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Perm Rods & Natural Hair: Which Size Will Create Your Desired Look?

Avatar • Sep 26, 2014

Perm rod sets or cold wave rod sets are very popular amongst the natural hair community and the rods come in a variety of different sizes and colors. Sometimes we see so many women wearing perm rod sets that we can’t keep up with what kind of curls you can expect from each sized rod. Below is a simple breakdown on different perm rods and what each size rod has to offer.

Red, Yellow, Mauve, and Blue

Perm Rod Pic

The red, yellow, mauve and blue rods are probably the least popular of all the perm rods. These rods are the smallest of the bunch and create very tight and kinky curls. If your hair is 2 to 3 inches long, then this size is perfect for you. Of course, if you have long hair, you can use this size for very springy and tight curls. Unfortunately, you would need an excessive amount of rods if you have longer hair.

Gray

Gray perm rods seem to create the perfect curl. They are great for women who are between the TWA and medium length hair stage. If your hair is shorter, the curl will be a bit looser. YouTuber Kadijah Nicole used mostly gray perm rods with a few pink ones for this look. She has longer hair; therefore her curls came out tight and bouncy.

 Kadijah Nicole Gray Perm Rod Set

White

White perm rods are very popular amongst natural ladies that have medium length hair. This is probably because the curl that the rod creates isn’t too small, but isn’t too large either. This natural young lady below is wearing a funky rod set. Her red tipped hair really makes the curls pop.

White Perm Rod Set on Natural Hair

Pink

Pink rods will give you a slighter larger curl than the white rods. If your hair is shorter than 3 inches, the rods will create more of a loose curl or wave. Instagram naturalista, @Justcallme_dee, is seen wearing  beautiful curls as a result of using pink perm rods on her medium length hair.

 

Orange

The orange rods create large buoyant curls. Instagram beauty, @Naturallyjael, nailed it with her rod set using orange rods. She started on blown out hair and used 60 rods to create her curls. I don’t think her curls could have been any more awesome!

NaturallyJaell Orange Perm Rod Set

 

Green

Green perm rods create less curl and more body for your hair. If your hair is short, I wouldn’t bother using them because they would only leave your hair with a slight bend. If your hair is long and you want a lot of volume, then definitely go for it! @Amber_belovely shows off her volumous hair after using green perm rods.

Amber_belovely Green Perm Rod Set

Purple and Black

Black jumbo rods are the largest of the bunch and create the most volume for your hair. If your hair isn’t super long then you will definitely have less of a curl and more of a wave. If you have very long hair like instagram cutie, @Jewejewebee, then you will have beautiful large curls with tons of volume. She started her hair on wet hair and rolled her hair with purple rods. The purple rods are twice as large as the black rods.

JeweJeweBee Purple Perm Rod Set

Which perm/cold wave rod is your favorite?

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Kira-lee
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Kira-lee

I love this! Came at the right time as I’m gonna do a rod set this weekend 😀

Shak
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Shak

I think this is my favorite post ever. Thank you for the visual references. I’m a wash and go person, but as the weather is getting colder and my hair is now bra strap length I’ve been thinking I need to make an adjustment to my winter styling regimen and go the roller set route. I love my coils and experience about 75% shrinkage, which is cool, but I with that increased length and my lack of styling (once a week for me, on wash day), and despite the fact that I follow a great bedtime prep routine, I need… Read more »

Tena
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Tena

Omgeee thank you BGLH for this article! So helpful 🙂

elle
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elle

I’m curious as to what ladies are setting their hair with when using perm rods, to get it to look smooth. Are you air drying or heat drying? For how long?

naturally Tee
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naturally Tee

You put the wrong @ for Juscallme_dee

naturally Tee
Guest
naturally Tee

The gray ones are perfect for me they create a nice curly afro look

Darlyn
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Darlyn

For my hair, I like the gray rods.

Divachyk // Relaxed Thairapy
Guest

I haven’t used perm rods but I’d go for the larger ones. I like more bounce and body than curl.

Revelry
Guest
Revelry

I have BIG plans for those black/purple perm rods. Big 80’s hair and “Pour some sugar on me” blasting in the background ^_^ oooooh I can’t wait!!!

HeavnsGirl
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HeavnsGirl

…“in the name of LOVE!” 😉

Napturally Kia
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Napturally Kia

great article

Jacky
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Jacky

I really loved this article, Great job Portia!

I’ve been thinking of buying perm rods but I was confused about which size to buy. I want perm rods that will give me curls that are big but not too big, so I was considering perm rods that are tangerine or green.

It seems to me that the perm rods worn by @Jewejewebee( in the picture ) are of a brownish-orange shade, not purple. Also the perm rods worn by @Justcallme_dee look purple to me while those worn by @Hey_Curlie look pink. I’m confused is there a difference?

Revelry
Guest
Revelry

The only real difference is the brands. Where one brand has orange for their large sizes another might use pink or purple.

Tasha
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Tasha

Love this! Thanks. .

Kat
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Kat

Thank you so much for this article on the perm rods. I am new to natural hair (only 7 months) and got confused as to what side or color to use. Thank you very much for clarifying this issue for me.

lexibugg
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lexibugg

I use peach and orange and I get a mixture of curls between the blonde fro hawk and the pic of the curls below that one.…I would love and have been meaning to try large rods. ..I’m interested in the green and black.…I love the soft voluminous wave look… I think this would have been less confusing for some ladies who are a lil less experienced with perm rods if the actual diameter of the rods used were also included.… As far as products to use while setting…I typically use a rich creamy leave in and a setting lotion with… Read more »

Cheezn24_7
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Cheezn24_7

Thanks so much for this info! I use the peach ones at least twice a month. Fluff your curls and secure in the back with a Scuncii Double Comb. Easy, classy and cute!

piera
Guest
piera

Very informative. Thanks.

Deysha F.
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Deysha F.

I was wondering could I do this on damp hair since I am transitioning and my relaxed hair has high porosity. The majority of my hair is still relaxed about shoulder length.

Angel
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Angel

I love this but comb those curls out please! I hate uniformed old lady curls. A little messiness is sexy and more natural looking.

HeavnsGirl
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HeavnsGirl

Different people like different types of curls at different times.

Marilyn
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Marilyn

i???? perm rods- especially the pink ones. I started using them when transitioning almost a year ago. I want to try the white rods for a different look. I use rods on slightly damp hair that has my leave in moisturizer, and hair oil of choice. The curls last almost all week. I also use the turquoise ones when I want more body than curl. Enjoyed the article????

Jen. Miller
Guest

Ahhh yes, perfect timing once again BGLH. Thank you thank you for this post with visual references. I did buy the blue rods already and planned to do a rod set this weekend, but I will def be investing in some of these other colors!

Efuru
Guest
Efuru

Very useful article! Never realised the perm rods were colour-coded according to size. Also, what counts as short hair? Above shoulder length? Collar bone? Wondering which rods will suit me best.

Aliyah Morrison
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Aliyah Morrison

Short hair is above shoulder length . If you stretch your hair and it doesn’t reach your shoulders then it’s short . Medium length is shoulder length to collarbone . Long hair is armpit length to tail bone ( that’s the longest people usually get only a few grew their hair to their feet ).

poppy black
Guest
poppy black

Great article. Thank you! Itd really informative. have always been confused when it comes to choosing the right size perm rods. The grey ones are perfect for me as I’m in the between stage of not quite twa and not quite medium length. Cheers again

princess
Guest
princess

How do I get in touch with you so I can make my hair what is your address or phone no you can reach me on 08072769224

Talia
Guest

I’d say my hair is medium length, and I recently used white and gray perm rods on my hair. I underestimated my length though and probably could have gotten much larger, but still defined, curls with orange rods with pink for the shorter areas.

Overall, I love this method! I get more and longer lasting definition than with two strand twists, and it takes much shorter time to do them. I want to find a product that is not gel, however, to get the curls to hold longer.

Deedee
Guest
Deedee

Talia, I use a mix of Lottabody (a blue liquid setting lotion) and a light conditioner to set my curls. I usually do a 1 part Lotta body 3 parts conditioner. Hope this helps!!

Varah Potter
Guest
Varah Potter

What kind of product do I need to use when using the perm rod for hold?

Paul Meyers
Guest

Question: I have a man customer that want a 11–15 mm curl on his hair piece hair ; what size perm rod should i use ? i am thinking white

Aliyah Morrison
Guest
Aliyah Morrison

I like the green perm rods . I will try the green perm rods when I am done with protective styling and reached my hair goals .

Aliyah Morrison
Guest
Aliyah Morrison

When I use to have relaxed hair , I used perm rods all the time so I am very familiar with them . I will try perm rods as a low manipulation stretched style again when I reach my hair goals .

Nubie
Guest
Nubie

What is used with the rods to create the curls?

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