Can I Wet My Hair After a Perm? Here’s What You Need to Know

If you’ve recently received a perm, it’s understandable that you may have some questions about how to care for your hair. One of the most common questions people ask is whether or not they can wet their hair after a perm. The answer, unfortunately, is not a straightforward one. In this article, we’ll explore who should be concerned about wetting their permed hair and when it is safe to do so. We’ll also examine the pros and cons of wetting your hair after a perm, provide alternative solutions if you’re worried about damaging your hair, and offer step-by-step instructions on how to properly care for permed hair.

Who Should Be Concerned About Wetting Their Permed Hair?

Many people assume that once their hair has been permed, it is no longer sensitive to moisture. However, this is not entirely true. If you have just received a perm, it is crucial to avoid getting your hair wet for at least 48 hours. During this time, your hair is still in the process of setting, and any exposure to water can cause the curls to weaken or become less defined. If you absolutely must wash your hair during this period, use dry shampoo or a gentle cleansing spray.

Even after the first 48 hours have passed, you should still be cautious about getting your hair wet too often. Excessive moisture can cause the curls to loosen or even straighten out completely, leaving you with flat, lifeless hair.

When Is It Safe to Wet Your Permed Hair?

As a general rule, it is best to wait at least 72 hours before washing your hair after a perm. This will give your hair enough time to fully set and reduce the risk of damaging the curls. Additionally, try to limit your hair washing routine to no more than three times a week. This will help to preserve the shape of your curls and keep them looking voluminous and defined.

How to Properly Wet Your Permed Hair

If you must wet your hair after a perm, it is essential to take the proper precautions. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Wet your hair gradually: Start by wetting just the roots of your hair, then work your way down to the ends. This will help to prevent excess water from weighing down your curls.
  1. Use conditioner: Apply a generous amount of conditioner to your hair before getting it wet. This will help to protect your curls from damage and make them easier to detangle.
  1. Be gentle: Avoid rubbing your hair vigorously with a towel after washing it. Instead, gently pat it dry or let it air dry.
  1. Use a diffuser: If you need to blow dry your hair, use a diffuser attachment on your hairdryer. This will help to distribute the heat evenly and minimize damage to your curls.

Pros and Cons of Wetting Your Permed Hair

While wetting your permed hair can be tempting, there are both pros and cons to consider before doing so.


  • Washing your hair can help to remove dirt, oil, and styling products that may be weighing down your curls.
  • Moisture can help to revive your curls and make them look more voluminous.


  • Excessive moisture can cause your curls to loosen or straighten out completely.
  • Getting your hair wet too often can lead to breakage and split ends.
  • Blow drying your hair can cause damage and breakage, especially if you don’t use a diffuser attachment.

Alternatives to Wetting Your Permed Hair

If you’re worried about damaging your permed hair by getting it wet, there are alternative solutions you can try. Here are some ideas:

  • Use dry shampoo: Dry shampoo is a great way to refresh your hair without getting it wet. Simply apply the powder to your roots, then use your fingers to work it through your hair.
  • Try leave-in conditioner: Leave-in conditioner can help to hydrate and nourish your curls without weighing them down. Apply a small amount to your hair each day to keep your curls looking healthy and defined.
  • Use a cleansing spray: If you need to wash your hair but don’t want to get it wet, try using a cleansing spray. These sprays are designed to remove dirt and oil from your hair without requiring any water.

Step-by-Step Guide to Caring for Permed Hair

Now that you know when and how to wet your permed hair safely let’s go over some tips on how to properly care for it.

  1. Shampoo and condition your hair every three days or less.
  1. Avoid using harsh shampoos or styling products that contain alcohol or other drying ingredients.
  1. Rinse your hair with cool water to help seal the cuticle and lock in moisture.
  1. Use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to detangle yourpermed hair when it is wet. Do not use a brush, as this can cause frizz and breakage.
  1. Use a deep conditioning treatment once a week to keep your curls hydrated and healthy.
  1. Avoid using heat styling tools whenever possible. If you do need to use them, use a heat protectant spray and always use a diffuser attachment on your hairdryer.
  1. Sleep on silk or satin pillowcases, as these materials are gentler on your hair and can help to prevent frizz.
  1. Trim your hair regularly to get rid of split ends and keep your curls looking fresh.

By following these tips, you can keep your permed hair looking beautiful and healthy for weeks to come.

Comparison: Perms vs. Straight Hair

If you’re considering getting a perm but aren’t sure if it’s the right choice for you, it’s helpful to compare the pros and cons of perms versus straight hair.

Pros of Perms:

  • Perms can add volume and body to fine or limp hair.
  • Curly hair is often more versatile than straight hair, allowing for a wider range of styles.

Cons of Perms:

  • Perms can be damaging to your hair if not done properly.
  • Maintaining permed hair requires more effort and time than maintaining straight hair.

Pros of Straight Hair:

  • Straight hair is generally easier to style and maintain than curly hair.
  • Straight hair can be more resilient to damage from heat styling tools and environmental factors.

Cons of Straight Hair:

  • Straight hair can sometimes appear flat and lack volume.
  • Straight hair may require frequent washing and styling to look its best.

Tips for the Best Results with Permed Hair

If you’ve decided that a perm is the right choice for you, here are some tips to help you achieve the best results:

  • Choose a stylist who is experienced in perming hair, and be sure to ask for references or pictures of their previous work.
  • Consult with your stylist beforehand to determine the best type of perm for your hair type and desired style.
  • Follow your stylist’s instructions carefully when caring for your permed hair, including waiting the recommended amount of time before washing it.
  • Be patient and allow your hair time to adjust to its new shape. It may take a few weeks for your curls to fully set and for you to get used to your new look.


In summary, wetting your hair after a perm can be risky if not done properly. It’s important to wait at least 72 hours before washing your hair and to take the proper precautions when getting it wet. If you’re worried about damaging your permed hair, there are alternative solutions you can try, such as dry shampoo or leave-in conditioner. By following these tips and properly caring for your permed hair, you can enjoy beautiful, bouncy curls that last for your hair to avoid damaging it.

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