Q: What is an appropriate age for a girl to get a perm?
A: This is a hotly debated question and many stylists and professionals disagree on the subject. There are salons that will perm a
child’s hair at almost any age, while others won’t perform a chemical service on anyone under the age of 18.
My opinion is this: the chemicals used in perming the hair can he irritating to the scalp, eyes
and sinus membranes (because of the fumes) and most children during puberty are undergoing very radical biochemical changes in their
bodies, which can affect how they react to various chemicals. There is also the issue of maturity – both physical and behavioral. I
mention physical maturity in regard to potential effects of the perm chemicals on hair follicles that aren’t fully developed or are
transitioning. (Think in terms of the ways in which your own hair was different pre- and post- puberty.)
The aspect of behavioral maturity bears considering, too, in that the individual being permed
should be mature enough to care for the hair properly once it has been permed. She needs to be mature enough to understand that
certain things that may have been innocuous before can be harsher to her hair once it is permed (i.e. swimming in a pool or the ocean, blow drying the hair, etc.)
I generally think that the age of 16 is a good point for a first perm. I would actually consider
using a temporary perm as a first run, because they are gentler on the hair, and can give an opportunity to see how ready the young woman is to care for permed hair.