Q: I am considering getting a perm and my hair is relatively short, straight and fine. It gets quite cold where I live so
being able to wear a hat is essential during winter. Will I still be able to wear a hat without ruining my perm? Or will my hair look
flat and straight whenever I do wear a hat? Any advice you have would be much appreciated!
A: Well, properly executed, a perm should leave your hair to behave much the way naturally curly hair would behave. Obviously, wearing
hats will have an effect on your hairstyle, but that effect will depend largely on the type and style of hat and how long you’re wearing it.
The basic idea behind a perm is that it changes the hair’s “natural” configuration to curly from
straight, so that it aims to be curly more readily. But a perm makes this alteration by rearranging the chemical side bonds in the
hair and these chemical side bonds only account for around a third of the hair’s strength.
The other two-thirds of the hair’s strength come from physical side bonds of salt and hydrogen. (These names are derived from the types of changes required to alter them: i.e.,
the physical side bonds are altered by heat and moisture manipulations, while the chemical side bonds can only be altered using a chemical reaction.)
Wearing a snug-fitting cap in winter can result in permed hair being “mashed” just as it can with
nearly any style. You simply need to take the other factor into consideration when planning either your hairstyle or your winter weather
wear. Either choose a hairstyle that will be compatible with wearing a hat, or select an option for winter wear that won’t wreck the
style you desire to have (perhaps a loosely-wrapped woolen scarf?) when you go out in cold weather.