We are seeing many different opinions on social media and in forums regarding removing perm from eyebrows with water. Some are saying it ruins brow laminations, it does not give a good lift or it affects the health of the brows.
As The London Brow Company were the first company to bring Brow Lamination to the UK and get Brow Lamination courses accredited and launched both in the UK and USA its safe to say we know quite a bit about Brows and Brow Perming.
We now created our own products and have a team of specialists helping us so we can tell you that wet removing step 1 is an absolute must on all brow perms. You need to understand the basic science behind perming to understand why.
Let us briefly explain:-
Perm (aka step 1) works by opening up the cuticle and separating the disulphide bonds in the hair. Disulphide bonds create the shape and structure of the hair, so to straighten the hair we need to restructure the hair into a new shape, we do this by breaking the bonds and then reforming them into the shape we want. Step 1 will continue to work if the perm is left on the hair and not fully removed. It is the Ammonium thioglycolate in this step that is causing the bonds to break apart. The only way you can stop perm from working is by removing this chemical process from the hair. We do this with water and a cotton pad. On thick brows we make sure we wet remove more than once as perm can sit underneath the thicker brow hair and cause damage by continuing to process if not correctly removed.
Neutraliser (aka step 2) is not designed to ’stop’ perm. Neutraliser is designed to reform the bonds, that step 1 have broken, into their new shape. Neutraliser is also designed to reseal the cuticle that was opened in step one and bring your hairs pH balance back to a safe, neutral pH hence called a neutraliser. This is to keep the hair safe and sealed preventing drying and brittleness. Neutraliser cannot stop perm. They are two different chemical processes which would work against each other if not used correctly in the different steps.
If you do not remove the perm then proceed to neutralise the perm will continue to work and the neutraliser will be ineffective as the bonds will continue to break down beyond repair.
As a large number of therapists are using Lash perm on brows, they are mistaking the process rules that are used in lash lifts and applying these rules to Brow Laminations. In lash lifts you dry remove step 1 and 2 - the reason this was done in the past was to keep the lash hairs in position with the adhesive. This has lead to a large risk of over processing lashes. We now recommend wet removing step 1 in lash lifts too.
In hairdressing salons when you perm head hair it is taught, and imperative, that the perm is thoroughly rinsed out. Some hair salons will insist on a 10 minute rinse to be safe and ensure all perm is removed. They also rinse out the neutraliser (albeit not so vigorously as the perm) when doing a perm. So the notion of having to keep everything totally dry isn’t entirely valid and is only used in the lash lift industry.
Where therapists are getting confused is the point of us telling clients to keep hair dry for 24 - 48 Hours post treatment. This is more for the safety of the hair to ensure the neutraliser is doing its job effectively and its not interrupted by the clients using products on their hair prematurely. If they do wet remove the neutraliser before it has done its role then they could stop the bonds reforming, stop the cuticle resealing or worse affect the hairs natural pH which we are trying to return to a safe level. All of which are detrimental to the health of the hair.
Regardless of which perm product you use a wet removal is the safest method for your clients brow or lash hair. If you do some online research into the safe usage of hair perm in general you will be able to find out more in-depth science which expands on this. There is no scientific data which allows or recommends you to dry remove perm lotion.
Remember forums and social media can be a form of misinformation or outdated techniques, approach your manufacturers with your questions. As we work in the laboratories with our products we are able to give you unbiased fully tested up to date advice.