Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Straightened Hair and Re-growth

Q: I am a professional hair stylist with a few questions: I have a client who is Caucasian with naturally curly hair (almost like poodle permed hair) and she's considered getting her hair permanently straightened but doesn't like the idea of the re-growth. I've spoke to her regarding a texturizer that would loosen the curls and immediately be shampooed out or even giving her a perm but on much larger rods to loosen what she already has. Which do you recommend and why? This same individual also wants hair coloring done to cover grays (about 20% gray). Which would you do first: the color, or whatever would be decided above and why? How long would you wait in between?
A: My personal suggestion would be to go with a curl-redefining perm (the one you suggested with the hair wrapped on larger rods) which would still give her curl to work with - but larger, more-manageable ones. Many times, women who have such naturally curly hair can feel a little lost after getting a straightening treatment, because their hair no longer acts in a manner that they expect. Even if later on she opts to go completely straight, this is a good starting step for her, to let her adjust gradually to the transition.
As for scheduling the texture service and a color service, you always want to do the perming service before you do color. The reason for this is that perms use hydrogen peroxide as a neutralizer, which can lighten the hair - especially if it is artificially colored. The last thing either you or your client want is to have her pay for "the perfect haircolor" and have the color changed by the perm. (If you do the color before the perm and the perm alters the color, she's going to want you to redo the color for free since you didn't warn her that it could happen.)
Be sure to wait at least two weeks between the perm and the color, especially if the desired color is lighter than her natural color. The reason for this is that permed hair will be more porous and can respond much more quickly and easily to the lightening agent in bleaches and the stronger peroxides in higher-lift haircolors. Waiting the two weeks allows the client to condition her hair regularly, and to achieve a more normal level of porosity to the hair before adding the color.
Always be sure to perform patch tests and strand tests on the hair before doing any chemical texture and color service. If the client has never had a perm before, you want to make sure she's not going to be sensitive to the perm chemicals. And a strand test will let you know how the permed hair will respond to the color you apply, so that you can adjust the processing time as needed.
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