Flipping through one of these magazines from 1953, I came across setting instructions that of course I have to share. The instructions are below.
Cutting: When just the right amount of length and weight has been removed from the hair, most women have a natural wave - enough so they can set their own hair with just a little help from a soft permanent. Hair should be thinned enough at the crown and the back to reveal the contour of the head.
A good average length for today's hair styles is about three to four inches all over the head, perhaps a little shorter at the neck. When you cut every section except the nape (and possibly the temples), use long strokes so the hair will fit against the head. In the nape section the hair can be cut with blunt ends so the permanent will not become frizzy and the setting will hold its shape between shampoos.
Setting: A pin-curl permanent gives the soft loose curl needed for casual hair styles. The desired setting can be followed when the permanent is put in. The pin curls should be properly placed to give you curl exactly where you want it. Where the hair is thin, you need more and smaller curls; where the hair is thick, fewer and larger curls.
Comb-outs: The glamour treatment starts with a side part. The crown is combed smooth and held flat while all the hair (with the exception of the fringe curls) is brushed back off the face into a halo of soft curls that sweep into a feathery cluster at the crown. Large curls at the front break into a deep wave that is feather-dipped over the left eye. Fringe curls are brushed forward over the ears.
The casual treatment has the side part brushed out; the smooth area where the part usually appears draws the eye along the line of the head. To achieve this look of causal nonchalance, the hair must be brushed back thoroughly all over the head so that the strands mesh and hold their place and the line looks soft and unstudied. The forehead wave is dipped slightly to soften the severity of the hair line.
Side setting: Beginning at the part, set a row of four backward-turning pin curls. Behind them, set two rows of pin curls that turn upward and forward. Setting is the same for both sides.
Back setting: With the ends of the hair combed down from the crown, make a row of four or six large pin curls, turning them toward the center on each side so they will make a slight drake's tail when brushed out. With the nape hair make one or two rows of curls, turning them upward and toward the ears on each side.
Top setting: Comb a slight wave into the forelock. Turn these ends into a row of three large forward-turning pin curls to make the deep forehead wave. Behind these, set three rows of forward-turning curls.
The silhouette should make a smooth curve. The feather dip of the forehead wave softens the hairline.