Spirals, Body Waves & Volume

Hair dryer with a diffuser
Photo: Nanisimova/Shutterstock
Q: Your response was extremely helpful. I read the answer and I should have included that the perms I received for so many years were spirals. They routinely looked like a fine carpet, with perfect curls (my hair takes perms extremely well), but they routinely fell flat.
Do body waves actually give you lots of volume, more so than spirals? Is it obvious that you have a 'perm' once they begin to grow out, like it is when you have spirals placed?
Another thing I'm looking for is a low-maintenance style. I'd love to shower, comb through with conditioner and MAYBE use a bit of product; if I could forgo a dryer that would be ideal. Do you think I can get that with a longer style, with long layers and a body wave thrown in? Thanks so much!

A: What a “body wave” is: a perm that is wrapped on large rods so that there is less “curl” to the hair and more “wave”. The amount of volume you’ll get depends on the size of the rods you use. What I’m theorizing – given that I can’t physically inspect your hair – is that with fine hair, once it’s cut into long layers, the hair will respond by curling more, thus giving more volume to the look.
To get a more “wash and go” style, you would want to use a perm rod that is smaller than the largest available (perhaps white rods). This gives an actual “curl” to the hair that will shape itself and give volume without needing to blow-dry the hair.
If you want more “volume” without a “curly” look, then go with larger rods, but you will most likely need to use a hair dryer (with diffuser) to get the full soft waves, I was initially envisioning. However, the amount of time required to achieve a satisfying look shouldn’t take too long (maybe 15 minutes) given your fine hair (which tends to dry faster).
It becomes a simple matter of shampooing/conditioning, towel drying the hair, applying a bit of product and drying the hair while using the fingers to style and lift the hair. Since your primary goal is to dry the scalp portion of the hair most for the “lifting action”, you can even let the ends of the hair dry naturally, which will cut down on styling time as well.
The problem here is that with longer hair, needed to give proper balance to the face, the weight of the hair might pull down any “curl” achieved by the body wave when it’s wet and leave your hair flat as it air dries. You wouldn’t necessarily need to dry the hair completely with a blow dryer, but it would be useful to at least dry it sufficiently to allow you to maximize the amount of volume.
See also:
How perms work
Perm rods and how to know what size you want