Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Crown-only Perm

Q: I’m in my 40’s and have never colored, highlighted, or had a perm in my hair. I’ve had the same stylist since my teens and she calls it ‘virgin’.
As with many other curly girls, my crown is usually flat with little curl. My stylist feels a crown-only perm will enhance my look and is something I am interested in exploring.
I’m concerned over whether or not a perm could damage my curls. As a child, my aunt had her hair treated and she permanently lost her natural curl. Then, while pregnant with my children, I lost all of my curls. My doctor suggested it was a brief hormonal change and he was correct. After pregnancy, my curls returned. It was then that I realized how much I enjoyed my curls and do not want to endanger them.
Is there any chance that a light crown-only perm could kill my natural curls?

A: It shouldn’t be any issue at all, provided that your stylist uses proper precaution to avoid getting the waving and neutralizing lotions on the hair that is not intended to be permed. These kinds of partial perms are widely used to add extra body and volume in targeted areas, and are perfectly safe if performed properly by a qualified cosmetologist.
As always, you should have a patch test performed, and you will want your stylist to perform a strand test to discover how your hair will respond to the perming process. A strand test also allows the stylist to learn the precise timing of the perm for your hair to get the best results without risking a larger area of the hair.
Once the hair has been permed – provided it was done properly, the new curls will be as stable as your natural curls. However, your permed hair may be more porous and will need extra care and conditioning to prevent moisture loss. Use a good moisturizing conditioner every day and avoid using high heat styling appliances. If you need to blow-dry your hair after it has been permed, make sure to use a diffuser attachment to prevent causing heat damage. Furthermore, a light, leave-in, spray conditioner would probably be a great way to keep your hair conditioned.
It sounds as though you have a great relationship with your stylist, and you should trust her judgement. However, never hesitate to ask any questions you have about the products she intends to use, and make sure any concerns you have are addressed, including changes you will need to make in caring for your hair after it has been permed.
Related posts:
Foil perm or partial perm
How to do a patch test
How to do a strand test
How to use a diffuser attachment for blow drying