Days Gone By - stories from the past

Yes, I remember those home perms – do you? [film & pictures]

life in 50s toni
YES, I Remember Those Perms


Dorothy Graham Gast

An aunt who was a beautician was prevailed upon during a visit to my grandmother’s at Romulus gave me a Toni. After she combed it out I looked it in the mirror and bawled.perm rollers

All around the whole family was telling me to give it few days and I’d love it. Instead I washed my hair in a Tide/Halo solution every day for a week and swore not to get messed up again like that.

Later when weekly hair-styling was expected part of the professional look of a teacher, I prayed, “Lord with 4 young children at home I don’t need to waste the money and time for a weekly trip to a salon.” The results of the past trips were over-baked hair and thinning tresses.

“Lord, show me a better way.”

My hair was cut short, and brushed back.

So it remains simple:

Shampoo in the shower,

Brush it away from my face and let it dry as I go on my way.

Hey, I never claimed to aspire to Beauty Queen.

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About Dorothy Graham Gast

Dorothy Gast lives in Romulus, Alabama on the Graham family farm. She taught in Tuscaloosa County Schools for nearly 30 years. She has a "Mine, yours, and Ours" family. She has volunteered in numerous organizations after her husband's eight year struggle with Alzheimers' ended. She helped organize a volunteer fire department after she was 60 and served as board secretary and nationally certified firefighter after extensive training. Her attempts to get the community reading failed, but she contributed books to the new Sipsey Valley high school from the library in her home friends helped her establish. She is known locally by the silhouettes she cuts free hand of children. She began to write nostalgia stories after a grandson asked her to write down the stories often told at family events.

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  2. I remember well my Toni Perm….Cried for days, actually I cried until it finally grew out!!

  3. Oh, yes. My mom was a beauty operator in the 1930s. When she quit to raise her family, Toni came to live in our house at some point. With 3 daughters and herself and 2 sisters she got plenty of use. I hated having to get a perm. The solution smelled really bad and because I wouldn’t sit still it would run down into my eyes and burn…then a clean cool rag to wash it off. My Papa, Mom’s dad, would always sit and watch at the kitchen table and he gave me peanuts in the shell from his pockets to make me stop crying. So there are bad memories but also good ones. I wouldn’t trade them.

  4. ALWAYS left beauty shop with a headache after this!

  5. Even had a Tonette doll. Last one burnt my hair and had to cut it off.

  6. My mom has told me she remembers the Tony perm.

  7. I remember these perms very well burnt the crap out of my hair

  8. And the odor! I can still remember how they smelled. Yuk!!!!!

  9. OMG..fortunately, my hair was naturally-curly, but, I do remember friends who were subjected to this crap.

  10. Now this brings back memories.

  11. yes, used them alot !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. I do remember these! Got the little rollers in the box.

  13. They worked, used them for years.

  14. I got one of the things all the time

  15. My mom put many in my hair through the years!

  16. I love it so much when my grandma,mom and my aunts would sit around the dining room table and give each other perms. I soo wished I could be getting one too. I was only 6-8 years old. Still remember that perm smell and Loved it then and still do. steph

  17. Weren’t there Toni perms also?

  18. I still use the Toni on occasion. Works really well and the new ones don’t smell! Ha! Big difference!

  19. I grew up with Toni’s in my hair. And I still do it myself.

  20. I use to make crafts with the pink sponges

  21. I had MANY Toni’s growing up

  22. I remember the Tonette!

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