How to Relax a Perm: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Relax a Perm A Step-by-Step Guide

If you have a perm that you’re unhappy with, or if you’ve simply grown tired of the look, you may be wondering how to relax a perm. The good news is that there are several methods available for safely and effectively relaxing your perm, from using at-home relaxer kits to visiting a professional stylist. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to relax a perm, including the tools and techniques you’ll need, the steps to follow, and the risks and benefits to consider.

What is a Perm?

A perm is a hairstyle that uses chemicals to create curls or waves in the hair. The process involves applying a solution to the hair that breaks the chemical bonds that give it its natural shape, then wrapping the hair around rods or rollers to create the desired curl or wave pattern. Once the hair has been set, a neutralizer is applied to reform the chemical bonds in the hair, locking in the new shape. Perms can be done on all types of hair, from straight to curly, and can create a range of different looks from loose waves to tight curls.

Why Would You Want to Relax a Perm?

While perms can be a great way to add texture and volume to your hair, they’re not for everyone. Some people find that the curls or waves created by a perm don’t suit their style or personality, or that the maintenance required to keep a perm looking good is too time-consuming or expensive. In other cases, a perm may have turned out differently than expected, leaving the person unhappy with the results. Relaxing a perm can be a good way to remove the curls or waves and return the hair to its natural state, or to create a different style that better suits the person’s preferences.

Methods for Relaxing a Perm

There are several methods available for relaxing a perm, each with its own pros and cons. Here are the three most common methods:

At-Home Relaxer Kits

At-home relaxer kits are a popular option for people who want to relax their perm themselves. These kits contain a relaxer solution, neutralizer, and other necessary tools and supplies, and can be purchased at most drugstores or online. At-home relaxer kits are generally less expensive than professional treatments, but they can be more difficult to use correctly and may pose more risks if not used properly.

Professional Relaxer Treatments

Professional relaxer treatments are performed by licensed stylists in salons or hair clinics. These treatments use stronger and more effective relaxer solutions than at-home kits and are usually safer and more reliable. However, they can be more expensive and require more time and effort.

Other Methods

Other methods for relaxing a perm include using hot oil treatments, natural oils such as coconut oil, or using a flat iron to straighten the hair. These methods can be less damaging than chemical relaxers but may not be as effective in completely removing the perm.

How to Relax a Perm at Home

If you’ve decided to relax your perm at home, here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

Step 1: Gather Your Tools and Supplies

You’ll need to gather the necessary tools and supplies, which include:

  • At-home relaxer kit
  • Gloves
  • Comb or brush
  • Towels or old clothing to protect your skin and clothes
  • Neutralizing shampoo and conditioner

Step 2: Prepare Your Hair

Before applying the relaxer, you’ll need to prepare your hair by washing it with a clarifying shampoo to remove any product buildup. Then, divide your hair into four sections and clip them up.

Step 3: Apply the Relaxer

Put on the gloves that come with the kit and apply the relaxer to one section of hair at a time, starting at the roots and working your way down to the ends. Use a comb or brush to distribute the relaxer evenly and avoid overlapping.

Step 4: Rinse and Neutralize

After the recommended time has passed, rinse the relaxer out thoroughly with warm water. Then, apply the neutralizer, following the instructions on the kit. Rinse the neutralizer out with warm water.

Step 5: Condition and Style

Apply the conditioner that comes with the kit and leave it in for the recommended time. Then, rinse it out and style your hair as desired.

How to Relax a Perm Professionally

If you’re not comfortable relaxing your perm at home, you can visit a professional stylist for a relaxer treatment. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

Step 1: Find a Stylist

Research and find a licensed stylist who has experience with relaxing hair. Ask for recommendations from friends or family members or search for reviews online.

Step 2: Consultation

During the consultation, discuss your desired results with the stylist and ask any questions you may have. The stylist will also assess your hair’s condition and determine the best method for relaxing your perm.

Step 3: Relaxer Treatment

The stylist will apply the relaxer solution to your hair, using a technique that avoids overlapping and ensures even application. The relaxer will be left on for a certain amount of time, depending on your hair’s texture and condition.

Step 4: Rinse and Neutralize

After the relaxer has been applied, the stylist will rinse it out thoroughly with warm water and apply a neutralizing solution to reform the chemical bonds in your hair. This step is critical to prevent damage and ensure the safety of the treatment.

Step 5: Condition and Style

After the neutralizer has been rinsed out, the stylist will apply a deep conditioner to moisturize and protect your hair. Then, they’ll style your hair as desired, using products that help maintain the health and integrity of your hair.

Risks and Considerations

Relaxing a perm can be a safe and effective way to change your hairstyle, but it’s important to be aware of the risks and considerations involved. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind:

Chemical Burns

Relaxers contain strong chemicals that can burn your skin and scalp if they come into contact with them. Make sure to wear gloves and apply petroleum jelly to your hairline and scalp to protect them from the chemicals.

Hair Damage

Relaxers can cause damage to your hair, making it dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. To minimize damage, make sure to follow the instructions carefully and not leave the relaxer on for too long.

Scalp Irritation

Relaxers can cause irritation and inflammation of the scalp, leading to discomfort and itchiness. If you experience any discomfort or burning during the treatment, rinse the relaxer out immediately and seek medical attention if necessary.


  1. Can I relax my perm myself at home? Yes, you can relax your perm yourself at home using an at-home relaxer kit. However, it’s important to follow the instructions carefully and take precautions to avoid chemical burns and hair damage.
  2. How often can I relax my perm? It’s generally recommended to wait at least 8-10 weeks between relaxer treatments to avoid over-processing and damaging your hair.
  3. Can I dye my hair after relaxing a perm? Yes, you can dye your hair after relaxing a perm, but it’s important to wait at least a week after the relaxer treatment to allow your hair to recover.
  4. Will relaxing my perm make my hair straight? Relaxing your perm will loosen the curls or waves and make your hair appear straighter, but it won’t make it completely straight. If you want straight hair, you may need to use a flat iron or other straightening tools.
  5. Can I use a relaxer on damaged hair? It’s generally not recommended to use a relaxer on damaged or over-processed hair, as it can lead to further damage and breakage. It’s best to wait until your hair has healed before attempting to relax it.

8. Conclusion

Relaxing a perm can be a great way to change your hairstyle and achieve the look you want. Whether you choose to do it yourself at home or visit a professional stylist, make sure to follow the instructions carefully and take precautions to avoid chemical burns and hair damage. By following these tips and techniques, you can safely and effectively relax your perm and enjoy a new look that suits your style and personality.

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