4 ways to look after a perm

Wash, dry and care for your curls properly

Beauty Crew Beauty Editor / October 19 2018

There’s something about the warmer seasons of spring and summer that make us want to reach for products and try services that help us look ‘done’ while also getting us out the door faster. With makeup, we’re swiping on coloured balms that keep our smackers hydrated and tinted for a few hours at a time, and booking in for brow tints to keep our arches looking naturally polished.

As for the hair category, we’re seeing an astronomical rise in celebrities booking in for perms to keep their locks looking styled even when they’re off-duty. If you’re not familiar with the perming process, it’s an in-salon chemical treatment that involves wrapping your hair in rollers, followed by an application of a perm solution that works to change the texture and structure of your hair. The smaller the roller, the tighter the curl will be.

The perm sure has come a long way - frizzy, over-processed locks have made way for relaxed and softer styles that range from looking glamorous to beachy, depending on the perm style you ask for at the hair salon.

“A perm is an amazing way to change the texture of your natural hair to add movement, such as going from straight hair to wavy,” explains Peter Beckett, hairstylist and brand ambassador for Moroccanoil. “A hairstyle with natural movement like wavy and curly texture is really popular, and is totally achievable.”  

Here, Beckett shares his best tips for looking after this chemically-enhanced hairstyle.  

Don’t overwash your hair

The biggest culprit when it comes to ruining a perm is water, which can damage those chemical bonds that are applied to your hair in order to semi-permanently change the shape of the hair cuticle. To ensure your perm lasts the distance, avoid washing your hair 24-72 hours after your treatment. After that time period, remember to wash your hair with a curl-defining shampoo and conditioner, and always use warm, not hot water. Beckett also recommends trying the following two-in-one product: “Moroccanoil Curl Cleansing Conditioner is a one-step approach to cleansing and nourishing without unnecessarily disrupting your waves.”

Take care when styling

Avoid brushing your wet permed hair with a paddle brush or similar, as this can cause breakage to occur. Instead, use a wide-toothed comb to detangle  and leave your hair to air-dry. When you need to dry your hair quickly, use a hairdryer on a low heat setting (excessive heat can cause damage) and always remember to use the diffuser attachment to distribute the airflow of warm air evenly around your head and to prevent your curls from turning frizzy.

Pick the right styling products


Styling products will help you retain the shape of your curls, but be warned that picking the wrong product can do more bad than good. Heavier textures like creams are notorious for weighing curls down and making your locks look greasy, rather than polished. The solution? Try a two-in-one product that can combat dirty hair and also add body. “Keeping your hair well hydrated and conditioned will keep your waves super bouncy and fresh,” says Beckett. “Moroccanoil Original Treatment mixed with Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream is a great combination for maintaining nourishment and shape in your perm.” We also like Matrix Total Results Curl Please Contouring Lotion.

Avoid straightening your hair


With a perm, the worst thing you can do to it is damage the structure of your hair with heat. “Try to avoid straightening your perm once it has been done,” warns Beckett. “Putting that extra stress on the hair can cause a lot of unnecessary damage on the hair shaft.” Noted.

If you have short and curly hair, follow these tips for styling your locks.

What’s your favourite product to use on curly hair, and why? Tell us in the comments below.

Main image credit: Getty

Iantha is BEAUTYcrew's Beauty Editor, and has been part of the team since the site launched in 2016. Besides pinky-nude nail polish and wispy false lashes, she has a healthy obsession with face masks and skin care ingredients. Her previous work can be found in Virgin Australia Voyeur, Women's Health, and SHOP Til You Drop.