out the hair and let it air dry or blow dry it using a diffuser attachment on low heat.
Do not shampoo the hair for 48 hours afterward and I advise against using ponytail holders, barrettes or clips for at least 3 days.
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