7 Effective Ways to Fix a Perm Gone Wrong

So you took the plunge and decided to perm it up but you’ve walked out of the salon and the soft, shaggy perm beach wave style you envisaged is not at all what you have ended up with. Rather, you have been left with a perm gone wrong, a frizz of dry curls.

It is no secret that perm hairstyles can be a challenge, you have to ask why they are back in fashion. They can so easily go out of control, leaving you with a style disaster. This is often caused by the hair having been previously chemically damaged or the technician not carrying out the perm procedure correctly.

A girl’s hair is of utmost importance to her, so when it is far from “on point” it not only sends you down in the dumps but can also leave you with your confidence severely knocked.

A bad perm can leave you with a frizz of dry curls and a serious case of hairstyle regret. But why does a perm sometimes look bad, and how can you avoid this hairstyle disaster in the future? In this article, we’ll dive into the reasons why your perm might not have turned out as expected and explore effective ways to fix it.

Also, don’t panic! We have some simple, yet very effective, tips to help you correct your perm gone wrong.

Why does my perm look bad?

If your perm looks bad, there could be several reasons behind it. Here are some common factors that might contribute to a less-than-desirable perm:

Inexperienced Stylist: The expertise of the stylist who performed your perm can greatly affect the outcome. If the stylist lacks experience or didn’t follow the proper techniques, it could result in a bad perm.

Wrong Perm Solution: Using the incorrect type of perm solution for your hair type or condition can lead to undesirable results. It’s essential to choose the right product to achieve the desired look.

Overprocessing: Overprocessing the hair during the perm can cause excessive damage, resulting in frizz, breakage, or an uneven curl pattern.

Improper Timing: Timing is crucial during the perm application. If the perm solution is left on for too long or not long enough, it can lead to issues with the curl formation.

Inadequate Rod Size: The size of the perm rods used plays a significant role in determining the tightness of the curls. Using the wrong rod size can result in curls that are too loose or too tight.

Poor Aftercare: Failing to follow post-perm care instructions can lead to a bad perm. Proper maintenance is essential to keep your curls looking their best.

Hair Health: The condition of your hair before the perm can impact the outcome. If your hair is already damaged or unhealthy, it may not hold the curl well.

Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to the chemicals in perm solutions. This can lead to skin or scalp irritation and impact the quality of the perm.

Inadequate Communication: Sometimes, miscommunication with your stylist about the desired outcome can result in a perm that doesn’t meet your expectations.

Now, let’s consider what you or someone else may have done to actually cause your perm to go bad so you don’t repeat these mistakes again next time.

What Can Ruin a Perm? 

Excessive Moisture

Excessive moisture, such as frequent swimming or exposure to rain, can cause the perm to lose its shape and become frizzy. It’s essential to keep the hair as dry as possible immediately after getting a perm.

High Heat

High temperatures, whether from styling tools like flat irons or curling irons or even hot showers, can weaken the chemical bonds formed during the perming process. This can lead to loss of curl or irregular curl patterns.

Incorrect Aftercare

Failing to follow proper aftercare instructions, such as not washing your hair for the recommended time or using the wrong products, can negatively affect the perm’s longevity and appearance.

Tight Hairstyles

Wearing tight ponytails, braids, or other hairstyles that pull on the hair can lead to breakage and disrupt the curl pattern.

Low-Quality Products

Using harsh or low-quality hair products can strip the hair of its natural oils and moisture, causing the perm to lose its bounce and shine.

Excessive Brushing or Combing

Rough handling or excessive brushing can lead to frizz and breakage, which can ruin the perm’s appearance.

Environmental Factors

Exposure to harsh environmental elements like extreme sun, wind, or pollution can cause the hair to become dry and damaged, affecting the perm’s longevity.

Improper Maintenance

Failing to maintain the perm properly by not using recommended shampoos, conditioners, and styling products can result in the perm losing its shape and definition.

Hair Type

The natural texture and condition of your hair can also affect the perm’s outcome. Hair that is already damaged or very fine may not hold a perm as well as healthy, thicker hair.

How Long Does a Perm Last?

Helping you to decipher the best solution to fixing your perm gone wrong, first you must ask, is perm permanent? With the clue in the title, Perm could potentially be short for permanent, but the lifespan of a perm varies person to person

When it comes to how long do perms last for? A perm will typically last for 3-6 months. This time frame will depend on how well you look after your hair and the type of hair you have.

How To Fix a Perm Gone Wrong?

We have previously covered whether is perm permanent and we are all fully aware of the disaster that can be experienced when perms go wrong. But how do you go about fixing a perm gone wrong? We have put together 7 top tips for you to follow in your time of need and how to fix a perm gone wrong.

Keep reading to discover how to fix this horrific experience and get your hair looking back to normal after a bad perm in no time. 

1 – Wash Your Hair

As soon as you realise your perm has gone wrong get it washed. Get it washed right there in the salon, or if you are too shy, as soon as you get home. This will rinse the chemicals out of your hair and stop the perm developing any further.

If you are not noticing much difference use a deep conditioning shampoo and repeat the procedure until the hair is feeling softer and looser.

2 – Deep Conditioning

Trying to tame your perm and prevent it from “puffing out” when it dries takes work. Apply a generous amount of really thick conditioner to settle your hair. Leave it on for 30 minutes until the hair is soft enough to untangle the curls with your fingers or a wide toothed comb. Avoid pulling the comb through your hair though as your hair is weak from chemicals and will be prone to breaking.

Hair Brush


3 – Use a Hot Oil Treatment

Hot oil treatments are used to relax the hair and provide it with added nourishment and moisture. It will strengthen the compounds of the hair, and after a number of treatments leave your hair soft and flowing, eliminating any unsightly frizz.

Use a shower cap to cover your hair whilst the hot oil treatment is on. When rinsing through use a relaxing shampoo and conditioner then finish off with a hair serum. This process will not only relax the hair but remove some of the harsh chemicals used in the perming process.

4 – Trim Any Loose Ends

Your perm can be made to look even worse by the wispy, unruly ends that curl out in random directions. Get these ends trimmed to tidy up the appearance of the perm, or if you are brave enough you could snip these unruly ends yourself.

Hairdressing tools


5 – Adopt a Daily Routine

The above tips will help to relax and tidy your gone wrong perm, but for your hair to be fully free from the perm will take time and patience. During this time it is advisable to adopt a daily routine of washing and conditioning your hair as well as applying an anti frizz serum. Scrunch the hair in your fist to settle into presentable curls. Where possible leave to air dry or use a diffuser extension on you hair dryer.

6 – Heated Styling

The use of any heated styling tools will not keep your perm under control, in fact over heating your hair could cause further damage. So curling wands and straighteners are a no no, in fact even ditching the hair dryer would be advantageous. Simply let the hair dry naturally if you can.

Perm gone wrong


7 – Restyle

If all else fails and you really can not live with your frizzy curls head to the salon for a new hairstyle. Unfortunately, this means that you will probably have to opt for a shorter style to remove the damaged hair and allow for healthy re-growth. There are lots of amazing perm hairstyles for shorter hair too.

8- Get a haircut

This is probably not what you were planning to do and would be the last resort for many. But when the perming result is really bad, it is a viable solution. It could also be an exciting one! A new short hairstyle done by a professional could be the pick-me-up you need and, in fact, might be something you have wanted to do but just haven’t had the courage to do. And, it will eliminate the damaged hair totally.

If you feel that the technician or hair stylist who performed your hair treatment was negligent in any way, and the experience has caused you undue stress and/or medical problems, it may be advisable to seek legal advice and pursue a case for hair damage compensation.

We believe it’s important to understand what may have caused your perm to be ruined in the first place.

How to fix a bad frizzy perm

If you tried perming your hair at home and, rather than being left with beautiful cascading curls, you have hair resembling a haystack, the solution is simple. And it can be done at home. You can use a nourishing hair conditioner to undo the damage caused to your locks and quickly restore the shine and softness. Repeating this conditioning treatment a few times may be necessary to get back to soft, silky hair.

Natural Remedies to Undo a Bad perm effectively

Olive Oil and Coconut Oil Treatment:

These natural oils can help soften and condition the hair, making it more manageable. Apply warm olive oil and coconut oil in liberal amounts to your hair. After letting it sit for approximately an hour, rinse it out with a gentle shampoo. This treatment can help relax the curls and improve the texture of your hair.

Mayonnaise Mask:

Using a mayonnaise mask will nourish and moisturise your hair because mayonnaise is a great source of proteins and oils. Apply a generous amount of mayonnaise to your hair, focusing on the areas with tight curls. Before properly rinsing it out of your hair, use a shower cap and leave it on for at least 30 minutes.

Egg and Avocado Mask:

Eggs are packed with proteins that can help strengthen the hair, while avocados provide essential nutrients and moisture. Mash a ripe avocado and mix it with a beaten egg. For an even better outcome, you could also mix in a tiny bit of organic honey with this mixture. Before washing it off, apply the mixture to your hair and let it sit for twenty to thirty minutes.

Lemon Juice:

Lemon juice can help break down some of the chemicals in a perm, making your curls looser. Apply a mixture of equal parts lemon juice and water on your hair. Before washing it off, let the lemon juice work in the sun for about 30 minutes.

Aloe Vera Gel:

Aloe vera is known for its soothing and conditioning properties. It can lessen frizz and help your hair look better overall. Administer a generous application of aloe vera gel to both your hair and scalp, allowing it to rest undisturbed for a duration of approximately 30 minutes before commencing the washing process.

Clarifying Shampoo:

Use a clarifying shampoo to remove any product buildup or chemicals from your hair. This can help relax the curls and make your hair more manageable.

Frequent Moisturising:

Keep your hair well-hydrated by using a good-quality moisturising conditioner. Avoid products with alcohol or harsh chemicals that can further damage your hair.

Are perms bad for your hair if you’re a guy?

Depending on personal taste and style, a guy’s perm may or may not be deemed “bad” for one. Permanent waves, often known as perms, are created by chemically changing the structure of hair to produce curls or waves. To attain a certain haircut or to add texture to their hair, some guys can decide to get a perm. But it’s important to take into account things like hair type, upkeep needs, and individual aesthetic preferences. While some people may find a perm difficult to maintain or may not like the curly/wavy look, others may adore the results. Ultimately, a person’s tastes and way of life will determine whether or not getting a perm is a wise decision for them.

why is my perm so flat?

Several factors can contribute to a perm appearing flat or not holding the desired amount of curl:

  1. Incorrect Perm Rod Size: The size of the perm rods used during the perming process can affect the tightness of the curls.
  2. Hair Type: The natural texture and thickness of your hair play a role in how well it holds a perm; fine or resistant hair may struggle to maintain curls.
  3. Overprocessing: Leaving the perm solution on the hair for too long can lead to overprocessing, causing the hair to lose elasticity.
  4. Improper Neutralization: Proper neutralization is crucial to set the curls; if not done correctly, the perm can appear flat.
  5. Product Buildup: Buildup from styling products or hard water minerals can affect the perm’s outcome.
  6. Post-Perm Care: Follow any post-perm care instructions provided by your stylist for optimal results.
  7. Natural Oils: Scalp-produced natural oils can weigh down the hair; regular washing with a suitable shampoo can help.
  8. Environmental Factors: Humidity and weather conditions can impact the longevity of a perm; high humidity can cause curls to relax and appear flatter.

If you’re dissatisfied with your perm results, it’s recommended to consult with your stylist for personalized advice and potential solutions.


Can I use a curling iron on permed hair?

Yes, you can use a curling iron on permed hair, but it’s important to take precautions to minimise potential damage. Here are some tips:

  • Heat Protection: Always use a heat protectant spray or serum before using a curling iron on permed hair.
  • Low Heat Setting: Choose a lower heat setting on your curling iron to reduce the risk of damaging chemically treated hair.
  • Healthy Hair Practices: Keep your permed hair well-moisturized with regular deep conditioning treatments to maintain its health.
  • Consult with a Stylist: If you’re unsure about styling permed hair, consider consulting with a professional stylist for guidance.

Remember to prioritise overall hair health and use heat tools judiciously to avoid dryness and damage over time.

Can you brush out a perm?

Running a brush through your permed locks is a significant faux pas. The rationale behind this cautionary advice lies in the fact that brushing tends to disentangle your curls, potentially resulting in unwanted frizz – a look that may not align with your desired aesthetic. In lieu of brushing, it is advisable to delicately untangle your hair using your fingertips or opt for a wide-toothed wooden comb for a gentler approach.

Does salt water take out a perm?

Saltwater alone is not typically potent enough to entirely remove a perm from your hair. However, it can gradually weaken and loosen the curls over time, especially if the hair is frequently exposed to saltwater.

Can you dye your hair after a perm?

Yes, you can dye your hair after getting a perm, but it’s important to follow some guidelines to minimize potential damage and achieve the desired results:

  1. Wait Time: Wait at least a week or two between getting a perm and colouring your hair to allow for recovery.
  2. Consider the Order: If doing both a perm and hair dye, do the perm first and then the colour to lock in the new color.
  3. Choose a Gentle Dye: Use a hair dye specifically designed for permed or chemically treated hair to minimize damage.
  4. Deep Conditioning: Ensure your hair is in good condition by using deep conditioning treatments to moisturize and strengthen.
  5. Professional Assistance: Consider consulting with a stylist for guidance, especially if you’re unsure about the process.
  6. Patch Test: Always perform a patch test before applying hair dye to check for adverse reactions or unexpected results.

Remember that both perming and colouring involve chemical processes, so taking precautions is essential for maintaining the health of your hair.

Will hair dye ruin a perm?

Applying other chemical treatments, such as hair dye or relaxers, too soon after getting a perm can damage the hair and disrupt the perm’s structure. It’s crucial to wait at least a few weeks before applying any other chemicals to your permed hair.

Does chlorine undo a perm?

Chlorine itself doesn’t directly undo a perm, but it can have a detrimental impact on permed hair. The chemical constituents found within chlorine possess the inherent capacity to deplete the hair’s innate oils and moisture, thereby instigating a state of desiccation and fragility, ultimately culminating in the precarious loosening of the perm’s tenacious grip. It’s important to protect permed hair from excessive chlorine exposure, such as by wearing a swim cap or rinsing your hair with fresh water after swimming in a chlorinated pool, to help maintain the integrity of the perm.

At the End of the Day…

If you have tried all of the tips mentioned above without a satisfactory outcome then unfortunately it now comes down to patience, waiting for the perm to grow longer and loosen.

Ultimately it is not what you look like, but how you present and carry yourself. Do this with confidence and a smile, people looking on probably love you your hair.

Have any of these hair tips worked for you in the past when perms go wrong? Perhaps there is a tip we have missed. Let us know in the comments of this article and share your experience with us today.

One comment

  1. My hair permed on Tuesday instead if neutralising it perm lotion was used and hair came out strait, how soon can I get hair permed again?

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