Poodle Effect Perm & Body Wave

Large perm rods
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Q: Hi. I have shoulder length hair. It is dry on the ends. I am a salt & pepper brunette. I am almost 50 (female) and I have health problems (liver/kidney failure) I also have psoriasis in spots on my scalp. My hair has a lot of wave at the nape of the neck, but otherwise flat and has little wave.
I want to get a perm or body wave for the volume. But my hair perms easily and fast. I tell them this and they still put in tight small rods. It looks hard and poodle-like. What do I ask for from my stylist? I have moved so this will be a first for the stylist.
I don't spend time on my hair anymore and I need something quick, easy and with height and volume. Should I go the 'perm' way or simply a cut? And if just a cut, which one. I am at a crossroad. Thank you.

A: Unfortunately, I can't simply tell you what type of haircut or style you need based on the color of your hair, its current length and your age. There are several other factors that must be taken into consideration to select the most flattering style for an individual.
I can however, give you some general information about hairstyles and perming that may help. Many older women decide to go with shorter hairstyles because they are easier to maintain and style on a daily basis. By choosing a hairstyle with layers, you can have a style that offers fuller volume when permed, and often becomes simply a "scrunch and go" prospect in daily styling.
I'm sorry you've had difficulty with stylists in the past failing to listen to your desires regarding perm services. It sounds like what you want is simply a "body wave", and that your hair needs to be wrapped on larger rods to avoid creating the "poodle effect" you've gotten in the past. Perm rods are available in a wide range of sizes, and these sizes are color coded for easy identification. The size of the rod you need for a "body wave" depends on the length of the hair being permed.
For shoulder length hair, perm rods that are "orange" or "purple" (typically about the thickness of your thumb) will give you a soft wave, which can be made more voluminous by layering the hair and allowing the hair to curl more readily.
Shorter hairstyles, such as those between 3 and 4 inches in length, can achieve a body wave look by using white perm rods. These styles, when permed can often simply be plied with styling gel or mousse and fluffed using a hair pick or wide tooth comb and allowed to air dry, creating a quick and easy hairstyle.
See also:
Perms and perming
How to know what size of perm rods you need
Bad perm with a dodgy poodle effect