Breaking Hair

Permed hair with breakage
Q: I washed my hair 24 hours after perming. Now my hair has started breaking. It is dry also, so I've put oil on it. Now, what should I do?
A: It sounds as though your hair was overstressed by the perm process. It is possible that the perm formula was too strong for your hair, the perm may have been processed too long, or the perm was improperly neutralized.
Perms are normally stressing to the hair, by their very natures: the hair is chemical reordered to change the wave pattern. Perms leave the hair more porous and easily dried out by further processing or even simple shampooing, unless you are careful to use moisturizing products and take special care to restore the moisture balance of the hair.
Your idea of putting oil on your hair because of the dryness and brittleness may sound good in theory, but can be counter intuitive. A better option is to give your hair deep conditioning treatments using a moisture-rich conditioner.
Apply the conditioner to the hair and carefully comb it through the hair with a wide-tooth comb. Cover the hair with a plastic cap, and wrap your head in a warmed towel, or sit under a hooded dryer for 20-30 minutes.
Remove the cap and rinse the hair carefully with cool water and towel dry the hair by gently squeezing the hair between folds of a towel, or by wrapping the head turban fashion and leaving the towel on the head until the majority of the water is absorbed. Change towels as needed to maintain absorbency.
Use a detangling spray and a wide tooth comb to comb out the damp hair. Avoid using a hair dryer as much as possible and instead let your hair dry naturally. The key is to treat your hair as gently as possible while you work to restore moisture and elasticity. Sadly, it is not something that is going to be a quick fix, so be ready to be in this for the long haul.
Photo: Anna Tronova/Shutterstock
See also:
Perms and perming hair
Hair horror stories
The different formulas for perms
How to recognize hair breakage
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