How to Swim After Getting a Perm

As with all chemically treated hair, permed hair must be treated with care to maintain a healthy look. The hair shaft is left more vulnerable to moisture after being permed, because the chemicals used in the process open up the cuticle. Permed hair therefore requires a resting period to strengthen up again. Typically, you should wait a minimum of 72 hours between the time of the perm and exposure to pool-water chlorine and other chemicals. It is possible to swim after getting a perm, however, if you use a swim cap.

Swim caps keep the hair dry, allowing freshly permed hair to maintain its condition. Credit: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

Step 1

Apply a light leave-in conditioner to the hair. This will help seal in moisture and nutrients, and avoid overdrying or damage from friction.

Step 2

Pin your hair up on top of your head. Grab the curls in sections of two to three at a time, and push them toward your scalp like coils. Use bobby pins to gently secure them as far away from the neck as possible. This will help the curls to maintain their form.

Step 3

Put on a swimming cap. Starting from the nape of the neck, and then pull the cap forward over the hair. Tuck all hair tightly underneath the cap to protect it.

Things You'll Need

  • Leave-in conditioner

  • Bobby pins

  • Swim cap


Avoid leave-in conditioners that contain alcohol -- it is very drying and can be damaging to curly hair.

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