Reverse Perm

Short blonde hair with natural curl
Photo: Chris Mirek Freeman/Shutterstock
Q: I am a white Eastern European and have naturally curly hair, but it is rather unpredictable. The curls are medium-sized. It is curly sometimes, and sometimes it doesn't want to curl at all. I was thinking of getting a perm to stop this annoying problem.
If I do this, will my natural curl go away? If I don't like it and decide to wash it to get rid of it, will that restore my natural curl? I would really appreciate some advice as soon as possible. Thank you very much for your time.

A: Your hair's natural wave pattern is determined by the way the hair forms in the follicles. When the hair is permed, the hair's wave pattern is altered only in the hair that extends outside the surface of the scalp.
Properly performed, a perm alters the wave pattern permanently (thus the name "permanent wave"), although the new growth of the hair will follow the hair's natural wave pattern.
The only way to "reverse" a perm service is to re-perm the hair to a curl shape similar to the natural wave pattern. Simply washing the hair will only clean the hair and will not remove curls created by a properly performed service.
That being said, if you are unhappy with the consistency of your hair's natural wave pattern, having a perm service performed is an excellent way to deal with the problem. Many women (and men) have perms to make unmanageable curls more manageable, or to redirect curls that are inconsistent when left natural.
See also:
Hair straightening
Perms and perming hair
Naturally curly hair and curly hair problems
Haircut for thick, curly and unmanageable hair