At first, the Bio Ionic 10X Pro Styling Iron’s vibrating plates seemed gimmicky. But we were surprised at how effective they were when styling our hair. Our testers found the vibrating plates made straightening their hair go faster with virtually zero snagging. Engaging the vibration was also simple — click the power button and tap the plates together and you’re ready to go.
With ceramic tourmaline technology, floating plates, and an extremely wide range of temperatures, the Berta Professional tourmaline ceramic flat iron is great for this type of job. It’s also got an elongated body so hair doesn’t slip off the end while you’re styling, and reviewers are saying things like, “I got the hair straightener to curl my hair and it does a great job. My hair never holds a curl but this flat iron did the trick.”
Straighteners work because they have flat plates that get hot and touch together on either side of your hair. By doing that, they put heat through your hair follicles, trap in moisture and take out frizz. The plates on a flat iron can be made of several different materials, and they’re good for different uses. The best iron for you varies depending on the type of hair you have, the type of styling you want to do, and the amount of heat your hair needs.
Seemingly small details like cord length can make all the difference in the effectiveness of a beauty tool. A longer cord length is desirable here, giving you more freedom and versatility depending on the power outlet situation in your home or your hotel if you're traveling. A cord with 360 swivel capabilities is also a plus. You'll be moving your hair straightener all around your head as you style, and a rotating cord will keep it from getting tangled.
At $230, the Bio Ionic is pricier than any of our top picks. But you get what you pay for. You can truly do with your hair whatever you desire — straight or curled — in one pass. And, if you’re worried about it breaking a few years after purchase, the Bio Ionic comes with a five-year warranty. By investing in a better-quality tool up front, you won’t have to replace your flat iron every couple of years. Plus, the Bio Ionic goes on sale every now and then, so it’s worth keeping your eye out for deals.
There are a few downsides to the BaBylissPro Mini. For those with longer hair, it may take a little more time to straighten than it would with a normal-sized straightener. It also lacks the 360-degree swivel cord and automatic shut-off found in most full-size hair straighteners. However, these downsides can be overlooked when taking the other features into consideration, like its lightweight, compact size and the fact that it can still hold the same temperatures as a full-sized hair straightener.
Early hair straightening systems relied on harsh chemicals that tended to damage the hair. In the 1870s, the French hairdresser Marcel Grateau introduced heated metal hair care implements such as hot combs to straighten hair. Madame C.J. Walker used combs with wider teeth and popularized their use together with her system of chemical scalp preparation and straightening lotions. Her mentor Annie Malone is sometimes said to have patented the hot comb. Heated metal implements slide more easily through the hair, reducing damage and dryness. Women in the 1960s sometimes used clothing irons to straighten their hair.
If you want to achieve sleek, pin-straight hair, a high-quality hair straightener should be in your beauty arsenal. A hair straightener, also known as a flat iron, smooths the follicle of your hair between two heated plates. Some hair straighteners can even do double duty, creating loose waves and curls without the frizz. So how to choose the best hair straightener for you, and get those shampoo commercial-worthy locks? There are several things to consider to make sure you'll get the best style result, but the most important is hair type.
If your hair is plagued by tangles and knots on a regular basis (even in between straightening!), try switching your hairbrush out for a wide-toothed comb! The added space in between the teeth gently separately knots and tangles without the painful “Ouch!” with each stroke. If that still isn’t enough to tame your stubborn tresses, try a wet brush! These brushes are specially designed to work through knotted, wet hair without any tugging or pulling.
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.
One of the Babyliss’ major drawbacks, and why we only recommend this flat iron for experienced users, is the outside gets hotter than any of our other picks. Hot to the point that it was too hot to hold. One tester said she was “afraid to accidentally touch the top of it.” Others said they could feel the heat against their scalps. At first, another tester said she didn’t mind the heat. This was moments before she burned the top of her hand when it merely grazed the side of the tool.
We started with six flat irons but ultimately dropped two because they didn’t work well on any of our testers’ hair. The inexpensive, but highly rated HSI Professional Glider Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron was bulky and awkward. Testers said it felt like two pieces of plastic passing through their hair. We thought the NuMe Megastar Hair Straightener, a popular and more high-end tool, would be a clear contender for our list. However, testers said it snagged hard against their hair to the point of hurting. It was also difficult to hold closed when styling. Because both of these flat irons received such low ratings among our testers, we didn’t include them in our top picks.