Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Perm Instructions

Q: I am doing an at-home perm, but I seem to have lost the instructions. I know how to wrap the hair and everything, but the only thing I don't know is how long should I keep on the waving solution and the neutralizer? Thanks!
A: Most perm formulas call for the waving lotion to be applied and left on the hair for a maximum of 20 minutes. After 10 minutes begin checking the curls at random to see if the correct curl amount has formed. Unroll the rod gently and look for an “S”-shaped wave pattern along the hair. If the “S” curl is not there, leave the hair for another 5 minutes and check again. Once you see the proper “S’-wave, proceed to the rinse, otherwise, wait until the full 20 minutes have passed and proceed to rinsing. The hair is then rinsed for at least 3 minutes using warm water, and the rods are patted with a clean, dry towel to blot up the excess water.
woman checking the time to leave perm solution on

Next, the neutralizer is applied and left to sit for 5 minutes (you likely will not need the entire amount), after which the rods are removed and the remaining neutralizer is applied to the curls, massaged gently into the hair and left for an additional two minutes. The hair is then given a final rinse for at least 5 minutes with very warm water, followed by a cool water rinse to help close the cuticle layer.
When dealing with “average” hair, that has not been chemically treated before, these instructions are the suggested norm. If your hair is fine in texture, is very porous, or has been previously permed or chemically treated, begin checking for the wave pattern after 5 minutes and only leave the solution on for a total of 15 minutes. Fine hair, and hair that is previously treated or is naturally porous, can respond much more quickly to the waving lotion than virgin (never before treated) hair.
Don’t forget that the neutralizer is the harshest part of the process, so don’t leave the neutralizer on the hair longer than instructed. Also, be very careful when removing the rods so as to avoid stretching the hair while it is soaked with the chemicals.
Related posts:
How perms work
How to wrap a perm
When should you start to time the perm processing time?
Is there any effect if you don't wash your hair before a perm?