Menopause & Perm Not Taking Well

Hair and product
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Q: I have a client that has had her hair permed twice within the past couple of months. She is on no new medication and is in her early to mid 50's. Could early menopause contribute to a perm not taking well?
This has been the second time we have had a problem, and I have been perming her hair for years. We never had a problem until recently. Please give me any input that could be contributing to her hair not taking well. Thanks so much.

A: To be honest, it is extremely difficult to try and diagnose a problem without direct access to the client in question, but I can give you as much general input as I know.
There are a number of factors that can affect the way the hair responds to a chemical service, from simple aging and hormonal changes, to dietary changes and medications. For example, often gray hair will be more resistant to chemical services than pigmented hair. If the client has had an increase in the amount of gray in the hair, this could be a contributing factor.
The hair could be affected by menopause and pre-menopausal syndrome. These hormonal changes can result in changes in the way the hair grows - everything from texture to condition and even porosity. This could make the hair resistant to chemical services, and leave it difficult to style or create other grooming issues.
The problem could also come from the condition of the hair, although this is something that you, as a stylist, should be able to identify and help to care for. Make sure to check for signs of damage and stress on the hair.
There is a tip I can suggest in your next perming attempt with your client. Many salons and stylists now are using a technique called "air neutralizing" in the permanent wave service. Basically, once the waving lotion is rinsed from the hair and the moisture is blotted, the hair is left to "air dry" for a period of time before the neutralizer is applied.
You can simply have the client sit for 20-30 minutes and read a magazine, or place her under a hooded dryer blowing COOL air for 15 minutes or so, then apply the neutralizer and process the remainder of the perm as normal.
The results have proven to give firmer, longer-lasting curl. I have used this technique with my own mother (who is now in her sixties with a large percentage of gray) and have been pleased with the results. Just be sure to do a test curl using the "air dry" process first before attempting the service on the entire head.
See also:
Perms and perming hair
Menopausal changes in the hair
Lisinopril, menopause and dull hair
Changes in the hair texture and wave pattern after menopause