Can You Straighten a Perm?


One of the most asked questions in salons is “can I straighten my permed hair without ruining it?”. There are some precautions to take before straightening your hair to make sure your hair stays in its best shape possible.

Physical styling methods, such as flat ironing or straightening your hair do not have a negative effect on your hair or the perm. As you may know, one of the complaints after receiving a perm is having dry hair, as your hair loses moisture extremely quickly.

Before you straighten your hair, you want to make sure you are using moisture-rich shampoos and conditioners. Also, using a heat protecting serum can protect your hair against styling damage.

The right tools

As for the tools used, you want to make sure the flat iron has adjustable heat settings, something more than just medium and low. Often times today, flat irons come with degree Celsius or Fahrenheit controls, so you can adjust how hot you want it to be.

The best type of flat iron is one that has coated ceramic features to achieve smooth silky hair. Generally, if your hair is fine or damaged the ideal temperature is between 200 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Medium-thick hair can tolerate 300 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lastly, really thick hair can go up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

The right method

The method in which you straighten your permed hair is also important. You want to start off at the lowest setting and do a couple of passes or “test patches” on your hair. See if it is too hot, or if you smell burning or experience discomfort.

Then you can slowly increase the temperature. Make sure you never put it on the highest setting; whether your hair is permed or not, this is very dangerous. It is always better to go over a piece of hair a few times at lower temperatures than to burn it off on the highest temperature. It is also important to section and comb your hair before straightening.

If your hair is in knots or tangles, this will create tension between the flat iron plates and cause breakage and hair loss.

As a word of caution, it is not recommended to straighten your perm every day or every time you shower. This ruins your natural hair fibers, and the perm itself, so you won’t get long-lasting results.

Your hair perm will soften over time, due to chemicals from the shampoo, hairdryer and flat irons; hair perms need to be redone once every 3 months to maintain its results.


So yes, you can straighten your permed hair without causing damage, however, there are precautions you need to follow both inside the shower and outside.

If none of these are followed and the proper products are not used, straightening permed hair can cause extreme damage that is not reversible!

The most important rule is to wait at least 48 hours before straightening your hair after receiving a perm. Doing so any earlier can cause the chemicals to break down.

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