For such a high-end flat iron, we were disappointed that the Babyliss doesn’t have a precise temperature display like the Bio Ionic. Our testers were confused by the settings, which had numbers going up to 50 vs. actual temperatures. The numbers represent a range, but you have to look through the instruction manual to figure out what that is. One tester summed it up perfectly: “I don’t want to read an instruction manual to use a hair straightener.”
Unlike the plain Jane ceramic plates of most hair straighteners, the tourmaline-infused ceramic plates in the CHI Air Expert Classic Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron are designed to keep your hair healthy during styling. Specifically, the tourmaline helps to more evenly distribute the heat during use which, in turn, creates a higher number of negative ions for shinier and healthier looking hair with each use. This reduces the static electricity created, meaning you get a sleeker, smoother style.
By-and-large, most people with natural hair have some variation of type 3 or type 4 – which is exactly why low-end hair straighteners can be so dangerous. More curly natural black hair has a tendency to be more porous than other hair types. As a result, it can lose moisture easily and become damaged. With the wrong flat iron, this can lead to split ends and breakage after just a single use.
I tried to break everything up on the chart by category so it’s easier to narrow things down, but you have to keep in mind there is a ton of overlap in styling tools. You can have large ceramic tourmaline and small titanium steam as well as just about a thousand other options. The point is, although my table is here for those of you who already have an idea of what you want, there is a small chance you might end up looking at something with a few extra bells and whistles because there is so much overlap. If you’re not sure what different kinds of irons there are, head over to my buying guide so you can get that all sorted out before you start reading the reviews.
Crimping irons or crimpers work by crimping hair in sawtooth style. The look is similar to the crimps left after taking out small braids. Crimping irons come in different sizes with different sized ridges on the paddles. Larger ridges produce larger crimps in the hair and smaller ridges produce smaller crimps. Crimped hair was very popular in the 1980s and 1990s.