Rod Set on Transitioning Hair & Making it Last

Tired of your rod set only lasting a few days?  In the video below I’ll show you what I do to make my style last.

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Here’s another video where I actually show you how I do my rod sets.  I was 8 months into my transition here.

Rod Set Tips

1)  Always rod the hair while wet.  Your hair will come out much more shiny and smooth.

2)  Be generous with the setting lotion because that will help set the curls and also minimize frizz.  I prefer to use Bronner Brothers (BB Foam Wrap Lotion) because it has no alcohol, which is drying to the hair.

3) Always make sure your hair is COMPLETELY dry before taking the rods down to keep your hair from frizzing.

4) Sleep in a satin bonnet at night to preserve the curls.  You may have to re-rod parts of your hair if it becomes matted from sleeping.

5) Bigger rods will give you a fuller look, but may not last as long.  Smaller rods will give you more tighter curls and will last longer.

6) If your rod set starts getting old and flat, jazz it up with a giant headband or scarf.  Push it back on your head for a curly puff.

Looking for another rod set style?  See my rod set with pompadour and vertical flat twist with rod set videos.



  1. Stephanie says

    Hi Lisa.

    I have not had a perm for 6 months and mostly did box braids. My hair has some new growth from the braids so it’s looks like a bird nest right now with my relaxed ends just sticking out. My hair is just above my shoulders. Right now I wanna start deep conditioning weekly and getting my hair healthy before I box braid again. I tried the rod set this week using the Olive Oil Smooth-n-Hold Pudding. But my curls are not looking anything like what yours look. My roots are really nappy and so the rods seem to curl the ends only and then it just gets frizzy. It lasted one day and now I’m frustrated. What am I doing wrong?

  2. Barbs says


    Just started transitioning. I did bantu knots for the first time and loosened them in the morning. Ithey came out fine but the only issue i had was the tips of my hair were pointy. How do i handle this? Thanks

    • lisa says

      Hi Barbs

      So your ends were probably too straight. Were your knots really tight when when you did them? The tighter you wrap the more the hair will curl.

  3. Lea B. says

    Hi Lisa,

    I have watched your hair journey, and now, your hair is unbelievably long. Great job. My question is; I really am not a big fan of curly hair… I looked in your hairstyles section; but do you have any recommendations on keeping your hair straight during the transition? ( Oh, a little info about me; I have been transitioning for 7 months no relaxer and have ALWAYS had straight hair/ dubee hairstyles; and never had a rod set or anything curly).

    Thanks in advance for your help and advice

    • lisa says

      Hey Lea!

      Thank you so much! Well since you’re not a fan of curly hair are you just going to flat iron your hair when you are completely natural? The reason I didn’t wear a lot of straight styles because that requires too much heat and sort of defeats the purpose of trying to get healthier natural hair. Heat and transitioning are just not friends. :) And once you get as far along as you are, you have a great deal of texture so trying to keep it straight would be a lot more work than wearing curly styles.

      Unless you are planning to flat iron your hair all the time as a natural, I sort of think that trying to keep your hair straight and going natural sort of presents a conflict.

      • Lea B. says

        Thank you for that reality check Lisa.. Yes I know, you are right. I think that I just need to find a curly style that can accommodate my taste. I agree with you regarding the ‘heat’. I think I am just in that stage where even when I try curly styles.. they just never turn out right. But I will keep trying. I have went this far now and really do not want to turn back.

        Thanks again :)

  4. Aurielle says

    Well I live out in the county in Mo and it’s hard to find good haircare products. I half to travel to the city but with the rod set I can save money one going to the hair salon every week. My hair has be breaking for years and i want to go natural so that i can have the long hair that i did back when i was a child. I’m excited about how my hair will look. this style is much more gentle on my hair and i can already feel the different after the first time. Thank you so much I visit this website every day.

  5. Lillian says

    I am just started transitioning about 4months ago and i cut most of the perm out of my hair but not all (just didn’t have it in me to cut all my hair). But i am finding difficult to figure out want to do with my hair at this point . i guess its because i am so used dealing with long hair. What i am asking is that is can you please give me so ideas to do with my hair.

  6. Mickell says

    Hi Lisa, I’m just starting my transition, my problem is I sweat alot. I’m tempted to use a lock gel to hold my curls, because the natural part of my hair does not last at all once I start sweating. I can rod my hair, let it dry and the next morning (if I’ve sweated that night), its puffy with little to no curl, and the relaxed part has a curl. Can you recommend a product that might help. I use the green flexi rods and straws to rod my hair. I do alot of walking and exercising as well.

    • lisa says

      To be honest, if your hair is kinky, water is always going to puff it out. There’s no product that’s going to prevent that from happening because moisture causes kinky hair to revert/swell. The best thing to do is to put your hair in styles that can hold your hair while working out (i.e. twists, etc.) and then remove them after you’re done. To be honest, I don’t sweat a lot when working out so I never really had to deal with this too much.

  7. Imari says

    Hey Lisa,

    My last relaxer was early December so I’m only new in this transition but your website and YouTube videos have been extremely helpful! I used to relax my hair once in a while I never did it every other months sometimes I would wait three to four months before I got another relaxer. My intention however is to never go back I miss my curls…my hair is at an awkward stage right now and I just watched your rodset video and feel so excited to try it this weekend. Thank you again!!!

  8. jackie says

    Hi Lisa, I am going tomorrow to get the rods I have a relaxer but my hair is falling out because of the blood presure medicine that I take, I hope I’m doing the right thing I am 53 years old and this will be such a change for me.

  9. ursula says

    Thanks Lisa for all your hard work and advice. I have been transitioning for 6 months. Doing mostly braid outs and rocking puffs. Your website is the best and I look forward to doing a rod set this weekend. Please continue to share.

  10. Vanessa says

    Hey Lisa! Happy New Year! I just began my journey and your site is awesome! I haven’t tried any styles yet, but the rods is one style I’m ready to try. I’m concerned because most of my hair is relaxed, will this style be beneficial?

  11. Leslie says

    My hair is as dry as it gets. I haven’t relaxed my hair in 4 months and the growth is good, but it’s so dry. I live in Jamaica and it is extremely hard to get good products. I can’t wear braids to school because it’s against the rules and it doesn’t help that me mom cut my hair. Right now I am just really frustrated. Have any ideas as to what I can do to help my hair?

  12. Celeste says

    Hi Lisa. I have found your site to be the most informative in comparison to the other sites I have been on. First I would like to thank you for sharing your transition. The pictures are a huge help on what to expect. I had my last relaxer in April of this year and started braids in May. This weekend I am taking the braids out. I have read lots of information on the rod sets and double strand twist out. My question to you is which do you think holds the style longer between the two? I am guessing the rod set would be better because I still have relaxer on the ends.

    • lisa says

      Thanks, Celeste! I’ve never done a double strand twist out but rod sets tend to hold longer than twists in general because your are setting smaller sections and you’re rolling instead of twisting. Plus you’re blending the textures better.

  13. Lyndsay says

    I’ve only been transitioning for about 2 months and I really like your suggestion on rod setting. My hair is really short but it still has a lot of the relaxer in it. What are your suggestions when you can’t rod set the back of you hair which is closer to the next- but still tends to be really puffy. Your tips are really helpful. Thanks

  14. says

    Hi Lisa: This was an awesome and professionally done video. I am in the middle of the transition and its assisted me quite a bit. However, when you have a moment go to my website and review it. I would love to link you in to my website.


  15. BettyCD says

    Hi Lisa!

    Thank you so much for your advise. I am 4 month post-relaxer, 2 months ago I braided my hair yesterday I removed them then I had a half Chop… Since then my hair is dry and full and my head become very big. What can I do to make it look shine, soft and I little bit flat? Please, Lisa I real need your help!!

  16. Tamika says

    Hi Lisa! You have been soooo helpful to me during my transition. I’m 6mths in right now. I was wanting to get more details on the ACV/Water rinse after the deep conditioning. My question is if you are rinsing it out in order to get all of the Deva Curl conditioner or Organics Olive Oil Replenisher conditioner out after the conditioner has set for about an hour? I’m just trying to get it right because the ACV/Water rinse sounds great to me, since I’m one that has dandruff. And is there a reason why you switched from the Organics Replenisher conditioner to the Deva Curl? Just wondering.

    • lisa says

      Hi Tamika

      I do the ACV rinse mostly for the dandruff/itchy scalp benefit, so I use an applicator bottle to ensure I focus most of it on the scalp. I don’t use a lot so I don’t completely erase the benefits of the conditioner. I don’t use Deva Curl often and still use Organics mostly. I think it’s important to have alternatives. My hair seems to get immune to a regimen if I use it all the time and don’t switch it up. Hope that helps!

  17. Valerie says

    I am a little over 2 months into my transition. I tried this rod set and I really like it. It was relatively easy. I didn’t completely dry under the dryer and slept in the rods overnight. Not uncomfortable at all. The curls are cute, but I’ve got some frizz. Any tips on how to get rid of the frizz? I didn’t use end paper with the rods. Should I? Do you think this will make a difference? Next time, I plan to completely dry under the dryer, but still sleep in the rods. I think that will work better for my hair.

    • lisa says

      Hi Valerie,

      Glad it came out nice. It really doesn’t matter how your hair dries, just as long as it dries completely before taking the rods down. I don’t use paper either because I get a smoother finish with the plastic rods. Did you use a generous amount of setting lotion? I find that using setting lotion (I use Bronner Brothers because it has no alcohol like most) and a bit of Aloe Vera Gel while wet before setting, helps minimize frizz. Also pull the hair taught as you are rodding. The tighter the hair on the rod, the smoother the finish.

      • Valerie says

        Thanks Lisa. I’ll try those tips next time. I used a Carol’s Daughter foam wrap to do the set. I also have a creme of nature one (no alcohol – I think) that i may try next time. I had to redo a few curls today after a game of dodge ball with kids. I dabbed some aloe vera gel on the hair, used end papers and just let them air dry and they turned out great. Very soft and bouncy. Some of my frizz is coming from working out and sweating. I’ve gotten some nice compliments though!

  18. Ke says

    OMG thank you soo much for this helpful advice my hair is curly and frizzy soo while I am all natural find helpful tips on this new found love of mine (rod curls) I’m going to enjoy my hair more! Your video is my reference ^_^

  19. Cindy says

    I just started transitioning in October and I have long hair and afraid to do BC. What is the name of the rods you used in this video and where can I get them?

  20. Shakeria says

    Hey. I just started going natural in September of 2011 and I have long, thick hair that stops in the middle of my back, but I also have VERY bad dandruff. I also find it difficult to put rods in my hair because of the length and thickness, and I’ve tried braiding it and taking them down, and I love how it looks but it doesn’t last as long as I would like it to. So my question is, what products and other hairstyles do you suggest I use?

    • lisa says

      Hi girl,

      Have you checked my Hair Styles tab at the top of the blog? Even some of the transitioning styles may work for you too. As far as products go, I personally like Miss Jessie’s, Taliah Waajid, Oyin Handmade and Shea Moisture lines. If you don’t want to spend crazy amounts of money, just purchase some unrefined shea butter and whip it up with some natural oils to create your own sealant. You can also use natural oils for moisture. The key is to experiment because what works for me may not work for you.

      As far as dandruff, have you ever tried organic apple cider vinegar (buy the kind “with the mother” on the label). I sometimes have dandruff in the front/top of my head, but I mix water and vinegar (50/50) in a hair dye bottle and put it on my scalp as a final rinse without rinsing it out. Apple cider vinegar has anti-fungal/anti-bacterial properties. Some people spray it on their scalp before shampooing. I haven’t tried that yet. I just use it as a final rinse.

  21. Shontelle says

    I am just starting out with going natural, I did ;my first wash and roller set last Sunday and today is Thursday and the curls on the side are now flat. My question is do you use the Aloe Vera gel and the B&B Form wrap when setting your hair? I don’t want my hair to be hard and crunchy.

    • lisa says

      If you’re worried about crunchiness you can put a light natural oil like coconut or jojoba oil underneath. I never had issues with crunchiness though.

  22. Saralyn says

    Hi! I’m going natural in highschool and I’m new at this because i don’t want to cut my hair off. I love your website! :) I have a question though… Do you let your hair airdry after you do a leave in conditioner or do you go straight to styling? Or do sit under a dryer until you hair is damp? Thanks

  23. charlynse says

    question about the rods because itll be a year soon for me as well with no chemicals but how do you do the rod set do you sit under the hair dryer or you use the gel for it to set

    • lisa says

      I sit under the dryer for about 20 minutes and let the rest air dry overnight. The Aloe Vera gel helps with hold too.

  24. Vickie says

    Hi, Love the website. I have long hair little past my shoulders I have been growing my relaxer out since July of 2010. I did do the Keratin treatment in which I do love the straight look. But, I miss my curls. I don’t want to cut my hair. I love the rods set I use to do that but now that my hair longer I wonder How would it look and will it be too much Or should I try the two strand twist out? Thank for the feedback.

  25. Jacquelynn Picott says


    I appreciate your insight & thorough instruction via youtube. I am looking to do different things to my hair after years of heat on my hair. I am also looking for something to allow me to go to the gym w/out having to look like Kunta the next day =).

    My question is, how do you maintain your rod set curls? In the past, I tried the curls w/out the rod sets & it turned out very similar to your rod set curls but how did you sleep @ night? That was my issue b/c it would come out flat after the 2nd day.

    Help a sista out!!

    Thank you!!

    • lisa says

      Hey Jacquelynn,

      I sleep in a satin bonnet. In the morning it’s a little scrunched but I just fluff it out with my fingers and every other day or so I dab a little bit of castor oil on it. Let me know how it works!

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