Years ago, in the 80's, I got a perm, maybe two. At the time, my hair was short, though, and I blow dried it to wavy. It was the days of feathering! I had no idea how curly my hair really was.
When I had the perm, I either let it dry curly and picked it out, or I would roll it on rollers to get feathered waves. When I rolled it, it was a lot more predictable and uniform (if that makes sense). It held the set better.
Don't know if my 80's flashback helps you since your hair is long.
my Fotki hair journey/experiment diary PW is brio (and I really need to update it!)
3A hair; coloring with henna/indigo since July 2009; normally follow the CG method. Still searching for my HG products!