Help to Fix a Poofy Perm

Get your frizzy hair under control with a reverse perm.
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When it's done right, a perm can give your hair a look that you love to show off. Perms don't always work out as intended, though -- sometimes, hair takes a turn for the worse. If a botched perm left your mane looking poofy or frizzy, you want a fix right away. If you'd rather not wait for your perm to grow out, you can reverse the perm by applying perming solution and neutralizer to your hair. If applied properly, perming solution won't make your hair look more permed -- it will straighten curls and smooth hair out.

Put on a long-sleeved shirt and a pair of long pants. Drape a towel around your neck and over your shoulders. This will protect your skin and clothing from spilled perming solution.

Stand in front of a sink, then dampen your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water.

Separate hair into nine sections, securing each section in place at the scalp with a small plastic clip. This allows you to apply the perming solution to hair without missing a spot.

Put on a pair of latex or rubber gloves. Apply a protective perming barrier cream to your hairline and ears. The cream keeps the perming solution from irritating your skin.

Unclip one section of hair, then work perming solution through the hair with a fine-tooth comb. Work the solution through from the roots to the ends, but avoid getting the solution on your scalp -- it may cause irritation. Re-clip the section of hair to your head once it has been completely covered in the perming solution. Repeat this process with the other sections of hair. If any solution drips on your skin, wipe it away with a towel. After a few minutes, you'll see your hair relaxing and straightening.

Remove the plastic clips, then rinse your hair thoroughly with cool water until it's clear of the perming solution. The most effective way to do this is by leaning over either the tub or the shower floor and using a hand-held shower head, as this will help you avoid getting perming solution in your eyes. When you've rinsed all of the solution from your hair, blot your tresses with a towel to absorb excess moisture.

Separate your damp hair into nine sections again, pinning them up with clean plastic clips. Don't use the same clips that you used when applying the perming solution. Apply another layer of barrier cream to your hairline and ears.

Unclip a section of your hair and work perming neutralizer through it with another clean fine-tooth comb. Repeat this for the other hair sections. Let the neutralizer set for five minutes, then rinse until the water runs clear.

Wash your hair with a damage-repair shampoo that contains plant extracts. Quinoa protein, for example, helps to strengthen hair. Wheat and soy proteins moisturize dry tresses. Follow up with a damage-repair conditioner. Products that contain barley extract and sandalwood will smooth out frizzy strands. Wash your hair no more often than once every other day -- this allows your scalp's natural oils to build up, which helps keep hair hydrated and healthy.

Smooth a heat-protecting product over hair before blow-drying it. Dry your hair thoroughly, and don't leave any damp spots. Allowing hair to air-dry might make it even more frizzy.

Treat hair with a frizz-control serum or hair oil to smooth out locks and boost shine. If you opt for oil, only use a few drops. Too much oil makes hair look greasy.

Get a haircut to remove damaged ends. Ask the stylist for a layered cut if you'd like to make your hair look longer.

  • Perming solution can damage colored or highlighted hair. If your hair has been dyed, a perm or a reverse perm may cause strands to break off.
  • Perming solution works by breaking down the bonds in hair, which allows strands to be reshaped. If your hair is in rollers when perm solution is applied, it will become curly or wavy. When you do a reverse perm, the solution won't make your hair any curlier because your hair isn't in rollers. Instead, your hair straightens out.
  • Ask your stylist for a reverse perm if you don't want to do it yourself.
  • Buy perming solution and neutralizer at a beauty-supply store or salon.

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.