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Hairstyling/Perm Went Wrong


Hi I am a old hat at perms.  Remember the Toni perm! I have my Nana to thank for those.  Have not had a pern ib over 15 years. Yesterday I went to a well known shop for loose curl spiral
perm. I brought two pictures for the stylist to see what I wanted and expected. My hair is just past my shoulders and I had my gray cover color done two and a half months ago. I walked on with soft silky hair that had some natural waves but for the most part only the short layers had curl of any kind.   I knew  I was ij trouble during the neutralizer rinse.  Another stylist walked over to take a look.  She asked my stylist How long did you leave the solution on? Reply: 10 mins. Other stylist response: That was not long enough.  Long hair takes longer. My hair looks Wrinkled and crinkled.  There is no curl. It is frizzy and dry. I was on the bbrink of tears. .but stayed calm .I am supposed to fo back either Tuesday or Wednesday to have the perm redone. And this is where my questions come in. I have not paid for this perm. I REDUSED saying that this is not a result I can accept.  Now the stylist used purple rods in the front and rolled the top and bangs to the back.  All of of the rest of my hair was rolled on peach rods...wrapped vertically around my head.  When I go back she want roll it on a smaller rod and roll the rods horizontal to my head. I I don't tthink the way she rolled it was wrong but I am not9t a stylist it is her job to know. RIGHT? On one hand I dont think I should go back to this place but on the other hand my is a mess..I need something to condition it..I need the correct perm..So what am I entiled to ask for as compensation for double stress on my hair.
my stress and time. ..and my hair conditions?

Hi Debi,

So sorry to hear things didn't go as expected.  I don't think the way she rolled it is the problem. Any hair longer than 6 inches is going to fall into a spiral regardless of how it's rolled. The way it's rolled does affect the the curl and design, but if it's curly enough to curl, it will make a spiral.  I think the bigger issue is the condition of your hair.

To answer your first question - "...what am I entitled to ask for as compensation..."

You're not really entitled to any compensation. What you CAN ask for, and what IS reasonable, is at the absolute least, conditioning treatments to restore the condition of your hair. At the MOST, conditioning treatments and another perm.  The new perm may have to wait until the conditioning treatments have rejuvenated your hair.

Based on the description of the results it sounds to me like the perm rods and wrap chosen were appropriate. There are many things that can make a perm turn out poorly. First of all, just based on the information you've given me here, I disagree with the stylist that suggested the perm needed to left on longer. Color treated hair processes quicker. Wavy or naturally curly hair processes quicker.  Since you have both, I would have been reticent to leave the processing solution on much longer regardless of the length if your hair.

It's possible:
the perm solution was left on too long OR
The perm was wrapped too tightly OR
The neutralizer was on too long (this one is a biggy)
The perm solution wasn't rinsed out enough
The perm was wrapped too tightly
The perm chosen was the wrong one for your hair type

There are many things that can affect the outcome if a perm. There's a lot more to it than just rolling it up, slapping the juice on and calling it good.  Based on the description if your hair after the perm, it sounds like it's either been over processed (left on too long) or the perm solution was too strong. I'm only guessing because I can't see your hair but the lack if curl combined with the poor texture suggests that. If that's true, you cannot perm it again.

There's is some good news though. Very often , protein treatments can often restore the hair to the point that you will realize some curl. It may take more than one and you probably need a bit of moisture as well.

As far as asking for compensation for your time and stress, there's really nothing you can do about that. It's in the salon's best interest to get your hair healthy and get you to a place where you like what you see, but beyond that, it's doubtful you'll get anything else from them. The fact that they have offered to have you come back tells me that they are willing to do what they need to to fix your hair.

So, here's what I would do. I would ask for a senior designer to assess your hair and determine if the perm was left on too long or not long enough and what treatments are required to restore the health if your hair. Even if she decided to perm again, I wouldn't use smaller rods, and I ESPECIALLY would not leave it on longer even if it's too weak, the perm is still in there. It's going to perm the second time as though your hair is curly. I would use the same rods, a perm for chemically treated hair and I peobably wouldn't process it for more than 5 - 10 minutes and I'd stand over it and check it every three minutes. I do this with any hair, color treated or not if I'm perming color treated or otherwise chemically treated.

By the way, if you go to another salon, the first salon will not be obligated in any way to do anything for you so I wouldn't do it.  Go back to the same salon and have them do the conditioning treatments first. Then assess your hair to see if it can or needs to be permed again.  I would also request that they take care of the damage first and then reperm it at a later date. You should not be expected to pay for anything until you get a satisfactory perm. I'm sure the salon has some sort of policy concerning dissatisfied clients so these are only suggestions.  

Regardless of what happens on Tuesday, keep In mind that it may be in your best interest to have more than one conditioning treatment before you attempt a second perm service. In the meantime, treat your hair very gently and only do what they've told you to until you go back. If you're not sure what you can do, call them and ask.

Keep me posted.  


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Dana Sear


I can answer questions on all types of hairstyling, cutting, designing, coloring, corrective color, perming techniques,product knowledge, and in general, anything that has anything to do with hair. PLEASE NOTE: I am a professional designer and trainer. I do hair and teach advanced classes to licensed designers. I do not, under any circumstances, recommend doing chemical services including but not limited to relaxers, perms, color, highlights, or any other chemical service at home. I will not tell you how to use professional products nor will I tell you how to do your color at home. What I CAN do is arm you with current and accurate information and help you to be able to better communicate with your stylist/designer. I can also help you with what you need to do at home to maintain, protect, and treat your hair.


I have been a designer and educator for 31 years. I have been a salon consultant for Redken, affiliate trainer for ABBA Pure and Natural, Director of Education for my own salon and am currently a member of the design team and advanced trainer for my company. I specialize in corrective color, perming and style support, and image updates (make overs)

I have been actively licensed for 31 years. I actively participate in and teach cutting, perming, coloring, and business building classes. I am a REDKEN Certified Haircolorist, and REDKEN Specialist. I also have extensive training in Structure in Motion Cutting Techniques and Tigi Cutting.

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