Perming may be in fashion again, but the techniques have improved so much since the early days. And while they may make your life easier without daily curling, perms still need extra and special care to maintain their texture.
This is especially true for shampoos, which can break or make your new perm.
If you forget to ask your stylist about the best shampoo for permed hair or simply want to know more options, here are our guides and suggestions for different circumstances and priorities.
- 1 Our Top Picks
- 2 How To Choose The Best Shampoo For Permed Hair
- 3 Top 8 Best Shampoos For A Perm: Detailed Reviews
- 3.1 Purifying Shampoos
- 3.2 Moisturizing Shampoos
- 3.3 Curly Hair Shampoos
- 3.4 Anti-Breakage Shampoos
- 4 Tips On Caring For Perms
- 4.1 After The Treatment
- 4.2 Washing
- 4.3 Styling
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
- 6 Final Words
Our Top Picks
|Product||Best For||Hair Type||Size Options (Fl oz)||Key Ingredients|
|Living proof Perfect Hair Day Triple Detox Shampoo||Best Overall Purifying Choice||Chemically Treated||5.4 / 24||Disodium EDTA, Charcoal Powder|
|OUAI Detox Shampoo||Organic Purifying Shampoo||All||10||EDTA, Apple Cider Vinegar, Keratin|
|Pure Nature Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner||Best Moisturizing Set||Damaged, Dry, Curly, or Frizzy Hair||16.9||Argan Oil, Vitamin E|
|L’Oreal Paris EverPure Moisture Shampoo||Best Color-Safe Choice||Color-Treated, Dry, Chemically Treated||8.5 / 11||Rosemary, Coco Betaine|
|Mielle Organics Babassu Conditioning Shampoo||Top Curl-Enhancing Option||Dry, Curly||8||Almond Protein, Babassu Oil, and Hibiscus extract|
|OGX Nourishing+ Coconut Milk Moisturizing Shampoo||Affordable Curl-Enhancing Choice||All||13||Coconut oil, coconut milk, egg white|
|Pureology Hydrate||Top Damage Prevention||Normal to Thick, Dry, Damaged, Frizzy, and Color-Treated||1.7 / 8 / 33.8||Jojoba, Green Tea, Sage|
|Nexxus Keraphix Shampoo||Best Fix For Damaged Hair||Damaged||33.8||Collagen, Keratin, and Elastin|
How To Choose The Best Shampoo For Permed Hair
Focus On Curl Enhancement And Moisture Retention
As you no longer have completely natural hair after the perming process, you have to make some adjustments to your hair care product assortment.
Perms are fairly dry, fragile (especially right after the treatment), and need some extra protection and nourishment to maintain the volume and definition of the curls. In simpler words, go for moisturizing, curl-enhancing products that don’t further damage the perm.
The best place to start this search is any shampoos with labels saying “for chemically treated hair” or “for permed hair”. This will help a great deal while you’re trying to narrow it down to only products that aren’t too aggressive or harsh to your perm.
Read The Label
If the product label doesn’t clearly state so, read the ingredient list to find out what’s in the shampoo. It’s highly recommended to stay away from any products with sulfates (SLS), alcohol, or silicone.
When no available products are completely free of these ingredients, the very least you should do is to choose shampoos with minimal content.
For instance, sulfates are commonly used in shampoos due to their strong cleaning capabilities, but these chemicals can make sensitive scalps feel itchy and irritated.
They’re also a bitter enemy of any hair that needs hydration. The sebum has the job of naturally moisturizing your hair, but it can get depleted by sulfates.
On top of that, alcohol can dry your hair fast, ruining the perm or at least making it frizzy and brittle. Silicones can add shine, but they can also weigh down your perm, making it lose its bounce and become heavy and greasy.
- Prioritize protein-rich products: To make sure your hair receives the right nourishment it needs. They can make your perm less fragile and protect it against stressors like heat-based styling tools.
- Make sure that your shampoos aren’t too creamy when you’re looking for moisturizing shampoos. Otherwise, your curly perm can be weighed down and change shape.
- Invest in a clarifying product and use it sparingly to remove any excess product from your hair and scalp besides the regular shampoo. Likewise, they should be friendly to chemically treated hair as well as promote moisture and healthy curly hair at the same time.
- Ask some recommendations for your stylist. You don’t have to buy everything they suggest but theirs can be a valuable source of advice.
Top 8 Best Shampoos For A Perm: Detailed Reviews
Living proof Perfect Hair Day Triple Detox Shampoo – Top Clarifying Choice For Perms
|Key ingredients||Disodium EDTA, Charcoal Powder|
|Hair type||Chemically Treated|
|Size(s)||5.4 / 24 Fl oz|
Living proof has captured our attention as they aren’t shy away from claiming to have taken a scientific approach to their hair care products. We’re pleased to see this particular clarifying shampoo has lived up to our expectations.
If you happen to live in an area with hard water, this should be your go-to choice after the perming. The disodium EDTA (chelating agent) can soften mineral deposits in the water, preventing them from building up on your hair. This shampoo also utilizes activated charcoal to absorb excess oil and dirt from your hair and scalp.
The Living proof shampoo goes easy on the hair and scalp without leaving them uncomfortable, heavy, or sticky. Its thick consistency can leave a white residue initially. But if you massage into the roots of your hair, it will be gone and leave only fresher hair with an aquatic scent afterward.
Formulated for color and chemically treated hair, this cleanser doesn’t contain any sulfates, parabens, phthalates, or silicones. It’s very safe to incorporate it into your hair care schedule, depending on how much buildup from hard water or styling products you want to get rid of.
- Pleasant aquatic fragrance
- Safe for color and chemically treated hair
- Gentle formula
- Leave the hair tangle-free and clean
- Thick consistency
Verdict: It’s hard to deny how pricey the Living proof detox shampoo is. But this clarifying product is the safest bet when you need a strong cleanser for your new perm.
OUAI Detox Shampoo – Organic Option
|Key ingredients||EDTA, Apple Cider Vinegar, Keratin|
|Size(s)||10 Fl oz|
If you’re a loyal fan of natural ingredients, put it on your shortlist.
As the organic cousin of EDTA, the acetic acid in the apple cider vinegar doesn’t just give it the distinctive smell but also the awesome ability to whisk away irritating flakes and excess oil. It makes the scalp free from styling product residue without feeling too dry.
Don’t worry about its effects on your perm. The OUAI shampoo isn’t only safe for coily, curly, and wavy hair but is also compatible with both thick, medium, and fine textures.
Hydrolyzed keratin has a strong presence in the OUAI detox shampoo as well, helping strengthen and repair your hair for a shiny, smooth finish.
Apple cider vinegar has a notorious heavy smell that has put off a lot of people. But this isn’t the case with the OUAI product: the scent is neither aggressive nor overwhelming.
In fact, if you’re a fan of OUAI perfume like this reviewer from Super Jolie, you’ll notice the signature Melrose Place scent left on your hair “strong enough to mask Detox’s main clarifying agent: apple cider vinegar”.
Keep in mind that this clarifying shampoo may feed hair color. So if a color treatment is one of your plans, skip it and pick something else.
- Phenomenal buildup removal ability
- Organic ingredients, no harsh chemicals
- Safe for curls
- May remove hair color a little
Verdict: OUAI gears its detox shampoo more towards fans of natural ingredients. It doesn’t just protect your curls from buildup and damage but also strengthens them, giving your stressed hair a fresh start each week.
Pure Nature Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner – Best Hair Care Set For Perms
|Key ingredients||Argan Oil, Vitamin E|
|Hair type||Damaged, Dry, Curly, or Frizzy Hair|
|Size(s)||16.9 Fl oz|
As perms already call for a conditioner after washing, you may as well go ahead and pick up a set like this from Pure Nature. It doesn’t just bring great value for your money (each bottle contains almost 17 fluid ounces), but this combination also saves you the hassle of researching and purchasing separate products for your permed hair.
The shampoo and conditioner come in sturdy plastic bottles with dangerously similar labels. Make sure to check them every time, or you may get confused and pick the wrong bottle. The manufacturer claims that the eco-friendly packaging is made of recycled resin.
The sulfate-free shampoo does a great job of cleaning perm hair without drying it. We’ve tried to leave out the conditioner, but the shampoo alone could still hold its ground.
Its gel-like consistency still left the perm softer, less frizzy, and fairly hydrated afterward – a performance that speaks volumes about its moisturizing capability.
Both the shampoo and conditioner smell pretty much the same. You’ll be disappointed if a strong scent coming out of hair care products is a must for you. There’s nothing exceptional about the fragrance of these products. It’s not bad by any means, but the scent doesn’t last very long either.
Another caveat of this set is your perm may get greasy faster. This means you may need to shorten the period between washes or introduce a purifying shampoo into your schedule.
- Come with a conditioner
- Eco-friendly packaging
- Toxin-free products
- Make the hair hydrated and less tangled
- May need an additional clarifying product
- Not long-lasting scent
Verdict: Despite its flaws, this Moroccan Argan set is a convenient choice for those with perms, restoring their moisture level without introducing any toxic chemicals.
L’Oreal Paris EverPure Moisture Shampoo – Best Color-Safe Choice
|Key ingredients||Rosemary, Coco Betaine|
|Hair type||Color-Treated, Dry, Chemically Treated|
|Size(s)||8.5 / 11 Fl oz|
Like its competitors, the French manufacturer makes sure that this product is completely safe for chemically treated hair by using no sulfate, paraben, salts, or any harsh surfactants that may strip away too much moisture.
What makes this shampoo stand out is the validation from L’Oreal Paris’ professional hair colorists. This personal testing procedure guarantees the anti-fade formula can keep the color completely intact for up to four weeks.
The shampoo doesn’t lather up much, but this is an expected result. In fact, this lack of bubbles is the clearest sign your hair won’t get dried out from the chemicals. On top of that, the growth of your hair can benefit from the rosemary in this shampoo.
However, you may need to use much more shampoo compared to higher-end products. It’s also not a good idea if you want to buy your conditioner from the same brand. The shampoo is okay, but the conditioner can leave your perm dried out badly.
- Travel size
- No harsh chemicals
- Paired with a mediocre conditioner
- May need to use a large amount of shampoo
Verdict: The L’Oreal Paris EverPure shampoo is a wonderful option if you need quick care for your perm while traveling.
Curly Hair Shampoos
Mielle Organics Babassu Conditioning Shampoo – Top Choice For Curls
|Key ingredients||Almond Protein, Babassu Oil, and Hibiscus extract|
|Hair type||Dry, Curly|
|Size(s)||8 Fl oz|
If you worry about the definition of your curls as much as their moisture level, have a look at the Babassu Conditioning shampoo from Mielle Organics.
We acknowledge how hard it is to find a product that can leave your curly perm squeaky clean and properly moisturized at the same time. But this shampoo can get the job done, which is proved by customers’ feedback.
According to Christina J from Always Desire Your Natural, “My hair definitely felt clean and my scalp felt so clear whenever using this shampoo. So I would not use this weekly, but whenever my scalp needed a good cleaning (at least twice a month).”
The organic babassu oil in its formula can reduce breakage, improve your hair elasticity, and smooth its ends. And the best part is it does all that without stripping your curls, ruining their definition, or making them frizzier.
However, the strong minty smell can be missed or hit. The rich peppermint aroma can keep you pleased for a few days. But there is also a chance of you finding it a little overwhelming.
- Protect curls and improve the hair’s elasticity
- Organic ingredients
- Compatible with all hair types
- Safe for color-treated hair
- From a women-owned business
- The scent isn’t everyone’s cup of tea
Verdict: The Mielle Organics Babassu Conditioning can give you peace of mind by taking care of your curls and making sure they’re always in good condition.
OGX Nourishing+ Coconut Milk Moisturizing Shampoo – Affordable Choice
|Key ingredients||Coconut oil, coconut milk, egg white|
|Size(s)||13 Fl oz|
More often than not, people seeking care products with organic ingredients find themselves on the higher end of the market spectrum, especially when catered for special needs like perms. But OGX has proved it can make a decent shampoo for treated curls without an exorbitant price tag.
For the most part, it’s in line with most of its competitors. OGX centers it around a special natural blend (coconut oil, coconut milk, and egg white protein) without harsh chemicals (no sulfates or paraben).
This shampoo isn’t good for curly hair but also works wonders with wavy hair or loose curls as well.
When paired with other spa products, the presence of coconut milk will bring the most enchanting experience in smoothing and sorting the hair without weighing down the curls.
You will feel your hair strands become much more hydrated right after the first wash. The coconut milk and oil can balance out the dryness and remove excess oil from the scalp at the same time.
We wish that the fragrance of this OGX shampoo could linger longer, though. And people with thick and oily hair may need more than one wash to clear out all the excess oil.
- Very affordable
- Keeps curls healthy, shiny, and moisturized
- Doesn’t weigh down tresses
- Smells good but doesn’t last long
- Thick hair may need additional washes
Verdict: The OGX Nourishing+ Coconut Milk shampoo is one of the best sulfate-free products you can find at this price range. It works great with curls, keeping them strong and smooth for a long time.
Pureology Hydrate – Top Choice
|Key ingredients||Jojoba, Green Tea, Sage|
|Hair type||Normal to Thick, Dry, Damaged, Frizzy and Color-Treated|
|Size(s)||1.7 / 8 / 33.8 Fl oz|
One of the most common concerns of people with a new perm is how to protect their fragile hair against the elements, accessories, and their own fingers. The Pureology professional shampoo may cost a lot, but it can put your mind at rest and free from those worries.
Perms are infamous for being prone to environmental stressors, which can lead to excess frizz and split ends. The Pureology Hydrate can undo the damage and prevent it from happening. The green tea extract can link hair bonds and make your mane healthier, more manageable, and stronger.
The Pureology Hydrate just needs a small amount each wash to do the trick. The results can be quite dramatic with plenty of shine and no frizz on your perm. The thick consistency lathers quite well for a sulfate-free product, leaving the hair smoother and softer.
The fragrance seems to be the biggest source of complaints. Some people have no problems with it, while others think it smells like detergent.
- Prevent and curb the damage done to hair strands
- Several size options
- The scent may be too overwhelming for many.
Verdict: While its price is quite high, the Pureology Hydrate performs better than other products when it comes to breakage prevention for perms.
Nexxus Keraphix Shampoo – Good For Repairing Damage
|Key ingredients||Collagen, Keratin, and Elastin|
|Size(s)||33.8 Fl oz|
The Nexxus Keraphix is one of the rare affordable hair care products that have gathered universal acclaim from stylists and other professionals. They usually recommend it as the last resort when your hair has been severely damaged. But on the prevention side, it works just as well.
The vast majority of your hair is keratin – a fibrous protein that gets depleted in damaged hair, along with the Nexxus Keraphix, elastin, and collagen.
Black rice extract is a key ingredient to make fermented rice extract for washing, and to provide a profound impact on the hair fiber, avoiding breakage and damage thanks to the amino acid and glutamic acid in it.
After drying, the hair feels silky and soft from beginning to end, like freshly trimmed. The nice shine and slip before perming may come back to your hair’s texture after a few weeks of use.
The only gripe we have is how Nexxus only offers this awesome shampoo in a big bottle without any other sizes.
- Full of essential proteins
- Able to repair severely damaged perms
- Makes the hair feel soft and silky
- No travel size
Verdict: The Nexxus Keraphix offers salon-grade quality at a drugstore price. Besides preventing breakage and split ends, it also does a great job of repairing severely damaged hair.
Tips On Caring For Perms
After The Treatment
Don’t Touch Your Perm Often
Only gently touch and style it with your fingers occasionally when needed during this period. Don’t run your fingers roughly through your curls, as this can break them up and make them looser.
Keep Water Away From Your Perm
Steer clear of any washing or conditioning for the first 1-3 days, even with perm-safe products above.
When going outside, especially when it’s raining or snowing, make sure your hair is as dry as possible.
Keep Your Perm Loose
For a few days, your new perm needs time to settle in and should be able to flow loosely. Adding it to braids or a ponytail can reshape and damage parts of the perm.
Don’t Color-Treat Your Perm Anytime Soon
Even if you’re dying for a color change to create a completely new look, don’t give in to temptation. It could damage your new perm further and even break it off horribly.
If you have to, opt for more gentle solutions like color shampoos, powder, or tints. They don’t do as much harm to your hair as regular color treatments.
Wash Your Hair Less
Cleaning your curls with shampoo can keep them bouncy and fresh. But doing it often can strip away too much essential oil from your already fragile hair and make it relax faster. A wash or so per week should be enough to keep your new, delicate perm clean without ruining its beauty.
Consider dry shampoos for chemically treated hair if your perm gets dirty and needs a quick cleanup between its regular washes. Dispense a small amount into the roots of your hair and leave it there for a few minutes. Massage your scalp gently to get rid of any dirt and residue.
Don’t Use Hot Water
Water at high temperatures can remove too much oil needed to keep your perm lustrous and moisturized. And as you may already know from your experience with styling tools, heat can easily ruin curls as well.
Make sure you only wash your perm with cool or warm water. But don’t hesitate to rinse it thoroughly. Otherwise, the product residue can weigh your hair down and prevent it from staying fresh.
Condition It Regularly
Conditioning is a must for every perm. Even the lightest perming process can dry out your hair to a certain extent, leading to a frizzy and dull look.
Conditioners formulated for perms can restore luster and moisture to chemically treated hair locks. They can’t just detangle and soften your curls but also make them last longer.
As the ends are the driest part of your perm, apply a conditioner there first before extending towards the roots.
Leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse it out completely with warm water. Make sure no residue is left behind on your hair. It can be a huge problem later by attracting dirt to your curls, weighing them down, and making them look duller.
Hair masks for chemically treated hair are a good companion to your conditioner. Use it once a week to boost the moisture level of your perm as well as rebuild its smoothness.
Stay Away From Heat Styling Methods
Keep your perm away from other heat-based tools for the time being.
Rollers are a cheap and safe alternative to those styling tools. They can give your perm some touch-ups without permanently damaging it.
When you can’t avoid a heat-based tool, at least protect your perm with a heat protectant.
Choose a moisturizing heat protectant that can enhance your curls and don’t weigh them down.
Dry Your Perm Properly
Prefer air drying over blow-drying, which can lead to hair loss. Don’t use a towel as it can be abrasive on the shaft of your hair and weaken your curls eventually.
Even if your perm becomes tangled, don’t use a brush on it unless you want to wreak havoc on your delicate strands. A brush can make your hair frizzier or even separate and ruin your curls.
Trim Your Perm Often
Trimming removes the extra weight that can become a burden on your hair when it grows. See your stylist and get the ends of your perm trimmed once a month or so to keep your curls healthy and bouncy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Use Any Shampoo On Permed Hair?
No. Chemically treated hair like perms is prone to damage without proper care. A lot of chemicals commonly found in regular shampoos (sulfates, silicones, and so on) can have a negative impact on your hair.
Additionally, your shampoo also needs to provide extra moisture and enhance your curls. A random choice can do the opposite and ruin and dry out your perm completely.
How Often Should I Shampoo My Permed Hair?
Delicate perms should not be washed too often. Wash it every 5-7 days, so the natural oils on your hair don’t get stripped too much.
What Happens If You Wash Permed Hair Too Early?
Water and chemicals in shampoos can deactivate your curls and make them fall apart. Wait for a few days before washing it with a suitable shampoo and conditioner.
What Should You Not Do After Getting A Perm?
There are a wide array of activities you should avoid, or at least only do sparingly with a perm. This includes brushing, heat styling, putting the hair up, washing it often, and using hot water, among other things.
Without the best shampoo for permed hair, the money and effort put into your delicate curls may go to waste quickly. However, there is no universal choice for every perm out there.
For instance, when you want a quick solution to the moisture level of your perm, check out the Pure Nature Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner. This set has everything in a package, ready to nourish your hair for the tough weeks ahead.
But if you already have a good regular shampoo and need an additional purifying product, have a look at Living proof Perfect Hair Day Triple Detox Shampoo. It can remove product buildup and residue without ruining your newly treated hair.