How to choose the best flat iron? - Buying Guide

Because straight hair it’s always in style and it gives you a sleek and put-together look, hair straighteners have become a really popular method and a basic tool in the women’s beauty arsenal. Flat irons can give you a shiny, streamlined, frizz-free look but in order to achieve that without damaging your hair, you must use a good hair straightener. The best flat irons make hair smoother, work faster and cause less damage than lower-quality tools.

Finding the right flat iron can be really confusing. There are so many options you can choose from, each one of them has different features and the price varies depending on those. In this guide, you can find information about everything you need to know before choosing a hair straightener.

Even though all hair straighteners are designed in basically the same way, not every one of them is created equal. Not all flat irons have the same quality level and definitely do not have the same price.

Types of Flat Irons

Most flat irons have plates made of ceramic, titanium or tourmaline or a combination of two of these.  All of these materials produce negative ions when heated in order to help smooth, straighten and have a frizz free hair.  However, each material is suitable for a specific hair type and it’s important to take this into consideration when choosing any hair styling tools that apply heat to your hair.

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Ceramic: Is your hair very sensible and damaged? – choose a ceramic flat iron. These can sustain a high temperature and have an equal distribution of heat which means that it involves minimal risk of hair damage. When you are looking for a hair straightener beware of the ceramic coated plates, the coating can get chipped with frequent usage and may damage your hair. Choose an iron with plates made entirely of ceramic not only a ceramic coating. They are ideal for most hair types, particularly for thin hair, and are one of the most popular types of straighteners on the market.

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Tourmaline Flat Irons: Is your hair frizzy all the time? – Choose tourmaline. This is a semi-precious crystal that is included in the ceramic plates but also in those of titanium. The material is crushed into a fine powder and added to the plate cover layer, offering a reduction in friction during hair straightening. The tourmaline helps to close the cuticle of the hair and seal the moisture in leaving you with a silky and shiny finish. It is recommended to use this type of flat iron especially for people with coarse or damaged hair.

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Titanium:  Do you have thick hair that’s hard to manage? Opt for a titanium straightener as it has a surface slightly smoother than other materials and is a metal with high thermal conductivity. This type of iron minimizes heat damage, has a high ionic input and gives your hair more hydration. If you have thin hair use the titanium flat iron at a low temperature.

A frequently neglected feature is the weight of the straightener. A flat iron that weighs a lot will give you arm pain shortly after you started to straighten your hair. The titanium straighteners are an excellent option in this case because they are very strong and efficient but also very lightweight.

What are ions?

Ions are atoms that carry positive or negative electric charge. Hair is usually positively charged due to its water content and therefore a styling tool that provides negative ions will neutralize the hair atoms and remove the static frizz by making the hair smoother and shinier. This does not only apply to hair straighteners, it also applies to blow and hooded dryers. Keep in mind that all ceramic hair straighteners generate negative ions, but the tourmaline and titanium ones boost their output. It is ideal for dry, damaged or dull hair as it restores its shine.

The (PLATES) size matters

Hair straightener plates come in different sizes, ranging from a half inch to 2.5 inches. The size you choose should depend on your hair length and your styling needs.
If you are looking for a straightener suitable for short hair you can opt for one with a small plate size as it offers you more precision to work in close to the roots. (Recommended size: half an inch or 1 inch)
If you are trying to find the best straightener for long hair you should go for something with wider plates because it will save you styling time by straightening large sections of hair. (Recommended Size: from 1.25 inches to 2.5 inches)

Remember that an appropriate plate size will ease the straightening process considerable.

Temperature setting

What is the perfect temperature for hair straightening? Most flat iron models can reach temperatures between 175 degrees and 450 degrees Fahrenheit but the ideal temperature depends on your hair type.

The temperature for fine and damaged hair should be below 300 degrees F. (it applies to the chemically treated hair as well).Normal hair should be ironed at a temperature between 300 and 360 degrees and the thick or extra curly hair at 350-400 degrees. If it’s your first time using a flat iron you should start at a lower level and increase as needed.

Hair straighteners come in digital, analog and fixed temperature options. Even if the models with fixed temperature style at one constant heat setting they cannot be adjusted and it’s a disadvantage for those with thin or thick hair. The analog flat irons have an adjustable heat setting but won’t display the actual temperature. The latest models with the LCD display offers better temperature control, a feature that should not be overlooked if you want to avoid hair drying or permanent damage (especially if you have thin, already damaged or chemically treated hair).

Cord

A mistake we usually make is that we disregard the length of the cord: a socket too far away from the mirror and a short cord can be a problem. Also, for straightening hair more easily look for a flat iron with a swivel cord, it will follow your movements without rolling on itself or make knots.

Flat Iron Technology

Given that technology is evolving very quickly, a whole new generation of straighteners has emerged. This features should not be overlooked at when looking for the perfect hair straightener:

Steam

Steam straighteners are a very popular model. This technology allows straightening the hair without damage by moisturizing it, making it softer and shinier. Steam straighteners work in a similar fashion to regular straighteners but rather than heating up the plates they use steam technology derived from the water in the chamber to deliver heat. They nourish the hair and preserve it healthy while styling.

Wet and dry

You have always heard you need to dry your hair before using a straightener because it will damage it. Well, that’s not exactly true. Some straighteners feature wet and dry technology. It straightens hair even when it’s wet. This is a huge time saver for people with thick or curly hair.

Removable comb

Some straighteners are equipped with a removable comb and sometimes even more than one. They offer the advantage of disentangling hair sections and straightening them at the same time. However, the hair must be perfectly dry before use otherwise the risk of damaging your hair will increase. This is a very good option for those who have hair that it difficult to comb.

Conclusion

With all these being said we hope you enjoyed our Flat Iron Buying Guide and you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about which hair straighteners you should go for. Be sure to check out several brands, models, and styles and choose the right flat iron for you and your hair.

Best Value Ceramic Flat Iron

Remington S9600B T|Studio Silk Ceramic

The Remington S9600B T|Studio Silk Ceramic Flat Iron landed our best overall spot easily. Remington offers a wide selection of straighteners but this model is one of their best. This medium-budget iron has real silk proteins infused into the ceramic plates for a smoother glide and faster results.

The standard model of this straightener comes with 1-inch wide plates, but there’s also a 2-inch plate model available for those with long or thick hair. The floating plates are a real positive if you have hair that tends to snag on a flat iron.

The combination of the silk ceramic technology and the salon-level temperature of 455 degrees makes it suitable for any type of hair. It heats up very quickly, in just 15 seconds, so you can style your hair almost instantly after powering up.

Versatile and easy to use, this iron has digital controls and a temperature lock, giving you a measure of control you don’t have with other flat irons.

Check our top 6 best ceramic flat irons

Most Popular Tourmaline Flat Iron

HSI Professional Glider

One of the best things about tourmaline flat irons is they can be very budget friendly and give you quality results with less damage – even if you straighten your hair every day. The HSI Professional Glider straightener is an excellent example.

It is the perfect tool for quick, effortless straightening, easy curls and waves. A remarkable feature of this flat iron is the high-quality plates that use 8 Heat Balance micro-sensors (4 on each plate) to evenly distribute heat and manage the temperature. The floating plates continuously adjust the straightening angle in order to avoid snagging your hair and allow a more controlled styling.

The ceramic plates are coated with natural crystal tourmaline that when heated boosts the output of negative ions, adding moisture and shine. By having 1-inch plates, the HSI Professional Glider is suitable for all hair types and lengths, transforming frizzy and dull hair into gorgeously straight locks.

The adjustable temperature setting ranging from 140 to 450°F helps to minimize styling and heat exposure. Fewer passes are needed for silky, smoother results that last longer. You can also take it with you when you travel, it has dual voltage (110v-220v) and moves freely with the 360-degree swivel cord.

To top all this off, buying the HSI Professional Glider you will also receive an HSI style guide, a 1-year warranty, a free bonus: a travel-size argan oil leave-in hair treatment, a travel pouch and a heat-resistant glove.

Best Professional Titanium Flat Iron

RUSK Engineering CTC Technology Professional

The Rusk Engineering CTC Technology Professional is one of the leading professional titanium flat irons which offers long-lasting results and a smoother, silkier finish. It comes with 1.25-inch titanium infused ceramic plates and uses the sol-gel technology to ensure an easy glide without snagging your hair.Made to meet the highest standard of beauty professionals this model eliminates static frizz and maintains hair’s healthy while straightening.

It has a digital temperature display and heats up steady to 450 degrees F. The ceramic heater for instant heat up and the Ryton housing which withstands the high temperature provides a straightening experience without cold or hot spots. It also features a memory function to easily reach the desired heat setting with a touch of a button.  With the 9-foot swivel cord, you can easily handle it and even use it as a curler, but be careful to turn it off after using as it doesn’t have the automatic shut off feature.

Even if the Rusk Engineering CTC Technology Professional is a pricier model you will get your money’s worth as it performs at a professional level, giving you salon results at home.