THINKING OF HAVING YOUR STRAIGHT HAIR PERMED? READ THIS FIRST BEFORE GETTING A DIGI PERM!!
A few weeks ago, I got my hair permed for the very first time at Bang’s Tony and Jackey and told you all about my (virgin) digital perm experience in this post.
And I noticed that while there are so many articles and blog posts on other girls’ experiences on their digi perms, there aren’t that many posts that tell us formerly straight-haired girls about what to expect and what to do with our newly permed hair AFTER we leave the salon and deal with it in our daily lives. After all, we already paid so much for the perm itself and risked taking this step to the world of waves and curls. So we might as well enjoy this new hair and be sure to maintain it properly!
Before & after leaving the salon
- How long can you expect the perm to last?
- When is the earliest time you can wash your hair?
- When can you tie up your hair again?
- Can you style your hair using curling iron?
- When can you have your hair colored/ retouched?
- When can you have your hair permed again?
Unless your stylist tells you otherwise, right after leaving the salon, take note that YOU SHOULD NOT WASH YOUR HAIR until after 24 to 48 hours have passed since your perm. I got my perm Saturday afternoon and I was told that I’m supposed to wash my hair Monday at the earliest. Take note of this instruction because it’s supposedly during this time that the treatment that makes your hair perm “sets” and settles in your hair and it’s imperative that this process is not literally “watered down” by you wetting your hair. Or else, the waves/curls may lose effectiveness and will fail. Take a bath using a shower cap to prevent any water from damaging your perm.
Permed hair may be shampooed frequently and for best effect, it’s important that it’s conditioned regularly. Some women with permed hair say that it’s best not to shampoo hair daily. On the other hand, daily conditioning is a must for permed hair (as opposed to when I had straight hair, where daily conditioning had the effect of weighing down my hair). Excessive shampooing might affect how long the perm will last, and daily conditioning is important to prevent frizzy curls.
As for me, I alternate between daily shampoo + conditioner and using just conditioner. I use Clairol Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Curls and Waves shampoo and conditioner. I tried using “ordinary” shampoo and conditioner on my permed hair and I noticed that my hair became dry. But the effect of Herbal Essences is really different. Permed hair needs more moisture than non-treated hair and I could really feel how Herbal Essences makes my hair softer and more moisturized. This is an imported shampoo but is available at SM Supermarkets and Watson’s but I got mine at Unimart Supermarket (and good thing too because it’s priced at P215 each, which is about P50 cheaper than in SM). Plus, this smells super great too. I highly recommend this product, as this is one of my best “curly hair girl” finds 🙂 I also still use my Pureology shampoo (seen here), to care for my colored hair but at the same time, it still gives enough moisture for my permed hair.
Others recommend using dry shampoo to add volume without actually washing your hair, but I haven’t tried this yet.
As an alternative, I also use Human Nature’s shampoo and conditioner (make sure it’s the moisturizing variant) for days when I feel detoxifying.
It’s also good to have a weekly intensive conditioning treatment regimen. This is supposedly a must even with straight hair and now with permed hair, this is all the more imperative. I just use whatever I already have in my house (like Sunsilk and Pantene).
Since you will no longer be combing and brushing your permed hair, special attention must also be given to your scalp to prevent dandruff and product build-up. I recommend clarifying or anti-dandruff shampoos every once in a while. Good thing I also already have Giga’s Scalp Treatment, which is a specific treatment for the scalp.
I think it was only after I first washed my hair and had to deal with the new texture and styled it myself that I realized that having digi permed hair is really different from having straight hair. So many girls with digi permed hair have told me that they love it because it’s low maintenance (like they don’t need to comb it anymore). Yes, on one hand, that is true. However, having digi permed hair takes a different kind of maintenance altogether. I found my straight hair quite low maintenance in the sense that I can just sit in front of the electric fan to dry my hair and that’s it. I rarely used any product and had no need to blow dry my hair. But now, I find that the products and the different steps that I have to undergo to care for my permed hair took some getting used to. So because of that, having permed hair needs more “maintenance” for me, but I think it’s only because I’ve had straight hair all my life.
Never ever rub your towel on your hair as this will only create frizz. For straight hair, I used to rub the towel on my scalp and hair. But this is a no-no for permed hair. It’s enough that you squeeze excess water out and then wrap your hair in a towel and give it time to absorb the hair’s moisture.
My stylist told me that if I’m going to use blowdryer, it has to be on the cool setting. I got the impression that she disapproves using a blowdryer altogether as this will just cause more damage to my hair. However some girls say it’s good to use blow-dryer to dry permed hair. This is good to prevent frizz but make sure you put the correct styling products first (see #3 below) and do not do this often to prevent heat damage. I invested in a Baby Liss travel hair dryer because it has a cool setting and I must say that my permed really looks at its best when dried this way (especially now that I’m towards 3 months into my perm).
What I’ve also found ideal for drying my hair is to leave the aircon open while I’m getting ready in the morning since there is enough air in the room to dry my hair but without any direct wind that will cause my hair to frizz. I’ve also tried drying my hair through an electric fan, but I make sure that it’s not pointed directly at my head to prevent frizz.
2. NEVER EVER COMB YOUR PERMED HAIR
This is the most important rule in caring and maintaining your permed hair. While straight hair needs to be combed when wet to prevent frizz, the effect is exactly the opposite for your curls. Combing them will just loosen the curls and make them frizzy. Except for combing the top part of my hair which has not been permed, I never comb my permed hair. While your hair is permed, say goodbye for now to your combs and brushes.
To deal with tangles and knots, comb through your curls using your fingers while in the shower or afterwards, while they’re still damp. Another trick is to finger comb your hair BEFORE you shampoo to prevent tangles.
One thing that I’ve learned is an absolute must to properly style my digi permed hair is dividing my hair into sections while still damp. What I like most about having digi permed hair is how I can manipulate it to look different everyday, and I do this by changing how I section my hair. If I like to maintain the smaller tighter curls, I section my hair into four. Then I wind each partition around my finger then apply product. If I want looser but still defined waves, I part my hair into two and twist them around then apply product. If I want a messier look, I don’t section at all and just allow the curls to dry naturally.
|With looser waves from two sections|
|With smaller waves from four sections|
4. Styling Products
After I got my perm at Tony and Jackey, I asked the stylist what products I need to use for my new hair. They hoisted two products at me, the Natubea Cortex Essence hair serum (P1300) and the Teracota Hair Silky Essence (P1800). Both are Korean products and are supposedly only available at Tony and Jackey. I asked if I can just get one and the stylist told me that my hair is dry, I have to get not only the Natubea hair serum (which is the product to style & define the curls) but also the Teracota product to lessen the dry and damaged appearance of my permed hair.
After my perm, I learned from a friend (who previously had a perm at Azta Urban salon) that her go-to product when she still had her perm was the Kerastase Nutritive Oleo-Curl curl definition creme (I got mine at the Basement Salon in Shangri-La at about P1652). And I must say that I love, love this product. And if there’s just one product that you must use for your permed hair, this is it.
As I said above, I didn’t do my post-perm hair care research on time and I panicked and bought too many products (the Korean styling products, the Kerastase, a mousse, other shampoo and conditioners, and even rollers!). But now knowing what I know, I would just recommend the Kerastase curl definition cream and perhaps also the Teracota hair silky essence (which I apply not just to my curls but also to the remaining straight hair on top of my head. The good thing also is that I can still use this when I go back to my straight hair).
I apply the Kerastase oleo-curl cream (just a small amount will do) to my sectioned and twisted hair while still damp, applying it from the ends upward, crimping as I go. Unlike mousse or gel which leaves hair dry, sticky, or hard, the Kerastase cream leaves hair still very soft—literally, as if I didn’t apply any product at all when my hair is dry! And yet, it still gives my curls definition and style. And I don’t need to reapply throughout the day. I don’t need the hold of a mousse since I want my curls to look loose and wavy anyway so this is simply perfect. I’ve read about some remarking on the product’s scent but I like the citrusy strawberry fragrance and do not have any problem with it. If I want to reapply the product in the afternoon or if I have to go somewhere after work, I find that it gives a great “retouch” but does not weigh my curls down.
I did my research online and learned girls who got their hair digi permed are indeed raving about this product. And now, I am too. It’s really the best product that anyone with digi permed hair can and SHOULD use. At P1,652, it is very pricey but this product can last for months and for the great reviews and quality, I’d still say this is a good deal. I figured, I’ve already spent so much on having my hair permed and if it takes an expensive product to maintain it and for me to be happy with it, then panindigan na!
On the other side of the price spectrum, I’ve read about Monea curl defining milk lotion which is priced only at P99. However, I’ve noticed that the reviews are mixed (downside is the thick consistency). Anyway, when I no longer have any money since I already spent so much for my perm and its maintenance, I would definitely look for this milk lotion! Others also swear by styling products from Gatsby and Bench Fix.
Throughout the day, crimp and twist your permed hair frequently to further define the curls/waves and to put some order into them when they get too messy for your taste. This will also make the curls retain their shape. Since you can no longer brush or comb your hair, do this instead.
6. Hair Accessories
As I said before, I love my digi permed hair for the volume and because to me it looks sexy and has a just-out-of-bed feel ;-). But for the days when you don’t want to look too wild or unkempt, you can use headbands or small clips to get your hair out of your face and to look neater.
It seems that there are differing opinions on whether digi permed hair can be ponytailed. My stylist warned me not to do it until after one month from my perm. And even then, my stylist told me not to use elastic bands because they can cause more hair damage. Instead, I should tie my hair up using large clamps. Frankly, I’ve actually violated the no-ponytail rule once or twice already when I just had to get a half-bath in the evenings because of the summer heat (but I didn’t want to get my hair wet so I just clamped it up). Thankfully, I don’t think it damaged my perm in any way. But still, I would keep such violations to a minimum to retain the shape and quality of the curls. Since each perm is different, be sure to ask your stylist about this rule.
Coloring & Salon Treatments
While it is safe to color your hair after you have it digi permed, I’d suggest waiting about a month or more just to give your hair some time to rest in between treatments.
They say that digi permed hair should also receive extra care with monthly salon treatments, especially those formulated to give more moisture and damage repair. I balk at the “monthly” frequency of having hair treatments so I’d rather stick to my weekly intensive/deep conditioning regimen at home.
One good alternative I’ve been hearing right from the salon stylists themselves is to buy intensive conditioning treatments (like Kerastase) being sold in the salons (which are exactly what they use in their salon services anyway) and apply the treatment DIY. A jar of a Kerastase treatment may cost you upward of P2,000 but that can last you for months, while that’s just the price of one salon treatment.
The Digi Perm Essential Shopping List
1. Shower cap
2. Moisturizing shampoo & conditioner
Splurge: Clairol Herbal Essences Totally Twisted shampoo & conditioner (P215 for 355 ml, available in Unimart, SM supermarket, Watson’s), Kerastase Bain Oleo Curl shampoo (available in leading salons)
Save: Human Nature Moisturizing shampoo & conditioner (from P44.75 for 50 ml, available online and in Rustan’s supermarkets)
3. Styling Products
Splurge: Kerastase Nutritive Oleo-Curl curl definition creme (P1652, available in leading salons) for definition and Teracota Hair Silky Essence used as hair serum (P1800, available at Bang’s Tony and Jackey branches)
Save: Monea curl defining milk lotion (P99, available in The Landmark & in select Watson’s outlets), Gatsby styling wax or Bench Fix Rock & Rule wax (comes in pocket sized containers that are perfect to carry around); Finesse Self-Adjusting Curl Refining mousse (available for about P300 in Watson’s)
4. Intensive treatments
Save: any intensive/weekly treatment specifically for damage repair/ dry hair available in supermarkets and drugstores, scalp treatment from Giga (about P250, available in Megamall or Sesou Nature Source)
5. Big hair clamps
6. Hair dryer with cool setting
After the disorientation with my new hair which lasted for a few days after I had my digi perm, I’m now at the stage where I’ve really come to appreciate and love it. I think the disorientation was really because I’ve had straight hair all my life and that most of the things I have to do with my permed hair are “new” to me and are in fact, “counter-intuitive” to how I’ve dealt with straight hair (like daily conditioning, not combing, not drying hair in front of the electric fan, etc.). Permed hair just takes some time getting used to. But once you get the hang of properly washing, styling and caring for your hair, you will get to enjoy the “low maintenance” side to having digi permed hair—like not worrying if every strand is in place, and getting volume and definition without the use of hair dryers or curling irons. And of course, you can now enjoy the advantage of having beautiful curls and waves—a totally sexy, different look from your sleek, straight hair.
For girls with newly digi permed hair, I hope this guide helps lessen your disorientation and make you enjoy your hair more 🙂 And for those girls out there who are thinking of getting a digi perm, I hope this guide helps you in making your decision too.
If you have your own tip or advice, please share them here! Cheers! 🙂
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