How to Get Rid of a Curl Perm

by Red Ashton ; Updated September 28, 2017

If your perm is a little too curly, wash it with shampoo as soon as possible.

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Nothing says fun and effervescent quite like bouncy, curly hair. But once you decide to get a curl perm, you're gambling. Bad perms -- with overly tight curls that make you look like Shirley Temple on steroids -- can be devastating to behold in the mirror. Getting a relaxer perm isn't usually a corrective option, unless you have exceptionally healthy, strong hair that can withstand an additional chemical treatment. However, there's an at-home way to remedy your out-of-control corkscrews without causing additional damage to your hair.

Wash your hair with a quarter-size dollop of gentle shampoo that's specifically designed for damaged or chemically treated hair. Pat your hair dry with a towel.

Get a large jar of olive, coconut or almond oil. Wear old clothes that you don't mind staining with oil -- this is a messy process. Take a small section of hair and work the oil into the hair until it is completely saturated from root to end. Do this until your entire head is covered.

Put a shower cap over your oiled hair and let your hair sit for at least two hours. The longer you leave the oil in your hair, the better your results will be.

Rinse out the oil with warm water and a small amount of shampoo if necessary. Re-oil your hair if the curls are still too tight. Let your hair air-dry and avoid using hair dryers or curling irons, to prevent further damage to your hair.


  • If your curls persist, get a haircut that works with rather than against the curls. Shorter, asymmetrical styles can turn your curly nightmare into a bouncy, trendy look. Talk to your stylist about which cuts would work best with your face shape and complement the curls.

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About the Author

Red Ashton has been writing and editing professionally since 2003. Her work has appeared in "The Times Ledger," "The Lit Review," "Not For Tourists," Voyage.tv, and the Rough Guides website. Her areas of writing expertise include travel, home-and-garden and education. Ashton earned a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the New School.