The Ultimate Guide to Flexi Rod Curls

I sometimes feel like I'm in a love-nearly-hate relationship with my hair. When I was about five years old, my dear mother curled my very straight hair into lovely loose curls to enter me in a beauty competition. When I looked in the mirror, I got such a fright, I brushed the curls out and promptly went to bed at three in the afternoon.

Luckily I grew out of my fear of curls, with the exception of the nightmare hairstyle at my cousins' wedding. A story for another time. But we women battle ahead, each trudging along to the beat of our own unique hair. Gratefully we now have many more tools in our toolbox to get that perfect hairdo, for example, using Flexi rods to get those perfect curls.

What are Flexi rods?

Flexi rods look like big, filled licorice sticks. These flexible rods create beautiful curls with or without the assistance of heat. They are a great alternative to velcro rollers, foam rollers, steam rollers, hot rollers, cold wave rods, button curlers (also named Peco hair rollers), ribbon curlers or pillow-soft rollers. The rods are suitable for medium to long hair.

This girl knows the secret to heatless curls – flexi rods!

What are Flexi rods made of?

Flexi rods are made of soft foam, have a sleek protective coating on the outside and a piece of wire in the center. This wire allows the rod to bend in all types of amazing ways to hold the hair while it's curling it. They are easy to bend and requires no clips. Because of the simple yet clever design, they do not damage your hair by pulling, snagging, or tugging at it. And they do not hurt your scalp if you want to sleep with them in your hair.

Curls with Flexi rods

We all have the styles that we like when it comes to curls. Some like it tight and others like them breezy. You can achieve a lazy curl, a spiral curl, or a ribbon curl depending on how you use the rods.

READ: Weird Things Bloggers Use To Curl Their Hair

Different ways to use Flexi rods

You can use the rods on wet, damp or dry hair. Your choice. 

For first-timers, try using it on damp hair because it's a bit easier as the hair clings to the rods.

Part your hair in sections.

For tighter curls, use smaller strands of hair and smaller rods. For bigger curls, make the hair sections bigger and use bigger rods.

Apply your favorite mousse, gel, hairspray or shine-add product to the strand of hair you are about to curl. Start at the base of your scalp and wind the hair around the rod until you get to the tip. Once the hair is rolled on the rod, push it together to form a circle that stays put.

different ways to use flexi rods

Now you wait until your hair is dry. The duration will depend on the thickness of your hair. You can read that book you've been eyeing for months or you can do a bit of meditation while you wait.

To remove the rods, simply straighten them out of the circle form and gently unwind your hair until it's free from the rod. And voila! Beautiful spiral curls all over your head.

But let's say you want your waves or curls to start mid-length in your hair?

As per the example above, simply roll the Flexi rod from the tip of the section of hair you want to be curled to the middle of your hair. This will create a hairstyle that is flatter at the crown of your head with waves or curls starting mid-length (or wherever you decide they should start).

Check Out: Easy Flexi Rod Hairstyles To Try

This is the thing about Flexi rods. It gives you so many options and might again spark that romance with your hair you might have lost along the way.

Do you use Flexi rods on wet or dry hair?

As previously mentioned, this really is up to you. If you use wet or damp hair, the curls will keep its hold for longer. If you use it on dry hair, the curls will be less defined and might not last as long, but you will get that carefree, beachy wave look.

Flexi rod set on transitioning hair

If you are in the transitioning phase of stopping the perms and relaxers on your hair, then the Flexi rod is a lifesaver. You can use these rods to get back your defined curls without the harsh chemicals of a perm. The results will depend on the length and moisture in your hair, the size rods that you use and the amount of time you leave them in.


Flexi rods Sizes

The rods are sized in inches. There are 11/16”, 5/8” 7/8”, 1/2”, 7/16”, 3/8”.

It's simple.

The bigger the diameter of the rod, the bigger the curl.

What size Flexi rods to use

This will depend on the size of the curl you want to achieve. The picture below from Outre Talks, gives a great description of this.

Different Curls achieved depending on the size (diameter) of the flexi rods

Flexi rods for beginners

If you have never used Flexi rods, my suggestion is don't try to get those perfect curls for a special occasion or date if you haven't given it at least two trial runs. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect

But thank God for YouTube. There are amazing tutorials to show you step by step how to get the perfect Flexi rod result that you deserve. Creased Nation published her tutorial aptly named, Flexi rod set for beginners. Aisha Beau shows a detailed tutorial for beginners using Flexi rods for natural, transitioning and relaxed hair. Seun gives an updated Flexi rod tutorial for the easiest, fastest method.

There are many different types of curls that you can create with Flexi rods. Let us look at four different styles.

Check Out: No-Heat Curls For Short Hair


How To Use Flexi Rods, According To Your Desired Curl Type

Whether you want loose waves or tight spiral curls, flexi rods are flexible enough to get the job done. Check out how to use flexi rods according to the curl type you want. 

1. How to use Flexi Rods for spiral curls

Spiral curls with Flexi rods can be achieved by following these steps. Brush your hair through so that you can part it in sections. Damp hair will work well. For tighter spiral curls, use smaller strands of hair and smaller rods. For bigger spiral curls, make the hair sections bigger and use bigger rods. Apply a liberal amount of your favorite mousse, gel or hairspray product to the strand of hair you are about to curl, especially the tip of the hair.

Start at the root of the hair and use a twirling motion as you spiral wrap your hair around the rod until you get to the tip. Twirl the hair and wrap it around the rod. Once all the hair is rolled on the rod, fold the end of the rod up, kind of like an upside-down candy cane. Fold the rod at the root of your hair up as well to keep it in place.

To remove the rods, simply straighten out the fold and gently unwind your hair until it's free from the rod. This video from Kayla Jay is a great visual and humorous example of spiral curls.

2. Tight curls with Flexi rods

If you want to achieve those tight curls, follow the instructions for the spiral curls mentioned above, but do not twirl the hair. Instead, place the hair as flat as you can on the rod as you wind it. 

Make sure there isn't a lot of space between the hair, meaning you shouldn't see the color of the rod peaking through. The hair should be touching (if that makes sense). This will aid in getting those tight curls. Use smaller rods to achieve small, but tight curls and bigger rods for bigger, tight curls.

3. How to use Flexi Rods for loose curls

For loose curls with flexi rods, again follow the instructions for the spiral curls but make sure this time that there is a lot of space between the hair, meaning you should be able to see at least an inch of color between one wrap and the next. EverSoGorgeous has a great video for big, fluffy, bouncy curls.

When you want to achieve those loose, nonchalant curls, try these steps. 

Divide your dry hair in four sections. Add a leave-in moisturizer to the hair. Use the biggest rods you have and twirl and wrap the hair around the rod but don't wrap it right up to the rood of the hair. Stop rolling about two inches away from your scalp. 

Leave it in for a couple of hours. Gently unfold the hair from the rod. You will have beautiful, casual curls as you can see on HerCurlStyles video.

4. Big curls with Flexi rods

As the saying goes, go big or go home. Apply these guidelines to get those big curls that are more natural and carefree. 

Again, follow the instructions for the spiral curls but rather use dry hair instead of damp. You can apply your favorite hair care product on your hair. Take the biggest Flexi rod you own and wrap the hair flat around the rod, otherwise, you will get more of a wave than a curl. TheHairScientist explains the process below with precision like only a scientist can.

Overnight curls with Flexi rods

To use the Flexi rods overnight, use any of the above-mentioned steps. But before you go to bed, place a stocking over your head and make sure all the sections are caught up in it. Tie the leg parts or the stocking around your head and off to dreamland you may go. xosharonnoelle shows you exactly how to do it in the video below.

How Flexi Rods compare to other curlers

So in this section, we’ll be covering how flexi rods are different from other types of hair curlers – perm rods, Curlformers, hot rollers, Velcro rollers and foam rollers.

Flexi rods vs perm rods

Here are some of the differences between Flexi rods and perm rods. 

With the Flexi rods, there are many different ways to style your hair. You can go from tighty-tighty to loosy-goosy and the curls last a long time. Unfortunately, with Perm rods, the curls come out very tight, think Shirley Temple hair

These are perm rods

Also, for some users, the styles don't last as long as Flexi rods. Perm rods may, over time, damage the hair because of the design of the rod as they are made of hard plastic and has a fastener that could snag hair. Whereas Flexi rods are made of a smoother outer coating that doesn't need an extra fastener.

Flexi rods vs Curlformers

Curlformers look like pieces of material that are molded into a permanent spiral curl. They are also a heatless alternative to curling your hair. The set of Curlformers are devided in two groups. Half of them are used for clockwise turning and the other for anti-clockwise turning. This is smart because it will give you different curls and make the curling process easier.

That being said, in this video by Santasha’s styles, where she did half her hair with Flexi rods and the other half with Curlformers, you can see the difference in the curls. The Curlformers caused the tips of the hair to be a tad bit frizzy. Whereas the Flexi rod curled the hair right to the tip without the frizzy tip. Looking for other overnight heatless curlers? Check out the best hair rollers to sleep in!

Flexi rods vs Hair Rollers

There are many different rollers on the market to use for your hair. Velcro rollers, heated rollers, foam rollers. The list goes on and on. The main advantage of using Flexi rods instead of curlers is that Flexi rods do not damage the hair because it does not use heat and because of its clever design. Also, velcro and foam rollers have a tendency to snag and pull the hair.

READ: Heatless Hair Rollers Guide

Frequently Asked Questions on Flexi Rods:

Here we’ll be answering some FAQs about flexi rods. Hopefully, we covered everything there is to know. In case you have any other questions not covered here, feel free to leave a comment below!

How many Flexi rods do I need for a full head?

This depends on your hair thickness, length, texture and the type of curl you want to achieve. If you want dense curls and you have bra strap length hair, you may have to use up to 80. But for a less dense curl look, you'll need about 40. If you want that wavy look, you only need about 8 rods.

How to get Flexi rods to stay?

If your Flexi rods won’t stay in place, try curling them up in a circle once the hair is wound up. Or, bend the ends up at the root and the tip. Also, using a mouse or hairspray before winding your hair onto the rod will give it more grip. You might want to dampen your hair slightly. This also helps them to stay put.

How long does it take for Flexi rods to dry?

This will also depend on your hair thickness, length, texture and the type of curl you want to achieve. The damper your hair, the longer it will take to dry. 

If you are in a hurry, you can sit under a hooded dryer. It will take about an hour to get dry using this method. But if you want to air dry your hair, it will take between 3 and 4 hours. Alternatively, if you want to make sure your hair is completely dry, sleep in them. That definitely works.

How long should I keep my Flexi rods in?

You need to keep your Flexi rods in until your hair is dry. If you take them out too quickly, the curls will become weir frizzy sections. Unwind one strand that won't be so noticeable and feel it. If it's dry, unroll the rest. If not, allow it more time to dry. Patience here is the answer.

girl sleeping with flexi rods in her hair

Are Flexi rods good for your hair?

Yes, they are. They do not snag your hair, which means way less breakage and you don't need to use heat which is also good for maintaining healthy, shiny hair.

Can you use a hairdryer with Flexi rods?

Yes, you can use a hairdryer but don't put it on full blast. Rather set the hairdryer on low output as it could blow the hair strands in different directions and cause frizzy curls, instead of smooth perfect ones.

How long should I sit under the dryer with Flexi rods?

The suggested time is 45 minutes to 1 hour. The less heat we use on our hair, the better.

How long do Flexi rod curls last?

This depends on how you treat your curls. You can do the following maintenance to keep those curls longer. Do not run your fingers through your hair. When curling your hair, use a gel or a mousse with a bit more hold in it. And sleep pretty.

Products to use with Flexi rods

There are great products out there for curls. Bumble and Bumble have brought out a Curl Anti-Humidity Gel-Oil. It holds like a gel but nourishes like an oil. Dove Quench Absolute Supreme Creme Serum pulls moisture from the air to hydrate your curls and controls the frizz while adding shine. Quai Curl Jelly keeps the frizz away because of the silk proteins and nutrient-oils. Byrdie gives great descriptions of more hair products.

Do you need setting lotion for Flexi rods?

The setting lotion is a styling product similar to a gel and you use it before you curl your hair with Flexi rods. 

Once the hair is dry, it keeps the curls in place for longer because it stops moisture from being absorbed into the hair shaft. But this doesn't mean you have to use setting lotion. 

Although, if you are going to use all of that energy to get those beautiful curls, why not use a product that will help you keep your curls for longer? Let the product work for you to maintain your beautiful curls.

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Image Credits: Deposit Photos

Last Updated: November 9, 2019

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