How to decide which perm rod to use

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Perms rods are available in a variety of sizes, with a colour-coded system to help users identify them. Factors such as hair length will influence which perm rods are most suitable for an individual. Selecting the correct perm rod is essential to getting the right result from the perm, whether is intended to create loose waves, tight spiral curls or simply to add extra volume.

Hair length

The size of a perm rod must be considered alongside hair length when deciding which perm rod will work best. People with short hair will only be able to consider the smallest rods to create a tight curl as only the narrowest rods will allow hair to wrap around them enough times to produce spirals. The largest perm rods are ideal for adding volume to short, thin hair. People with longer hair may have more difficulty in adding volume alone as their hair will curl when using even the largest perm rods. Small rods may also be too small to cope with long hair while medium and large rods can produce effective spirals and loose waves in longer hairstyles.

Rod shape

The shape of the perm rod is another factor to consider when choosing the best perm rod. People who wish to create even curls or body throughout their hair may benefit from the effects of using a straight perm rod. However, a concave rod is more suitable for those who wish to create a more natural-looking curl with looser and tighter variations throughout the hair.


People with thin, limp hair can use the technique to create volume while people with very curly hair can use it to tame curls, making them looser or more even. Short hairstyles can achieve extra body by using white perm rods, for example, while purple or orange rods will add body and loose waves to longer hair.

Waves and loose curls

A loose curl can look soft and feminine and is another good choice for people with uneven natural waves as the perm will help their waves look more even and controlled. Pink or grey perm rods are the ideal size to achieve large curls or waves in shorter hair. Longer hair will require a large perm rod such as a purple rod to achieve a wave or loose curl. If a person’s hair is too long to achieve a loose curl from the larger perm rods, it can be beneficial to create shorter lengths by layering the hair.

Tight curls

Red and blue rods are the narrowest perm rods available and are most suitable for creating tight curls in shorter hair. To achieve a tight curl in longer hair, grey or white perm rods may be more suitable. However, if a person has long, layered hair, it may be necessary to vary the type of rod used in each layer to suit the different lengths and produce an even result.

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