If I get a perm and I shower, will my hair go back to how it was before?

Reader question:

Hi Cindy, I’ve taken the curly plunge and treated my usually straight locks to a perm, which I adore! Although, I’m a bit anxious about my daily shower routine. Could you shed some light on whether my new curls will withstand a daily shower or will they retreat back to their original straight state post-shower?

Deanna Jimney
Lake Charles, Louisiana

Hi Deanna,

It is strongly advised to not wash your hair for 48 hours after getting a perm.

If you wash your hair after getting a perm it will not necessarily go back to the way it was before but the curl will significantly decrease.

If you get a perm and you’re not happy with it, you can wash it and it will loosen the curl. However, keep in mind washing your hair will not return your hair to its original state. You’ll still probably have a loose curl for some time until the perm fully makes its way out of your hair. This concept will only work if you find your perm is too tight. It is not a foolproof solution to being unhappy with your perm.

Here are two more solutions if you’re unhappy with your perm:

  • Try using a straightening product if you find the curl is too tight, this might weigh hair down enough to pull a bit of the curl out. When drying, work on using a round brush at the roots to smooth out and add volume and keep a bit of the curl on the ends.
  • Use a big barrel curling iron after your hair is dry. This will give you more of a loose, wavy curl versus a tight curl.