My perm is going straight, the curls are losing shape. How can I fix it?

In my experience, if your perm is going straight it’s for one of these reasons:


why can it fail

Let’s look at each of these possible reasons in depth.

In a few minutes, you’ll know the exact reason why your perm is going straight and how to reverse it.

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You washed your perm too early

with shampoo and conditioner

Permed hair shouldn’t be washed or wet until 48 or 72 hours after it’s been applied.

It must be strictly respected to avoid ruining the curl.

If you did it by mistake or ignorance, it could be one of the causes of your curls going straight or losing their shape.


 This problem has no solution, and I am sorry if this has been your case. The stylist should have warned you about this care. 


Washing is the key to care for your curls. If you’re washing your hair excessively and using products that are not specific for curls, stop doing it. It could be another cause for your perm going straight.

From now on, try to wash your hair less often and with products that are specially designed for curly hair.


You’ve been washing your hair with the wrong shampoo

for permed hair

The most suitable shampoos for permed hair don’t lather at all and are called low-shampoo.


  • If you’re going to use a low shampoo and your hair is thick, you can do without the conditioner. Then, you’ll avoid your hair getting too heavy and your curls going straight. Hair tends to stretch in thick and heavy hair.


  • On the other hand, if your hair is fine, you can use conditioner to help nourish and define the curl more. Often, finer hair tends to open up and lose its shape. It needs a little more weight to achieve definition.


  • Once you are in the shower, after you apply shampoo or conditioner as needed, comb through your hair with a wide-toothed comb gently.


You haven’t been using styling products

define curls and waves

When you get out of the shower, wrap your hair with a towel to soak up excess water.

You’ll help your hair to gain definition while it’s damp. The key to defining your curls will be your styling products. Don’t you have one?


 It’s an essential tool to keep your curls from losing shape. 

Of course, choose alcohol-free and silicone-free products. Go for specific curl products, such as styling creams or curl activators.


You haven’t done nourishing treatments on your hair

You should know that changing the shape of your hair is a very aggressive chemical process. To prevent your curls from going straight or losing shape you should moisturize your hair.


 Apply a nourishing mask at home and add a few drops of any serum or oil you have. 

Once every ten to fifteen days, use the mask to keep your curls well hydrated and to help them regain their shape.


A bad haircut

mid-hair stripe

Did you know that a good haircut could prevent your perm from going straight and losing its shape?


A cut will refresh those dry ends that could be the cause of your hair stretching.  It’ll recover the shape of those curls that are straight and stretching. 

Ask your stylist to give you a haircut. You can opt for a layered cut, an asymmetrical long bob, a shaggy, or a V-shaped bob. The options are endless and you can mix and match.


YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN: 7 Differences Between Layered and Non-Layered Curly Hair: which option is better for your curls?


Mistakes when perming

only at the roots of the hair

If you have been following all the tips I told you, and your perm is still going straight, I have some bad news for you.

Possibly, your perm is badly done.


Perming is a process that has several stages.  Each one of them has to be done meticulously. 

One small mistake in any of those instances, and the perm will fail.


What could have gone wrong with the perm?

Many things.

  • Neutralization may have failed
  • The choice of the curlers
  • The curling process
  • The exposure times of the perming product on the hair


Generally speaking, and from my experience,  perms fail at the top of the head, close to the scalp.  It may happen because the curlers were separated or not properly tightened close to the scalp.

If you permed your hair two months ago and it’s already stretched in that area, talk to your stylist. He or she will surely recognize his or her mistake and be able to touch up the roots while protecting the rest of the hair.


On the other hand, if your perm is stretched at the ends, try all the care tips I gave you. I’m sure you’ll be able to get it back into shape and your curls will be neither straight nor stretched.

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