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How to maintain your digital perm — from conditioning to styling tips

How to maintain your digital perm — from conditioning to styling tips

Good hair day

Text: Redzhanna Jazmin

Image: Olivia Munn
Image: Selena Gomez

Want salon-fresh curls instead of an unruly mane? Here's what you need to know about maintaining your digital perm

So, you've taken the leap and thrown your hair into a laborious chemical bath of perm solution. It's done and dusted, but while it looked amazing fresh out the salon, after a wash at home (after two days of letting the perm set, of course), it's a far cry from "effortless curls". Now, you're left with a curly mop that you are not prepared to manage and a lot of pent-up stress.

Fret not—help has arrived. We're back with yet another set of tips and tricks to whip your locks into (the right) shape:

READ: Salon review: I got a perm and I love how it turned out

1. Keep your digital perm in good condition

How to maintain your digital perm — from conditioning to styling tips (фото 1)
Instagram: @namikakatube

We're not going to point fingers, but if you're upset that your hair has come out frizzy and unruly, you should probably reassess your hair washing routine. A digital perm subjects your hair to a lot of chemicals and heat, so it goes without saying that your hair is going to be dry and damaged. Specifically, products that used to work for you may not anymore.

READ: 8 Hair care brands you can rely on for guilt-free, pretty tresses

In any case, from now on, you'll want to treat your hair as though it is naturally curly. This means you'll want to get a shampoo and conditioner that is specifically meant for treated or curly hair. Not only will it help prevent further damage to your locks, but it will also help your expensive perm last longer! If merely conditioning your hair doesn't work to reduce frizz and you're desperate to skip the big exasperation chop (we've all been there), try investing in a hair oil or a deep conditioning hair mask.

READ11 Hair masks you need to reincarnate your dead, damaged tresses

2. Detangle your curls when wet

Prior to your perm, you were probably advised to detangle only on dry hair as wet hair is more prone to breakage with brushing. Well, with permed hair, it's a completely different ball game.

If you try to brush your perm out when it's dry, you're going to look like—for lack of a better descriptor—a poodle. Instead, while your hair is wet, detangle gently with your fingers or use a wide-toothed comb to avoid breakage as much as you can.

TIP: If you need it, you could also use a leave-in conditioner to help the process along.

3. Do not towel dry your permed hair

This one applies to any hair type—avoid using your body towel to wrap your hair and especially avoid rubbing your hair with the said towel. Towels are rough and will contribute to breakage. Instead, use a microfibre hair wrap (or even a cotton T-shirt) to gently squeeze water from your hair. Once enough water has been absorbed, let your tresses air dry the rest of the way.

4. Air-dry or blow-dry?

While a diffuser dryer attachment is a must-have for naturally curly girls, it's probably your perm's worst nightmare. Believe us—you are doing your damaged hair no favours by subjecting it to more heat. Plus, the heat damage from your blowdryer will make your perm fall out faster and lead to more split ends.

If you must have your post-wash blowdry, at least equip yourself with a good heat protectant and keep the device on its coolest setting. Better yet, if a blowdry isn't a necessity for you, your best bet for a healthy, long-lasting perm is a good air drying routine. Not only will it give you more control over the shape your hair dries in (read: next point), but it will also help you avoid any further damage.

5. Twist your curls

Right, so you're out of the shower. You then leave your hair to air dry, only to find that it's a total hot mess! First thing's first: Learn how to twist your hair properly. Twist small sections of your hair and leave it in place—your self-defined ringlets will dry in that shape and leave you with perfect little curls that you can gently shake out for more volume.

TIP: Twist bigger sections of hair for bigger curls. Alternatively, you can put your hair in rope braids, which hold better—even through a night's worth of tossing and turning.

6. Blow-drying your curls the right way

So, maybe you're one of those people that can't stand to sit around with wet hair. Or, you've just got places to be where wet hair will not fly. Either way, if you must blow-dry, there are two cardinal rules: 1) Set your hairdryer to cool and 2) Invest in a diffuser. The diffuser will help to reduce frizz and speed up your drying time, which in turn will also help to reduce the time your hair is exposed to heat (win!).

7. Responsibly heat-style your permed hair

As we've mentioned, it's true that you can still heat style your permed hair as normal, but it's also advisable to keep heat styling to a minimum. In short: Permed hair and heat damage is not a cute combo. If you must reach for your hair tools, make sure to use an adequate amount of heat protectant to prevent your hair from frying!

READ: The best heat protectants for healthy, unsinged hair of every type

8. Take care when dyeing permed hair

Hopefully, you either had virgin hair when you permed it, or you hadn't coloured your hair in at least a month before getting it permed. The same rules apply after a perm—do not try and dye your permed hair until a month has passed and you've kept it in excellent condition, lest you risk losing the whole head.

And, there you have it! Our top eight tips for maintaining your delightfully digital permed mop. BONUS TIP: If you need a good reference for styling your perm, Zendaya did a great video on her wavy-curly haircare routine:

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