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Will Hair Dye Ruin A Perm?

Whether you’re ready to switch up your style or attempting an at-home balayage, the decision to color your hair is huge. But if you’ve recently gotten a perm, it can be difficult to navigate.

Are you wanting to know, will hair dye ruin a perm? I’ll share whether hair dye will ruin a perm and the precautions that should be taken before and after coloring.

Woman with long, curly hair wearing a denim shirt

What Happens To The Hair During A Perm?

During a perm, the hair is soaked in a mildly alkaline solution to open up the cuticle layer and allow the hair to absorb moisture.

This allows the chemical solution to penetrate deeper into the cortex of your hair shaft, thus making it more receptive to permanent waves and setting.

Once this has occurred, small rods are used to wrap strands of your hair around. Your hairstylist may use either cold wave or hot wave solutions, depending on how long you want your waves to last and your own preference for curl tightness.

Once the desired wave pattern has been achieved by wrapping, a neutralizer is applied that helps lock in the new shape of each strand of hair.

The neutralizer also serves to close up the cuticles and help protect against damage from future styling. Additional products such as conditioners or serums containing essential nutrients might also be used during this step for extra protection from dryness and breakage.

Finally, after all steps have been completed, your stylist will rinse out any leftover product from your perm and blow-dry your hair using fingers or a brush so as not disturb its new wave pattern.

Afterward, they will likely clip off any extra curls that need cutting before finishing off with some leave-in conditioner for extra shine.

What Are The Benefits Of Having A Perm?

One benefit is that it’s an easy way to achieve long-lasting curls or waves that last for weeks without styling each day.

The curls won’t just fall flat after a few hours like they do when using curling irons or rollers. It also helps add lots of body and volume to lifeless hair, and makes thin hair appear fuller and thicker.

Many people find their permed hair much easier to style than their natural texture due to the added texture and hold.

Having a perm can also help reduce breakage as you won’t have to use as many heat appliances on your hair, which can cause damage over time if used regularly.

Because perms can protect the cuticles of your individual strands, they help lock in moisture, so your hair doesn’t dry out easily, leading to fewer split ends in the long run.

Woman with purple, pink and blue curls

How Should You Look After Your Hair After You Get A Perm?

After you get a perm, it is important to take good care of your hair, as excessive styling and manipulation can ruin the style. It is essential to give your hair extra attention when caring for curly hair after a perm.

When applied correctly, a perm will enhance the natural structure of the hair by making it more manageable and easier to maintain.

To best preserve your new look, you should avoid combing or brushing your hair too vigorously, as this can easily ruin your perm.

Instead, use a wide-tooth comb on dampened or slightly wet hair and brush gently from scalp to ends in small sections.

Be sure not to pull or tug on any knots that may form due to the permanent process; otherwise you could end up damaging the structure of the hair or worse – ruining it altogether.

You should also remember that because perms change the texture of your locks, there may be added stress on weakened portions of each strand, so deep conditioning treatments to treat your hair, are recommended twice monthly.

Will Hair Dye Ruin A Perm?

Dyeing your hair can be a great way to add some hair color and life to your look. However, if you have recently gotten a perm, it is important to know that dyeing your hair may damage it, and know how soon you can color your permed hair.

Hair dye contains ammonia and other chemicals that can cause the weak bonds of a fresh perm solution to break down. Semi-permanent hair colors are less damaging than permanent ones because they contain fewer harsh chemicals.

Therefore, when thinking about your perm and coloring your hair, you should let your hair settle before applying any kind of chemical treatment such as coloring it. If you want to use semi-permanent color soon after getting a perm, wait at least two weeks so that the curls set into place properly.

For permanent color, take extra care and make sure not to put any kind of product on your hair for at least three days before coloring your hair, following the perm so that the chemical reaction has time to show its full effect visually as well as internally.

It is best practice not to try and perm and dye your hair on the same day, so your hair strands do not get damaged by the combination of chemicals present in both treatments combined.

So, when considering using dyes or tints on top of a recent perm job, always need to wait until its effects have had time to fully set before adding anything else in terms of chemicals onto it, and before you wash your hair.

Give yourself enough time for this step even if all you use is semi-permanent hair dye colors, since these still carry certain harmful contents, plus doing them together will only increase risks of undesirable results or further damaging your hair texture, especially if you dye your hair at home, and dye your hair after perming.

Which could lead up to long process additions towards achieving full recovery from affected areas due to continuous abuse onto individual hairs with different processes while losing their original strength and structure along short timespans, combining several chemical processes instead of just one alone, to ensure your hair is healthy.

Woman having her hair permed at the hair salon

When Can You Dye Your Hair After A Perm?

The answer is not as straightforward as you may think. Should you dye first or perm first? While there are some recommendations out there, the best way to find out when soon can you color your hair cuticle after a perm depends on your individual situation and goals?

Before we talk about dyeing and perming, it’s important to understand why this question arises in the first place. When colored hair goes through a perm, its structure changes significantly due to the chemical treatment.

After this process, it is normal for your hair and scalp to go through some adjustments while they adjust back to their new state. If you decide to color or dye soon after this happens, it could leave you with damaged hair, as your hair goes through a lot.

To avoid damaging or ruining your hair due to a new hair color, many experts suggest waiting at least two weeks after getting the perm, before lightening or coloring with permanent dyes or bleach.

However if you want something less harsh that won’t break down the existing curl pattern of the perm then semi-permanent dyes may be more suitable and these generally don’t require any wait time for application post-perm treatment depending on how recently the perm was done.


Hair color can damage a perm if the hair is not thoroughly prepared before the coloring process. Experts suggest waiting at least two weeks, after getting a perm, before lightening or coloring with permanent dyes or bleach.

If you want something less harsh that won’t break down the existing curl pattern of the perm, then semi-permanent dyes may be more suitable and these generally don’t require any wait time for application post-perm treatment depending on how recently the perm was done.

When using dye on permed hair, it’s best to consult your hairdresser and use semi-permanent colors instead of any type of permanent color, to make your hair as healthy as possible.

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