Can You Perm Bleached Hair? Tips for a Safe and Damage-Free Process.

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Oh, the allure of silky, straight hair or those bouncy, luscious curls! Many of us have an insatiable desire to switch things up, be it through a new cut, color, or texture.

But what happens when you mix bleach and perms?

Is it safe to perm bleached hair or are you opening Pandora’s box of hair trauma?

This is a question that’s been asked more times than we can count. So, let’s put your worries to rest. 

Can you perm bleached hair? 

The short answer is yes, but it’s not that simple. Perming bleached hair can be tricky and potentially damaging if not done properly. 

What’s the issue? 

Both perming and bleaching are processes that involve breaking down your hair’s natural structure and reconstructing it.

This can lead to an increased risk of damage, especially when you perm bleached hair. Your hair might become dry, brittle, and more prone to breakage, split ends and frizz

“I’ve experienced stacked chemical hair treatments on my own hair and lived through the results, I normally would strongly encourage you to select one chemical treatment or the other, but not both.”

Karen Marie Shelton, CEO at
Can you perm bleached hair infographic Always wait at least two weeks between bleaching (or any color-treatment) and perming. This waiting period helps your hair to recover and regain some of its lost strength. 

How does bleaching hair affect its texture and strength?

Bleaching hair can have a significant impact on its texture and strength.

The bleach strips the hair of its natural color and moisture, leaving it dry, brittle, and weak. This can make the hair more susceptible to damage during perming.

Perming involves the use of chemicals to break down the hair’s natural structure and reshape it.

When hair has already been weakened by bleaching, it may not be able to withstand the chemical process of perming. This can lead to further damage, breakage, and even hair loss.

However, if done correctly and with proper precautions, it is possible to perm bleached hair without causing too much damage.

The trick is to wait at least a few weeks after bleaching before perming to allow the hair to recover and strengthen.

Using a deep conditioning treatment and bond strengthening products like Olaplex before and after perming can help to minimize damage and keep the hair healthy.

How long should you wait to perm your hair after bleaching? 

Experts recommended waiting at least one to two weeks after bleaching before you perm your hair. This will give your hair time to recover and regain some of its strength. 

But remember, everyone’s hair is different. Always listen to what your hair is telling you. If it feels dry or brittle, wait a bit longer before perming. 

  • The safety of perming bleached hair largely depends on the health of your hair.
  • Always consult with a professional before perming bleached hair.
  • Wait at least one to two weeks after bleaching before perming.

If you must perm your bleached hair, wait at least two weeks after bleaching to give your hair time to recover.

What is hair perming and how does it work on bleached hair?

Like hair bleaching or lightening, hair perming is a chemical process that changes the structure of the hair. 

It involves the use of chemicals to break and reform the bonds in the hair, resulting in a permanent curl or wave pattern.

That good news is that perming can be done on all types of hair, including bleached hair.

Another important factor to consider when perming bleached hair is the pH level of your hair 

Bleached hair has a higher pH level than normal hair, which can affect the perm process.

Your hair, already vulnerable from bleaching, can suffer further damage.

That’s why it’s crucial to use a pH-balanced perm solution. This magic potion helps to minimize harm to your delicate strands. 

Watch and learn: How do perms work?

If you’re into the science of it all, here’s a great video that shows you what perms do to your hair cuticle and how perms work.

How to prevent damage when perming bleached hair.

If you’re heart’s set on a head of curls, there are some best practices and techniques that can help you minimize any damage. 

Ensure Good Hair Condition 

One of the most vital things to do is to make sure that your hair is in good condition before perming.

This means using a deep conditioning treatment regularly in the weeks leading up to the perm.

Use a Gentle Perm Solution 

Always use a gentle perm solution.

Look for a formula that is specifically designed for bleached or damaged hair, as these will be less harsh than regular perms. 

Make sure you follow the instructions carefully and don’t leave the solution on for longer than recommended. You’ll fry your hair!

Timing is Crucial 

Timing is also key when perming bleached hair.

It’s generally recommended to wait at least two weeks after bleaching before perming, to give the hair time to recover and strengthen.

It’s always a good idea to space out chemical treatments as much as possible to avoid overloading the hair with too many harsh chemicals at once.

Caring for your Hair Post-Perm 

Finally, you’ll need take good care of the hair after perming too.

This means using a gentle shampoo and conditioner, avoiding heat styling as much as possible, and using a deep conditioning treatment regularly to keep your hair soft and silky.

Follow these tips and techniques and it’s totally possible to perm bleached hair safely without damage.

What are some alternatives to perming bleached hair?

Perming bleached hair is not for the faint-hearted!

It carries a lot of risks, including severe damage to your hair.

But there are other, mroe natural methods to add curls or beachy waves to your bleached hair without resorting to a perm. Check them out: 

  • Heat Styling Tools: Use curling irons, curling wands or even straighteners to create curls. Always remember to use a heat protectant beforehand to minimize damage.
  • Rag Curls: This is a heatless method that involves wrapping damp hair around strips of fabric and leaving it overnight. You’ll wake up to bouncy curls in the morning!
  • Braid Waves: Another heatless method! Just braid your damp hair before bedtime and let it loose in the morning for natural-looking waves.

Each of these methods come with their own pros and cons, so it’s essential to consider your hair’s health, your desired look, and your lifestyle before deciding on a method. 

Note: Always conduct a strand test before trying a new hair styling method, especially on bleached hair. This will help you gauge how your hair will react to the process.

Perming bleached hair FAQs

When it comes to perming bleached hair, you might have a lot of questions.

Here are some frequently asked questions about this topic, along with their answers to help you make informed decisions about your hair care. 

Can I perm bleached hair?

Yes, you can perm bleached hair!

However, because bleach can weaken hair, perming it afterwards could lead to further damage if not done properly. It’s advisable to consult a professional stylist who will help you assess the health and condition of your hair.

How long after bleaching my hair can I perm it?

Ideally, you should wait at least two weeks after bleaching your hair before getting a perm.

This allows your hair to recover and reduces the risk of damage.

How can I prevent damage to my bleached, permed hair?

Deep-conditioning treatments, protein treatments, and avoiding heat styling tools can help keep your hair healthy and prevent damage.

Also use a shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for chemically treated hair to keep. your tresses nourished.

What should I do if my permed, bleached hair gets damaged?

If your hair gets damaged, make an appointment with a professional hairstylist.

They can assess the damage and recommend the best course of action, which could include a haircut, deep conditioning treatments, or other remedial measures.

Don’t worry about being embarrassed- they’ve seen it all before!

Can I perm my hair at home or should I go to a professional?

While it’s not impossible to perm your hair at home, it’s strongly recommended that you reach out to a professional. Here’s why: 

  • Expertise: Professional hairdressers have years of experience and training to ensure the process goes smoothly.
  • Proper application: They know exactly how to apply the perm solution and the neutralizer evenly to prevent any mishaps.
  • Correct products: Professionals know the right products to use for different hair types and conditions.
  • Safety: They can help minimize the risk of hair damage, especially for bleached hair which is more delicate.

If you decide to perm your hair at home, you risk uneven application, poor results, and hair damage.

This is especially true for bleached hair, which is already in a vulnerable state. So, save yourself the potential heartache and opt for a professional touch. 

Always remember that your hair’s health and appearance is worth investing in. So, going to a professional can be considered a worthy investment for your hair.

Can you perm color-treated hair?

Yes, you can perm color-treated hair, but there’s a “but” here.

It’s important to understand that both coloring and perming are chemical processes that alter the structure of your hair. Doing both can put a lot of stress on your hair and lead to significant damage if not done correctly. 

Here’s an essential tip: Always wait at least two weeks between bleaching (or any color-treatment) and perming. This waiting period helps your hair to recover and regain some of its lost strength. 

In addition to timing, there are a few other considerations to keep in mind: 

  • Your hair’s health: Hair that is already damaged or weak isn’t a good candidate for double processing. Make sure your hair is in good health before introducing it to another chemical process.
  • Quality of the products: Always use high-quality products for both coloring and perming. They might be a bit more costly, but the extra expense is worth it to protect your hair’s health.
  • Professional help: If you’re unsure about doing it yourself, seek professional help. They have the knowledge and experience to ensure the processes are done safely.

In conclusion: Yes, you can perm color-treated hair. However, do it with caution and proper care to prevent any potential damage.

Parting words

So, that’s everything you need to know about whether you can perm your bleached hair. 

Don’t forget the golden rules we’ve shared: 

  • Patience is a virtue – wait at least a week after bleaching before perming your hair.
  • When in doubt, seek out a professional to avoid unnecessary damage.
  • Make deep conditioning your hair a regular habit to keep it healthy.

These aren’t just friendly tips, they’re crucial steps to keep your hair healthy and vibrant. They will not only make your hair look stunning but also feel strong and nourished. 

We hope we’ve helped you to make an educated decision about perming your bleached hair. Stay fabulous, and keep your hair shining! 

This article was written by:

  • Nicola Freeman, Creative Director & Content Lead
    Creative Director & Content Lead

    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during lockdown for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!