First thing's first, let's take a walk back in time. The year is 1906 on the 8th of October in London, England. A German hairdresser named Karl Nessler (aka Charles Nestle) was demonstrating the first permanent wave for hair in a local beauty salon in front of an audience of well-known hairstylists of his day.
The first person to invent a procedure for curling hair was actually a man named Marcel Grateau. In 1872, he invented a pair of crimping tongs that first had to be heated by a gas flame before being used on hair to create more of a wave than a curl.
Women loved this at first, but then curling became a huge trend and they were looking for other styles and means to execute them. Plus the crimping style only worked on longer hair and styles were getting shorter every year.
Nessler first tried his perming process on his wife, Katharina Laible, in Paris before they were engaged. He burnt her hair and scalp twice, causing her to lose all her hair. Luckily for him, she still said yes and they lived happily ever after with few to no incidents and a lot of patience.