You're probably wondering about the long-term effects of a digital perm. Lucky for you, I remembered to update this blog!
Did I end up dying my hair after the perm?
- Well, it is now about 6 months later and if you have thoroughly read my first post, you might wonder if I got those peek-a-boo highlights in addition to my digital perm. Originally, I wanted to perm my hair and get highlights at the same time. At the time, my stylist told me to get the perm first because it is less damaging and also perming after coloring would cause you to lose the intensity of your hair color (due to that massive heat that will pretty much bake the color out of your hair or at least lessen its vibrancy). The stylist advised me that I can decide to get it dyed exactly 1 month later if I wanted to. So for those of you who are thinking about getting a perm and then highlighting/dying your hair, read back on my first post about how much damage my hair felt like it went through. In December, after 1 month had passed, I knew I didn't want my hair super crunchy after perming and highlighting it, so I decided not to go through with the original plan. But maybe if you read on, you might change your mind and choose to get those highlights or dye your hair months later (instead of 1 month later). I do partially feel like the stylist gave me a 1 month estimate to get me back in the salon sooner than later. I personally feel like you should wait at least 3 months before considering coloring your hair in any way. However, that also depends on how you take care of your perm.
How do you take care of a digital perm to extend its life?
- Originally, my stylist advised me to sleep with my hair twisted in 2 side buns like Princess Leia. I thought I could cheat the system to avoid looking like a fool and sleeping uncomfortably by just doing one high bun. It took me 4 months to realize that pulling my hair into 1 bun actually made the sides of my hair really straight and not curly at all. Seems obvious now, but that's why I'm writing it in this blog here so you can avoid this mistake. So I recently started doing the Princess Leia buns, but a lot higher since I'm a side sleeper and nobody wants to sleep on a ball of hair. Even though I had straightened my hair by pulling it back those 4 months, it surprising was still able to get curly again by doing the Princess Leia buns.
- Twisting the hair into 2 buns helps keep the curls curly, obviously, but it actually really helps. For the nights I got lazy, I freaked myself out in the morning to find my hair fairly straight. But once, I twisted my hair into buns, it was really curly again.
- I am a night showerer and to avoid further hair damage, I no longer blow dry my hair with a diffuser like the stylist suggested. I find that if I towel blot my hair and twist them into Princess Leia buns while damp and go to sleep like that, I can then wake up and put curling product in my hair that has been twisted overnight. I feel like this keeps the curls in the best condition but not everyone can sleep with their hair wet-ish or shower at night. This routine, though, has managed to keep my digital perm going for 6 months now and I feel like the tightness of the curls has decreased about 60% although I still like the waviness of my hair. (much better than when it was stick straight and I was so easily bored with my hairstyle).
- Use curly hair products! It is surprising how much it can maintain the bounce and define the curl. So far I've used Miss Jessie's Curly Meringue (had a free sample of it) and Suave Curling Hair Mousse, (I was on a super low budget) both available at Target. Both work pretty well. I completed finished the bottle of Suave in 5 months and am using little dabs of the curly meringue here and there. If you're low budget too, I'd suggest using the Suave. I can't remember the price but it was extremely cheap and the lowest price curl captivator on the shelves. You can use them either when your hair is damp or dry, but I feel like you get better results when your hair is a bit damp. After putting the product in your hair starting from the ends, twist and scrunch your hair to get nice curls.
- Repair the damage from the perm! You can save your hair maybe up to 75% in my opinion. No, it won't go back to what it was, but you can use deep conditioners to revitalize your hair and make it more manageable. Trust me, I felt like I was touching a hard bristled broom in my 1st month, now it's close to the texture it was pre-perm, but not quite. My favorites are the Dove Intensive Damage Repair products, Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask, and Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Conditioner. I also plan to use Herbal Essence's Shampoo & Conditioner for curly hair once I run out of my current supply (update 9/3/13: not my favorite - stick to the intensive damage repair shampoos instead. The shampoo for curly hair made no noticeable difference).
What do I have to avoid while having a digital perm?
- Depending on if you actually want to keep your perm for a while, you should avoid the steam room, sauna, chlorine, brushing your hair (only wide-tooth combing is ok if you must, be use a detangler first), using too much conditioner (which can weigh your hair down and make it less curly), combing your hair in the shower while conditioning your hair (stylist highly advised me against this), towel rubbing your hair (only blot it gently to avoid frizz), and washing your hair everyday (you should only wash it once every other day). Yes this all sucks to hear, but you'll get used to it and it won't be that bad at all, unless you're a swimmer.
After a few months, did you like your hair?
- Yes! Like a commenter said, I really wasn't used to the volume in my hair. I felt like I had a ball head in the 1st month. It has flattened out now which is the look I prefer. PLUS, I hated how puffy the stylist made my bangs. When the curls got a little tamer and I tried to repair the damage with products, it was SOO SOO much better. However, it is noticeably drier now without product in it.
What does your hair look like now?
- This is the most recent picture I could find showing my full hair. Notice that it's still pretty curly even from 10 hours of making that wedding cake! I used the Suave Curl Captivator here.At this point, I do find myself bored with my hair after 6 months. Would I get another digital perm? Probably not. I can't justify the price for a curl that doesn't come out as nice as one I can get for free from a sock bun (that doesn't damage your hair either!). If you're still undecided on a digital perm, I suggest you try the sock bun technique if you haven't already. If you don't like the sock bun, then maybe you should just get a perm. Everyone I know who has gotten it loves it. If you're worried about it being high-maintenance, then honestly, you don't have to maintain it--you can just carry on and still have loose waves (it just won't last as long or be very curly without the product and sleeping techniques). I only know that because that's what a friend of mine does and it has worked for her skipping all the extra steps to maintain the hair.Hopefully this post-perm portion helped. Feel free to ask questions and comment and I will do my best to try to check back and answer questions. Good luck!