What Are Flexi Rods & How Can You Use Them For Defined Curls?

It's the season of heatless curls. If you've been on TikTok in the past year, you may already be familiar with no-damage heatless curl hacks or the resurgence of '90s Velcro rollers. Flexi rods are the newest and trendiest way to achieve curls without the curling iron. According to beauty blogger Aisha Beau Johnson, there's a method to the madness that is flexi rods. "The process of installing [rollers] into your hair is a little tricky — there's a specific wrapping method that can pretty much make or break the style," she explained to Allure.


Once you've grown familiar with the hair treatment, however, you'll notice how effortlessly unique the final look is. Flexi rods are also perfect for those of us who wouldn't mind our hair styling itself while we sleep. Rather than using plastic rollers that may be uncomfortable to the scalp or suffer the damage of heat with curling irons, flexi rods are made of soft foam material that sit comfortably on your head for hours while your hair curls around it. Johnson added to Allure. "A flexi-rod set is a much better alternative than using a curling iron on your hair because it doesn't apply a great deal of heat directly to your hair," she said.

We've rounded up more information on what flexi rods are, how they work, and the best ways to get the most out of them. We'll also help you assess if flexi rods are right for your hair type and what drawbacks they may cause (although there are few). Hopefully, you'll leave with the perfect hair styling routine in mind.


Finding the perfect hair rod

Depending on the texture of your hair, finding the perfect flexi rod can be tricky. Thankfully, however, there are a plethora of options to fit every size and style of hair. Shopping for flexi rods can be a relatively easy process, as most are sold in a particular color that corresponds to a particular size. Jumbo rods — which are typically purple or blue in color — are great for achieving a wavy look on thick hair, per Byrdie. On the other hand, orange and gray colored rods aim to achieve a larger and more defined curl. If you have a hard time achieving artificial curls, red flexi rods provide a tighter hold and the most defined curls.


It's best to assess your hair type and texture before purchasing flexi rods, since you'll need to know the size and number of rods that best suit your hair. For thin or short hair, around 20-30 flexi rods should suffice, while thicker and longer hair may require around 60-70 flexi rods. Once you've collected a sufficient number of rods, you're ready to start. Be sure to section off hair accordingly so that you don't run out of flexi rods halfway.

Flexi rod application and removal process

First thing's first: you have to wash and condition your hair. A clean scalp will help your rods set and leave your hair styled until the next wash day. Once hair is clean, prepped, and set with your favorite products, begin wrapping the hair with your chosen flexi rods and secure them in place by bending it at the roots and ends. If you prefer to let your hair air dry, leave rods in overnight. If you prefer dry hair during an overnight treatment, use a blow dryer to dry the intertwined hairs. In the morning, unwrap the curled hair and finger comb through ends with your favorite bonding oil.


If you're in a rush, there are also ways to use flexi rods on dry and unwashed hair for a temporary style. While the application process is similar, avoid using any setting products beforehand to ensure hair doesn't become crunchy. Intertwine the hair within the rods and leave on for 2-3 hours. Once hair is unraveled, follow up with oil and any other favorite products for a clean scalp, such as Oribe's Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil ($57), Olaplex's Bonding Oil ($30), or Moroccanoil's Treatment ($16). Regardless of which oil you choose, you'll want to make sure it leaves a smooth and shiny finish.

Flexi rods aren't perfect

While flexi rods are a great heatless solution to hair styling, they also come with their own unique weaknesses. For example, flexi rods can't be used on extensions or otherwise synthetic hair, as it only works on human hair. If you're someone who wears wigs or extensions, you may not be able to achieve the same results that flexi rods promise. There are a number of guides on prepping wigs for the best styling results, but that doesn't assure everyone the same result. Heatless curls are also an innately tiring process, and you'll want to make sure you have enough time to wash, dry, and set your hair before putting in flexi rods.


In addition, you'll have to be careful about using flexi rods in a timely manner, especially if you're only able to wear them for a few hours. If you have thin or brittle hair, the flexi rod's pull may cause tension to the scalp. To minimize the potential pain, apply rods closer to the ends of your hair, and place in a pineapple ponytail or bun to maintain for multiple days. As always, remember this: No matter how you style your hair, it's going to look great.