The previous answer if factually incorrect in reguards to the effect of acid perms over alkaline perms. Hair naturally has a pH of 3.5-5.5 making it acidic in nature, as it is a protein structure made nearly entirely of amino ACIDS. Acid perms, usually are around a pH of 4-6, so still acidic, but more alkaline then the hair. Raising the alkalinity of the hair softens the hair structure causing it to swell up and absorb chemicals. The higher the pH, the more the hair swells, the more chemicals can be absorbed, and the more dramatically the hair can be altered. Hair that has previously been chemically treated is already slightly swollen, making it more sensitive to further swelling. Acid perms are used on either delicate or sensitized hair types, or for curls with the least amount of swollen "fluffy" curls. Texture with reduced width. Alkaline perms are more aggressive on the hair shaft. pH of "pure" water which is considdered to be the neutral point is pH 7. Any perm above pH of about 7.5-12 in some cases is considered Alkaline. These cause increased swelling in the hair shaft, making the hair absorb more chemicals, having a greater effect on the hair. Alkaline perms are good for resistant hair types, when your looking for a "firmer" more coily springy curl. As a guideline, hair that has been artificially lightened should not be treated with an alkaline perm unless you want that fuzzy dandelion 1980s kind of hair. Most color treated hair gets more predictable curl results with acid waves. If youve got virgin hair and you want curls but dont want a wide hair profile, acid is a better option. If its virgin and limp, proceed with caution. Alkaline will give more volume and a stronger coil, but can overprocess more delicate strands. I advise alkaline perms on delicate hair should only be done by a professional. Exothermic perms are extremely aggressive. These are for very coarse wirey resistant hair. Its alkaline AND it gets hot all by itself, which has the effect of further softening the hair, making it even more susceptible to chemicals. Very dangerous, but essential for hair thats comparable to steel wool, or that grey hair that has a 'glassy' cuticle. Acid perms have a distinctive "thio" odour, kindof sulfurous but not super pungent. Alkaline perm have a VERY strong odour. The same "thio" odour as the acid waves but also a very strong punch of ammonia. Some acid perms require heat to process as their pH is so low it doesnt swell the hair at all and needs a heat source to soften the structure of the hair. You can also sometimes use heat to get acid waves to get more dramatic curls, like an inbetween between acid and alkaline. Perm tips: Do a rather strong protein treatment before you perm. Use a very cleansing shampoo atleast twice before rinsing out, but focus on scrubbing the shaft and ends and NOT the scalp. In a pinch just plain old regular nothing special dishsoap works well. Apply a little bit of a spray in leave-in conditioner to balance the porosity. Wrap on base for height, off base for a drop curl. Use coffee stir sticks or plastic roller pins or straws if you have to, to to lift the band on the perm rods so its not strapped across the hair causing a ridge. If you perm a ridge it creates a stress point in the hair. If its a sharp angle, the band can actually cut the hair when the cemicals are in, so its best to bear with the uncomfortable tight rods and not have your hair break off in chunks. Start applying the solution in the back, as this hair is usually more resistant. Try and get the solution all applied evenly INTO each perm rod fully saturating them in under 2 minutes. When taking a test curl unwrap the curl with no tension, but dont "push up" the curl. After 1 turn, look at the curl formation. If its just barely an s- wave. Its not ready. For a body wave when the s-wave starts to twist about 1/4 turn sideways, its ready. For springy coily curls process till it twirls all around like cooked Mr. Noodles. If the time is nearly up but youre still not getting the twist you want, get a bath towel and soak it in hot hot water and wrap your covered rods with the towel for 3-5 minutes to get whats left of the chemical in there as deep as possible. It should be good after that. Rinse like a waterfall. Not too much pressure, warm, like just above body temperature. Do a steady but somewhat swift once over everything, then go back and starting at the top rinse each rod thoroughly, lift each rod, rinse under it, rinse it again. Next rod till youre all done. Do s once over again. Then go back and do each rod again. There is no such thing as too much rinsing. If you can still smell perm youre not done rinsing. If you have a spray in protein its a good idea to use it at this point. Spray in each rod, manually work it into the hair, wait 5 minutes, then start drying your rods as best you can. Each individual rod. Then go back with paper towel and further dry the rods. Keep doing this till the rods dont feel wet on your wrist and dong leave a pooling wet spot on paper towel. You can let your rods air dry for a bit if you want. You want the hair JUST barely damp prior to neutralization. Not dry, but not any excess wet water in the rods, or it wont absorb neutralizer properly. Proceed with neutralizing instructions. Save a little neutralizer for later. Once your time is up do a modest rinse and start unwinding your rods not putting any tension on your curls. Squeeze out excess water and apply remaining neutralizer all over and scrunch massage through for 2 minutes, then rinse rinse rinse. Protein spray again. 5 mins. Quick rinse and apply moisturizing cream conditioner for coarse hair or no conditioner in the basin and apply a liberal amount of spray in leave in conditioner to fine hair. And your done. Another protein treatment 2 weeks after your perm might not be a bad idea either. Perming hair involves melting the protein in your hair and hardening it up again in a new configuration. Needless to say some is lost in the process, so its wise to supplement it accordingly. If your hair all of the sudden is getting wirey or "gritty" or getting unusually tangled in tight knots its too much protein. Otherwise moisture moisture moisture. Be wary of products for "Dry, Damaged Hair" as these are generally moisture based, but some have way too much protein to use on a frequent basis. I personally like my moisture and protein seperate so I can choose when and how much of each I use.
Date published: 2019-02-26