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Shampoo and Color a Perm

Q: I just had a perm put in my hair and would like to know when I can shampoo and color it.
 
A: Most perm formulas recommend that you wait at least 48 hours before shampooing the hair after perming. The reason for this is generally to allow the hair to return to a more normal pH balance after being permed. Washing the hair too soon won’t “take out the curl” if the perm was performed properly, but because the hair’s cuticle layer is opened to allow for the breaking and reforming of the chemical side bonds of the hair, the hair can be susceptible to moisture loss if washed with too harsh a shampooing product before the cuticle returns to a normalized state.
 
      Since we are now 4 days later, you are safe to return to shampooing on your normal schedule. As for coloring the hair, I suggest you wait at least two weeks before having another chemical process performed. In the interim, be sure to keep your hair moisturized to help restore the moisture balance of the hair and protect it for the upcoming process, particularly if you plan to lighten the hair from its current color level. The day before you plan to color the hair, give yourself a deep conditioning treatment with a moisture rich conditioning cream.
 
      This will make sure your hair is in the best possible shape for accepting the new color. Do keep in mind that permed hair will be more porous than virgin hair, and if you intend to use a semi-permanent haircolor you may get undesired results. The haircolor could fade much more quickly than expected, or you could find that it penetrates more deeply and takes longer to wear off than the package indicates.
 
      If you plan to maintain your new haircolor and perming, always make sure that you perform a perm before you perform a haircolor. The perming process can lighten the haircolor, and can result in your ending up with an unwanted color shade unless you re-color the hair after perming.
 
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