A: Yes. Although I don’t recommend jumping into the local watering hole right after leaving the salon.
This is a common question when it comes to perms. There is the traditional 72-hour rule, where an
individual is supposed to wait three days before getting their hair wet. The specific restriction may vary (some say wetting the hair
is okay, but don’t shampoo the hair) but the basics of the rule are the same: give your hair a break after a perm. This is isn’t bad
advice and in fact has sensible origins.
The fact is that properly performed perm services leave hair as stable as before the hair was
treated. The purpose of the neutralizer in the perm process is to restore the disulfide bonds that give the hair’s wave pattern
stability. The neutralizer does this through the use of hydrogen peroxide and a chemical reaction called “oxidation”. But using
hydrogen peroxide isn’t the only way to neutralize a perm and restabilize those disulfide bonds.
There are some perm techniques that use “air neutralization” to reset the wave pattern. The hair
is rinsed following the processing of the waving solution and blotted to remove excess moisture. Then the client is placed under a
cool hair dryer and air is blown over the head to dry the curls and the air itself neutralizes the perm and resets the disulfide bonds.
The reason for the “waiting period” is to prevent people from doing things that COULD damage the
hair soon after a perm. In most cases, the hair is left more porous after a perm than it was before. This means that shampoos can be
harsher to the hair, and some styling tools can be more damaging to permed hair. While getting the hair wet in cool, clear spring
water might not have an adverse effect, going scuba diving in the ocean the day after perming the hair might be a different story.
It all boils down to common sense and taking care of your hair. If you chemically treat the hair, you
need to prepare to care for it properly. Give it a rest on the harsh styling processes for a few days, and pay attention to its needs.