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Hairstyling/Perm and dye


QUESTION: I have both highlights and lowlights in my hair, done in a salon. I have an appointment in a few day for a perm. I also want to dye my hair a chocolate brown color. Can I get the perm and the tint at the same time? I got the highlights and lowlights done about 4 months in November. May hair is pretty thin and very straight. It is healthy. I went to two different salons to ask about this. The salon I normally go to says its fine but the place my husband goes to says not to. What do you think?

ANSWER: I think you need to be very careful. You can do demi permanent chocolate brown in the same day as your perm. Redken Shades EQ Gloss was designed to be used in tandem with a perm on the same day. However, my concern is perming over highlighted hair. A lot of the hairdressers coming out of school are not learning about chemical waving. I wouldn't let anyone who was not doing perms in the 90's do my perm on highlighted hair. There's a lot more to it than just rolling the hair and squirting it with perm solution.

That being said, I would be more inclined to trust the salon pros that do your hair than a salon that doesn't do your hair. I would definitely have a consultation first with the designer that would be doing the perm and make sure s/he know about all the color on your hair, etc. If the designer doesn't recommend a clarifier followed by at least one protein treatment prior to the perm, don't let them do it. It's an indication of how well the stylist understands how perms work. You will no want I use permanent color on the same day as your perm but demi color will actually wear better and last just as long when you do it in conjunction with the perm.

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QUESTION: Thank you for your input it was very helpfully. However I have another question. I talked to my stylist about your suggestion and we decided to go ahead with the perm and Demi color. But the perm didn't seem to take. I wanted bigger loose curls not tight ones so he used bigger rollers. When he was done it had some curls but they weren't big. By the time I got home and it was fully dried it looked more like my hair was maybe crimped a little. It has volume but no curl. Is this maybe because of the highlights? It's not frizzy and I'm not having any breakage (that I've noticed). I haven't washed it. I was going to wait until Sunday moring. Should I wash it to see if the curls come back? The color turned out perfect. Should I have him redo the perm? I'm just worried that the dye would fade and I'd fry my hair, if I redid it. Is there something I can do to make it curlier? Thanks

Hi Angela,

A protein treatment like Matrix Instacure or Redken CAT will help perk up the curl. If you didn't have a trim when you got the perm, that will help too. Generally, to get large, loose beach wave type curls, you have to make them. Your hair isn't going to just fall into a large curl. Pin curls, a large barreled curling iron or a flat iron will give the curl shape. You can also apply curl activating gel, mousse or spray - SexyHair has a nice one - and scrunch and twist to make beach waves.

I wouldn't re-perm it. Highlighted hair can only take so much. The color will fade if you re-perm it but if you used demi color that's not a big deal. Demi color is non damaging. It cannot damage your hair. BUT, when we lighten hair, we break down a certain percentage of disulfide bonds. When we perm, we break down more. You may not be experiencing any breakage now, but another perm will not work and you will definitely will have breakage.

Ask your designer for an in salon  deep protein treatment and the at home products to maintain it. It wouldn't be a bad idea to ask him to show you how to achieve the curls you want. Perms typically don't look like the photos you see of curly hair. The perm gives  you the support and flexibility your need to create the styles.

Be sure you're using quality shampoo and conditioner and preferably something designed for chemically treated or curly hair. You need more protein  than moisture but you do need a bit of moisture as well. Your stylist can help you with that as well.

Good luck and let me know if  you need anything else.  


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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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