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How to Get Rid of a Bad Perm Without Cutting Your Hair

Perms are gaining popularity, but what if you grabbed a home kit and a willing friend, but now you have a head full of frizz? Or you went to a stylist but instead of beach waves, you got spirals?

If you have a bad perm, you might just be wanting to grab a pair of scissors and get rid of the trauma. Before you do that, though, there are actually a few ways that you can fix a bad perm! So hold on, breathe, and keep reading.


What Does A Bad Perm Look Like?

bad perm

An example of a bad perm

A bad perm is usually frizzy. So instead of having defined curls, you come out with a halo of frizz around them, at the least, or no curls at all and a head like a frizzy bird’s nest. Yipes. There are also scenarios in which you might have straight ends with frizzy or curly hair.

Then there are times when the perm doesn’t take and your hair looks as straight as it did before or has bends instead of curls. If your curls come out, they might be tighter than you expected, and you have no idea how to style them. Whatever the case, there’s usually a fix.


What Can Ruin A Perm?

What Can Ruin A Perm?

Several things can ruin a perm. Here are some of them:

  1. The perm solution was too strong or too weak. A stylist should take into consideration the condition of your hair before starting. If they choose a stronger or milder solution than you need, your perm won’t come out correctly. If the solution is too strong, frizz will result. If it is too weak, your hair might not curl or the curls will be uneven. If the perm didn’t take, consider yourself lucky! That’s way better than a head full of frizz.
  2. If the stylist left the solution in for too long, your hair might be damaged and dry as a result because your hair cuticle is worn away in parts. This causes porous hair that can’t hold on to moisture. That means excessive frizz.
  3. The perm solution did not completely saturate the hair. If this happens, the ends of your hair will be straight, even if the rest is curly.
  4. The rollers were not tight enough. If this happens, the rollers will move during the process, and you might end up with unpredictable bends in your hair instead of curls.
  5. The stylist’s rollers were too small, so the curls are very tight and look weird.
  6. The ends are frizzy. This can happen if the stylist didn’t trim your ends prior to starting the perm, or if she neglected to use end papers.


What to Do if You Got a Bad Perm?

The best thing to do for a bad perm is to moisturize and seal. If your curls are too tight, making sure they are well-hydrated can make them looser.

Even if you have a lot of frizz, that’s happened because your hair is dry or damaged and is standing up, seeking moisture from the environment.

So hydration is one of the best ways to fix a bad perm. There are other ways, too. Each will depend on the problem.


Can You Fix A Bad Perm Without Damaging Your Hair?

Yes, a bad perm can be fixed in several ways that are healthy and non-damaging:

Fix a Frizzy Perm

Fix a frizzy perm

If your hair comes out frizzy, you can use a combination of oil treatments, moisturizers, protein treatments, and hair sealers to tame the frizz and get your hair close to its normal state. This is a routine that will help normalize your hair.

  • Once or twice weekly, use coconut oil as an overnight hair mask. It penetrates into the hair shaft and helps balance the moisture level if your hair is porous.
  • In the morning, use a moisturizing hair mask that contains protein. The protein will temporarily seal areas of your hair where the cuticle has been worn away by the chemicals.
  • You can try pure aloe vera treatments if you’re sensitive to protein. Purchase and peel the leaves, then add chunks of aloe vera to a blender. Blend with water until smooth. You’ll have to strain it with a cheesecloth before using it. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a thousand aloe vera flakes caught in your hair. It’s worth the extra effort, though, because aloe vera is very hydrating. It’s an excellent treatment to help resolve frizz.
  • You can seal in the added moisture by using a heat protectant that contains silicone whether or not you use a blow dryer on your hair afterward. Silicone creates a light film that helps seal in the moisture until your next wash.


Loosen Curls That Are Too Tight

Fixing Bad Perm that Are Too Tight

There are a few things you can do to get beach curls instead of tight spirals:

  • If you just got the perm, wash your hair immediately before the neutralizing solution has finished its work. Normally, you don’t want to wash your hair right away because it could make your curls fall. But in this scenario, that’s exactly what you want. While the chemicals in your hair are still processing, within a day after perming, wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo. This will help the curls fall if they are too tight. Follow the clarifying shampoo with a deep conditioner.
  • You can also try coconut oil treatments to loosen your curls. Coconut oil absorbs fully into the hair shaft and can make your hair heavier, reducing the tightness of the curls. Use it as an overnight treatment by saturating dry hair with oil. Cover your hair with a shower cap and wrap a towel around your head to keep the oil from leaking too much. In the morning, rinse the oil with warm water, then wash with shampoo.


Curl Straight Ends and Smooth Bends

Fixing Bad Perm with Straight Ends

If any part of your hair is under-processed, you can use heat to make it more uniform or remove the curl completely.

  • The best way to do this after receiving a perm is to deep condition your hair first with a protein mask. This will help repair your hair from the chemicals and prepare it for heat. Then apply a conditioning heat protectant. Blow dry your hair and style it with a heat tool uniformly to remove straight ends and bends.
  • The simplest way to get rid of straight ends, however, is simply to trim them. Trim half the length of the straight tips and the rest should curl slightly, making the straight tips less noticeable.


What’s The Quickest Way to Get Rid of A Bad Perm?

Quickest Ways to Get Rid of A Bad Perm

The quickest way to get rid of the frizz or curls of a bad perm is to use a perm solution on your hair to soften the bonds, then use a comb or brush to reform the bonds in a straight fashion again.

But this is really risky and can easily cause more damage. It’s also best to wait a few weeks from the original perm before adding more perm chemicals to your hair.

In fact, even if you want to get an entirely new perm done, your stylist won’t want to apply perm chemicals to your hair again for a few weeks. So wait. Then:

  • Deep condition the day before starting.
  • Apply the perm solution to wet hair.
  • Comb it through evenly using a wide-toothed comb.
  • Once the solution is distributed and your hair is detangled, use a brush instead of the wide-toothed comb.
  • Brush for ten minutes until your hair hangs straight again. Don’t go longer than fifteen minutes.
  • Rinse your hair under running water for five minutes.
  • Blot your hair gently to remove the excess water. Rubbing will create frizz.
  • Apply a neutralizer to your hair and brush it through for five minutes.
  • Rinse for five minutes, using cool water to help close the hair cuticles.
  • Apply a deep conditioner and let it sit for at least a half hour under a shower cap.
  • Rinse, and allow your hair to air dry.

Alternatively, you can use a hair relaxer, which is a different chemical process that removes the curl from your hair to make it straight. You will have to smooth your hair into a straight position after applying the relaxer for it to work properly. Your hair might suffer considerably if you use a hair relaxer within a month of getting a perm.


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How to Fix a Perm Gone Wrong Without Cutting Your Hair?

It’s tempting to grab the scissors if you have a head full of frizz and straight ends, but before you do, try following the routine to cure frizz. It could help out a lot. It’s time-consuming and might not be the hair care routine you envisioned, but it might save you from having a new buzz cut.

Also, try not to wash your hair more than twice a week. Shampoo is inherently drying and can double a frizz problem easily. Always condition after you shampoo, and leave the conditioner in your hair for at least five minutes, if you can.


Examples of Bad Perm Pictures

Perms can get pretty bad when done incorrectly. Your stylist should be able to show you pictures of perms they have done in the past. You can also ask the stylist how many years they have been doing perms.

The least time should be three years. This should show proper experience with the chemicals and knowledge about the outcome to ensure that your perm will come out well.

bad perm with no Curls


long bad permed hair


bad permed tight curls


bad permed brown hair


bad frizzy perm

It’s always a good idea to bring your stylist pictures so they can see exactly how you want your perm to be at the outset. This lowers the chances that you’ll have to fix things later.

Because a perm changes the structure of the hair, the damage it causes can’t be removed entirely. If you hate your perm, you can try to remedy the situation, but it won’t actually remove the perm, and your locks won’t go back to the way they were before.

You can only try to get them closer to the way you wanted the perm to be. So basically, avoiding the problem is better than trying to fix it.