Hair Perms: Are
combining the mechanical process of wrapping you hair around a perm rod
with the chemicals process of moving cross bonds inside the hair to a
new position, to
increase or decrease the amount of curl in your hair. When
you perm you hair you are really doing several things.
- 1- The hair is wrapped around a perm rod. This wrapping (the
actual bending of the hair ) creates tension within the hair placing
stress on the internal hair structure.
- 2- A "perm solution" is applied to the hair. The solution breaks 80% of the chemical
cross bonds in the hair itself. The cross bonds, (which are under
stress from step #1) move to a new
position, to relieve the stress, when the cross bonds are chemically
- 3- A neutralizer is applied to reform the bonds in their new
position, so the hair retains its new shape.
(for more on hair perming & straightening your hair see the Paul Brown Hair
For those new to perming
hair, you should know that the amount of curl and how long it lasts, is
dependent upon may factors including, but not limited to:
- which home hair care products you use
(some products help you keep your curl, other products will relax your curl)
the condition of the hair (colored, natural, double processed)
the diameter of the hair: fine
(small in diameter), normal, or course
(big in diameter)
the diameter of the perm rod
the tightness of the hair when wrapped around the perm rod
the permanent waving solution used
the right processing time
the amount of time the perm is rinsed after processing (most perm problems and hair damage happen when the
perm is not rinsed long enough before neutralizing).
The practice in some European countries is not to rinsed
the perm solution at all. We believe, not rinsing ,may causes
undesirable side effects for your hair. We feel you get a better
perm that is kinder to your hair by rinsing before applying the
neutralizer as is the practice in the US.
air neutralizing time (the amount of time you give the hair
after rinsing and before
applying the neutralizer). WE find 15 to 25 minutes works well.
This process does several things. First the more rinse water
evaporates or is wicked away by towel blotting, so the
neutralizer penetrates better, and second the cross bonds
have more time to move to their new position. (Very important if
the perm wrap is not tight or the hair has a small diameter with
respect to the diameter of rod.
the neutralizing time
(the neutralizing re-sets about 80 to90% of
the broken cross links)
the rinsing time
(this insures all of the remaining neutralizer is
removed from your hair)the mechanics of the person removing the perm rods from the
hair. The hair should be un-wrapped without pulling on the hair
letting your hair dry naturally is important as the
drying process allows the the water bonds to form in a position
to help hold the your hair in a curly position for the 3 days it
takes for your hair to "self neutralize" the remaining 10%
cross bonds the chemical neutralizer did not re-form.
how long you go between the air drying your hair for the
first time and the first time you
get the hair wet and or wash the hair at home, determines how may
additional cross links are re-formed. Them more that are
re-formed the stronger your curl will be.
the hair care products you use at home
and finally how fast your hair grows (generally, the
healthier you are, the more you work out, the faster your hair
Lets look at the 3 main steps again in a little more detail
| 1- hair is wrapped around a perm
|| This is a mechanical process. It
is bending the hair around the rod.
Hair has a thickness
so when the hair is bent the "top of the hair shaft"
or that part of your hair shaft farthest from
the perm rod has to travel a longer distance than the "bottom of the
hair shaft,"or that part of your hair shaft closest to
the perm rod.
This mechanical wrapping process causes the cross links farthest
from the perm rod to be stretched and the cross links closest to the
perm rod to be compressed.
The amount of stress applied depends on
- the thickness of the hair, (thicker hair produces more stress,
thinner hair produces less stress)
- the diameter of the perm rod (fatter rods cause less bending
which means less applied stress) and
- how tightly the hair is pulled while wrapping (a tighter wrap
forces your hair to bend more increasing the internal stress on
the cross bonds inside your hair.
| 2- a "perm solution"
or a "permanent waving solution" is applied to the hair.
The "perm solution" is intended to chemically break 80% of the chemical cross bonds inside
the hair itself. (the cross links or bonds are changed from
hair contains approximately 5% cystine by mass
The cross bonds are under great stress from being wrapped around
a perm rod during step # 1. So when they are released by
the permanent waving chemicals they move to a new position to
relieve the stress. This stops the pulling for the
bonds farthest from the perm rod and also stops the pushing for
bonds closest to the perm rod . Relieving the stress.
The natural position of the bonds have been changed so there
is no longer any stress when your hair is wrapped around the perm
rod. That, by the way, is still in your hair.
| 3- The the chemical cross bonds are reformed in their new position.
|| The neutralizer solution is
applied to your hair while it is still wrapped around the perm rod.
This solution causes the bonds ( the
Cysteine bonds to return, or re-harden in their
form, making the shape of your hair permanently change to conform to
the curly shape of the perm rod.
The perm manufacturers tell us that if "we would not have
to neutralize" the hair at all if we could sent you home with the
perm rods in your hair, and you would leave them there, for 72
hours. It seems that the Cysteine cross bonds would self-neutralize
in 3 days from the normal exposure to the air.
When your hair dries the stronger "water bonds" help hold
the weaker "chemical or perm bonds" in place So if you want
the most from your perm let your hair dry naturally. This
allows the water bonds reinforce the new cross-link perm bonds,
holding your hair in its new curly shape. Do NOT get it wet again
fro 72 hours while nature re-hardens any bonds the chemical
neutralizer may have missed.
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