Should I Wash My Hair Before A Perm? (Expert Explains)

should I wash my hair before a perm

If you regularly bleach or dye your hair, you would know cleaning or shampooing your hair is not recommended before these chemical treatments. But can you wash your hair before a perm?

The idea behind not washing your hair before its chemical processing is to protect the hair strands against harsh chemicals. The natural oil your scalp produces acts as a shield against bleach or dye.

However, the course of action of a perm is quite different from a dye or bleach. So, you can’t just think of it as a chemical process and not wash your hair before the perm.

Further in this article, I have explained why it is crucial to wash your hair before getting a perm. Plus, how should you do it?

Why Should You Wash Your Hair Before A Perm?

According to the experts, your hair must be clean from dirt, oil, and minerals buildup in order to get the perm properly. Therefore, they suggest washing your hair before the perm. 

A perm solution needs to break the disulfide bonds of your hair strands to rearrange them into new conformation to produce curls.

But if you haven’t cleansed your hair of natural oil, the waving lotion won’t be able to penetrate the hair strand, breaking lesser disulfide bonds and producing loose or no curls. 

If you washed your hair yesterday, you could only perm it today by using a clarifying shampoo. Further, your hair must not be greasy with the natural oil your scalp might have produced overnight.

If your hair feels clean and dry today after washing it with a clarifying shampoo yesterday, you are good to go for a perm.

If your hair is chemically treated a few days or weeks back, it is possible to protect them while getting a perm. How? I have discussed it later in this post. 

Let’s first see how you should wash your hair before the perm. 

How To Wash Your Hair Before a Perm?

You would be mistaken to think that not washing your hair before a perm will save it from harsh chemicals.

In addition to the sebum your scalp produces, water minerals accumulate in your hair. Both need to be rinsed out for the perm to work optimally.

If you are doing the perm at home, experts suggest washing your hair with a clarifying or demineralizing shampoo before perming.

However, if you get it at the salon, you will not have to wash your hair at home before a perm.

The stylist will always wash your hair at the salon with shampoo.

Best Shampoo to Use Before a Perm?

A clarifying shampoo is always best to use before a perm. Why so? It is because your regular shampoo won’t remove the minerals and oil buildup as the clarifying shampoo does. 

You may ask what are some of the best-clarifying shampoos to use before the perm. So, I have listed a few of them below.

1. Olaplex No.4C Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo

As discussed later in this article, olaplex offers some of the best hair-protective and repairing products. That’s why I opted for their clarifying shampoo.

Why is their shampoo best to use before a perm? The Olaplex clarifying shampoo not only deeply cleanses your hair but also has the ingredients that strengthen and restore the broken disulfide bond of your hair strands. 

So, isn’t the best-clarifying shampoo to use before a perm? I strongly think so!

2. Pantene Fragrance and Silicon Free Clarifying Shampoo

Won’t you love a clarifying shampoo that contains no extra chemicals but only that removes buildup and oil from your hair?

The reason for choosing Pantene clarifying shampoo before a perm is that it is free from scent and silicon. Plus, while being affordable, it does its job quite impressively.

Can You Wash Your Hair Just After The Perm?

People fear their hair will go straight again if they wash or shampoo it within a few hours of getting the perm.

They wait 2-3 days before shampooing the permed hair. But is it the right thing to do?

No, it’s not! There is no need to wait 48-72 hours.

The neutralizer you apply after the waving lotion does its job within 5-10 minutes. It reforms all those broken disulfide bonds in the new curly conformation while your hair is still wrapped around perm rods.

The neutralizer you apply after the perm gets consumed within 15-20 minutes. So, what’s the point of waiting for days?

Still, some stylists suggest waiting at least a day before taking a shower with freshly permed hair.

I will say it’s up to you. If you want to wait, you can!

However, I never saw any difference in the results of someone who washed their hair after an hour of getting a perm and others who waited two days.

How To Prevent Hair Damage When Getting a Perm

If you don’t know it already, Olaplex is a brand that offers different products to repair, protect, and strengthen your hair against any chemical treatment, including bleaching, dyeing, and perming.

While we often employ olaplex before or after bleaching or dyeing our hair, it is not the case with a perm.

According to Olaplex, mixing their Bond Multiplier, olaplex no. 1, in the waving lotion and neutralizer during the perm reduces the damage from harsh chemicals.

Therefore, experts call it an olaplex perm.

What I have experienced doing the olaplex perm so far is impressive. Your hair gets the absolute curls but feels so soft as it hasn’t been processed chemically.

You won’t need to wait 48 hours to shampoo your hair!

If your hair strength is already compromised before getting a perm, you can employ the olaplex pre-perm treatment to strengthen your manes.

You will require Olaplex No. 2 and a protein mask or powder.

If the olaplex perm interests you, I have this guide on how to get it!

Wrapping Up

Not washing your hair before a perm to protect your hair against harsh chemicals might not help you. A perm solution works differently from bleach or dye.

Your hair should be clean from water minerals buildup and the natural oil produced by your scalp for the perm to break the disulfide bonds. So, washing your hair before a perm with a clarifying shampoo is recommended.

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