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Can You Perm Henna Hair? A Colorist Explains

A mane full of beautiful waves or curls is what many women with little to no natural hair texture long for. If you don’t have it, you either opt for using hair products like mousse or curl cream to accentuate what little texture there is, you use a curling iron and lots of hairsprays, or you get a perm.

That’s great, but what if you already have henna on your hair? Is the process for getting perm or texture different if your hair is dyed with henna?

Women whose mane has been colored with traditional hair dye don’t need to think twice about how they add texture, but it’s a different story if your hair has been colored with henna hair dye.

Can You Perm Henna Hair?

Yes, you can technically perm henna hair, but it’s not recommended. Instead, it’s a better idea first to perm your hair, wait a few weeks, then color it with henna.

However, if you’re determined to perm your henna-dyed hair, there are some things you should know first.

What Can Happen If You Perm Henna Hair?

Faded Hair Color

Consequences of Perming Henna Dyed Hair - Faded Hair Color

Many of us already know that henna hair dye is strong and difficult to remove. But a perm is one chemical process that will for sure fade it.

Your Perm Won’t Be as Effective

Consequences of Perming Henna Dyed Hair - Getting No Perm or Bad Perm

Since your hair is already coated in henna dye, it will be more difficult for a perm to penetrate your hair follicles. All hair is different, so results will vary, but the general consensus is that a perm over henna hair can either lead to a bad perm or no perm at all.

If you do get weak results, this can lead to an ugly cycle of using more perm products, seeing more faded hair color, and further damaging your hair.

Things to Consider Before Perming After Henna


Things to Consider Before Perming After Henna - Damage

Coloring and chemical processing damage your hair each time you do it. The henna powder contains chemicals that make the dye adhere to your hair follicles, while perming also chemically changes the structure of your hair.

Some stylists insist there are ways to perm hair in a ‘healthy’ way, but the truth is your hair will be changed, even if it just becomes dry and frizzy.


Should you decide to take the gamble and get a perm over your henna-dyed hair, think about how much money you’re spending. The average cost of a perm seems to be about $80, increasing the longer your hair is.

If the perm doesn’t take or yields lame results, will you be mad you spent the money for it?

Additionally, not only will you have wasted money on a bad perm job, but now you have to spend the money to get your hair healthy again.

The entire process is expensive, so unless you have money to burn and don’t care if you melt the hair off your scalp, it’s not worth the gamble.

Henna Type

If you’ve already colored your hair with henna, try to find out if it was 100% natural henna. If you haven’t yet had it treated, do not use low-quality henna, such as versions with metallic salts. This is the main ingredient that negatively interacts with a perm’s chemicals.

With natural henna, the chances are lower that a perm will wreak absolute havoc on your hair.

Other Options

Things to Consider Before Perming After Henna - Alternatives

Since the reason you’re getting a perm is for the texture, consider the other ways you might achieve that. Hair extensions can be purchased as waves or curls and installed in your hair for the same effect. They’re also less damaging to the hair than a perm is.

The bottom line is it’s important to understand the potential adverse effects of perming henna hair. While it is possible to perm it after henna, almost every stylist will tell you they do not recommend it.

If you really want a perm but have already added henna to your hair, we recommend removing it first. The process of removing henna from the hair isn’t easy and depending on what kind of henna you use, your only option for removing it may be to let it fade on its own while growing your hair out.

Don’t worry; all hope isn’t lost for giving your hair texture! As we mentioned, you can still get waves and curls in your hair without a perm just by using extensions.

So consider your budget as you look at the different extensions available, then go for it! You’ll find having synthetic texture is better than damaging your beautiful henna locks for a perm.

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