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.
This flat iron is amazing! I have natural curly hair, and I live where it's humid a good majority of the year. This flat iron is good enough to keep my hair straight for a few days. That's with using products like hairspray, dry shampoo etc. I've been using this for about a month, 3-4 days a week, and haven't noticed any heat damage. That's always a plus. I'd say this was a good buy!
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.
Fine or thinning hair can easily become damaged under too much heat, so cooler temperatures (i.e., those under 300° F) are ideal for these hair types. If you have very curly, course, or thick hair, then higher temperatures upwards of 400° F may be more suitable to your needs. With the ISA Professional Titanium Flat Iron, you can cool it down to 265° F if need be and also crank it up to a whopping 450° F for textured styled.
“Infrared is so beneficial being that the wavelengths are longer and can penetrate deeper into the cuticle heating the hair from the inside out, keeping your hair's own natural moisture, leaving the hair smooth (and) shiny and keeping it extremely healthy, versus other conventional styling tools that actually pull moisture out of the hair, leaving the hair dry, brittle, dull and damaged,” said hair expert and stylist Gina Rivera.
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.
Not sure which temperature setting is right for your hair? We recommend starting slow and building up to higher heat settings gradually. Not only will you be able to perfectly identify the optimal heat setting for your hair, but you will also avoid overheating. After all, very few of us actually need upwards of 400° F to see the salon results we’ve always wanted!
If you have trouble remembering to unplug your flat iron before heading out, you’ll appreciate the Chi Air’s one-hour automatic shutoff. Since people have preferences regarding auto shutoff this wasn’t a criteria for us, but our testers thought it was helpful. One tester said she often leaves her flat iron on in the morning and invested in a timed switch to make sure it’s off. So if you’re forgetful when it comes to turning off your tools, then auto shutoff might be an important feature for you.
Most reviewers on Ulta love the GHD Gold, praising how quickly it heats up, how it makes their hair feel, and how long this tool has lasted them. Some reviewers did feel that it was too expensive and didn't like the lack of control they had over the temperature setting. While those with very fine hair may find the 365-degree setting too hot, the lack of different settings, in this case, is to help prevent hair damage. The price is steeper than some, but it's also a straightener that's built to last, which helps justify the price.
Whether you have particularly curly hair or thick locks, this T3 hair straightener is designed to leave you with a shiny finish in a fraction of the time of other hair straighteners on the market today. Specifically, the T3’s smart SinglePass technology maintains consistent heat throughout the entire plate to straighten all hair types with one glide.
The two strips of silicone atop Bio Ionic’s flat iron plates seem silly, but they serve an important purpose. By buffering the outer edge of the plates, they reduce your chances of hair snags. They also force you to glide the flat iron more slowly through your hair (they are called speed strips, after all). While the slower technique maximizes shininess and smoothness, the speed strips can become a bit of an obstacle if your hair is thick.