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Q. I’m thinking about getting a permanent. Can you tell me how to take care of it? They’re so expensive, I want to make sure I’m doing all I can to make it last and look it’s best.

A. When you have a permanent put into your hair, it does make a chemical change in the hair itself. You may find that your hair seems dryer than before. This is why we always recommend that you use a shampoo recommended for “chemically treated hair”, or, “for permed hair” (ask your stylist which one they recommend). You may also find that even though you may not have needed a conditioner for your “natural” hair, you need one following a perm. There are many types on the market, some are “put in, rinse out” and some are “leave-in conditioners”. You may need to experiment to see which ones you prefer. Also, following a perm, especially a “spiral” or very curly perm, the following suggestions are recommended:

  1. It’s better not to “blow it straight” for about 2 weeks. This gives the hair time to “heal” following the chemical service, and 
    the heat from the dryer and stretching from the brush may “undo” a little of the curl.

  2. It’s always better to use a “diffuser” when blow-drying very curly hair. The diffuser lets the “heat” get to the hair, but keeps 
    the “wind” from the dryer to a minimum. This also keeps down the “frizz factor” and helps to keep the tangles down.

  3. With the summer season/swim season coming up, we highly recommend that clients with perms who are going into swimming pools with chlorinated water fill their hair with “clean” water before entering the pool. This allows the porous hair to be full of plain water, and won’t allow the “chlorinated” water into the hair shaft. This is also a good trick for those with blonde hair who swim frequently.

  4. When washing your hair, try not to use extremely hot water. The hotter the water, the more the cuticle of the hair will “open”, allowing the heat to gradually “relax” the perm. Moderately hot water/lukewarm is better for the hair (and less drying to your skin, too!)

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