This is an absolute MUST HAVE for anyone with natural black hair. We talked earlier about how dangerous low-end flat irons can be for anyone with type 3 or type 4 hair, and this is precisely why. If you fit into those hair types, any straightener without an adjustable temperature control is likely to be way too hot for your hair to handle – especially for long-term use.
Both inexpensive and high-end flat irons come with a wide range of features. If you plan to travel out of the country often, then a tool with dual voltage might be a good option. Or you might find that the Bio Ionic’s vibrating plates are something you can’t live without after trying. A long cord that swivels at the end of the handle to ensure ease of use might also be an important feature for you. Some features you might not need include pads to rest your flat iron or gloves to protect your hands — both accessories our testers didn’t think were necessary. When researching flat irons, make a list of your must-haves and make sure the one you choose includes your top features before purchasing.
With a maximum temperature of 450° F, the BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium Straightening Iron can really pack a punch despite its otherwise small frame. One thing to note though: these heat settings are not pre-set like the CHI G2 hair straightener we also reviewed, and you will need to play around with them to find the right temperature for your hair. This shouldn’t be a problem if you have a Saturday afternoon or two to kill, but may not be ideal for users that are looking for a flat iron with pre-recorded settings.

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Due in large part to the damage we inflicted on our poor locks during this time, we’ve learned that heat protection isn’t just a luxury: it’s mandatory when it comes to hair straightening. That’s why so many hair straighteners now feature conditioners built right into the plates. We also learned that excess heat can cause permanent damage to hair, so now many flat irons come with automatic turn-off features or self-adjusting heat settings. Well, as the saying goes, there is no progress without a bit of struggle and our hair certainly struggled during the early 2000’s!
When you are looking for hair straighteners, flat irons are a popular option. Titanium, silver, porcelain and ceramic flat irons offer different degrees of heat and protection for your hair. You can choose how long and wide you want the plates, and whether you want a normal size or mini flat iron for shorter hair or travel. In a big hurry to get out the door? No problem. Choose an instant heat and recovery straightener to speed up your hairstyling routine. Walgreens.com carries popular flat iron brands like Conair and CHI.
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.
GHD’s “styler” is permanently set to 365 degrees Fahrenheit, which the company says is the highest temperature hair can tolerate before it becomes damaged. As a person who went from a dark brunette to blonde highlights, I can vouch for its straightening power on processed hair. And though I don’t typically think of “comfort” as a flat iron necessity, the springy hinge that connects the two plates really did make it easier to clamp and glide the tool down my hair with minimal effort.
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