Can you use mousse after a hair perm? It’s safe to use styling products like a mousse to get that signature bouncy texture you’re after. But, you have to choose your mousse carefully to avoid ruining your hair!
As someone who gets chemical treatments regularly, many people ask me about the effects on mousse after a perm. Perms have been around for nearly a century. However, there’s still a lot of mystery surrounding these treatments.
I’ve rocked curls for most of my life! In the process, I’ve learned the ins and outs of how to care for them.
In this article, I’m going to give you the lowdown on perms and mousse. I’ll go over the right types of products to use and show you which ones to steer clear of.
How Does A Perm Affect Your Hair?
Perms are nothing new to the world of fashion! While most of us think of the 70s and iconic Soultrain trends, they were a big hit before that, too! They stepped into the limelight in the 1950s when it seemed like every salon mastered the art form.
Today, perms aren’t as widespread. But, they’re far more common than most think. With a myriad of perming styles, women around the world still take advantage of the treatment to get volume and tons of texture.
All that said, what exactly is a perm, and how does it work?
Perming your hair is all about changing the structure of every follicle! It’s a surprisingly complex process that involves a lot of chemistry and biological knowledge.
There are two types of perm treatments. These include single-action and dual-action perms. Regardless of the process you get, the star of the show is ammonium thioglycolate.
Also known as perm salt, this chemical is responsible for giving you those signature tresses! It’s the main active ingredient in perming lotions and solutions.
Without getting into the nitty-gritty chemistry, perm lotion breaks down your hair for reshaping. The ammonium thioglycolate seeps into individual strands, breaking down the keratin bonds that form your hair.
When this happens, your hair gets weak and easy to manipulate.
Your hairdresser will take advantage of those broken bonds to reshape the hair. Depending on the type of curl you want, this may involve using curling rods or foam rollers. Whatever the case may be, the hair takes the shape of it on a cellular level.
After that, your stylist will apply a neutralizer. This is the final, and most crucial step of the process. The neutralizer contains an oxidizing solution that reconstitutes those broken bonds and strengthens the hair again. Without the neutralizer, your hair wouldn’t be able to hold its shape.
The perming process causes a lot of stress on the hair. You’re essentially breaking down keratin bonds and restrengthening them! Luckily, the treatment isn’t so bad if done correctly.
Contrary to popular belief, perming isn’t as detrimental as bleaching. As long as you do things right, it shouldn’t cause any long-term damage.
Caring for a Perm
Perms can last upwards of six months. But to get that longevity, you need to take good care of your newly curled mane!
Proper maintenance will start the moment you leave the salon! We’ve all seen that iconic courtroom scene in “Legally Blonde” right? As Elle Woods says: You can’t wash your hair immediately after a perm because of the risk of ruining your curls.
While not entirely true-to-life, there’s some truth to that iconic scene. Most stylists recommend that you don’t wash your hair for at least 48 hours after getting a perm. But, it’s not because of the perming lotion. It’s because you want to avoid any potentially damaging activities. That includes washing.
New keratin bonds can form for two or three days after the treatment. So, you want to avoid any form of damage! Take extra precautions during those first two days and ditch any heat styling. You should also avoid combing. If you need to freshen up your locks, use dry shampoo!
Don’t get any color, either. Those keratin bonds need some time to reform and recover. So, don’t dye your hair for at least two weeks.
Washing and damaging styling techniques will loosen the curls and ruin your look.
Styling With Mousse
Now that you know the dos and don’ts of perm maintenance, let’s talk about products. More specifically, let’s go over mousse.
Mousse is a wonderfully versatile styling product. Lighter than gels, waxes, and pomades, it’s a go-to for many curly-headed gals. It offers a bit of hold to create organic texture. Yet, it’s light enough to let those curls bounce! Mousse can also control frizz and flyaways, which is a must for perms.
All that said, you need to use the right type of mousse to support your permed hair.
What To Avoid
Mousse styling products are perfectly fine to use on your hair after the two-day resting period. However, you must steer clear of any mousse that contains alcohol or silicon.
Alcohol is capable of locking moisture in. On standard virgin hair, it does just that! But with chemically treated perms, it will have the opposite effect.
Alcohol-based products will dehydrate your hair. Thirsty locks are a big no-no for curls. It could lead to breakage. You need to have tons of moisture to keep your hair healthy. This is especially true with delicate hair after a perm.
In fact, most hairdressers recommend that you use hydrating products to prolong the life of your perms. A boost of moisture will keep those curls healthy and looking great.
Many mousse products contain drying alcohols. It comes in many different forms. So, scrutinize the ingredients list!
The same goes for silicon. You should avoid silicon-based mousses at all costs if you’re rocking curls. This ingredient isn’t unhealthy, per se. But, it’s counterproductive to your newfound texture.
Silicon has a knack for building up the more you apply it. It’s notorious for sticking around even after deep cleanings! That’s because most are not water-soluble.
Over time, it will only weigh your hair down and ruin that natural bounce you paid so much money for! Silicon-free mousses are far better for your curls. You can get all appearance you want without all that excess weight.
To create that dramatic shift in texture, perms change the structure of your hair on a molecular level. Supporting that change is crucial if you want your curls to stick around.
You can use mousse after a perm. But, you have to be more selective about the products you use. Stick to high-quality mousses that lack alcohol and silicon. Without those potentially damaging ingredients, your curls will stay hydrated and bouncy!
Pick up some hydrating mousse and see what you think! The light and airy hold of mousse foam can do a lot to bring out the beauty of your perm!