Perm solution, when applied to hair, penetrates the shaft and re-trains the hair to maintain the same configuration as when the perm solution is saturating the hair. For this reason, hair may be either curled or straightened during the time the perm solution saturates the strands. Some women have good luck straightening their hair with perm solution, but for those who have experienced a negative reaction to a previous perm, it's a good idea to consult a professional before proceeding.
Straighten your hair two or three days after your last shampoo. The natural oils in your hair will protect the strands from over-stripping and damage. Follow the test procedure included with the instructions. After the test period, gather all the supplies before you begin.
Start by combing out your hair to remove all tangles. Prepare your neck and face along your hairline by rubbing on a thin coat of petroleum jelly. This will prevent the perm solution from burning your skin. Put on the protective cape and gloves.
Make a horizontal part right above your ears all the way around your head. Gather the top portion of your hair and use hair clips to pin it up and out of the way.
Spray the lower hair to dampen it with water, using a little more on the ends than on the roots. The ends of your hair are more porous and more susceptible to breakage from the perm solution. However, no portion of the hair should be more than barely damp.
Mix the perm solution and work quickly without pulling your hair. Squeeze the solution close to the roots of the hair and using your fingers and a wide-tooth comb, gently comb through to the ends, making sure to keep the strands perfectly straight. Work in sections around your head until you've saturated the lower section with the perm solution.
Clip the flat clips to the ends of the saturated hair to hold the strands straight and to apply gentle downward pressure. Use the included perm papers to fold neatly around the ends of your hair before attaching the clips.
Repeat the procedure with the upper portion of your hair after the lower part is saturated and clipped. Take care not to disturb the lower layer as you comb through the upper part. Saturate, making sure you comb the sections perfectly straight before clipping.
Process the recommended amount of time suggested on the instructions that came with the perm kit. To check the progress, remove a clip from the lower layer and look at the hair's shape. If it is as straight as you desire, proceed to the neutralizing stage. You may leave the perm solution on longer, but don't exceed the recommended time.
Apply the neutralizer while the clips are still in your hair. Try to disturb the strands as little as possible as you squeeze the neutralizer on from the roots and work your way down the strands. There will be a lot of dripping, but keep your head upright. Some perms skip directly to rinsing and shampooing.
Remove the clips and rinse your hair in the shower. Avoid turning your head upside down while rinsing. Shampoo and condition the hair in the same manner. After the final rinse, pat your hair dry instead of winding it up in a towel. The next 24 hours are important, and you should disturb the hair as little as possible.
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- Recruit an assistant to help you comb and clip your hair. It's difficult to do everything by yourself and keep the strands straight.
- Wait at least one month after a chemical process to straighten your hair.
- Don't apply perm solution to badly damaged hair. It will only worsen the condition.
- If you have any concerns about the safety of the procedure, contact a professional hair stylist for a hair evaluation before you proceed.
Glenda Taylor is a contractor and a full-time writer specializing in construction writing. She also enjoys writing business and finance, food and drink and pet-related articles. Her education includes marketing and a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.