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2. Acid waves are gentler than alkaline perms. Their waving lotions use a kinder chemical called glyceryl monothyio-glycylate. If you have fragile, colored, are damaged hair, acid waves are the perm for you. Unfortunately, acid perms are more likely to give subtle ripples, or lots of body, rather than firm, crisp curls. Note: endothermic acid waves require an application of heat; exothermic acid waves do not.

A combination of ammonia and ammonium thio-glycolate is what gives a permanent wave its tell-tale odor.

In hairdressing, “alkaline” generally means any solution that has a pH of 7.9 or higher; “neutral” has a pH of 7.0 to 7.8; and “acid” means anything that has a pH lower than 6.9.

Caring for your permed hair

When you get a perm, you put your locks through a complicatedy process designed to break down, then reconfigure the structure ofy each strand of hair. All this quick-changing is hard on hair, leaving tresses fragile. Coddling is required to prevent treated locks from looking or being damaged.

Careful handling

You used to rake though your hair with a vent brush, or tug at wet strands with a fine-toothed comb. Maybe you scraped locks back into a tight ponytail that you held in place with a rubber band you removed from a bundle of newspapers.

Or perhaps you were constantly twirling your hair or nervously fiddling with it in some other way. All this has got to stop now that you have a perm. Think of your strands as something precious and very delicate, akin to the fibers that make up a silk blouse or angora sweater.

Careful handling doesn’t require any special instructions — simply use common sense: detangle hair gently before brushing, don’t style or touch or play with strands more than necessary, pull hair back in windy weather so locks won’t become knotted, and so on. When brushing your permed hair use a pick or a wide toothcomb. Start at the ends and work your way to the roots, making sure to be gentle and not to tug. Detangler can be used if needed.

Don’t get a perm if your head has scratches, nicks, pimples, or if your skin is in any way broken — the chemicals can severely irritate your scalp.

Shampoos and conditioners for permed hair

If, before your perm, you were using hampoo and conditioners formulated for oily or normal hair, or if you were using body building or dandruff shampoos, post-perm is the time to switch.

Harsh detergents rough up your permed hair’s already manhandled cuticle, damaging strands, drying hair, and turning locks into a frizzy mess. You see, products for chemically treated hair not only have gentle detergents, they boast concentrated emollients, which do several things: they protect hair from moisture loss, condition and help repair perm-abused hair, and keep curls fit and bouncy.

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