How to Relax Permed Hair

by Contributor ; Updated April 24, 2017

Relax Permed Hair

Perms can sometimes turn out differently than you expected. Your hair may not take the curl enough and then there are occasions when the perm results in curls that are too tight. If you find that your curls are simply too much, you can relax permed hair and achieve looser, gentler curls.

Use a deep-cleansing or moisturizing shampoo to wash your hair as soon as possible. If just got your perm, wash your hair immediately. While you are normally not supposed to wash a perm for 48 to 72 hours, if you want to relax the curls, you should shampoo as soon as possible. Rinse and repeat.

Apply deep-conditioning treatments or hot oil treatments to your hair. Use a fine-tooth comb to evenly distribute the conditioner or oil throughout your hair. Leave it on the hair for up to an hour. These deep treatments will help to relax curls.

Try hair masks. These masks are similar to deep conditioners in that they are applied to the hair and left on for a while. Hair masks will nourish and treat hair. They are often weightier than other treatments and can help to relax permed hair.

Talk to your haircare professional about chemical relaxers. There are perm reversal treatments that involve using chemicals to relax or straighten the hair. If you opt for this method, your haircare professional should first assess the condition of your hair. If your hair is too damaged, this may not be an option.

Use leave-in conditioners on your hair. As these conditioners remain in your hair, they tend to weigh hair down a bit, thus loosening curls. De-tangling sprays are also good leave-in options that relax hair.


  • Permed hair generally does relax somewhat on its own. If you just received your perm, expect the curls to drop over the next couple weeks. You cannot completely undo a perm because your hair has been chemically altered. The only way to return to your hair's natural state is to cut off the permed hair.

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