Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Make a Perm Take Better

Q: I got a perm about 5 years ago that was the best perm I've ever had (it was done in a salon). About 2 years later, I went to a different salon for a perm and it barely took at all. Earlier this year, I did a home perm on myself (which I've done numerous times in the past with no problems), and it didn't take whatsoever.
Just recently, I went back to the original salon and got a perm done with the same brand they used 5 years ago. It curled a little, but not like before. Could it be hormones, or is there something I could do to make a perm take better?
I miss the awesome curls I used to get, no matter what kind of perm I'd use. Right now, my curls (if you can call them curls) are acting like they're a year old and are ready for the old-age home. Help!

A: Your problem could be a result of a number of factors: hormonal changes in the body that have affected the hair, medications you may be taking, mineral deposits in the water where you live, or stresses from previous chemical services.
Most of these factors can be countered by using a clarifying shampoo prior to perming the hair. The clarifying shampoo will remove minerals left behind by hard water, and will help strip away the residue caused by some medications. It will help the perming chemicals to penetrate the hair better.
If the problem is hormonal, or caused by illness, this will not be quickly fixed, since it wasn't quickly formed. If you suspect there is a hormonal or medical cause, (if you have other symptoms not attributable to something you know about) you should speak with your doctor.
If the problem is a matter of the hair being overstressed by other, previous chemical processes, your only recourse may be to wait until the hair has been replaced by new growth. This could take a significant amount of time depending on the length of your hair. However, if your hair is relatively short (3 inches or so) you can have a clean slate to work with in about 6 months.
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Medications that might affect our hair
Menopause and perm not taking well