How Long After a Perm Can You Wash Your Hair?

You should wait at least 48 hours before washing your hair after getting a perm. This waiting period allows the hair’s disulfide bonds, which are reformed during the perming process to set the curls or waves, to fully stabilize and ensures the longevity and effectiveness of your new style. Washing your hair too soon can interrupt this process, leading to less defined curls or waves and potentially reducing the lifespan of your perm.

Understanding the Perming Process

A perm, or permanent wave, is a chemical process that breaks down and then reforms the hair’s disulfide bonds. These bonds are responsible for the hair’s shape, so altering them can give you long-lasting curls or waves. The process involves two main steps: the application of a perm solution to break down the bonds, followed by a neutralizer to rebuild them around curlers or rods, setting the new shape.

The Importance of the 48-Hour Rule

1. Bond Stabilization: After the neutralizer is applied, the disulfide bonds in your hair begin to reform around the shape of the curlers. It takes about 48 hours for these bonds to fully stabilize, securing the curl’s shape and strength.

2. Moisture Balance: The perming process can be quite drying, and your hair needs time to recalibrate its natural moisture balance. Washing it too early can strip away the oils your scalp produces post-perm, which are vital for your hair’s health and recovery.

Tips for Post-Perm Care

1. Wait to Wash: Resist the urge to wash your hair for at least 48 hours after the perm. This patience pays off in the longevity and quality of your curls.

2. First Wash and Conditioner: When you do wash your hair, use lukewarm water and gently apply a sulfate-free shampoo designed for chemically treated hair. Follow with a deep conditioner to add moisture back into your locks.

3. Avoid Heat Styling: Give your hair a break from heat styling tools for at least a week after getting a perm. If you must style it, use a heat protectant and the lowest heat setting.

4. Use the Right Products: Invest in hair care products specifically formulated for curly or permed hair. These products will help maintain your curls and keep your hair hydrated.

5. Gentle Handling: Avoid brushing your hair while it’s dry to prevent frizz and breakage. Instead, use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to detangle your hair while it’s wet and conditioned.

6. Avoid Additional Chemical Treatments: Hold off on coloring or using other chemical treatments on your hair for at least a month after getting a perm to avoid excessive damage.


Patience is key when it comes to washing your hair after a perm. Waiting at least 48 hours allows your hair to fully absorb the chemical changes, ensuring that your curls or waves are well-defined and long-lasting. By following proper post-perm care, including the right washing practices and using suitable products, you can enjoy beautiful, healthy curls for months to come.

Author: admin

Hello, I'm Dan Silvertown. I'm passionate about the world of grooming, style, and the art of barbering. As an author, I've had the privilege of writing articles for a virtual barbershop, sharing my insights, tips, and expertise on all things related to men's grooming and self-care.

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