Is It Ideal To Wash Your Hair Right After A Perm?

Everything you need to know about taking care of your tresses after perming

Reviewed by Tiffany Young, Certified Trichology Practitioner
By Arshiya Syeda

Perms liven up your hair and add a zing to it. While it restructures your locks into gorgeous ringlets, make sure not to wash your hair right after a perm. These curls take a little while to set, and an early wash can undo all your efforts of getting the perfect perm. It is crucial to know how long you must wait before washing your hair after a perm. Otherwise, your curls will not last. This article explores what is good for your curls after perming and what you must avoid. Take a look.

How Soon Can You Wash Your Hair After A Perm?

Woman undergoing hair perming


If you are wondering how long you should wait to wash your hair after a perm, it should be at least 48 hours. Some stylists suggest a gap of 36 or 72 hours before washing your hair after a perm. But this depends mostly on your hair type.

Your hair achieves a permed look due to the action of ammonium thioglycolate and disulfide bonds. The waving lotion might get deactivated if acted upon by water. Hence, it is best to let your hair rest and wash it 2-3 days after the procedure to be on the safer side.

Does this mean you can wash your hair with any shampoo? Find out in the next section.

Can You Wash Your Hair After A Perm With Any Shampoo?

No. The perming process might dry out your hair and increase the need for natural moisture. Therefore, it is important to use shampoos, conditioners, and serums meant specifically for wavy and curly hair. Use a dry shampoo instead of rinsing your hair for a couple of days beyond this time.

Stylecraze Says
It is recommended to avoid dyeing your hair for two weeks after getting a perm.

Do You Need To Moisturize The Hair After Washing?

Woman hydrating her permed hair


Yes. Your permed hair needs moisture eternally, no matter how less or frequently you wash it. Your hair goes through a lot of protein damage during the process. This might leave your strands prone to dryness and damage. Add some hydrating products to your hair care routine and apply nourishing hair masks to keep your permed hair moisturized.

Let now find out what happens if you wash your hair right after a perm within 36 hours.

Stylecraze Says
Opt for natural hair care treatments such as eggs, avocados, yogurt, coconut milk, and honey to nourish and repair your tresses.

Can You Wash Your Hair 36 Hours After A Perm? What Will Happen?

Perming uses certain chemicals that change the keratin structure of your hair. It takes 2-3 days for your hair to lock the shape of the curls. During this time, if you apply water and shampoo to your hair, it may degrade the keratin and loosen your curls.

Hence, as stated earlier, it is important to wait for at least 48 hours before giving your hair the first wash. This gives the perming chemicals sufficient time to work on your hair and make it evenly curled.

Here are some useful tips for caring for your fresh perms.

Excellent Tips To Maintain Beautiful Permed Hair

Woman checking hair care product for permed hair


  1. Always choose hair care products meant for permed hair. Use them as directed.
  1. Do not shampoo your hair more than once a week. Using shampoos frequently may strip your natural hair moisture.
  1. Sometimes, you can wash out your hair with a conditioner and skip the shampoo.
  1. Avoid brushing your wet hair as it may lead to breakage.
  1. Do not wring your hair with a towel to dry it. Pat dry and use microfiber towels to absorb the moisture.
  1. Use a wide-toothed comb to detangle your hair.
  1. Do not swim in chlorinated water within three days of perming your hair.
  1. Tie your hair with a silk scarf while sleeping to prevent friction and frizz.
  1. Indulge in a luxurious hair spa treatment every month to keep your curls moisturized.

If you wash your hair right after a perm, you may not achieve the desired results. Wait for at least 48 hours to wash your hair after perming. Using shampoos specific for curl and wavy hair helps in giving the best look. You also need to moisturize the hair after perming as it loses most of its protein in the perming process. In addition, the following tips like washing permed hair once a week, using a wide-toothed comb, and tying the hair with a silk scarf to minimize frizz helps maintain the look of permed hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a hair perm lead to damage?

Yes, a perm treatment may result in damaged hair.

Can you shampoo your hair before a perm?

Yes, perming begins with the application of shampoo as a pre-treatment.

Are any shampoos good to use on permed hair?

Yes. You can use sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners in your curly hair routine.

Key Takeaways

  • Washing your hair soon after perming may deactivate the ammonium thioglycolate and disulfide bonds that give a permed look in the first place.
  • Post perming, your hair can take around 3-4 days to get locked in the shape of curls. Hence, do not wash your hair during this time.
  • Avoid brushing your wet hair, do not shampoo more than once a week, and choose hair care products specifically meant for permed hair.

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Arshiya Syeda is an editor at StyleCraze. Prior to that, she was a content writer and combined her writing and... more

Tiffany Young

(Certified Trichology Practitioner)
Tiffany Young is the CEO and founder of ThinHairThick. She is also a recognized expert in the hair and beauty... more