Perms can be a great way to add volume or curl to your hair. The important thing is to be educated and knowledgeable about all of the effects of a perm.

The following tips can help you decide if a perm is right for you.

  • Undamaged hair is the best base. Perms won’t look very good if your hair has sustained serious damage. If it’s lightened or dried out, the curls won’t curl as much and the extra round of chemicals won’t help your hair look any healthier either.

Furthermore, double processing might even cause ends to turn so brittle they split and break.

  • A perm is a long-term investment. A good perm doesn’t come cheap, especially if you opt for a better quality product. The good thing about it is that, if cared for properly, a perm can last up to six months.

If your hair is wavy, you might discover that a perm looks good to go even after the six months maximum, in which case you should definitely ride that train to the last station before you sit in the chair asking for a redo.

  • Styling will still be necessary. Even the healthiest hair can appear a bit dry and frizzy after the chemical treatment. But don’t despair! A perm isn’t as good to go as it looks at first sight. It will require a few changes in your hair care routine.

You’ll need a curl-shaping product, a hair oil to help you get rid of any remaining frizz, and you’ll also have to make sure your hair is properly moisturized. Remember, dry hair means frizzy curls.

  • Perming might lighten your color. Chemicals used to curl hair might cause your tresses to go a shade lighter, depending on the product used, your hair type and the processing time.

Don’t worry, though. The result is more of a sun-kissed look than a bleaching session gone wrong.

  • Shampoo with care. For a perfect perm, do not – I repeat, do not – shampoo your hair immediately after the perm, not even the next day. Your gorgeous new curls need anywhere from 24 to 36 hours to become permanent, so leave them alone.

After that time, use a professional shampoo.

  • Air drying is best for perm-treated hair. The only way to have frizz-free, perfectly formed curls is to let your hair dry naturally.

Here’s how: Wrap your hair in a towel, wait five minutes, unwrap, shake your hair, wrap again and wait another five.

By doing this you’re making sure that most of the excess moisture is absorbed without damaging, frizz-inducing rubbing. When your hair is about 80 to 90 percent dry, bring out the hair dryer and finish the job.

  • Perms can cause damage. Keep in mind that a perm is a chemical treatment. You can expect some type of damage the more often you have your hair permed. Follow your stylist’s advice very closely when you care for your perm to help keep the damage to a minimum.

Falecia Mize is a cut and color expert with House of Color in Bluffton.