You're on your way to work with your perfectly styled hair, ready for that big client meeting…and suddenly you're not sure if you remembered to turn off your hair straightener. Cue the mind spiral where you imagine being responsible for your entire apartment building burned to the ground. We admit. it may be a bit dramatic, but it's definitely not a good feeling to start the day with.
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 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.
If you don’t have much time to hang around and read through reviews, you don’t have to. I have a list with best picks as well as a “handy dandy” table that can help you quickly sort through the options I’ve included on my site. When you’re ready, just hit “add to cart” and you can get on with your day. If you fancy that cup of coffee after all, you can click through the different options and get a more detailed picture of any model you’re interested in. No matter how you do it, all the information is designed to be quick and helpful.
The floating plates are contoured with smooth edges, so you won't have to worry about your hair snagging as you're styling. If you have thicker hair, you may want to consider the 2-inch plate option, which will cover more surface area and help you style your hair more quickly. However, if you'd rather have the versatility of being able to curl and flip your hair as well as straighten it, we'd recommend the classic 1-inch plate.
The ability to create bouncy curls or waves with a flat iron (we know, it seems counter-intuitive!) is a biggie in the beauty industry and merits a bit more discussion. If you’re totally lost and there aren’t enough video tutorials on the planet to explain this weird yet awesome process, don’t worry! Just follow along with our step-by-step guide and you will be curling with the best of them in no time!
The more temperature control options you have, the more control you'll have over the heat you'll be applying to your hair. Keep in mind, any type of heat styling can be damaging to your strands, so you want to take care not to use too much high heat, especially if you're styling daily. Flat irons that have lower temperature options that start around 250 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for those with thin, damage-prone hair. If you do have thick hair, higher heat settings can help straighten those curls. To help prevent damage, you should start with lower heat first, and then only increase as needed. Keep in mind, anything above 400 degrees has the potential to damage your hair. Even those with coarse, curly hair should stay within the 350-400 degree range to be safe.
When shopping for the best hair straightener for your unique hair type, it can be difficult to decipher all of the different styles and specs. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you and created this all-inclusive guide to finding the best hair straightener for your unique head o’ hair, so you can spend less time scrolling through pages of products and more time rocking your new dream do’!
Seemingly small details like cord length can make all the difference in the effectiveness of a beauty tool. A longer cord length is desirable here, giving you more freedom and versatility depending on the power outlet situation in your home or your hotel if you're traveling. A cord with 360 swivel capabilities is also a plus. You'll be moving your hair straightener all around your head as you style, and a rotating cord will keep it from getting tangled.
Sure, the drugstore flat iron you used on its highest setting back in the day was clunky and had a tendency to fry your hair if you glanced away for more than a second, and okay fine, your mom probably told you that you looked a little “emo” from time to time. Luckily, those days are long gone and hair straighteners have truly come a long way since the days of The Jersey Shore.
The Babyliss gets hot quickly and moves through hair fast. This is thanks to its thin, lightweight design and the fact that it stays consistently hot. Our testers were amazed that it passed through their hair so quickly and left it smooth without feeling damaged or fried. Plus, when being styled by someone else, our testers said it didn’t snag their hair.
The ½ inch plates allow the BaBylissPro Mini to get close to the scalp, so it will straighten hair from root to tip. It's lightweight and compact at 6 inches long, so it will fit easily in a purse or carry-on bag with no hassle. It comes with a heat resistant travel pouch for storage so you can pack up and go at a moment's notice before or after straightening your hair.
“Being a mom of two, it’s hard to have time to get my hair done, but with this, I do my hair in 30 minutes, rather than over an hour. I haven’t bought a new straightener in probably four years, and I bought this with very little expectations. OMG! First of all, not only did it take half the time to do my hair, but it left my hair as amazing as I always wanted it! Super silky-smooth. I then used it to make some curls on my 8-year-old. In less than 15 minutes, I was done with her hair and she was in love with the curls.”
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.
Heat protectants contain ingredients that coat hair and slow down heat induction. Janine Jarman says, “Blow dry your hair properly; use a heat protectant product; and with the right iron, you should not have to make a bunch of passes to get the results you want.” We used TRESemmé Expert Selection Heat Protection Spray, Keratin Smooth. Most of our testers liked how it worked on their hair and felt a noticeable difference when using it. Our tester with kinky hair didn’t use the product because she knew it wouldn’t work on her hair. Instead, she recommends using an oil (like an Argan oil) or a hair grease to add moisture to the hair, which makes it easier to straighten.
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?
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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 Chi Air is similar to other Chi tools and has that iconic sleek design with gold plates. However, one feature our testers believe makes the Chi Air stand out against the Chi Elite and others is that it’s so lightweight. True to its name, the tool is lighter than other flat irons which makes it easier to manage when styling. One tester believed the light design even made it snag less when passing over hair.
Celebrity hair stylist Priscilla Valles’s go-to straightner is the classic GHD 1-inch straightener. “I start in the nape and bring down small sections, one row at a time and I use a GHD flat Iron with a comb in the other hand,” says Valles. “I place the comb in front of the iron while ironing at the same time in a slow motion all the way down. Never stopping cause that will cause dents in the hair. At the end a dime size of ouai rose from top to bottom just to add some shine and control any fly aways!”
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.
If being limited to only a handful of temperature settings isn’t really your cup of tea, look no further than the BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium Straightening Iron! This lightweight flat iron features a whopping 50 heat settings for hair types of all shapes, styles, textures, and colors making it one of the most versatile hair straighteners on our list.
“I’m in ‘ahhh’ at how awesome of a straightener this is. If you ask me, it’s a lot better than the high-end brands. It leaves my hair silky-smooth and shiny. I absolutely love its features, and you can watch the heat meter rise as it’s heating up. To me, five stars is not enough to rate this product. It’s definitely worth the money. I’m in love with this straightener. Also, the lock on it I found to be a awesome bonus.”
“This is a badass flat iron. Here’s the skinny: The moment you turn it on, it has a ‘Fragile, Damaged, Healthy’ setting, and it also auto-locks the buttons to keep what temperature you want while doing your hair. It comes with a professional bag for traveling with it. This flat iron is ‘pinky in the air while drinking your tea’ fancy. It is the Ferrari of flat irons, for a girl on a budget wanting a new flat iron. And for my fellow sistas: It works amazingly on African-American hair.”
One of the biggest problems you will face when using a heated hair styling tool is overheating. We’ve all been there: you’re casually straightening your hair when a particularly funny scene comes up on the show you have playing in the background. After a solid minute or two of laughter, you realize (in utter horror!) that your poor hair has been sandwiched in between a couple of hot plates the entire time.