Flexible curling rods or flexi rods are a styling tool used to enhance or create the texture of curls. Made out of a plastic, pliable center and a foam color coded foam coating, flexi rods provide the curl shape closer to using a heated curling wand or iron, with the benefit of minimal to no heat usage.
Using the right styling products and a good curling technique, flexi rods can give shiny, beautiful curls to any type of hair, ranging from wavy to tight curls, from natural to relaxed or permed. Flexi rods will also work in lace wigs, band extensions and weaves.
1What Are Flexi Rods And Flexi Rods Sizes Guide
The flexi rod method is a low-heat / no-heat styling technique to accomplish curly hair. In the realm of styling tools they belong in the family of perm rods, curlformers and regular rods. Flexi rods are praised for their incredible durability, the great range of circumference to choose from and their simple, straightforward use.
Flexi rods vary from ⅜ inch circumference to 11/16 inches. Color coding may vary but once you’ve bought your set, it will help as a visual guide to which rods go in first or last. You can choose to set with a single type of flexi rod for your entire head, but you can also match different sizes to create a more natural look.
2How To Use Flexi Rods
There are dozens of styles waiting to be created with a flexi rod set. Combinations of hair type, dampness, flexi rod size, wrapping technique, heat and product use can produce diverse results. The best mind frame when doing a flexi rod set for the first time is to be attentive and patience for how your hair and you yourself react to the task.
For the purpose of this article we’ve gathered two different general methods of flexi rod setting, focusing on different types of curls that can be accomplished while using the exact same tools. Decide which one you want to go with and plan accordingly!
3These are the basic tools and products you’ll need for installing flexi rods on natural hair.
- From 10 to 30 Flexi rods (depends on how much hair you have and the size of the rods).
- A water spritzer.
- Hair clips and bands to section hair.
- A denman or tangle teezer brush.
- A good quality styling product: cream or gel.
- A clear schedule and patience!
4Flexi rod setting — General steps for any type of rolling
- Start out with clean, deep conditioned, dry hair. If you have a defined curl pattern to begin with, dry it on a stretched setting: a low ponytail, a set of twists or braids or any other method you used to prevent it from shrinking.
- Apply a light leave in and detangle. Knot-free hair is fundamental to success on a flexi rod set. Work your way in small sections and use a medium to fine detangling brush.
- Section your hair. For manageability and styling purposes, divide your hair in five sections instead of the regular four. Do two sections in the back, and three on front, one at each side and the third at the top part of your head, if you like wearing your hair to the side, use this part to outline in advance where your hair will sit.
- Dampen and styling product: Apply one or two spritzes of water to your hair. This is done to improve adherence to the flexi rod. Then use a generous enough amount of styling product to coat you. On this step you want to avoid applying product at the roots, as volume there will help your overall results. Brush each hair strand once again before adding the rollers to break any curl pattern.
5How To Roll Flexi Rods Method 1 – Flat rolling
This first method will produce spiral, Shirley Temple-like curls.
- Starting at the ends, lay your hair section flat about an inch up, secure with one hand and use the other to wrap the end of your hair around the rod.
- The rolling motion is inwards and up, adjusting the angle of the rod to make sure the hair lays flat on it up to the roots. When you reach your hairline, proceed to bend the top of your rod to secure it.
- Let the hair dry completely before take down. To take the rods out, unlock the curl from the flexi rod bend and unroll down-and-out, allowing the hair to spring back to its styled result.
- Use a couple drops of oil and rub into your hands, then proceed to split the spirals into two or three sections to increase the hairstyle volume to your liking.
6How To Roll Flexi Rods Method 2 — Twist and roll
The second rolling method will help you achieve heatless wand curls or looser pattern curls.
- Start by using small ¾ to 1 inch sections of hair and adding a good styling product. Use a generous amount of it to increase curl definition and prevent frizz.
- Pick your roller and place it 1 inch up from the ends of your hair, the roller should sit over your hair, not under. Criss cross the tip of your hair section around the rod to secure it. Now, grab your hair section with your free hand and start wrapping your hair around the rod, doing a circular motion with your wrists.
- Hold your hair firmly at twist it up a bit every time you complete a full roll around. The larger the space between each roll, the looser the curl will be.
- Once you’ve made it to the root, bend the flexi rod to secure it — do it at the bottom to, for extra safety.
Variation: You may find that after placing several flexi rods on your hair, the opposite motion is easier to do. Starting at the roots and placing the rod under your hair, start the twist and rolling motion working your way down and securing at the end of the rod.
On both methods, allow the product to air dry overnight (wrapped with a silk scarf) or sit under a hooded dryer for 30 minute blocks until the hair is completely dry.
7The Best Product For A Flexi Rod Set On Natural Hair
You need good products that enhance the capability of your hair to hold on to the rod shape after it’s been taken down and styled. Gels and creams can’t be skipped, otherwise there’s a really high risk of losing your curls in a few hours.
Here’s a short review of our favorite styling products:
8Lotta Body Setting Lotion
Lotta Body setting lotion gets a lot of praise for the hold it provides, and it deserves it! Even naturally straight hair can rock a flexi rod out with the setting capacity of this product. The results are not dry or stiff hair, your curls will prevail with a lot of shine and body to them.
Concentrated formula available
- Scent can be a little strong (fades off when drying).
9Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Frizz-Free Curl Mousse.
Mousse styling products have the great advantage of cutting short drying times. Since they come in a liquid consistency, there’s little to no need to add water before the mousse and it distributes evenly when brushing. Shea Moisture also brings great moisturizing properties to this mousse, that provides frizz free and smooth results.
- The coconut & hibiscus scent
- Single step product (no added water necessary)
- Frizziness will come up of finer / higher porosity hair
10Curls Blueberry Bliss Twist N Shout Glaze Cream.
If you are looking to add an extra moisture step with your styling product, Curls Blueberry Bliss Twist N Shout Glaze Cream is a match for you. Formulated with lightweight oils and butters, this cream is LOC method approved. Its moisture and hold properties make it a multi use product, not only for flexi rods, but for wash and go’s, braids and twists.
- Light enough to use for re twisting
- Light scent
- Thicker consistency makes it harder to apply straight to dry hair
11How To Use Flexi Rods On Short Hair
Flexi rod convenience start after you’ve moved on from the TWA (Teenie weenie Afro) realm into the short fro. Same applies for relaxed or permed varieties of these lengths. To achieve a good flexi rod set your hair must be long enough to wrap itself three or four times around the rod.
For short hair, go for smaller flexi rod sizes (which also means you need more of them), starting with the ⅜ inch size.
Flexi rods on short hair method is to wrap the hair ends first and then wrap the hair around using a swirling motion, rolling the rod around in a counter-clockwise motion into the hairline.
12How To Use Flexi Rods On Long Hair
The longer your hair, the thinner your hair sections will have to be to conquer a good flexi rod set. Some women can do even 12 rods in a single hair section.
The upside to this is being able to use all varieties of flexi rod thickness for huge, luxurious curls or small and playful ones.
Longer hair will need more styling product to sustain the weight of the curl after the rod is taken off. The same principle applies to naturally straight hair, that can benefit from an extra hairspray hits once the hairstyle is done.
13How To Maintain Flexi Rod Curls
- The first lesson on making your flexi rod set last: Don’t touch your hair. We know it’s bouncy, sexy and beautiful, but frequent touch can bring it down from its glory quite fast. Touching brings oils, frizz and tangles, a trilogy of enemies for any curly hairstyle.
- We recommend you get comfortable with the pineapple method to protect your curls post styling. Pineapple method with a satin scrunchie will prevent your curls from crimping while preserving their shape as they sleep on top of your head with minimal friction.
- If your hair is long enough to cover your face even on the pineapple method, consider a satin bonnet. Another way to maintain the style is using a satin pillowcase and a simple low ponytail.
- Every two days, rehydrate your curls with a moisturizing leave in that’s water based or watered down. A bit of moisture will help your curls to spring back and recuperate some form between styles.
- If your curls are pass below the point of recovery, consider using puffs, head scarfs and headbands to extend the life of the hairstyle.
14How To Use Flexi Rods On Transitioning Hair
Flexi rod sets are one of the favorite hairstyles of those transitioning from chemically relaxed to natural hair. Flexi rods are terrific at concealing the line of demarcation (where the natural and relaxed universes meet) and let transitioning gals to indulge for a few days in the marvelous curly future that lays ahead.
To execute a flexi rod set on transitioning hair, start by stretching your roots to the best of your ability by drying your hair in perfectly detangled low ponytail or twists. One your hair is dry and you’re prepping for your set, use moisturizing creams and lightweight gels, and little to no water Gels won’t weigh down your relaxed ends while providing extra hold for hair that’s probably highly porous due to processing.
15How To Use Flexi Rods On Natural Hair Extensions, Weaves and Wigs
Flexi rods are a great way to add texture and volume to your weaves. The best part? You can plan ahead and leave your weave drying up with a flexi rod set while you’re out and about running errands or conditioning your own hair.
Since flexi rods are a heatless styling option, even full synthetic hair, like REMY, can be styled using the method we described earlier. Make sure your wrap is tight by using one hand to guide the hair throughout the roll and secure both ends.