Can You Straighten a Perm Without Damaging It?

Have you been toying with the idea of straightening your perm for a night out on the town? Want a temporary fix but worried you’ll damage your hair? It’s the first question we know that comes to mind. 

Here’s what you should know about straightening a perm. No matter what approach you take, straightening a perm comes with some damage risk; however, there are ways to minimize the damage.

You can use a flat iron or at-home perm kit to straighten a perm. Avoid putting heat on your permed hair for at least two weeks. Also, you could experience dryness and breakage, damage from heat, and the permanent loss of your curls. Lastly, to minimize damage, use a heat protectant, avoid bubble hair, and moisturize your hair.

Can You Straighten a Perm?

The question remains: can you straighten a perm? The answer is yes, but don’t get too excited just yet. Even though you can straighten a perm, you will experience some damage to your hair. There’s no way to avoid this damage since a perm already creates damage to your hair. 

Getting a perm isn’t nearly as bad as bleaching your hair, but the complex process can create dryness and breakage. When using a flat iron to straighten your perm, you should use a heat protectant to minimize damage to your hair.

Furthermore, this is one of the many reasons why you should wait a reasonable amount of time, referred to as the “cool down” period, before straightening your perm or getting it wet.

For maximum results, you should always consult your hairstylist to avoid damage to your hair after a perm. 

Ways to Straighten Permed Hair

The two ways to straighten permed hair are using a flat iron and an at-home perm kit. 

Flat Iron

Flat ironing a perm to straighten it is a temporary solution, but it works. Flat irons will only allow you to have the result until the next time you wash your hair, but they shouldn’t straighten your hair too much, exposing it to more heat. A flat iron will do the trick if you want to straighten your perm just to have a change.

Using a flat iron uses no chemicals, and even though there will still be some damage, it won’t be too significant. One of the reasons people use a flat iron to straighten permed hair is because it is the least damaging of the options. Although straightening your hair several times a month can loosen your curls, you’ll need to wait at least two weeks before exposing your hair to heat.

Even the healthiest, well-nourished hair is fragile after a perm, so it needs time to recover before exposing it to heat.

At-Home Perm Kit

You can use an at-home perm kit if you’re searching for how to straighten your perm permanently. However, before applying these at-home chemicals to your hair, there are a few precautionary measures to ensure your hair is well-hydrated and ready for the task.

Professionals recommend using a hydrating treatment before using an at-home perm kit. When using an at-home perm kit, the kit will include a perming solution and a neutralizer, which will straighten your hair. Since at-home kits use strong chemicals, it is recommended to visit a hairstylist to have it professionally done.

However, if you choose to do this at home, you should begin by first applying your perming solution to your hair. When doing so, comb each strand of hair straight when using the solution to ensure it stays in place while waiting.

The next step you’ll need to take is to wash your hair with hot water, per kit instructions. Next, apply the neutralizer. One of the most significant advantages of at-home perm kits is that they will give you a permanent solution; however, it is the most damaging. Finally, once you have completed all of the steps of the at-home perm kit, you’ll have straight hair.

Risks of Straightening a Perm

There are various risks that come with straightening a perm, and we’ll discuss each of those risks in more detail below. 

Potential Damage

While perms give you gorgeous, natural-looking curls and waves, they often come with a price. The process of a perm is very complex and often damaging. 

When you have a perm, the chemicals of the perming solution make your hair’s inner structure weaker, making your hair more prone to dryness and breakage. This is one of the primary reasons why, after you get a perm at the salon, you must wait a reasonable amount of time before subjecting your hair to heat and other chemicals.

Waiting a reasonable amount of time to straighten your hair after a perm gives your hair a fighting chance it needs to survive and remain healthy. Even so, there’s still an uncertain risk of potential damage. 

Temperature of Heat Tools

When you use too much heat on your hair from a flat iron or blow dryer, your hair becomes exposed to high temperatures. High temperatures pose problems for even the healthiest hair. Now, picture using a flat iron and blow dryer on permed hair that’s already vulnerable.

Depending on how high the temperature on your flat iron reaches when straightening permed hair, you might fry your hair and cause permanent damage. 

You Could Permanently Lose Curls

Straightening permed hair may seem like something you do when you’re growing bored with curls, but you increase the risk of losing your curls even by doing it once. If you’re straightening your hair and not worried about curl loss, this doesn’t count as a risk. 

Your Hair Won’t Stay Straight

If you straighten your perm without causing damage, your hair will only be straight until it gets wet. This means the curls will return once you shower and moisture hits your hair. This might seem like a lot of work with minimal results to some.

Minimizing the Damage of Straightening Permed Hair

While some damage is inevitable, to minimize the damage of straightening a perm, you can use a heat protectant, avoid bubble hair, and use a moisturizer. 

Use a Heat Protectant

You can use a heat protectant to help minimize damage to your hair when straightening your perm. Heat protectants contain chemicals that can help reduce hair damage caused by heat to the hair follicle.

Silicone is an excellent ingredient in heat protectants to help minimize hair damage from heat. One of the best heat protectants is the TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer.

Stay Away from Bubble Hair 

You may or may not have heard the term “bubble hair.” Bubble hair refers to dripping wet hair that is placed against direct heat. In these circumstances, the dripping water will create bubbles when heated inside your hair, with the steam causing irreplaceable damage.

Bubble hair is created by dripping wet hair and heat from a flat iron. Since water transfers to steam at around one hundred degrees Celsius, you’ll want to avoid putting your flat iron on wet, permed hair. When you have bubble hair, you’ll notice roughness to the touch. 

Keep Your Hair Moisturized

When you repeatedly put heat on your hair, it can cause it to become brittle and dry out. You should focus on keeping your hair strands healthy, specifically when straightening a perm. To keep your hair healthy, focus on keeping it moisturized.

Safest Method for Straightening a Perm

When straightening a perm, you’ll always encounter some type of damage. That said, there is a safe method for straightening a perm to avoid further damage. The safest way to straighten a perm is to use a ceramic straightening iron.

Even when using a straightening iron, you’ll need to wait at least two weeks to a month after getting your perm to apply heat to your hair. To avoid irreversible hair damage, leave your curls alone during this period.

After you’ve waited, you can use your straightener paired with a heat protectant to straighten your hair. Using a heat protectant, you can evenly distribute the heat and help retain your hair’s moisture.

While there are additional methods to straighten a perm, as mentioned earlier, using a top-quality straightener paired with a heat protectant is vital! Remember, this is not a permanent solution, and your curls will return until it wears off around three to six months. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long do you need to wait before straightening a perm?

Waiting at least two weeks before straightening your permed hair is recommended. Waiting two weeks gives plenty of time for the chemicals in your hair to set appropriately.

2. Do curls come back after straightening your hair?

When using the proper method, curls will come back. If you use too much heat on your hair, you could damage your curls.

3. What are the risks of straightening a perm?

Some of the risks of straightening a perm are that you can create irreversible hair damage, cause damage from heated hair tools, lose your curls, and your hair won’t stay straight.

Final Thoughts

If you’re tired of your hair and want a temporary change, straightening a perm is one of the best options. When straightening a perm, you will experience hair damage in some form; however, with the essential steps, you can minimize the damage. When straightening your perm, use a heat protectant, avoid bubble hair, and ensure your hair stays moisturized.

For the best results from straightening your perm, the safest method you can use is a ceramic straightening iron. While there are other methods, using a top-quality straightening iron with a heat protectant is vital.

With the help of our guide, you can help minimize the damage to your hair when straightening your perm for the best results.

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