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What Are Flexi Rods? | And Should You Try Them?

If you’re asking, “what are flexi rods?,” don’t worry — you’re in the right place. We’ll delve into how to use Flexi rods and what makes them so great for your natural crown of glory. Read on to learn all you need to know.


What Are Flexi Rods?

Flexi rods curled up on a blue background for a piece on what are flexi rods

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Flexi rods are a type of soft foam roller that you can use to curl your hair without heat. Naturalistas know that using heat to style your hair is a big no-no for keeping your tresses damage-free and healthy.

So it’s no wonder that Flexi rods have become such a popular pick. These tools consist of soft, smooth foam layers covering a malleable wire. This makes them both more comfortable and more flexible than traditional hard plastic rollers—hence the name.

Flexi rods are also relatively inexpensive and, once you get the technique down, an easy style that holds a long time. With all these boxes checked, it’s no wonder that Flexi rods have remained one of the mainstays in the natural haircare world.

Read Next: Types of Curls, Explained

How Do You Use Flexi Rods?

So how do you get this heatless, voluminous look for yourself? Well, we’re going to walk you through a few of the basics and then give you a few pro tips below.

And since a picture is worth a thousand words, don’t forget to check out YouTube tutorials on Flexi rods for more how-to’s!

How to Put in Flexi Rods

Your hair can be either wet or dry when putting in your Flexi rods. Start on clean, detangled hair. Beginning with the back of your head, take a small amount of hair and apply the product of choice (we’ll discuss products to use in Tip 2).

Comb the product through the small section of hair.

When the hair coats, take a Flexi rod and begin wrapping the rod into the hair, starting at the ends and then carefully winding up towards your scalp. You want your hold to be taut but not tight. If it’s too tight the Flexi rods can become uncomfortable.

If you’ve never put in a Flexi rod set before it will probably take you a few tries to get your motion down, so don’t get discouraged.

Repeat until all of your hair wraps in Flexi rods. At this point, some folks like to throw on a deep conditioning heat cap to help the hair settle and the style set.

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But you can also let your Flexi rod curls air dry. Either way, be sure to apply a mousse or hair spray to your head first, running it through the sections gently, and then wrap or cover loosely with a silk scarf or cap till your hair is completely dry.

Tips for Getting a Good Flexi Rod Set

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Now that we’ve gone through the basics of installing a Flexi rod set, let’s take a look at some pro tips for achieving bomb results that you can rock again and again.

Tip 1: Start With Fresh, Clean Hair

Some folks only do Flexi rods on wet, freshly washed hair. This will usually get you the best results, but you can also do it (successfully) on stretched hair.

Both of these methods have their pros and cons. If you’re styling on wet hair, your finished results will typically hold better and keep for longer. But if you’re in more of a time crunch and looking for a quick fix, you can also pin up your stretched hair.

Either way, one of the keys with Flexi rods is starting with a clean head. You’’ want your hair and scalp to be free of product buildup for best results.

Tip 2: Pick Your Products Carefully

When it comes to getting bomb results with Flexi rods, not all hair products are equal. Products that are too heavy, for example, or leave too much residue can weigh your hair down.

Similarly, if your products are too light or don’t moisturize your hair enough, you can end up with a dry, frizzy look once you take the rods out and the curls typically won’t hold for very long.

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Many people like to use mousse, such as Lottabody’s Wrap Me foaming mousse, as their product of choice when putting in Flexi rods. Mousse is a popular choice because it’s a lightweight styler, doesn’t leave residue, and has a flexible hold.

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If you need more moisture, you can always put in a leave-in conditioner first or curling milk or cream, such as this Blueberry & Coconut Hair Milk. It’s also not unheard of to use a leave-in and a light holding gel in lieu of mousse.

It can take a few sets before you get your magical product combo down, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles and find what works best for you! 

Tip 3: Section and Size Appropriately

One of the most common ways to go wrong with Flexi rods is to wrap too much or too little hair on each rod. In general, you can expect to use around 30 Flexi rods for your whole head. It may help to set out all the rods before you start rolling your hair so that you can have a visual.

A lot of people wonder whether all their Flexi rods need to be the same size or not. The answer is that it depends on you! Some folks like the consistency of one size, while others like to mix it up.

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Many sets, such as this Flexi rod multipack, have different sizes to choose from. The bigger the rod, the looser the curl. Tighter curls will also hold for longer, but they can also be more difficult to manipulate once you take the rollers out.

Tip 4: Let Hair Dry Completely

This can be another big mistake when doing a Flexi rod set. You must let your hair dry COMPLETELY before taking out the curling rods, otherwise, you’ll end up with a botched set.

If your hair is still damp when you take your Flexi set out, the definition will be lacking and chances are the whole thing will end up a frizzy mess. This can be a tough one because with natural hair it can sometimes take a long time for it to dry completely.

Most people don’t want their Flexi rods in for more than 24 hours or so, since leaving the house tends to get difficult when you have curlers in your hair.

If you’re not sure about how much time your hair needs to completely dry, you can unravel one of the rods and test it out. It’s best to unravel one in the middle of your head if you do this because one off-looking curl in the middle won’t draw much attention.

Tip 5: Use Oil to Unravel

This can be a surprisingly easy but very essential thing to slip up. As you unravel each Flexi rod, coat your fingertips with hair oil, such as jojoba or coconut, and slowly separate the curling rod from the hair.

Repeat and re-oil as needed till you’ve removed all the curling rods. Using a hair oil will help keep your strands together as you remove the Flexi rods and reduce frizz, helping you achieve those gorgeous results.

Tip 6: Don’t Over-Manipulate

Once your hair is out, don’t overdo it! Moving your hair around too much and over-manipulating it can lead to frizz and loss of definition. You’ll almost certainly need to pick and fluff your hair out a bit into the exact look you want, but try to avoid messing with the hair too much.

Tip 7: Make It Last

To make your Flexi rod style last longer, you’ll need to think about a few things to help maintain it throughout the week. Once your Flexi rods are out and you’ve styled as desired, you can maintain your look throughout the week by wrapping it up each night in a silk scarf or satin bonnet.

You can also try putting your hair up at night in a pineapple tie-up to help preserve your curls and keep the style looking good for longer. 

Things to Consider When Choosing Flexi Rods

Some folks prefer perm rods over Flexi rods, but the truth is that they’re pretty similar.

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We feel that Flexi rods have a few advantages over perm rods, though. Here is a quick rundown of Flexi rods versus perm rods.

If Considering Flexi Rods:

  • Best for medium to long hair
  • Results in a looser, more elongated curl
  • Can mix and match sizes to create volume
  • More comfortable—the material is softer and better for sleeping

If Considering Perm Rods:

  • Work best on short hair
  • Results in a tighter curl pattern
  • Uniform curl size
  • Because the curl is tighter, tends not to be as voluminous

Both Flexi rods and perm rods will help you curl your hair without heat, so if that’s your ultimate goal, why not experiment with both curlers and see what you like?

Frequently Asked Questions

For a piece titled What Are Flexi Rods, a photo of this product on a woman's head

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Here are some of the most common questions about flexi rods:

How long do Flexi rod curls last?

It will depend on your hair type and texture, but generally, Flexi rod curls will last between five days and a week. You can also make your style last longer by wearing your hair in a pineapple when you head to bed.

Can you use Flexi rods on wet hair?

Yes, you can use Flexi rods on wet hair. Many people, in fact, feel that putting Flexi rods in on a wet head gives the best results.

How long does it take for Flexi rods to curl hair?

A Flexi rod set is over when the hair is completely dry. So if you’re starting with wet hair, it will probably take about as long to curl as it normally takes for your hair to dry. If you are beginning with dry hair, allow time for the product to dry completely before taking out your Flexi rod set.

How many Flexi rods do you need?

The average head will need about 30 Flexi rods, although this can vary depending on the size of the curls you’re going for.

Do you need different size Flexi rods?

Depending on your preference, you can use the same size Flexi rod throughout your set or you can do a mix. Many Flexi rod sets have a variety of sizes, helping you create a curl pattern that may be a bit less uniform but still fun.

So, What Are Flexi Rods?

So now that we’ve discussed Flexi rods and a few pro tips for using them, you’ll hopefully feel a bit more confident giving them a try if you haven’t already. It can take you a few tries to get your groove down, but once you do, the results will be worth the effort.

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