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Hairstyling/Perm and bp meds


QUESTION: Hi, I have very thick, wavy hair which is poker straight at the crown.  I am on 2 meds for blood pressure and it has affected the last 2 perms I got.  I usually take very well but the first perm looked loose and fell out the next morning.  The next one looked great but after the wash (after waiting for it to set) it looked ablittleblooser... It lasted a week.

I know that meds can affect perms but us there anything I can do to counteract it?  I can't straighten as it just looks terrible.  I love a loose wavy perm.... Any alternative solutions?

ANSWER: Hi Donna,

I'm curious as to whether or not your hair was clarified prior to either of the perm services? At this point it doesn't really matter because perming it again is not recommended.

At this point, I would recommend a protein treatment or two and then using some kind of curl activator. SexyHair, Redken, Matrix, everyone makes one. In fact, most of them are so good at what they do, you can get a soft beach wave without a perm.

Even if your hair looks straight now, the perm is still in there so using the right products and treatments along with a diffuser, you should be able to coax some wave into your hair. You don't mention whether it looks dry, damaged, straight or if it has wave when it's wet and then looks straight when it's dry.

Also, I would need to know the process, i.e., was your hair clarified first, what color/type rods were used, which perm was use, how long it processed, did the stylist set a timer and rinse or did s/he check it till it was ready, etc. Therefore, I can't diagnose the problem. What I can tell you is that water, so using too  much moisturizer, will weigh your hair down and on thick hair that is always going to be a problem. Protein has a a smaller, heavier molecule so it goes deeper into the cortex and forces out excess moisture. That's one of the ways protein treatments and curl activators work.

Generally, hair that has some natural wave to it is very easy to perm. Did you go to the same stylist that's done your hair before? Have your medications changed since your last perm? Did your stylist use more or less rods than normal? There really are so many factors. The bottom line is, none of this matters at this moment because, curl or no curl, after 2 perms, there's o way I'd perm your hair again.

What I WOULD do, is go back to  your stylist and ask for a salon quality protein treatment or two and ask which home maintenance products you could use to coax some curl into your hair. Sea Salt Sprays are particularly effective on permed hair. And, I'd  make sure you are using a sulfate free shampoo designed for curly hair. My latest fave is Redken Curvaceous but there are many great product lines for curly hair. If your hair isn't damaged, working some curl into it shouldn't be impossible.

Good luck,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks so much for your detailed answer!  The perms I referred to were over a year ago (last one was fall of '12) so my hair is perm-free.  The stylist had the timer on but checked me a few times to see if I was done.  I used the full time allotted.  
I'm not sure if she used more or less but it was pink and whites.   I will take your advice and go back to her ( long time stylist) and get done protein treatments and keep using the sea salt spray that I have for a while.  I use Ringlet by Redkin and that coaxes some curls.

Hi Donna,

You are most welcome.

I find it odd that pink and white rods and full timing were used and it still didn't take. The clarifying treatments and protein treatments should help in that regard.

It is possible that your hair wasn't blotted enough after rinsing out the perm solution but since you have a long time stylist, I can't imagine that she would underestimate something like that. The fact that she checked it several times throughout the processing tells me she's meticulous.

There really are a lot of things that have to come together for a perm to work and last. The direction of the wind, how you hold your mouth, etc. I would bet that doing a few protein treatments first and doing a good clarifying treatment prior to the perm would make a world of difference. My personal favorite is Malibu C but I'm sure your stylist has a fave that works.

I love the sea salt spray, by the way.

Good luck,  


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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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