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Need Advice About Perming Gray Hair

Started 1340403294.68 in Beauty Banter | Last reply 1340723535.257 by dsky

Before anyone reminds me that permed hair is "out of style" please be aware that we all don't have hair that will behave without a perm - at 71, I have determined what's looks best for me. I'd love to forgo the torture.

I need some advice for a perm that lasts like a strong perm for resistant gray hair. I also color. I'm tired of wasting money at the salon only to have nothing left of the perm in several weeks. Years ago my mother had her gray hair permed an they achieved nice springy but soft curls. I definitely think it's the products used now.

I'm hoping some of you may have had similar problems and found a perm that gives the desired result. My hairdresser just keeps giving me the same perm over and over, every two months and doesn't seem to care what I go through to try and achieve a style. Please HELP!!!! TIA

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maestra1340403815.668815 PostsRegistered 3/13/2008

Maybe someone who's hair you think is well done could recommend a new stylist.

rsk1340405514.314 PostsRegistered 1/3/2005

Are you wanting to do a home perm? The best one out there, fool-proof, is Ogilvie Precisely Right. It does not give you kinky hair and lasts about 3 months in gray, color-treated hair.

Available at Drugstore.com

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KatCat11340406121.118201 PostsRegistered 7/21/2011

I am sure that perms have changed over the years and are not as strong as they were. I would go to a salon to have it done and tell them what you want and expect. If you color your hair and perm it be careful so your hair doesn't end up like straw. I am not trying to be funny but both products can be very drying. If you plan on doing it yourself, I wish you luck.

Missey11340407481.5373174 PostsRegistered 12/21/2008Sierra Foothills CA

OP, I have been going through the exact same thing for several months. My hair has always been difficult to perm but even more so now. We have changed perms, used smaller rods. I also get my hair colored. Maybe it is our age? And I know a lot of people who get a perm, it is not out of style. But I can shed no light on the problem.

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nonic1340408012.87753 PostsRegistered 8/23/2009

Thanks for everyone who responded. I'm not opposed to having it done at a salon - I may even get one of the Ogilvie Precisely Right (happy for a product suggestion) and ask my stylist to use it. I just want a perm that lasts and she 's a friend of my DD and will probably use it.

I've had problems with many of the salons in the area - they don't want to perm color processed hair. I've had it done for at least 30 years without problems and yet they won't chance it (I dated a hair dresser for 20 yrs. who did a great job but has since passed away).

The reason I'm so intense about it today is I had a perm one month ago and it's already limp and soft - won't hold and no body. I'm tired of trying to add in products to create "coarser" texture - haven't found any of those that do what I want either. Really frustrating but I'm not ready to be snow white either.

Hey, Misssy - I'm sure it could be age and maybe even some of the meds I'm taking but I must say that I have a 92 yr. old aunt who's one most of the same meds I am and her hair isn't limp- but it is different hair - LOL - why me/us!!!!{#emotions_dlg.mad}

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dsky1340410475.9771102 PostsRegistered 1/3/2009

Hair only grows an average of about a half an inch a month, so in two months your hair has grown an inch. You shouldn't get a perm every two months as these chemicals that curl the hair also change the structure of the hair permanently, hence the word permanent. Your hair is probably overly porous and therefore the perming solution has nothing to hold onto in order to curl the hair. It is over processed, and should be conditioned every day with protein and moisture. After five months a perm will hold much better, the more your hair is in better shape. If you are coloring your hair blonde this a double whammy, meaning your hair is porous from the lightener and the perm chemicals. Bumble & Bumble make great products to enhance curls in hair called Curl Concious. Try these to help you last longer between the harsh chemicals of perming.

nonic1340469597.293753 PostsRegistered 8/23/2009

dsky - I believe you are correct. This has become a terrible revolving door. I'm at a loss as to how to manage - it could be good to go without perms or color for as long as a year but at the same time how does a person function and look semi-normal without any color or style? If I were to condition every day my hair would be so limp that I wouldn't be able to leave the house.

annabellet­hecat1340470595.86717360 PostsRegistered 9/23/2006
My niece is around 60. She started going gray, just a little bit when she was in her 30's. She is now all gray. I hadn't seen her for a while. The length is probably down to her elbow. The picture is of her, her husband, son and his wife and their 3 children. The minute you see that picture...your eyes go directly to my niece and her hair. It is a pretty gray. She said, "you can't see under the gray, it's still dark hair that hasn't turned. I haven't been to get my hair colored in a few weeks, just been too busy. I now have small bits of gray around my face. Nowhere else! It kinsman of softens my features. This gray takes perm just like anything. But I have something I haven't seen much. NEW PARAGRAPH - When you've had an operation and put to sleep, the chemicals affect your hair. My old hairdresser would make me wait to get a perm or color. My friend went on and permed it 2 1/2 weeks after my neck operation. It took the perm ok, but not as well as it would have done when I've waited. I haven't seen anything about this. I've had a few operations lately and had to wait to perm or color. I feel like I know you ladies. Can we talk a little about not only gray, coloring or perming after operations too. You ladies rock!!

dsky1340500529.8031102 PostsRegistered 1/3/2009

Mysterylady I would not stop coloring. In fact coloring will give your hair body also, a perm gives it curl, and usually you have to blow it smoother to get a nice wave. Is there another style you would like to try, as there are so many products that promote body. I personally like a softer volume that can be created with a round ceramic brush. Olivia Garden make wonderful brushes, I get them at Ulta. Never stop coloring, personally it is my addiction.

Jasminesun1340508441.923458 PostsRegistered 7/29/2006

Dsky has a great suggestion! I was wondering if you might want to try a new style? The new trendy styles are a little shorter with layers that just need a tousle cream after shampooing and conditioning and out the door you go. It is so very hard to let go of a style you are used to, believe me, I know! I would do well to follow my own suggestion. I am your age and wear my hair shoulder length. colored a pretty bright red. I just put in a little argon oil and a little tousle gel and I'm good. My daughter thinks I should have a straighter style, more flat on top but I can't bring myself to go flat!

RAVGIRL1340556188.517104 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

Could be a lot of differnt reasons for the perms not holding as long as you would like. my hair has changed a lot since I have gotten older. The texture has changed, making it hard to manage, its dull looking etc. I have resource to all the name brand hair companies and I swear I have made a dent in trying them all to find something that works.............I THINK I have found it. Paul Mitchell Awapuhi and Wild Ginger line(black containers). There are 2 different formulations. 1 is for colored/aging hair and the other is for curly/wavy/aging hair. I am in the last catagory. I have only used them for less than a week but I am liking what I see so far so my serch may be over. And by the way, have you asked your stylist about trying a different perm? Take the time to explain to her how frustrated you are and if she doesn't listen then try someone else----its your hair and you have every right to be happy!!!

nonic1340580511.583753 PostsRegistered 8/23/2009

Just read through all the recent replies and will address everything I can remember.

Yes, my hairdresser is aware that I am having this problem. She has been buying a brand of perm that used to work beautifully but no longer is. The brand that they use in the salon has too much conditioner for my hair as do all the other brands she has tried. It seems she has no further solutions and is content to keep perming more frequently.

As far as new styles - I feel that I look best with some height on the top and at the crown level since I have a round face and rather large head. It balances out the roundness and gives me a slightly oval face. Without the height I resemble a balloon with peach fuzz and my less than perfect 71 yr. old skin just pops out and really ages me.

My hair has always been fly-away and will stand out/become windblown in a bad way at the tiniest breeze - a perm gives a bit more control.

I have also discussed in other posts that the area that I live in had a beauty school and nearly 100% of the stylists are graduates. It's a rather small area so finding stylists that do things differently is a problem.

I have colored most of my adult life - not a pale blond - more of a dark blond/light brown - a bit brighter than my medium brown but I began going gray in my 40s. I have permed since my early teens when my hair was very curl resistant (my first perm was a tonnette - when the rods came out I had NO curl - that's resistant). My stylist says my hair is in excellent condition for the abuse it takes.

I have hesitated to travel to the larger cities for hair care - it would be about 1 1/2 hr. trip one way which might be ok in nice weather but impossible in the winter. I hoped someone who had this similar problem would know the brand of perm their hairdresser uses successfully. Thanks to those who have offered advice - I have made note of them all and will try them.

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dsky1340588011.2431102 PostsRegistered 1/3/2009

I would think about adding some very light golden blonde highlights to the top of you hair and sides, this will give the illusion of thicker hair and give you more volume. Your hairdresser is doing you a big disservice by perming your hair after it only grows one inch as these chemicals used for this service are highly damaging. Her telling you that your hair looks good even though you abuse it, well I would have to say that she is the one abusing it and she should know better. If a client of mine begged for a perm every two months I would say no way, in fact I don't do perms anymore because to me they just look like fried hair because the client wants them so much. I stick by the oath that doctors take, "first do no harm".

RAVGIRL1340640215.73104 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

Here is a suggestion for a perm that may just work for you. I used it on white/gray very resistant hair that does not hold curl well. It lasted the longest of any perm that I used previously. Maybe your hair dresser can get it for you to try. It is called:

K-PAK Waves Reconstructive Thio Free for White/ Gray hair

Curled well and little to no relaxation at all. Lasted over 3 months. No dryness with nice body also. GOOD LUCK

nonic1340667438.62753 PostsRegistered 8/23/2009

RAVGIRL - Thanks so much for the suggestion - that's what I was hoping to get. I would like to try the perm you suggested. Is it something your salon has on hand or do you/your hair dresser order it. Where is it available to order, if you know. TIA

dsky1340723535.2471102 PostsRegistered 1/3/2009

Mysterylady, please do your hair a favor and hold off on this new perm. I am glad that ravgirl has a nice tip for you but your hair still will just be more damaged as it needs to grow more and be healthier inorder for it to "hold" the perming chemicals in your hair shaft . You will love your hair so much better if you give it a break. Again, you can still color it.

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