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How to loosen a tight perm

Updated April 17, 2017

Countless women have experienced a hair cut that didn't turn out as planned or a perm that went awry. If you have got a perm and find that the curls are just too tight, you can take steps to correct it. Here are some ways to loosen a tight perm.

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  1. Shampoo hair immediately after receiving the perm. If you notice the curls are too tight, shampoo as soon as possible. Doing so will help wash away some of the chemicals. Generally, you aren't suppose to shampoo until a few days after your perm, to allow the perm to set.

  2. Use a deep conditioner on your hair. Put the conditioner on, comb your hair straight, and wrap it in a cellophane bag. Leave the conditioner on your hair for 10 to 30 minutes. This will help to relax the curls.

  3. Try hair oil treatments. There are both hot and cold oil treatments that can help straighten hair. Opt for a hot oil treatment that requires you to heat up the oil prior to application. The oil will help weigh down the hair as it nourishes it, thus loosening curls.

  4. Buy an at-home hair straightening kit. These kits are sold at chemists and feature creams that can relax hair. Be careful using straightening kits as some may contain chemicals that can damage your hair. Since your hair is already dry and damaged from the perm's chemicals, it's best to avoid applying more chemicals to the hair. Choose a kit that is gentle on damaged hair.

  5. Braid your hair before going to bed. This will help to smooth the hair and unkink especially tight curls. Keep the braids loose to avoid a crimped look.

  6. Purchase shampoos and conditioners that advertise straightening capabilities. These products will not make your hair straight but will, however, help to loosen your curls.

  7. Tip

    Perms usually relax over time. If you have just got your perm, your curls will likely relax and loosen over the next few weeks.


    Permed hair is much more sensitive as it has been chemically treated. Be gentle with your hair as it is more prone to breakage.

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Things You'll Need

  • Shampoo
  • Deep conditioner
  • Oil treatments
  • At-home straightening kit

About the Author

Contributing Writer
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