Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Apple Pectin Perm Disaster

Q: My mom's apple pectin perm was a disaster. I had the bottles backwards. How long should I wait before I can do her hair again?
A: Well, if your mom's hair wasn't badly damaged by the ill-performed process, you should be able to re-perm the hair after giving it about a week. However, it's important to make sure that the hair hasn't been harmed by the error. Do a careful evaluation of the hair from scalp to ends. Look for signs of damage: dryness, frizz, split or broken ends, etc. If you have any of these, you may not want to try and re-perm the hair until you've given the hair some deep conditioning treatments. If there is any excessive dryness or sponginess to the hair when it is wet, you should NOT attempt to re-perm the hair until you've seen a professional stylist.
The amount of potential damage will depend largely on the amount of time the chemicals spent on the hair. The waving lotion is the chemical that breaks the disulfide bonds of the hair, and if you used the bottles in reverse order, you likely did very little to break the disulfide bonds. The neutralizer is typically a hydrogen peroxide solution, and can be the more harmful of the two, but for different reasons. The peroxide can lighten the hair by lifting the cuticle and dispersing the pigment molecules in the hair shaft. When used after a waving lotion the hydrogen peroxide uses oxidation to reform the disulfide bonds that were broken by the waving lotion.
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