Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Neutralizer Instead of Perm Solution

Q: : I went for a perm on Friday, the stylist washed my hair, rolled it on pink (fairly large rods) then she put neutralizer on my hair for about 10-15 minutes with a plastic bag on my head. She then realized that she used the neutralizer and not the perm solution, so she took me to the sink and washed the neutralizer out of my hair (rods still in) and then wanted to perm on over that. By this time I was very concerned with her level of competency and said no, we will have to reschedule. She then took the rods out of my hair and said "OK, so you're fine like this?" meaning she had copped an attitude and did not offer to style my hair. I picked up a towel and towel dried my hair and left.
I did not shampoo my hair until Saturday (next day) and when I styled it as I normally do, {brand name omitted} hair volumizer, blow dry and curling iron my hair went flat immediately. I used tons of hair spray but no luck in holding a curl. Sunday I used the curling iron again but within an hour my hair was flat again. My concern is that my hair has now been "straightened" by the neutralizer, and that is why I cannot get a curl to hold.
My hair is not color treated and I have not permed my hair for about 10 years. Am I safe to get a perm now? Did the neutralizer do something to my hair? Please help my A.S.A.P. as I am walking around with straight hair regardless of hair products and curling irons! Thank you in advance for your prompt response.

A: The first thing I want you to do is to contact the salon where the stylist who performed the service for you is employed and speak to her manager or the salon owner. The stylist in question needs to be watched carefully to make sure that further mistakes of this kind aren't repeated. Of the two stages of a perm service, the neutralizer is generally harsher to the hair. Once the disulfide bonds of the hair have been broken by the waving lotion in a normal process, the neutralizer reforms the bonds through a process called oxidation.
Because you hadn't had any of the disulfide bonds of your hair broken, your hair wouldn't have reacted very strongly to the neutralizer. However, neutralizer is usually only left on the hair for about 5 minutes. The most common neutralizer in perms is hydrogen peroxide in 5 or 10 volume strength (about 1.5-3% peroxide). The most likely result from having the prolonged exposure to the peroxide is that your cuticle layer would have swelled somewhat and your hair is probably more porous now than it was previously.
You should be perfectly safe to have your hair permed, but I would recommend waiting at least a week while you condition your hair to combat the porosity. In addition, when you do go to have your hair permed, be sure to explain to the stylist exactly what was done so that he or she can use an appropriate strength of perm to prevent further damage to your hair. The stylist will likely want to use a milder perm solution to ensure that you don't experience any damage to the hair.
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