Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Perm Processing Time

Q: When should you start to time the perm processing time? That is, when you are applying a relaxer and straightening your hair. Do you start the processing time after the perm solution has been applied and smoothed, combed or finger combed straight? Or do you start timing when you first apply the solution, before it is smoothed and combed in? So the question is, start the processing timer when the solution is first applied, or start the timer after the solution is smoothed, combed, and left to sit on your head without disturbance?
A: Okay. Processing times for perms are a variable proposition. The amount of time your hair needs to process depends on its texture, condition and density. In most cases, the timer would start as soon as the solution has been applied fully. However, if you have very long hair or very dense hair (a lot of hairs per square inch) then it may take considerably longer to fully saturate your hair than someone whose hair is shorter or thinner. When dealing with long hair that's fine in texture this could lead to overprocessing of the area you start with.
So, here's the general breakdown for dealing with your processing of perms:
Urgent supply to have on hand:
- One extra applicator/squeeze bottle filled with clear water
- Extra towel
Mark the time that you BEGIN applying your perming solution, and be sure to apply the solution systematically - moving from one zone to the next so that you can know what areas were done first, second, etc.
Start your timer as soon as you've completely saturated the hair. If doing the processing of a relaxer or a straightening perm, you can finish the comb-through and smoothing AFTER you start the timer. You are timing the length of time the hair has been exposed to the chemical, NOT the length of time it has been in any particular configuration.
Begin checking your hair starting with the area you first applied the solution to five minutes BEFORE the proper amount of time has elapsed from when you BEGAN the application of solution. This allows you to makes sure that the area you started with isn't getting over-processed.
If the starting zone appears to be fully processed and the way you want it, use your squeeze bottle with clear water and towel and start rinsing away the perming solution. This will at least dilute the solution so that you keep from damaging the hair due to over-exposure.
Check each zone carefully in turn and rinse it or leave it alone as appropriate. After the timer sounds, check the hair again and follow your processing instructions for rinsing and neutralizing the solution.
Following the system carefully will allow you to make sure the hair is in good health after the perm/straightening/relaxer is done.
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