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.
In addition to a fast heat-up time and multiple temperature settings, the 9-foot cord and 360 swivel make for easier styling and prevents and tangling. You can also travel with this styling iron thanks to the dual voltage settings. Anti-slip edges and floating plates allow your hair to glide effortlessly between the plates, with no pulling or snagging which can be especially damaging for fine hair.
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.
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.
This lightweight mini straightener is easy to use and great if you love to travel and need to take your tools with you. It's so tiny and portable that it can fit into a carry-on bag, and it heats and is ready to use in only 30 seconds. It packs serious punch, though — its 100% ceramic plates generate six times more negative ions than regular irons for less heat damage and frizz.
The Chi Elite Flat Iron has all the features Chi flat irons are known for. Like the Chi Air, it comes with a one-hour shut off and temperature dial to ensure you’re getting the correct heat. It also worked across all hair types and was specifically good on kinky, curly and thick hair. One of our testers even said it “work[ed] better than the Babyliss” and that styling her own hair with it was “not as uncomfortable.”
The ceramic blue plates aren't just pretty; they push conditioners into the hair, quelling frizz 65 percent more efficiently than a traditional ceramic iron. Even experts were impressed. "[It] leaks heat-protective ingredients onto the hair at the exact point of contact, coating every strand during the straightening process," says cosmetic chemist Ni'Kita Wilson.