Your Guide to Determining Different Perm Rod Sizes

Growing up, we have seen the utmost beauty of permed hair. Once it was all about the tighter curls and the super curly look, but at present, the variation in perming has definitely created an impact. It’s no longer about how much curly you can make your hair, but rather about choosing the curls according to your preference and the occasion.

When opting for a permed hairstyle, the thing that confuses us the most is choosing the right size of perm rods. Actually, it depends on what type of curls you are looking for. While some perm rods provide you with tighter curls, some are there to give you the bigger ones. You just need to determine which look you want to go for and choose the rod sizes accordingly.

We understand that it’s a bit difficult to grasp the process and choose the correct ones at the first guess, so ahead is a simple guide that will aid you in picking the right size of perm rods to achieve the perfect curls of your dreams!

Cold Wave Perm vs. Digital Perm

Cold Wave Perm Vs Digital Perm

Before we jump into the details, let us first know the basic difference between the two popular perming methods. There are basically two different types of perms: cold wave and digital perms.

As the name suggests, cold wave perm doesn’t require any heat. In this method, your hair is wrapped around the perm rods and the perm solution is applied. The hair is then allowed to sit for some time in order to achieve a curly shape. After that, it is washed properly to get rid of the solution. The next step is to apply the neutralizing solution to your hair. It is recommended to keep this solution on your hair for around 5 to 6 minutes and then wash with cold water. This is how a proper cold wave perm is done.

As for the digital perm, it requires heat to achieve the outcomes. Hot rods are used to give your hair the curly style, and the heat is generated through a digital machine. This is where it gets its name, and that’s the main difference between a cold wave perm and a digital perm.

What’s the Deal about Perm Rods?

As we spoke about hair perming methods above, now we need to clear the air about perm rods. If you are asking what they are, then perm rods are plastic hair curling tools that are used to give your hair a curly appearance. These rods vary in size and their shape resembles cylinders. The colors of these rods also vary based on the type of curls they provide you with so that you don’t end up confusing one with another.

 What are the Different Perm Rod Sizes?

Now let’s talk about the most interesting part of a permed hairstyle, which is the process of understanding the sizes of your perm rods. As we mentioned before, different types of perm rods are going to provide you with different types of curls. So, to make your task easier, we have explained the perm rod size chart according to the colors in detail.

  • Yellow: this perm rod is ⅜ inch in size, and it is the smallest size of perm rods available out there.
  • Blue: it is also ⅜ inch in size, but the middle area is thicker compared to the yellow one.
  • Pink: it comes in a size of 7/16 inch.
  • Grey: the diameter of this perm rod is ½ inch.
  • White: this one comes in a size of 9/16 inch.
  • Purple: ⅝ inch is the diameter for purple perm rods.
  • Sand: this unique-colored perm rod has a diameter of 11/16 inch.
  • Orange: this one is 12/16 inch in size.
  • Green: the size starts getting bigger from this one. The perm rod comes in a size of 1 1/16 inch.
  • Black: this perm rod is 1 ¼ inch in size.
  • Red: the jumbo-sized perm rod has a diameter of 1 ⅜ inch.
  • Brown: it is 1 ½ inch in diameter, and is the largest one among all these perm rods.

Curl Results Based on Perm Rod Sizes

The basic part of knowing your perm rod sizes is done, so now it’s time to acquire knowledge on the outcomes. Generally, the smallest in diameter will provide you with the tightest curls, whereas the biggest one will add body to your hair. Here is a clearer explanation of perm rod sizes and curl results based on the diameters to make your task easier.

Small and Tight

Small And Tight Perm Rods

The yellow perm rod, being the smallest one of the group, will provide you with the tightest of curls.

Right after that, the blue perm rods which have the same diameter as the yellow ones will work to give you super tight curls as well. So if that kind of look is your goal, you can easily pick these two.

Apart from these, you can use the pink perm rods on your medium to long hair in order to achieve spiral curls that are pretty tight in nature.

And finally, the last member of this group, which is the grey perm rod, can be used on every length and will provide you with rigid and tiny curls as an outcome.

Medium and Sophisticated

Medium And Sophisticated Perm Rods

The diameters of these perm rods are bigger than the ones we explained above. Starting with the white perm rod, it works to give your hair bouncy yet firm curls. If you have long hair, you can use it to achieve spiral perms.

The purple ones will provide you with curls that are stretchy in nature, and these are suitable for all lengths of hair as well.

As for the sand perm rod, you can expect medium curls and volume for your hair.

The orange ones can be called versatile, as they work on all lengths. If you have medium to long hair, expect medium-sized curls. But if your hair is shorter in length, then these can be great for body wave.

Huge and Modish

Huge And Modish Perm Rods

The jumbo-sized perm rods do exactly what their name suggests: they provide you with looser curls compared to the ones with smaller diameters. All of the perm rods under this section are bigger than 1 inch in diameter, so you already know the difference.

The green ones are great for achieving body on short hair. Plus, they have the ideal perm rod size for acquiring beach waves on medium and long hair.

Black perm rods are not actually the ideal ones for your short hair. They only add body to medium-length hair, so it is recommended to use them on long hair for a curly appearance.

As we move forward, the red perm rods are exclusively suggested to use if you want to add body to your medium or long hair. So there’s no need to pick these if your hair is short.

And finally, the perm rod with the biggest diameter, which is the brown one, can be used to add body to your hair only.

Yes, Your Perm Rods Differ in Shape!

Up until now if you have been thinking that the only difference is in the sizes of your perm rods, then we are here to inform you that shapes also matter. Your perm rods can be categorized into four different types based on their shapes. Let’s know about those in detail.


You might have heard about concave lenses in your science classes. Concave perm rods are named similarly because of their unique shape. These rods are basically thinner in the middle and thicker on the sides. As a result, the curls that you get have a combined look of tightness in the center and a looser appearance on the outer edges.


These perm rods are exactly what their name says: they are straight throughout the length. So using these kinds of perm rods will allow you to have curls with consistent patterns.


If you have long hair and want to achieve spiral curls, then bender rods can be your go-to option. Basically, these rods maintain a consistent diameter throughout their length, and they can be bent to achieve your desired curls. The bender rods are made up of two different elements: metal wire that is flexible in nature, and foam to cover the metal wire.


These rods are kind of similar to the bender rods, but their functionality and structures have slight differences. They also have a consistent diameter and are great for creating spiral curls on long hair. However, these rods are made of flexible plastic and their ends are joined together to create the loop for achieving the perfect curls.

Which Size of Perm Rods is Perfect for Your Curls?

Well, the answer lies in the explanations we have provided above. Based on the length of your hair and the type of curls you want, you need to figure out which one is going to be your muse.

For those tight curly looks, we suggest choosing the perm rods with the smallest diameters. That way, you will get firm curls and will be able to flaunt them in the proper way.

As for something neither too tight nor too loose, you can pick the medium-sized perm rods. Make sure to determine beforehand if they are going to work on your hair length in order to avoid the extra hassle.

The jumbo perm rods basically add body to your hair, and except for the green rods, the rest of them are suitable for longer hair length. If you have such kind of hair, then you can easily grab these perm rods without giving it a second thought.

Final Words

We hope this simple guide has been enough to quench your thirst for getting to know your perm rods better. It is essential to have ample knowledge about your perm rods because they will ultimately determine the types of curls you are going to have. So, the sooner you know the facts, the better!

That being said, we believe that your queries regarding perm rod sizes have been answered. To test whether you have grasped all the information, try choosing your perm rods on your own this time. Trust us, you are going to pass the test with flying colors!

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