How to Prepare Hair for a Perm

by Catherine Chase ; Updated September 28, 2017

Decide whether you want curly or wavy hair.

curly hair image by nutech21 from

A permanent wave is often called a perm. This is a chemical treatment that changes the structure of your hair to add curls. They may be tight, corkscrew curls, or you may opt for looser, wavy curls. According to, perms generally last about three to five months, but you may need to touch up your roots. If you are considering a perm, take a picture of someone with your ideal curls to your stylist and discuss whether you are a good candidate for a perm. Prepare your hair for the perm by using an intensive moisturizer.

Avoid coloring your hair or having any other treatments done prior to the perm. This includes highlights. If you do wish to color your hair, wait until after the perm is complete. Your hair stylist may recommend a specific period of time to wait.

Moisturize your hair two days before your perm appointment. Shampoo it and rinse thoroughly. Apply a moisturizing conditioner and allow it to work for a few minutes before rinsing thoroughly. If you wish, you may also apply a protein-based, deep-conditioning treatment for maximum moisture. A perm will dry out your hair.

Avoid doing anything to your hair for a full day before your perm treatment. Do not style it with heat or deep-condition it. Leaving your hair alone for a full day will help ensure the perm will “take” to your hair.

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About the Author

Catherine Chase is a professional writer specializing in history and health topics. Chase also covers finance, home improvement and gardening topics. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American studies from Skidmore College.