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Hairstyling/Bad digital perm


I went for a digital perm on 6 September 2013. I am really disappointed with the end result. To cut the super long story short, the hair stylist who did the perm bragged about his work experience in Japan and said he would be adding an additional step in the process.  The normal steps would involve washing, applying perming lotion, set with rollers, heat and add neutralizer, if I am not wrong.   However, after the digital perm, he removed the rollers and reset my hair on a different set of rollers before adding the neutralizer.  He claimed that that would enhance the elasticity and shine.

My curls look more like messy wavy hair after the third day.  I suspect that the additional step of resetting the permed curls with a different set of rollers could be the main reason why the perm turned out unsuccessful. I feel that the curls took shape with around 20-30 minutes of heating time, and resetting with other rollers would actually break the original curl pattern.

As I have fixed an appointment with the hair salon to launch an official complaint tomorrow, i would like to seek your professional opinion on whether the fault lies with that extra step taken.

Thank you for your help!

Hi Huiling,

Digital perms are supposed to be just wavy.

I'm sorry I didn't find this until your appointment. However, I don't know that I would have been much help. I don't think the transfer from the first roller to the second roller was the problem. This is a very common process with digital waves. Curls, even with digital perms don't last without some help from you. You still need to shape the curls from time to time. I don't wear a perm now, but I kept my hair permed for many years and I always had to refresh the curls after I had slept on them. I would either mist my hair with a water bottle or use a product designed to refresh the curl.

I am assuming that when you say they look weak by the 3rd day that you have not shampooed or conditioned your hair since it was done. That's a guess of course, based on what you said. If you shampooed your hair with the recommended products, styled your hair the way your designer recommended and the curl simply has gone limp, it's possible that your designer didn't use small enough rods.

There are many factors that can cause a perm not to be exactly what we want or to fall, but the transfer from one rod to another during the process is usually not the culprit.

What did you find out at your appointment?

Here's a link to a description about digital perms and some photos that show what they are supposed to look like.


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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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