Perm and Humidity

Thick permed hair
Photo: Progressman/Shutterstock
Q: I permed my hair when I was younger (in the 80s) and I always liked it. Now I am thinking of perming my hair again. From what I have read, I am a good candidate because I have thick, long hair and I never color or dye it. Now I blow dry my hair and curl the ends with a curling iron, but I want an easier style.
I will be moving to an area that has very high humidity (like 90% - it is near the rainforest!). Are there any chemicals in a perm that will be affected by high humidity? I think I will need all the conditioners, anti-frizz, etc., to control frizz, but overall I am looking for a style that I can wash, put some stuff in, and go (no blow-drying).

A: The thing you will want to watch for as far as perming the hair and living in a humid environment is that the humidity will cause a swelling of the hair and a lifting of the cuticle layer, which is what causes the frizzies. The best combatant against this is choosing the right perm for the look you want, and choosing a good stylist to give you that perm. The stylist can help you choose the best perm.
Your permed hair will be more porous than your natural texture, and will more readily absorb and disperse moisture. Because of this, you want to use anti-frizz shampoos and conditioners as well as a smoothing serum (or anti-frizz serum) to help seal the cuticle layer of the hair, keeping it laying smoothly and preventing the loss (or absorption) of too much moisture.
With these things in mind, you need to talk to your stylist about wash and go styles that fit your needs. Even some permed hair styles require a lot of styling and maintenance to keep them looking good. A lot of the options available to you will depend on the length of hair you want to have in the finished look.
It is also important to listen to your stylist about the changes in trends so that you can get the "care-free" style you want without resorting to an out-dated look.
See also:
Curly hair and humidity
Will humidity affect a perm?
How to maintain your hairstyle in humid weather
Does outside humidity have any effect on how a perm takes?