Flexi Rod Sizes + How To Use Them To Style Your Hair

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Curly to straight, straight to curly — many people like switching hairstyles. And that’s okay.

After all, transforming your hair now and then wouldn’t hurt, right?

Well, that’s only true if you use heatless tools like flexi rods.

These are the less damaging, no-accidental-burns alternative to curling irons that also give users gorgeous, bouncy curls.

A close up of a woman's hair with orange flexi rods on it

Flexi rods are affordable, easy to use, and safe for all hair types. Moreover, different flexi rod sizes can give you different types of curls.

However, using them for the first time can be daunting. You may have no idea how to use this twisty, bendy tube.

That’s why we’re here to help. We’ll show you the different ways to use flexi rods and the various curls you can make with them.

After reading this article and practicing, you might be able to call flexi rods your best curling tool.

What Are Flexi Rods?

When it comes to heatless curls, flexi rods are a crowd favorite. They’re soft and flexible (hence the name), and it’s easy to create well-defined, long-lasting curls when you use them.

But what are they exactly? 

A flexi rod, also called a twist foam hair roller, is a long, cylindrical tube made of foam. It usually has a smooth protective coating like satin and a malleable wire in the middle.

This design allows the rod to be bent easily, so you can wrap your hair around it in various ways to create different types of curls.

The rod can also be twisted to secure the curls after wrapping. This ensures the rods stay in place when you leave them on to create your curls. 

And if you want longer-lasting curls, you can leave the rods on overnight. The soft foam makes the rod more comfortable to sleep on. Plus, it won’t hurt your scalp.

In addition, this tool is a safer yet equally effective alternative to curling irons and hot rollers. Because of its simple yet brilliant design, the rod won’t damage your hair by pulling or snagging on it.

Lastly, you can even use flexi rods on natural hair or relaxed tresses.

Different Flexi Rod Sizes for Curly Hairstyles

An infographic featuring different flexi rod sizes for curly hairstyles

We all have our preferences when it comes to curly hairstyles. Some like tight ringlets, while others like lazy curls.

It’s a good thing that flexi rods offer more versatility when it comes to forming your curls, and it all depends on the different sizes of flexi rods.

Flexi rod sizes range from 1/4 inch to 7/8 inch in width but usually have a standard length of eight inches.

Additionally, your choices will vary on the brand you’re using. Some come with similar sizes, while others have a flexi rod set of mixed sizes.

Take a quick look at our flexi rod size guide or chart to determine which size is right for your hair length and desired curls. 

Rod Size (Diameter)Curl TypeRecommended Hair Length
0.6 cm (1/4 inch)Tight coily curlsVery short
0.8 cm (3/10 inch)Corkscrew curlsVery short
1 cm (4/10 inch)Spiral curlsShort 
1.2 cm (1/2 inch)Softer spiral curlsShort to medium
1.4 cm (11/20 inch)Tight ringletsMedium
1.6 cm (6/10 inch)Soft and bouncy ringletsMedium to long
1.8 cm (7/10 inch)S-curlsMedium to long
2 cm (8/10 inch)Bouncy curlsLong
2.2 cm (7/8 inch)Defined wavesLong

Smallest Rods

Whether your goal is to achieve a big, voluminous crown of tight curls or define the curls of your natural type 4 hair, flexi rods in the smallest sizes can help you.

These are rods that range from 0.6 centimeters to 0.8 centimeters in diameter. Their thickness is similar to a pencil.

They’re perfect for achieving super tight, coily curls.

Furthermore, these thin rods can also be used on short hairstyles like pixie cuts, bixies, or short bobs. You can style your bangs with these rods too.

If you need the smallest flexi rods for those gorgeous tight curls, you can try this 0.8 cm diameter pack. Aim to get 30 rods to be sure you have enough to cover your whole mane.

Small Rods

You can also use a flexi rod for spiral curls. For this curl type, you’d need small rods, typically 1 centimeter or 1.2 centimeters.

The diameter is like a Sharpie’s, so these rods are perfect for creating spirals or ringlets (think type 3c curls).

But because of their added thickness, you may have difficulty completely wrapping very short hair around the rod.

You can try these 1.2 cm flexi rods but don’t forget to buy at least 25-30 rods because these are still thin, so you’ll need at least this many to cover your hair.

Medium Rods

For classic curls, medium rods are best. These rods are more than a half inch, close to the size of a thin curling iron.

Using these curling rods, you can create well-defined curls on hair that are shoulder-length or longer.

However, if you plan to curl almost waist-length hair with 1.4-centimeter to 1.8-centimeter rods, you’d need many rods to curl the full head since the rod is still considered thin.

These 1.8 cm flexi rods are super easy to use and come in a pack of 30, so you’re good to go!

Big Rods

Can you use flexi rods for big curls? Definitely!

Big rods — 2-centimeter rods or bigger — can help you achieve that. You can style wavy hair with flexi rods in these sizes too.

The curls you can create with big rods vary from loose to defined waves. The style depends on how you wrap the strands.

If you want soft and lazy spiral curls that you plan to brush out to achieve glamorous Hollywood waves, just twirl sections of your hair and wrap them in a spiral around the big rod.

For loose flexi rod curls, you can follow the same technique as above but leave space between the wrapped strands. This means you should be able to see the flexi rod between each roll of the hair.

And for big curls, take the biggest rod you’ve got and wrap dry hair flat around the rod.

Try these 2 cm flexi rods. They come in a pack of 30 and come with a steel pintail comb too.

This assorted flexi rod pack has several sizes that you can try. You can even use them together and use the bigger rods at the bottom, moving to smaller rods at the top.

How To Use a Flexi Rod Set

Before we learn how to style your hair with a flexi rod, it might be helpful to know that you can use flexi rods on wet or dry hair.

Styling wet hair will result in tight curls, while styling dry hair will give you bigger and looser curls.

Now that it’s settled, you’re ready to know the steps of using this fantastic heatless curler.

Step 1: Wash Your Hair

Always start with clean, fresh hair. This ensures that no product buildup on your locks can make them limp and difficult to style. 

A young woman is drying her hair with towel while smiling at the camera

So go ahead and wash your hair with your favorite shampoo and conditioner.

Step 2: Detangle and Stretch Out Your Curls

You can detangle dry or damp hair using a wide-tooth comb or a detangling brush.

Remember to start detangling the ends of your hair, as this area is where the most stubborn tangles form. Then slowly work your way up.

Now if you have natural curls and plan to curl them when they’re dry, stretch them out first to ensure they’re not too short or tight. They’ll be hard to style otherwise. 

Step 3: Apply Styling Products

Once your hair is prepped, apply your favorite hydrating product. It can be a leave-in conditioner, oil, cream, or all three of them (LOC method).

Then rub mousse or curling cream through your strands.

Remember, though, that you shouldn’t put too much product on your hair as this will make it too heavy to hold curls for long. 

Step 4: Wrap Your Hair

Part your hair into either thin or thick sections. Go for the former to create tight curls and the latter to create big, soft curls. 

Grab a section of your hair and place its tip on the flexi rod, then roll the rod upward as you wrap your hair around it.

Once you’ve reached the roots, bend both ends of the rod toward one another to secure it.

Repeat this step as needed to curl the rest of your hair.

Step 5: Dry Your Tresses

This step is for those who are curling wet hair.

Once you’ve wrapped all your hair, you’ve got two options for drying it — you can air-dry it or use a hooded dryer or blow-dryer.

Now if your reason for using a flexi rod is to avoid using heat, then you’d most likely pick the first option. Wait for your locks to dry for a few hours, or leave the rods in overnight.

If you want to speed up the process, you can use a blow dryer or a hooded dryer.

There’s a low chance of getting heat damage when you dry your locks under a hooded dryer because it doesn’t apply heat directly to your hair.

As for the blow dryer, you can use the lowest heat setting or the cool shot option to minimize hair damage.

Step 6: Remove the Rods

Once your hair is completely dry, unwrap your hair section by section carefully. Be sure to start at the bottom.

Once you’ve removed all the rods, finger-comb your tresses to fluff out the curls or brush and style to get a nice wave.

Different Flexi Rod Sizes vs. Other Curling Tools

When you’ve finally tried using a flexi rod, you’d love the result so much that you’d probably want to ditch your other curling tools like your hair rollers and Curlformers.

After all, the flexi rod is easier and more comfortable to use.

But can you create the same curl results using flexi rods? Let’s find out.

Flexi Rods vs. Hair Rollers

Hair rollers, whether foam, velcro, or plastic, are larger than regular flexi rod sizes. They may be better than flexi rods if you want to achieve soft Hollywood waves.

However, if you want the same result using flexi rods, you can also try the largest flexi rod sizes available and wrap thicker sections of your hair around them.

Flexi Rods vs. Perm Rods

If you’re not familiar with perm rods, they’re small plastic tubes that are used to set curls during perm treatments. But today, they are also used to curl hair, even without the perm solution.

Flexi rods and perm rods are similar in giving curls to all hair types without using heat. However, that’s where their similarities end.

Regarding size, perm rods vary in width, but their length is way shorter than a flexi rod. So you may need plenty of them to style your entire head.

On the other hand, you can easily wind your long hair around a flexi rod because it has a longer body.

In addition, those with fragile hair may want to try flexi rods instead of perm rods because the latter is tighter and more challenging to use. Also, it has clasps, so it can introduce more stress and tension that can lead to breakage.

All in all, flexi rods are better than perm rods, especially for those with fine, damaged locks.

Flexi Rods vs. Curlformers

Another heatless curler that’s popular for both straight and textured hair is the Curlformers. It’s a spiral mesh woven plastic that stretches and bounces back to its spiral form.

Instead of rolling the section of hair, you pull it using a hook, then insert it into the mesh. Doing this allows your hair will take the spiral shape of the Curlformers.

The curl results of Curlformers look like Shirley Temple’s hair. When you use this tool, the curls look uniform, which can make them appear unnatural.

But with flexi rods, you can have more defined curls and customize their pattern depending on the size of your rods and the technique you use to roll your hair.

We think flexi rods are a more ideal choice for natural-looking curls than Curlformers. But if you need more convincing, check out this video that compares these two tools:

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Flexi Rods Do I Need?

Deciding how many flexi rods to use will depend on your hair’s thickness, length, and curl you’re going for. It can take 20 to 40 rods to curl your entire head of hair.

How Long Should I Wear Flexi Rods?

Since flexi rods don’t use heat, it would take longer for the curls to set. We suggest leaving the flexi rods in for at least three hours or even overnight for better and longer-lasting curls.

How Long Do Flexi Rod Curls Last?

Even though flexi rod curls are long-lasting, they’re still temporary. Depending on how you care for your hair, the curls can last five to 14 days.

Use Flexi Rods for Long-Lasting Curls Without Heat

Who knew creating beautiful curls on natural hair could be this safe and easy?

With flexi rods, you’ll never have to say “ouch!” from burning your hands or scalp again with a curling iron. Plus, they allow you to keep your locks healthy and damage-free.

Closeup of blue flexi rods in the background

And the result? Well, with this heatless curling tool, you’ll get beautiful, bouncy curls that can last for a few weeks.

Plus, you can customize your curls depending on the flexi rod sizes.

Flexi rods are affordable, easy to use, safe, and effective. What more can you ask for? They are the best thing since sliced bread!

Interested in Other Hairstyling and Beauty Tools?

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  • Michelle Alejandro

    Michelle has had a lifelong love affair with makeup. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Communications /Journalism, she began an illustrious career as a writer. Michelle penned a beauty and lifestyle national newspaper column for over a decade and became the Beauty Editor for Chalk Magazine and Editor-in-Chief for Metro Weddings for over nine years, working with some of the biggest makeup artists and trusted beauty brands in the business. During this time, she also completed a course in Creative Artistic Makeup Design and worked as a freelance makeup artist, beauty editor, and writer.

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  • Anna Mastenbrook

    Amanda Mastenbrook is an accomplished beauty professional and salon owner with a decade of experience in the industry. Educated at NDSU and licensed from Josef's School of Hair Design, she's a master of color and balayage. Amanda founded The Chair in 2015 after launching a successful mobile spray tanning service. Known for her award-winning avant-garde styling and expertise in toning, she continues to redefine beauty standards and client satisfaction through her work.

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