How to Fix a Bad Perm

by Jessica Jones ; Updated April 24, 2017
A bad perm is easily remedied, in your own home or back at the salon.

A bad perm is easily remedied, in your own home or back at the salon.

A bad perm can temporarily ruin your appearance and self esteem. Depending on the damage to your hair, you may be able to fix the perm by using a deep conditioner for several days or by cutting the hair to remove the damaged parts. By fixing the bad perm as soon as possible, you may be able to salvage most of your hair and create a style that makes you comfortable.

Determine the cause of the problem. A bad perm is usually the result of perming dry or unhealthy hair, leaving treatment chemicals on too long, or rolling the curling rods incorrectly.

Use a deep conditioning product from the hair salon or the drugstore to fix a perm that's frizzy or dull. Apply the conditioner to wet hair and allow it to penetrate the hair shaft. Leave the conditioner in your hair for at least 5 minutes before rinsing. Reapply as needed to tame out of control hair.

Ask your stylist to cut off all damaged ends to fix hair that's been overtreated. You may need to have your hair cut shorter than normal so healthy hair can grow back. Sometimes a trim may be all that's needed to removed damaged ends. Avoid using hair styling products such as curling irons and blow dryers until healthy hair has grown in.

Remove fish tail curls by trimming them with scissors. You can do this yourself or you can ask your stylist. Fish tail curls can occur when curling rods have been rolled incorrectly or if hair does not respond well to chemical treatments. You can also use a curling iron to smooth out fishtails so they look more natural.

Use a conditioning shampoo and conditioner that's recommended for chemically treated hair to help maintain shine and reduce frizziness. Maintain the perm by allowing your hair to air dry. Use your fingers to style. Use light styling products such as gel or mousse to hold a specific style during the day.

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  • Before attempting another perm, find a hair stylist that's a licensed cosmetologist to avoid problems in the future.
  • Make sure you hair is healthy before attempting a perm.
  • Use a deep conditioner before have your hair chemically treated.


  • Home perm kits should not be used by those who have little or no experience in chemically treating hair.

About the Author

Based in the Washington metro area, Jessica Jones has been a freelance writer since 2006, specializing in business topics. Her fiction has also been featured in publications such as "The Jamaican Observer Sunday Literary Supplement" and at websites including HackWriters. Jones earned a Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing from Lesley University.

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