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Hair Care & Advice

The Truth About Perms and Keratin Treatments

We all have those days where we get really frustrated with our natural hair.

You may even have had dreams about having bouncy, soft curls everyday or having straight, frizz-free hair when you wake up in the morning! If this sounds like you, you may be considering getting a perm or a keratin treatment in order to achieve these looks, which your natural hair just won't let you do. But, there are a few truths behind these treatments which you need to consider before making the big decision. Keep reading for all of the details behind the truth about perms and keratin treatments.

The Truth About Perms

What exactly is a perm? It’s a type of treatment that sets the hair in curls by treating it with chemicals in order to last several months.

Wow, several months! It may sound great to have such voluminous, curls for that long without having to touch a curling iron. But, it comes with a ton of maintenance and is more of a permanent decision than anything. They don’t call it a “perm” for nothing! This is why talking about the truth about perms and keratin treatments is so important. It's time to get real.

Here is what you need to consider:

Your hair needs to be healthy and in the suitabale hairstyle for a perm.

It is important to get honest with yourself here about how healthy your hair really is. In order for the curl to hold, your hair needs to be strong and healthy to handle the chemical treatment it's about to undergo. Even if you have dyed your hair in the last month or so, according to Mochi Mag, you'll want to give your hair some downtime before committing to a perm. According to professionals, virgin, un-dyed hair is in the best condition for a perm.

Not only does it need to be healthy, but, a perm is not recommended if your hair is short or has a lot of layers. Since the curl can often be pretty dramatic on short hair, the extreme curl can often leave you looking like a poodle (and for several months!). Making sure your hair is at the right length for a perm is definitely a huge thing to think about before getting one done.

Really consider what type of look you’re after (there’s different styles of perms).

Here is where you need to do your research. There are a ton of different types of curls which you can achieve from a perm, as a result of different setting times, costs, and levels of upkeep. Ask yourself, "what kind of curls am I looking for?". Whether it might be subtle waves, hollywood style pin curls, tight ringlets, or curls like Carrie Bradshaw, this is your time to get on Pinterest and start pinning and researching for the best curl type for you!

Your haircare routine is going to look a lot different.

After getting a perm, quality hair care is extremely essential. Since your hair has undergone a treatment it isn't necessarily used to, maintaining its health in the right ways is really important. Here is a list of tips, thanks to Mochi Mag:

  • Use shampoo specific for curls and curl enhancement.
  • Avoid creamy formulas, which end up weighing down your curls.
  • Don't towel dry your hair (this causes frizz), rather, use an old cotton t-shirt which soaks up moisture more effectively.
  • The less heat the better! Avoid drying your hair with a blow dryer or straightening with an iron.
  • Avoid dyeing your hair after getting a perm (at least a month).
  • Get a trim every 3-4 months! If you let your hair grow out to a point that is too long and heavy, it weighs down the curls.
  • Wear a swim cap if you are swimming and stay away from chlorine filled pools.

Getting a perm is a commitment.

As you can see, there is a lot to consider before making the leap to get a perm! It is not easily fixed, but it can be done right as long as you do your research and make sure you are treating the perm properly post-salon. The truth about perms and keratin treatments is a topic that you really need to be an expert on if you are making the choice since it is truly a commitment to your hair lifestyle.

The Truth About Keratin Treatments

Image: Melrose Hair Studio

Moving over to the infamous keratin treatments! I am sure you have heard beauty YouTubers or even friends who just rave about how great their hair feels after getting it done. But before jumping the gun, let’s chat about some things you need to know.

First, what exactly is a keratin treatment? Basically, the hair is saturated with a keratin formula (almost like when you get your hair dyed), then dried with a blow dryer on high heat, then straightened, which locks in the formula. As explained by InStyle, your hair is filled with keratin naturally, but the treatment restores the keratin in the hair to a level that creates the frizz-free, shiny look.

So, here is what you need to consider:

You get what you pay for.

Since the treatment uses chemicals that can be very harmful to you (e.g. formaldehyde), it is super important to do your research when choosing a salon, stylist and which kind of keratin treatment you are getting. If you aren't looking to pay the extra dolla' bills to get the right treatment, it might not be worth the risk of damaging your hair for a cheaper form of it. Everyone's hair needs are different, so going to a skilled stylist who will take the time to feel out your hair and know exactly what kind of treatment you need will make all the difference!


Image: The List

It’s actually a better option than straightening your hair every day.

According to Allure, straightening your hair every day is one the most damaging things you can do to your hair. So, if you are someone who is a day to day hair straightener, considering a keratin treatment might be the more healthy option for you.

You need to take a closer look at the ingredients in your hair products after getting the treatment.

Sodium chloride (a.k.a salt) is the demon ingredient included in hair products which will wash out your keratin treatment. Now going forward, you are going to have to pay close attention to what exactly is in your shampoo, conditioner, and any other products you are using, so that you are ensuring the treatment lasts for the long-term. If you make sure to use the right products, your treatment will last up to two months, maybe more depending on your hair type. So, sadly this means if you are planning a vacay in the near future, dips in the ocean or chlorine-filled pool is a bit of a no-no when it comes to keratin treatment hair care.

And there you have it! Are you still unsure whether the perm or keratin treatment is right for you? Well, there are a ton of great ways to get the hair of your dreams without chemically altering it, and it starts with using the right products for healthier hair. Read our post, Hair Products 101: Everything You Need to Know, to get started on your healthier hair journey.

Have you gotten a perm or keratin treatment done? We'd love to hear your experiences in the comments below.

Blog Author: Natalie Alysa

Posted by Guest Writer

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