Why Is My Perm Is Going Straight? | Guide on How to Fix It

If you weren’t born with natural curls and you opted for getting your hair permed in order to create an attractive and curly style, then you aren’t alone. Many people resort to perms for the same reason, but perms require proper maintenance in order to remain in optimal condition. What do you do if you notice your perm going straight? 

If you are curious enough to know the answer, here is an overview so you can prevent your perm from becoming straight, or you can fix the problem if yours is already reverting. So keep reading until the end. 

Can you wash your hair after a perm?

One reason that many people notice their perms going straight prematurely is because they have washed their hair too soon after having the chemicals put in their hair. In order for your perm to remain intact for as long as possible, it is recommended that you refrain from washing your hair for a full two days afterward, as the perm needs time to “set,” which washing prematurely could interfere with. One week is actually recommended, but if you can’t wait the whole week to wash your hair, then at least wait two whole days.

Is your perm a DIY job?

If your perm is going straight after a DIY job, you may have missed a step or failed to follow the instructions precisely. A professional hair stylist has a lot more experience and expertise applying perms to hair and can ensure that your perm is high-quality and will last the expected amount of time. A perm or “permanent” is a chemical process in which the bonds of the hair follicles are permanently changed and will last for three to six months on average. This is the length of time it takes for your perm to “grow out,” as any new growth that occurs after the perm has been done will not be chemically altered.

Have you been spending time in swimming pools?

The chemicals that were used to create your perm and chlorine from swimming pools and hot tubs do not mix, and nothing could wreck your perm faster than going swimming. If you must swim, be sure to wear a secure swim cap that will prevent chlorine from coming into contact with your hair and causing damage. You can find many different swim caps online and at local stores.

Have you been sweating profusely?

If you’ve been working out regularly or live in a hot and humid climate, this could explain why your perm is reverting back to straight. Heavy sweating and humid weather can wreak havoc on a perm, so if you exercise vigorously or spend time in hot and humid conditions, then you need to try to keep yourself as cool as possible in order to maintain your curls.

The incorrect rods may have been used

Regardless if you did your own perm or you had it professionally done, if the wrong permanent wave rods were used. Perhaps the rods that were used were too large, and instead of tight curls, your hair may have become more wavy. Some people prefer larger rods, as they like looser curls, but if you light tighter curls and larger rods were used, then that’s likely your problem.

How to fix a perm that is becoming straight again

Regardless of why your perm is becoming straight again, you should rest assured that there are some ways to possibly bring back your curls again. One way to fix your perm that is going straight is to ensure that you’re using the proper hair care products. You need to use shampoo, conditioners, and other products made specifically for curly hair, as these specialty products will enhance your curls.

Another way to encourage your curls to return is to refrain from using heated appliances. You might believe that using curling and flat irons can promote curly hair, but the opposite is actually true. The chemicals used to perm hair naturally make your hair dry, and the use of heated appliances only further dries out your hair, which could damage it and cause frizz.

Furthermore, after washing and deep conditioning your hair, you can try re-rolling your hair again. You will need some setting lotion and small rods, as well as a hooded dryer. If you had your hair professionally done and your hair goes straight after a day or two, then you should return to the salon. A reputable stylist will fix the issue for no additional cost, so you should at least request a do-over.

Finally, if you use a blow dryer to dry your hair, consider attaching a diffuser to your handheld dryer. Not only will this dry your hair thoroughly, but it will also prevent frizz, allowing you to finish with smooth (hopefully) curly hair. There is no guarantee that using a diffuser or any other remedies will help your perm become curly again. If you achieve your goal and your curls return, then that’s great, but if not, you may need to consider a new style while the perm grows out.


As you can see, a perm requires proper maintenance to remain in the beautiful, curly state you expect. If you had your perm done professionally, then your stylist should have explained what proper maintenance entails, including waiting at least two days before immersing your hair in water after it’s done. If you happen to ruin your perm prematurely, one of the above remedies can hopefully reverse the problem and get your curls back into tip-top shape.

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