Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Permanent Loosing Curl

Q: How long until a perm loses its curl? My hair is naturally VERY straight and IMPOSSIBLE to style. I got a perm a week ago, but it seems to have lost HALF its curl. It used to be nice and springy, now it's limp. What should I do? Please help, thank you!
A: A properly executed permanent wave will change the hair's wave pattern permanently, hence the name. There will be some relaxing of the curl in many cases - depending largely on the condition of the hair and the hair's elasticity and level of resistance - and as the hair continues to grow the new growth will follow the hair's natural wave pattern, requiring that the hair be re-permed to keep the desired style.
Given the results you describe, I would guess that either your very straight hair was resistant to the perming process (limiting the number of chemical side bonds that were reshaped) or that the hair has a lower level of elasticity (causing the curl to relax more readily). It is also possible that the perm was improperly performed, or that the products you use have weighed down the curl and left your hair looking limp.
My first suggestion is to have you get a shampoo for curly hair (preferably one that is designed to give smooth curls), and a leave-in conditioner. The goal is to remove whatever residue is weighing down the curl, and still keep the hair moisturized with a light-weight conditioner. You also need to be sure to dry the hair using a diffuser attachment on your hair dryer, and the direct airflow can often pull the curl and diminish the desired results.
If the change in shampoo and conditioner don't work to restore your curl, you can always have the hair re-permed. Be sure to speak with the stylist who performed the perm for you in the first place and explain the unsatisfactory results you are having. You may actually want to contact the stylist before trying the shampoo and conditioner switch if you think the salon/stylist failed to properly process your perm. Most reputable salons will work with you to keep you satisfied and retain your business.
Related posts:
Perm resistant hair
How long should you wait until you get another perm?