First of all, find someone with hair you like and ask her where she gets her hair done.  If she lets you touch her hair, touch it to make sure it’s healthy. Talk to the stylist before you make an appointment.  Make sure she seems professional and knows what she’s doing.  A bad perm is a horrible thing.  You could end up with damaged hair, bald or even permanently disfigured.  And, remember a perm is permanent.  Mess one up and that hair is ruined permanently until you cut it off.

Before she begins:She should check the condition of your hair and scalp before she begins.  If your hair is weak or your scalp has any cuts, scrapes or sores, she should not do the perm.  A perm on already weak hair can cause your hair to break off.  A perm on a scalp that is not healthy can be absorbed into the body and cause problems. She should check for allergic reaction and test the perm on a strand of your hair. She should choose a perm appropriate for your type of hair.  Not all relaxers are the same. Some are more reactive (stronger) than others.  The stylist should consider whether your hair has been relaxed before (touch up or retouch), whether your hair has never been relaxed, whether your hair is colored and whether your hair is fine or coarse. She should protect your skin with a cape and or a towel. She should protect your scalp with a jelly or thick cream.
Once she begins:
Once the stylist starts applying your perm, she should pay attention to your head and not talking on the phone, taking lunch breaks or attending to other clients.  Applying a perm requires her complete attention.  She should work quickly to avoid over-relaxing your hair and/or burning your skin. Retouches should only be done on new growth.  This is a common mistake people make when putting in perms at home.  I know I used to.  Do not keep relaxing the ends of your hair over and over again unless split ends occur or the last application was done improperly. Your stylist should use a timer.  It’s always better to leave the hair a little underdone than overdone.  Even with the timer, she should check your hair continuously.
After she’s done:
She should rinse your hair very well with warm water. She should wash your hair with a neutralizing shampoo.  It’s important to use a shampoo with a lower pH to neutralize the high pH of the relaxer.  The reason this is important is the pH of the neutralizing shampoo stops the reaction of the lye.  Using a regular shampoo will allow your hair to continue to break down beyond the point where you want it to be. She should rinse your hair again. Before it is dried, she should deep condition the hair .She should handle your hair gently as she’s drying and styling it.

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