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Flexi Rods vs Curlformers vs Plastic Rollers: Which Curling Tool is Best?

Avatar • Jan 13, 2014

When I first began to style my hair, I compared and contrasted braid outs and twist outs to determine which style would provide the greatest elongation and last the longest. Recently, I compared different curling techniques to answer the same question. Which styles creates curls best suited for the needs of my schedule? Below I demonstrate with pictures how the curls differ and the benefits and drawbacks of each method.

Flexi Rod vs. CurlFormer

roller 1 roller 2

To compare the curls formed using a flexi rod and a Curlformer, I set a section of dampened hair using a heat protectant spray and sat under my hooded dryer for 30 minutes. Both curls were dry, but as you can tell they had a difference in appearance. The curl formed with my Curlformer was a tighter and better defined than the curl set on my flexi rod. When using a flexi rod you determine the spacing of your hair so you have the option of elongating the curl if you so choose. With the Curlformer, the curl pattern is pre-set allowing for uniformed curls throughout your hair. Because both will require quite a bit of time to set a full head of hair, I prefer the curls that will last the longest. As such, the Curlformer would likely be my choice for spiral curls. It is also of note that both are VERY uncomfortable to sleep in. Therefore, you will want to allow for 2–3 hours of drying time under a dryer depending on the length of your hair.

Plastic Roller vs. Bantu Knot

roller 3 roller 4

This isn’t really a balanced comparison like the flexi rod and Curlformer but it does show a good contrast between a really tight curling technique and one that provides stretched hair as an alternative to a blow out. On dampened hair each of these sections was set under a dryer in less than 30 minutes. The small bantu knot if repeated, even in slightly larger section throughout my hair, could very well last a work week. Hands down, it wins the endurance contest. Also, it is the only set style I would consider sleeping in, though it isn’t the most comfortable either. Large plastic rollers, by contrast, are not going to provide a set that will last longer than a day but it will stretch your hair so that you can enjoy other stretched styles during the week. You can even do a bantu knot out on roller stretched hair for voluminous and full waves.

So, which technique wins for me? Well, they all offer different looks. However, I like to pack light when I travel and I have to say the bantu knot out curls and waves are certainly the most portable style. Other than a few bobby pins I can accomplish this style anywhere.

 

 

What are your favorite curly styles and why?

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HortonHearsA...
HortonHearsA...
6 years ago

Really helpful, thanks. Is it only the Bantu knot out that can last a week? Could you do a tutorial or pictorial or do you have one. I don’t seem to be able to do the twisting thing and get it to stay in the knot.

Syd
Syd
6 years ago

I’ve tried curl formers andi don’t like them prolly because I don’t know how to use it wel. Butto achieve a curly looki do the Bantu knot out. I section off the hair and twist it (like the braid) then I twirl it around its self) in the morning I unravel and I have voluminous curls for 2–3 days.

Erica King
6 years ago

These are wonderful! I was trying to decide which new size to get of flexi rods but I really like the look of the curlformers. I’ve never tried them so it’s great to see what the curl actually looks like.

Your hair is gorgeous!

Dee Dee
Dee Dee
6 years ago
Reply to  Erica King

Well I hear these are better than Curlformers, Nupural85 did a comparison between the cheap Curlformers and real ones which are almost $70.00 for a pack of 40.

This one is 16.00 and you get 40 of them. When you look at Napural85 hair she said the “Generic Curlformers” actually did a better job!

Vakind Hair Curler Magic Spiral Ringlets Former Leverage Stretched Length 50CM Circle Roller Pack of 40

On Amazon

Amber
Amber
6 years ago
Reply to  Dee Dee

YES! I bought these on Amazon too! They are FLIPPING AWESOME! ! Not once have we broken thru the mesh or gotten tangled. However we never tried the brand name Curlformers for comparison. I was just thrilled with a set of 40 for $17! Figured worth a try and it SO was!

Mimi
Mimi
6 years ago

around october last year, i decided all protective styles were not for me except wigs… but in anticipation for when i let my hair out, ive been buying a load of curl formers (not the tool, but loads of items that can form curls) will be adding more to my collection(inclding Magic levrag since i can’t warrant spending the full cost on curl formers) i also learned that i can tranfer my hair care skills to my human hair wigs because …i assumed wigs were for dyeing and frying in place of your hair ..but then my wigs became so… Read more »

Dee Dee
Dee Dee
6 years ago
Reply to  Mimi

Well I hear these are better than Curlformers, Nupural85 did a comparison between the cheap Curlformers and real ones which are almost $70.00 for a pack of 40.

This one is 16.00 and you get 40 of them. When you look at Napural85 hair she said the “Generic Curlformers” actually did a better job!

Vakind Hair Curler Magic Spiral Ringlets Former Leverage Stretched Length 50CM Circle Roller Pack of 40

On Amazon

mimi
mimi
6 years ago
Reply to  Dee Dee

Ah yes, I’ve watched that video, that’s why I can’t warrant spending that much money on the “real” ones.

From my understanding of the video. The best thing will be too buy the generic curlformers then buy the tool that pulls your hair through, from Curlformers themselves.

Tabatha
Tabatha
6 years ago
Reply to  mimi

That’s what I did. But the real curl formers are easier to sleep in. The generic ones are not that comfy to sleep in. But the curl former rod is waaaay better than the generic.

Dee Dee
Dee Dee
6 years ago
Reply to  Tabatha

Well, Whitney aka Naptural85 on YouTube said the generic curlformers are “harder” but they also give a superior curl. I do have Curlformers but I wanted “No heat styling so bad.

Had a known about the generic’s, I would have purchase them. I can’t sleep in “Curlformers” anyway, Ive done it twice.

There’s a big difference between $16.00 (free shipping) and Curlformers $ 69.00 & shipping!

That’s why I posted the Genetic ones on this forum. Sorry but $53.00 savings is pretty big to me.

Dee Dee
Dee Dee
6 years ago
Reply to  Tabatha

The Rod/Hook comes in the $16.00 pack of 40 Generic Curlformers ; its blue! I tried to post the Amazon link but they wouldn’t allow it.

JazzWife
6 years ago

Thank you for this. This was a wonderful post, comparing different curling methods. Thank you for putting your hair through these paces to share the differences with BGLH readers. I’ve been experimenting with bantu knots and once I perfect them, I think they will be my favorite. Curlformers provide a nice curl, which (for me) doesn’t work well beyond the first day. I’m not a hair on rollers fan so that I wouldn’t do. Flexirods would be my next favorite. I’m experimenting with those as well. I like the long lasting look these can provide. I’d be looking for something… Read more »

Jj
Jj
6 years ago

Really loved this visual comparison!

anastasia
anastasia
6 years ago

Thanks for such an informative piece Geniece!

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6 years ago

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SB
SB
6 years ago

I love this article! Can we do more visual curl tool comparisons BGLH?

Jonette
Jonette
6 years ago

This was really helpful. Ty 🙂

FroBunni
6 years ago

Those pink soft foam rollers (old school pink ones) are the best. They give me soft fluffy curls, looks like a blowout on the 2nd and 3rd day, and I actually get a good night sleep when I wear them overnight, lol.

keeara
keeara
6 years ago

i really like this style i will try it

Tabatha
Tabatha
6 years ago

Wow that is awesome! Thanks. I would have to say which ever one is boo-boo proof. I’ve used the curl formers and those are pretty good and I’ve used regular rollers. Bantu knots I tend to f‑up.

Tabatha
Tabatha
6 years ago

You know what I want to see what the different curl former sizes would look like on our hair. I’ve seen the pink and orange, electric green and blue, and then the magenta and yellow.

Dee Dee
Dee Dee
6 years ago

Thanks for such an informative piece Geniece!

Really good job with the commparisons!

Elena
6 years ago
Reply to  Dee Dee

I have LOVED Doorposts for many many years. Learned of Flexi8s this time last year. I have hair almost to my Hiney and 3 PreTeen Daughters ..Boy could we use a few more

Tuhh
Tuhh
6 years ago

Bantu Knots cause it makes my hair look like loose curls when its really not lol

Jacky
Jacky
6 years ago

Great post!I love when naturals experiment with styles like this.I also experiment too…Bantu knot outs on two strand twists vs Bantu knot outs on one strand twists and even Bantu knot outs on finger coils,wet twist outs vs dry twist outs,two strand twist outs vs flat twist outs,braid outs vs cornrow out,finger coils vs twists etc.

virtuenow
virtuenow
6 years ago

Geniece, could you do a full curlformer or flexirod set (youtube)?? Thanks.

Bernadette
Bernadette
6 years ago

This is very helpful. I’m still trying to master Bantu knots and have not yet used the curlformers I bought. At least I know I made a wise choice.

Nappichique
6 years ago

Another suggestion for those on a budget…
I went to the 99 and bought some old fashioned foam rollers and for $3.00 got a nice result. I can sleep in them, and when I take my hair out and get in the shower my hair is kinky-curly. I saved time and money…quicker than twisting and it lasts one week. The foam rollers don’t dry my hair because I only use them once a week. Just use the product of your choice and you are good to go!

Nappichique
6 years ago
Reply to  Nappichique

*P.S. they were 99 cents for 10, so for 30 I paid $3.00.

The Mane Captain
6 years ago

plastic rollers particularly big ones are mainly useful to stretch the hair. curlformers are faster to install than flexi rods, though they’re more expensive. i agree than bantu-knot outs are very portable, though they shrink more. I mostly do bantu knots because i just don’t feel like cleaning more hair tools afterwards.
themanecaptain.blogspot.ca

empresspeach
empresspeach
6 years ago

I’ve got to say, when it comes to flexi rods it really depends on HOW you curl your hair around them. I’m not surprised the curl the writer got was so loose and kind of straight at the end, as it wasn’t coiled more tightly around the rod. I’m guessing this was because they were going for a similar shape that the curlformer would give, but the usage of the flexirod just isn’t maximized here. Not that I have anything against curlformers and would LOVE to try them, but more that I love what flexirods can do even without heat! Last… Read more »

Rachel D.
Rachel D.
6 years ago
Reply to  empresspeach

I love your hair color!!!

Antoinette
Antoinette
6 years ago
Reply to  empresspeach

Very nice. I love how it came out. I think I like the outcome of the Flexi-rods better than the curl formers. The Flexi- rods are more versatile as well.

DaishaM
DaishaM
6 years ago
Reply to  empresspeach

Ahhh I <3 your hair that is so cute,

Amber
Amber
6 years ago
Reply to  empresspeach

those are VERY pretty.

Cecret
Cecret
6 years ago
Reply to  empresspeach

Your hair looks like candy. Such an awesome color and curl 🙂

Rachel D.
Rachel D.
6 years ago

I am a long time flexi rod user. I have used curlformers in the past and the flexi rods are way easier to put in the hair. The major problem with curlformers (other than the price) is your hair will eventually get too long for the appliance. Flexi rods can be used too do all different styles of curls from smooth Shirley temple to wavy, tight or loose.
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lmierica
lmierica
6 years ago

Empresspeach your hair is so beautiful. I want to try this style. It’s my favorite look on others. I’d love mine like yours. Great job. Flexi rods definitely seem to work the best on all lengths of hair.

Kara
Kara
6 years ago

I’m so glad I found this article! Stylists have such a hard time with my hair because I’m white so they assume that I want the Hollywood blow-out. But my natural texture is 3b, a term I had never even heard of until I started looking in the right places. I guess having naturally curly hair isn’t really popular in the white community and most people are afraid to work with it. Luckily I’ve found some wonderful ladies like you who understand what it’s like to have real texture. Now I’m learning about defining my curls and your article is… Read more »

Kenna
Kenna
5 years ago

I prefer flexi rods to curlformers. I get beautiful elongated curls with curlformers but as soon as I separate the curls they lose shape and does not look as good as it did before separating. My hair shrinks up a bit with the flexi rods but when I separate my curls my hair is fluffy and curly. I have now started to use curlformers only when I want my hair stretched. After I remove the curlformers I then do a bantu knot or a really dope twist out on my straight hair.

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