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.
A lot of hair straighteners will boast that their nano-ceramic like this is a good thing. In reality, this means that they’re made up of a cheap filler material (that will not heat as evenly or remain as durable as true ceramic) which is coated with a thing outer ceramic layer. If you want a flat iron that’s safe for natural hair, make sure you go 100% ceramic, or better yet, solid ceramic infused with tourmaline or titanium.
If you are unsure what exactly your hair type is (or if it has changed over the years, which happens more often than you’d think!), check out this incredible overview by the hair professionals at Redken! Don’t stress if you have combination hair (i.e., fine and curly or thin and straight) either; we recommend choosing a hair straightener based on your biggest hair complaint and focusing on that problem first. So, if your curls are driving your nuts, you will want to select a hair straightener with higher temperatures, thin hair needs moisture, etc. You’ll find that your entire hair type can usually benefit from the extra TLC!
Aside from ionic and infrared technologies the Bio Ionic Onepass Straightening Iron has something that is entirely new to me: silicon covered plates. They get the hair more in order when you’re straightening, save you a lot of time and reduce the amount of heat that you need. This one is great for African American hair, but I already selected the xtava Pro Satin for that because it’s more affordable.
With well over 25,000 reviews, the HSI Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron is one of the best straightening irons you can get, but because of its thin build and rounded plates, you can also use it to curl your hair. It’s got solid ceramic plates to reduce damage, evenly heat hair, and promote shine, and if you’re a traveler, it’s got a dual voltage that can be used anywhere in the world.
Automatic shutoff isn’t a feature we included in our criteria since people have varying opinions about it, but we liked that the Chi Elite has this. Especially for new users who might forget to turn off their flat irons. Like the Chi Air, the Chi Elite will shut off after one hour. However, if you’re working with kinky hair, auto shutoff may be a problem. Traditionally this hair type will take longer to straighten due to detangling and the fragility of the hair.
Be sure to protect your hair against heat damage with Xtava’s Heat Protectant Spray every time you style. Not only does our heat protectant coat your hair with a lightweight layer of protection, but it also repairs hair from the inside-out with broccoli seed and Brazilian pequi oils to replenish moisture, restore shine, and infuse essential nutrients.
Most buyers were happy with their purchase of the Xtava, loving how well it worked on their natural hair, how quickly it straightens and cuts down on style time, and the extra features like the heat resistant bag. Everyone should be able to have straight, sleek hair as a style option no matter their hair type, and it's well-designed styling tools like the Xtava Pro Satin that make it possible.
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.
Our two testers with kinky and thick hair loved the Chi Air Expert Classic Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron. In fact, it was each of their top picks, with the Bio Ionic coming in second. The Chi Air reaches 410 degrees F, which is definitely hot enough for thicker and curlier hair types. The speed at which the tool worked was surprising considering the kinkiness and thickness of both testers’ hair. One tester with long, curly hair had to leave early for an event and needed to finish styling. The Chi Air moved through her hair quickly, giving her time to spare. And, even at 410 degrees, our testers didn’t feel like their hair was being fried or that the heat burned their heads. In fact, they complimented how soft it made their hair feel and how comfortable it was to use, unlike the NuMe Megastar which snagged a lot or the HSI Professional Glider which felt hot against their scalps. As one tester said, “Chi is killing it.”
The digital interface accurately displays the fully adjustable temperature setting from 170 degrees to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, providing optimal performance for any hair type. The floating plates with curved edges continuously adjust the tension and angle of the plates to avoid snagging your hair so that you have full flexibility when creating sleek, wavy or curly styles.
The titanium plates in the BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium Straightening Iron were designed to conduct high levels of heat (again, up to 450° F!) in a short amount of time. Coupled with the Nanotechnology that is packed in each plate, this hair straightener is ideal for anyone that experiences unwanted frizz or static on a regular basis! The titanium also acts as a barrier from corrosion keeping your hair straightener and precious strands free of build-up for years to come!
In short YES! You absolutely can use too much heat on your hair. Burning hair is not a good smell, it’s not a good look either! You may end up having to get a pretty severe haircut if you’re not careful about the amount of heat you put directly on your locks. Read through this to get an idea of what’s safe and what will leave you wishing for a good trim (or possibly a wig).
We loved the Bio Ionic’s user-friendly design. Two of our favorite features are its bright digital temperature control and the instructions stamped directly onto the tool. It also feels natural in the hand, and its matte finish provides a slight grippiness, but doesn’t pull at the hair when styling. Plus, the tool sports a uniquely shaped plate that’s curved at the tip and makes it really easy to get close to the scalp. One tester who is new to using flat irons said the Bio Ionic felt intuitive and even encouraged her to try harder styles, like creating curls and waves.
The HSI 1st Gen Professional Ceramic Flat Iron is designed with tourmaline-infused ceramic plates, generating negative ions and allowing smaller water molecules to penetrate into the hair shaft to reduce frizz and static. Built for durability and lasting results, the floating plates give the flexibility to flip, curl or straighten your hair – all with a single iron.

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.
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.
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