How to Use Perm Rods On Natural Hair: A Step-by-Step Guide

A classic hair curling technique you've got to try.

Perm rods are an extremely popular method to curl hair, particularly natural hair. Made out of plastic and sometimes foam, they come in a variety of different colors and shapes that have a springy closure on one side to keep your hair in place. We love how you can create a variety of curls, including ringlets and bouncy curls. In general, the bigger the perm rod, the bigger curl you’ll achieve. Another huge advantage is that this curling method doesn’t utilize any heat, which might mean less damage and dryness to your hair. Read on to discover how to use perm rods on natural hair to get some incredible bounce in your hair.

perm rods can create an awesome bounce to your natural hair
Perm rods can add lots of bounce to your natural hair!

Step 1: Prep your hair.

Before you start placing the perm rods in your hair, make sure that your hair is brushed to ensure that it’s tangle-free. To prep, spray Dove Quench Absolute Curls Leave-In Detangler to help moisturize and strengthen your hair. Even though heat isn’t used during this styling process, you are going to be tugging and twisting your hair, so any additional nourishment is beneficial!

Step 2: Wrap your hair.

Separate your hair into 6 to 8 workable sections (depending on the length and thickness of your natural hair). Working section-by-section wrap your hair around the perm rod, working your way up from the ends of your hair to the roots. Once you reach the top and have created a circular shape, close up the perm rod and repeat. For additional support, you can also hold the rods together by using some large bobby pins.

Step 3: Release the perm rods.

In general, the longer the perm rods stay in, the better (and tighter) curl you will get. This typically means that your perm rods will need around 8-10 hours to set. This type of curling method is ideal to set at night where you can unravel your new curly natural hair. Again, go section-by-section to release your hair. Shake out your newly formed curls.

Step 4: Brush, if needed.

Depending on the look you’re going for, you might want to also use a brush to mellow out some of the curls. We like a boar bristle brush because it can help you to produce romantic curls that are a lot softer.

Step 5: Final Touch: Add some serum.

Finish by adding a couple of drops of hair serum. Rub it into the palms of your hands as you run fingers throughout your hair. Give some extra love to the top of the hair to help tame any flyaways and frizz. Then, lock in your new curly hairstyle by using some hair spray, like Bed Head by TIGI Full of It Volume Hairspray.


Start with your hair down.

Start with your hair down and separate your strands into 6-8 different sections so you can easily work through each one.


Start rolling.

Grab a perm rod and start rolling small half-inch sections of hair around the rod before securing it shut.


Keep rolling.

Continue rolling each small section of hair and slowly work your way through all your hair.


Work your way through your hair.

Work your way through all of your hair until all of your strands are rolled up in perm rods.


Tie a silk scarf.

Carefully tie a silk scarf around your hair to keep the rods in place while you sleep. The silk scarf will keep your strands smooth and frizz-free.


Carefully remove the rods.

Carefully remove each perm rod to reveal your curls.


Run a serum through your curls.

Pump a dime-sized amount of Nexxus Humectress Encapsulate Serum into your palm, warm the product up between your hands, and run your fingers through your curls. 


Smooth your edges.

Use a clean toothbrush to smooth out your edges.


That's it!

Enjoy your voluminous and bouncy perm rod curls!

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