How to fix a perm that didn’t take? A hairdresser tells you what to do

curly haired girl in trouble

If your perm didn’t take, you could try four solutions depending on the error:

  • Mistake 1: If your perm didn’t take because of a diagnostic error, i.e., your hair wasn’t healthy enough for the treatment, you’ll have to nourish it and wait six months to do it again.
  • Mistake 2: Alternatively, if your perm didn’t take because your hair is too long, the solution is to cut it in layers.
  • Mistake 3: Finally, if it didn’t take because you chose the wrong shape for your curls, you should moisturize it and wait for three months before trying again.


That’s not all:

  • Mistake 4: If your perm went wrong because you didn’t respect the exposure times of the product, you’d need constant nourishment and hydration for one year.


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Have you had a perm and found out it didn’t take?


I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes.

You shouldn’t perm your hair yourself if you don’t have the necessary training.   It’s a complex treatment with a high chance of failure.  


Perming and bleaching are the two most aggressive treatments we can perform on our hair.

It can cause   intense dryness, a lot of frizz, and even hair loss   if not done correctly.

When a perm doesn’t take,   it’s not advisable to repeat the process   because the result could be dangerous.


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But let’s now take an in-depth look at the   reasons why a perm can fail and the solutions   for each case.


Mistake 1: The perm didn’t take because your hair wasn’t healthy (i.e., a previous diagnostic error)

young girl with curly hair complains and holds her head

  A good diagnosis is the most important thing for a successful perm   and everything else is secondary.

Before doing a perm,  you should analyze if your hair is in a perming condition.  

To do this, you should know that most hairdressing brands manufacture   perm solution in 3 strengths:  

  • Strong: for virgin, thick, or very stiff hair.
  • Normal: for normal to fine, colored, or wavy hair.
  • Mild: for extra fine, tinted, or bleached hair.

When you know your hair type, you can evaluate if it can withstand the perming process.   One mistake in the diagnosis and everything will be chaos.  

How to solve mistake 1

  • Nourish your hair with intense creams and keep it hydrated.
  • Scrunch your hair upwards to create curls and get as much movement as possible.
  • Wait for six months to perm your hair again, but please make sure you know the correct strength to apply.


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Mistake 2: You have extremely long hair, and that’s why the perm didn’t take

long-haired girl has doubts

Perms usually take from the middle to the ends of extra-long hair.

This is because   the weight of the hair stretches the top of the hair.

  The ends lack weight and have a better chance of maintaining the curl’s shape.


 People usually come to the salon with high expectations because they see women with perfect curls from root to tip in fully edited photos.  

However, the truth is that   neither with a permed base nor with natural curls   can extra-long hair do the trick.

Next time, check how long your hair should be before you perm it.


How to solve mistake 2

After perming your hair, you should cut it into layers. This way, you’ll keep your hair extra long.   The top layers, being shorter, will lose weight   and perfectly maintain the shape of the curls from the root.


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Mistake 3: You’ve chosen the incorrect perm solution

curlers for hair perms

Most women dream of   big curls with a very natural wave.  

No one wants their perm snug,   bulky, and shapeless. 


For this reason,   try to use the bigger perm rods.   Don’t make the mistake of locking your hair around two rods to get a loser wave.

That could be why   your perm didn’t take.  

It’s a shame, as perms are trendy again.


How to solve mistake 3

  • Wait for at least three months.
  • In the meantime, nourish and moisturize your hair to retain its health and freshness.
  • Then, you can evaluate the possibility of repeating the perm base, but you’ll have to use a softer strength and a smaller rod to tighten the curl.


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Mistake 4: You left the perm solution for more or less time than indicated by the manufacturer

In the salon a woman has curlers tied in her hair for perm

Both underexposure and overexposure to the perm solution   will cause intense drying of the hair fiber,   which will result in the perm not taking.

The result will be   voluminous hair full of frizz, very messy, and dry.  


  The same will happen with the neutralizing liquid:   if you don’t leave it on for the right time, it’ll have exactly the same destructive effects.

Always seek expert advice beforehand to learn everything you need about perming.


How to solve mistake 4

  Look for another type of technical work.   A new perm will only be possible after one year and will never be the same again.

In the meantime,   nourishes and hydrate your hair, so it’s   healthy enough to modify its internal structure again without irreversible damage.



If you did the perm yourself and it didn’t take, you should go to your usual salon   and leave your hair in the hands of your hairdresser.  

They’ll be able to do the magic to make you look beautiful and full of glamour. Don’t hesitate.


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