What to Do When You are Thinking about Turning Back to the Perm . . .
We all have been there—sometime along our natural journey we begin to consider turning back to the perm. Whether it’s because of hairstyle boredom, looking for a change, or just simply missing those “bone straight” days, no matter what the reason, before you make a “permanent” decision take the following intervention steps into consideration.
Recommendation 1: First of all, before you make any drastic decisions I would suggest that you put your hair in a protective style, braids, twists, bun, headwrap etc. and don’t touch it for a few weeks. And remember, you’re not alone. Many naturals go through this “phase” throughout their natural hair journey.
When I look back on my decision to turn back to the perm (three times) after deciding to wear my hair natural, I truly wish someone would have done a “Natural Intervention” for me. The first time I decided to turn back to perming I had made up my mind that I had “run out” of style options—I got tired of wearing the same old two-strand twists (funny—now their my staple) and felt with a perm that I had more overall choices.
Recommendation 2: If a seeming lack of style options is one of the reasons why you are thinking about turning back to perming, consider this: natural hair can be worn in straw-sets, updos, chignons, pin curls, spiral curls and more, so the styles are really limitless.
Recommendation 3: Run—don’t walk to the nearest computer and click on your favorite natural hair website and browse through the photos for inspiration. Pay special attention to styles worn by people who have the same hair texture as yours, and look for short and long hair styles that will represent each stage of your hair growth, even if your transitioning. Create a hairstyle picture board or journal of possible styles you would like to wear and keep it where you can look at it each day.
The second time I went back to perming, I just simply got bored with my natural hair, and felt that perming it would give me a “new look.”
Recommendation 4: If you’re seeking a “new look,” think about a hair cut or even enhancing your hair color with henna. Accessories are also a way to add some excitement to your hair style. Go on an accessory shopping spree or save your money and make your own.
Recommendation 5: If it’s just a straighter texture you want to achieve, consider the non-chemical options. For some, braiding or banding to stretch their hair may not be enough. Therefore, treat yourself to a professional hairstyle like a sewn-in weave (where your hair is cornrowed underneath), human hair individuals or even a wig. These are also great protective styles that will aid in the overall health of your natural hair.
The last and final time I was drawn back to perming was because of outside influence; people were hinting that they’d like to see me with straight hair and others were telling me how my old straight hairstyles were so cute. Not surprisingly, none of these people were naturals.
Recommendation 6: Surround yourself with like-minded people. Seek out a support group of naturals and read and re-read their journeys. Don’t be afraid to start a discussion on the topic on your favorite site—maybe something like, “Help! The perm is calling my name!” or even, “Tell me why you decided to stay natural.” Having a network of like-minded naturals is very encouraging, and will keep you in a natural state of mind.
Inevitably, not two weeks after each of my re-perming sessions, I regretted turning back to the perm. Not to mention the time and maintenance needed, I would leave the house with my permed style and a second later spot a model-looking natural, sporting a huge “Fro” or swinging twists and immediately I’d want my natural hair back. All those times I re-permed, I really didn’t take the time to think it through.
Recommendation 7: Ask yourself why? If your answer is similar to any of the reasons above, follow the “intervention” steps—follow all of them if you have to. Make a list of all the reasons why you like being natural, and a separate list of all the reasons why you want to go back to the perm. Which list outweighs the other? Is going back to the perm really worth it?
– Laquita Thomas-Banks