Do you have curly, dry hair? Thick, color-treated hair? Short, straight hair? Fine, kinky hair? Finding the right flat iron for you really depends on your hair type. Heat and plate types are an important factor in this. Your flat iron should reach and maintain the right temperature and be made from the plate material that works best for you. While most will work well on a variety of hair types, pay close attention to reviews from people with hair similar to yours (bonus points if they include before and after pictures).
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.
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.
Derek Yuen, the man responsible for Cole Sprouse's grown-up new look, recommends the GHD Platinum Professional Performance iron. The flat iron is consistently and evenly heated at 365 degrees, which is safer and less damaging on the strands. “The beveled edges also allow for infinite styling possibilities, not just just for straightening hair,” says Yeun.
When putting your hair under the intense heat of a flat iron or hair straightener, you’ll probably find that breakage and damage are that much more common. And that’s why we absolutely love the LumaBella Keratin Duel Touch Hair Straightener! Packed with all sort of high-tech features and gizmos, LumaBella’s hair straightener achieves salon-worthy results without the harsh damage of most styling devices for a natural, healthy shine with each use!
Consider this the perfect flat iron for full hair. "It is great for thicker textures because it distributes heat evenly, allowing for less passes through the hair," explains stylist Lacy Redway. The plates "make it easier to straighten or curl longer hair lengths." Redway was responsible for Tessa Thompson’s sleek ‘do on her past ELLE cover, so you know it’s top-notch.
Ask any seasoned hair stylist for a flat iron recommendation, and you will hear the same brand time and time again: CHI. Known the world over as a leader in hair care and styling, CHI is your go-to name for salon results at home. While CHI offers a variety of designs (and fun colors!) to choose from, the brand’s G2 Ceramic and Titanium model is what caught our eye when researching the best hair straightener. This hair straightener is packed with high-tech features and an upgraded, ergonomic design for the shiniest and straightest do’ you’ve ever seen!
Despite these downsides, the HSI Professional comes with plenty of positives, including extras not often found with other hair straighteners. Along with the straightener, you'll receive a carrying case, a heat-resistant glove for easier hair styling, a style guide, and a travel-size argan oil leave-in hair treatment serum to smooth and protect your hair. This is more than most high-end hair straighteners come with, all for a fraction of the price.
The type of heat you use to style your hair makes a big difference in how healthy it will be. Our Xtava Pro-Satin Infrared Ceramic Flat Iron for Hair uses infrared heating technology, which heats hair from the inside out. Infrared technology is a game-changer for styling your hair because it allows heat to penetrate directly into the inner part of the hair strand, not just the outside layer. Infrared heating to the middle of the hair strand provides a more effective heat for styling and decreases damage to the outside of your hair. Infrared technology also stimulates negative ions in your hair that draw oils from the hair shaft to the surface; this helps lock in moisture and lock in your look, even in humid weather. Better heat = better hair health. Guess that’s not much of a secret after all, is it?
This straightener is a miracle worker! African-American women with extremely coarse hair consider this tool a godsend. Thanks to 5-inch extended plates, faster and more efficient straightening is finally possible, especially for those mornings when you’re in a rush. If you want a hair tool that can help you with styling details, this BaByliss PRO is a very good solution.
The BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium Straightening Iron really is the Baskin Robins of hair straighteners, making it the perfect choice for anyone that wants to straighten their hair quickly. Whether you have naturally short hair and opt for extensions on occasion or you just chopped off your do’ into a new pixie cut, you will have a hard time not finding the perfect heat setting for your hair so many choices!
Nearly 21,000 people gave this flat iron a five-star review on Amazon. If they factored price into that rating, then I agree. For less than $60 it’s pretty spectacular, but it doesn’t beat the fancier ones in terms of performance. The temperature automatically drops after 15 minutes of use. And while it’s easy to adjust that, it is also slightly inconvenient.
Most mid-grade and high-end hair straighteners come with plates that are 1” or 1.5”. If you are looking at one that is 2”, 2.5”, or even bigger, steer clear immediately. Not only does larger plates make it easier for you to accidentally over-iron (and seriously damage) your hair, but they also make it more difficult to get all of the way down to your roots. For anyone with type 3 or type 4 hair, trying to use a large-sized flat iron would be far more trouble than it’s worth.
There are 25 heat settings (200 °f-450 °f) that are digitally controlled. It heats up to 450 degrees almost in an instant, making it a perfect solution for maintaining keratin treatments. You can use it without the infrared lights and still get great results, but when you turn them on, you will not believe the change in your hair quality, that will be visible immediately.
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.
“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.
Xtava’s two inch-wide plates are massive, making them perfect for people with thick or coarse hair. Aside from the plates, everything else about this flat iron is fairly standard. You can use it at a temperature range in between 265 and 445 degrees Fahrenheit, the plates are made with tourmaline and ceramic, and it takes less than two minutes for the tool to fully heat.