The 1950s are famous for many things, hip hairstyles being one of them. According to Fifties Web, short, curly hair was in style in the 1950s. Many of the hairstyles of the era were created specifically for those with curly hair.
Made famous by red-headed "I Love Lucy" star, Lucille Ball, the poodle cut was a short, curly hair style. The poodle hairstyle typically required a perm.
Pin-curling hair was all the rage in the 50s. Created by using the finger to make small ringlets, the rings were then held in place with hair pins.
None of the popular hairstyles for men in the 1950s were particularly curly. The most popular was the ducktail, popularised by TV and movies. This hairstyle gave birth to the term "greaser," as it required hair grease to keep its form.
The hairdryer didn't exist yet in the 1950s. As such, women in the 50s often slept with curlers and rollers in their hair to achieve their desired hairstyle.