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Can You Perm Bleached Hair? The Top 5 Things You Should Know


I have a confession to make. I have never bleached my hair. Don’t get me wrong. I have colored my hair. And I did come of age in the early 90s, so I had plenty of perms! But I was always wary of bleaching my hair. At first, I was too worried about damaging it. Then, as I got older, I was proud of my orange auburn hair and did not want to be just another woman wanting to be blonde. Of course, I have many friends who love being either natural blondes or bottle blondes, of all shades, and they run the whole gamut from dead hair to lustrous locks. I have been through it all with my girlfriends, bleaching hair over bathroom sinks, rushing to the strip mall to have mistakes repaired, and booking fancy salons off Union Square in San Francisco. You name it, I’ve seen it. So when it comes to whether you can perm bleached hair, I have gathered the answers you may be seeking.  

Table of Contents:  

  1. What Is a Perm?  
  2. The Correct Order of Perming, Bleaching, and Coloring 
  3. Top 5 Things to Know About Perming Bleached Hair 
  4. How to Best Protect Your Treated Hair 

What Is a Perm? 

For those not in the know (or not from the 90s), the term “perm” stands for “permanent wave.” It requires the use of harsh chemicals and curling rods. Back when I was a kid in the 80s and 90s, we all had super tight curls. I still have pictures of myself looking like I had a fluffy animal on my head. Today, stylists perform perms with less harsh chemicals, and they can be done in bigger, bouncier waves, to look more natural. I stopped perming my hair a long time ago, but many women with straight hair hungry for some bounce still go regularly to the stylist for help. The nice thing is that it really can look amazingly natural, and if you care for your hair well, you can keep it healthy and happy. The trouble is, when you add bleach, another harsh chemical, to the perm process, you venture into potentially dangerous territory.  

The Correct Order of Perming, Bleaching, and Coloring 

I am a huge fan of playing with hair color. Like I tell my daughter, “it will grow back.” But you have to be prepared and fully aware of the undertaking of playing with hair color, including if you have bleached hair, what your hair type is, and even your hair structure. Chemical treatments are serious when it comes to the existing hair on your head. Yes, it will grow back, but you do not want it to fall out, do you?  

If your answer is no, then there is an order to getting permed bleached hair. You need to bleach your hair first. Next, color according to your plans. Finally, after giving your hair a break from chemicals for a week or two, you can perm it. Here is why this order is critical: today, perm solutions exist explicitly for colored and treated hair. You can ensure your stylist uses that gentle solution and your hair will undergo less destruction. 

Top Five Things to Know about Perming Bleached Hair 

Now you know the proper order to bleach, color, and perm your hair, and you are ready to book your appointments. Here are a few more things to keep in mind: 

  1. Patience Is Key. Remember that you are undergoing a long process. Bleaching, coloring, and perming take hours and require weeks of waiting in between. Settle in. 
  2. Fade Away. With the added chemicals from the perm, your color is likely to fade more quickly than it would without the perm.  
  3. Moisturize. All this processing will inevitably dry your hair out. Conduct a quick hair strand test – take a strand of hair from the back of your head and try stretching it. If it breaks – it needs moisture. If you want that lovely luster to last, be sure to invest in products that will keep your hair full of moisture and natural oils. 
  4. Wash Less. Now is as good a time as any to discover, if you have not already, that you should only be washing your hair once or twice a week. The more you wash it, the more quickly both your curls and color will fade.  
  5. Inevitable Damage. Brace yourself. In the end, you may still deal with some damage. The bonds of your hair may break, and you may end up getting a haircut sooner than you planned. Remember, whatever happens, your hair will grow back. 

How to Best Protect Your Treated Hair 

If you know me at all, you know I am going to tell you to practice the ultimate in self-care. Treat your hair the way you treat yourself, with great care. You can protect your treated hair from the inside by drinking lots of water, eating a nutrient-rich diet, and getting plenty of sleep. Oh! And manage that stress! Externally, invest in all natural, plant-based products specific for your hair concerns.

Ultimately, you can do a lot to your hair in the salon without too much concern over damage if you make sure you take good care of it afterward. 

Below are a few links to products you can check out after you have permed, colored, and bleached your hair.  

Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner 

I fell in love with Moroccan argan oil a few years back for my skin. Now they have it for hair! This seemingly magic oil is great for restoring health after treatment.  

Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner

Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner

If you are a fan of coconut, this is the combo for you. Coconut has long been known for its moisturizing properties, and the smell is heavenly! 

Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner

Onion Black Seed Hair Oil

Castor, jojoba, avocado, and more! This hair oil draws on all the greats to help replenish your natural hair oils after the perming treatment.  

Onion Black Seed Hair Oil

Click the links and navigate the site at will. You will find a ton to choose from to keep on your shelf after you bleach, color, and perm your hair.  

Shanna Mendez

Shanna Mathews Mendez is a freelance writer and blogger on topics related to self-care, naturopathy, female empowerment, and motherhood. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children, where she enjoys traveling, being active outdoors, and studying herbalism and plant-based remedies in her free time. Drawing on her graduate degree in comparative literature and her own life experiences, she is currently writing her first book. She can be found online at her website

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