If you have relaxed your hair using lye or no-lye relaxer, you may know that you can’t revert it to its natural texture for months. But does it mean that those bouncy waves in your hair are out of your reach? No, using perm rods on your relaxed hair can seal the deal for you.
Sodium or calcium hydroxide relaxers permanently break disulfide bonds in your hair strands by converting them to lanthionine bonds. So, there is no going back even if you employ the perm solution.
But, if you want your relaxed hair to appear voluminous and wavy, you can use perm rods to generate loose curls that last for a whole day. Also, better tools like Flexi rods and foam rollers can help you kink your relaxed hair.
So, how can you use perm rods on your relaxed hair, short or long, to get those perfect beach waves in your manes that hold on all day long? Let’s quickly find out!
Why Perm Rods Curl Relaxed Hair (That Chemicals Can’t)?
Disulfide and hydrogen are two primary bonds holding your hair protein structure together. When your mane is chemically relaxed, the disulfide bonds are permanently broken. So, you can’t modify them to get waves or curls in your hair.
Naturally, curly hair has more disulfide bonds compared to straight manes. The more disulfide bonds, the curlier your hair will be.
After relaxing your hair, you lose almost all disulfide bonds, so the only way to produce waves is to reconfigure the hydrogen bonds.
Reconfiguring hydrogen bonds is easy compared to disulfide bonds. You don’t have to employ any chemicals. Instead, wrapping your relaxed hair around perm rods or using heating tools will reconfigure them into wavy conformation.
Foam rollers or perm rods are always better for waving relaxed hair than employing curling iron. They prevent hair breakage, which is likely due to heating.
Below, I have put together an easy 4-step process of curling your relaxed hair with perm rods only. No chemical is needed!
How To Curl Relaxed Hair With Perm Rods At Home?
According to a study published in The European Physical Journal E, using perm rods or foam rollers to curl relaxed hair, even if it’s short, is a safe and helpful approach for wearing different hairstyles.
The study suggests four steps to create hair waves that last all day.
Step 1: Wrap and Fix
When you have decided on the diameter of perm rods, which determines the size of waves, wrap your relaxed hair around them, keeping the following points in view.
Perm rods will work better on relaxed hair that is damp. It is because water breaks hydrogen bonds. So, it will be easy for perm rods to reconfigure those bonds into the curly structure.
While damping your mane before wrapping it on perm rods is better, you can also do that afterward.
Secondly, divide your hair into small sections and keep them separated using clips. This step is also crucial for getting perfect waves on your relaxed hair. Larger the section of manes, the looser curls they will get.
Step 2: Wait for 1-2 Hours
According to the study mentioned above, you won’t get extra curling by leaving your relaxed hair wrapped around perm rods for too long.
Therefore, keep your hair rolled around perm rods or velcro rollers only for 3-5 hours to set ideal waves. Or at least 1-2 hours!
While some people employ blow dryers or heat-styling tools to fasten the process, I won’t suggest it. Doing so regularly will overly dry your manes that may not hold curls for more than a few hours.
The following step is important if you want your relaxed hair to hold curls all day long.
Step 3: Apply Mousse or Gel
You know how hard it is to wear curls on relaxed hair. While perming rods or rollers set curls in your chemically straightened manes for a few hours, you will need to go a step further to wear waves that last days.
Experts suggest using a hair mousse (I recommend Kenra Volume Mousse) or sulfate and paraben-free hairspray (like Redken’s Triple Take) to apply to your relaxed hair before removing the curling rods.
A hair mousse or spray holds the waves while making your hair look voluminous and lustrous until you decide to wash it.
Step 4: Remove Perm Rods
Remove the perm rods out of your hair gently to prevent tangling. Comb it if you want with a wide teeth brush.
It is a bit hard to curl relaxed hair with perm rods compared to naturally straight hair. Therefore, follow these four steps to make your straightened hair hold curls for days.
Why Flexi Rods are Better than Perm Rods to Curl Relaxed Hair?
There are many alternatives to perm rods that you can employ to set curls in your relaxed hair. Flexi rods, soft foam cylinders of varying diameters, have the edge over the perm rods.
All of us don’t have hours to wait for perm rods or velcro rollers to produce perfect waves on our relaxed hair. So, instead of using heat to accelerate the process, you can employ Flexi rods.
They are soft and hold onto the hair without needing any extra clip or pins. Therefore, you can wrap your hair around them and leave them overnight while sleeping.
Giving Flexi rods 6-7 hours will help your manes have voluminous and bouncy waves. However, you still may need to apply the mousse or hairspray as you did earlier for perm rods.
How to Braids Instead of Perm Rods on Relaxed Hair?
Braids are not a new thing. People have been wearing them for centuries. In my experience, braids are the easiest way to induce curls on your relaxed hair for a day or two.
People even employ braids to get a perm when they don’t want to use perm rods. So, why not take advantage of them getting bouncy kinks and waves on your relaxed hair?
You will only have to watch a few videos to determine which braiding style will serve your purpose of producing the specific size of curls on your manes.
After you decide, braid your damp hair in that specific style and leave them overnight or for 2-3 hours.
Before unbraiding your hair in the morning, apply mousse or hair gel to set the curls on your straightened hair. And that’s it!
Whether you have short, medium, or long relaxed hair, you can use perm rods to wave or curl them. Foam rollers, Flexi rods, and Velcro rollers are good alternatives to the perm rods.
Starting with damp hair and applying mousse or hairspray before removing the rollers will help set curls that last all day.