Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Perm and Discolored Cotton Band

Q: In the past week I had a home perm done by a family member. Within a minute or so after applying the waving lotion she noticed that the cotton band that was wrapped under the curlers was discolored with a "purplish" color? Do you know what this could be? Upon noticing this she immediately rinsed off the perm solution and finished the perm. Since the waving lotion was only on for a few minutes there were no results.
How long should I wait before trying another perm and should I be worried about the discoloration of the cotton.

A: I would love to have a little more information in this situation. Was the discoloration localized or did all the cotton turn a purplish color? Did you look at the waving lotion in the bottle? Was it possibly a shade of purple? (I have encountered formulations of perms that use a color-changing chemical to indicate proper mix of the waving lotion when two components must be combined.)
Also, I have to ask, did you read the instructions fully before you began the perm service? Many times there are little things that are included to signal certain conditions. (Perhaps the purple tint came from a pigment in the center of the cotton band to indicate that the band was saturated and therefore that the lotion was saturating to the scalp and collecting at the perimeter of the hair - provided that the discoloration was more widespread where the cotton became wet.)
There may have been a minor flaw in the cotton band, where some ink or pigment from packaging, etc. got into the fibers and was diffused when the waving lotion was applied. (This would more likely have resulted in a localized discoloration.) There could even have been something on one of the perm rods that could have cause a color stain (which again would mean a localized discoloration).
As for waiting before another perm: if your hair is in good condition, I would give it a week (or three shampoos, whichever is greater) and then retry the perm.
Read the package carefully, and inspect all the tools and supplies included, and be sure to wash your perm rods by placing them in a sealable plastic container of some sort with warm water and a small amount of shampoo. Shake the sealed vessel to agitate the tools and generate lather. After five minutes, pour off the soapy water and rinse the tools thoroughly. Pat them dry in an absorbent towel.
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