Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy (like pillows), but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ‘em) products and single out the most convincing. While we’ve written about the best curling irons, hair dryers, and even a certain curling iron used on the Victoria’s Secret Angels, here, we’re going deep on the best flat irons and hair straighteners on Amazon. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)
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!
“I’ve owned a Conair, Chi, and I-Tech straighter before, but this one is FABULOUS! There really is no tugging at all on your hair — so smooth, and I was shocked that it truly heats up in 15 seconds, as advertised! It also does something magical to my hair: It adds more shine like no flat iron has done before. Mind you, my hair is very difficult to deal with. It has always been coarse, wavy, dry, and thick! This iron worked beautifully on my hair.”
“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.
Creative director of GLAMSQUAD Giovanni Vaccaro prefers this flat iron by Sedu. "The ceramic plates are really key to maintain the integrity and healthiness of the hair," he says. To get expertly straight hair, Vaccaro recommends using a boar-bristle brush to help mediate frizz, and that "the follow through is key" when moving the iron and comb completely from roots to tips.
Lifters who are deadly serious about their training, and who prove it by doing the serious exercises - the BIG movements -- exercises like squats, front squats, bench presses, barbell bent-over rowing, deadlifts, Trap Bar deadlifts, standing presses, push presses, power cleans, power snatches, and jerks. Lifters who finish every workout covered in chalk and sweat - and who've been doing it that way for a long time.
“I’m a licensed hairdresser and I’ve used many hair straighteners, including Chi and Paul Mitchell. They work, but my hair is so thick that it takes me at least 30 to 40 minutes to properly smooth my hair. This is the absolute best hair straightener I have ever used. It straightened my hair in ten minutes (no joke). I’m extremely pleased and shocked. Looking to purchase a second one to have on hand for the future.”
We started with six flat irons but ultimately dropped two because they didn’t work well on any of our testers’ hair. The inexpensive, but highly rated HSI Professional Glider Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron was bulky and awkward. Testers said it felt like two pieces of plastic passing through their hair. We thought the NuMe Megastar Hair Straightener, a popular and more high-end tool, would be a clear contender for our list. However, testers said it snagged hard against their hair to the point of hurting. It was also difficult to hold closed when styling. Because both of these flat irons received such low ratings among our testers, we didn’t include them in our top picks.
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.
Flat irons come in a variety of materials, but some of the most popular include ceramic and titanium. JCPenney also carries a few flat irons made with tourmaline, a rare metal that is typically found in salon-quality flat irons. Some brands even have very large plates that can straighten quite a lot of hair in one movement. At JCPenney, you can also find options that come in smaller sizes to focus on styling and textured curling, as well as irons with curved plates. In addition, JCPenney shoppers can find flat irons with digital or analog capabilities. Many of JCPenney's products are manufactured with ionic technology, which helps reduce frizz and adds moisture. Whether you're shopping for a heavy-duty flat iron or a travel iron for a trip, be sure to make the most of your budget by shopping at JCPenney.
According to hair pro Christian Wood, if you want to make sure your hair stays in the place, use the GHD gold mini styler. “I prefer a small straightener that I can get really close to the roots to remove stubborn kinks and cow licks,” says Wood. The small straightener trick is probably how he nails the beauty looks of Tessa Thompson, Emily Ratajkowski, Rosie Huntington, and Olivia Munn.
Many hair straighteners feature a visual interface to alert you when the device is getting a bit too hot for comfort or when it has surpassed the ideal temperature for your hair. With the T3 Micro Single Pass Flat Iron, you can expect the same visual cues with the bonus of sound alerts as well! That’s right; this flat iron will actually tell you when it reaches its ideal temperature or when it is about to shut off automatically after one hour. Now that’s some hot tech!
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?
For better or worse, we are B-U-S-Y nowadays. Running from meeting to meeting and trying to pick up our kids from carpool before soccer practice, it’s no wonder that we often place ourselves at the bottom of our daily priority list. This mindset typically carries over into our appearances and explains why more women than ever are rocking messy top knots and buns than ever before.
The nano ceramic plates in this straightener deliver far-infrared heat, a gentler alternative in and of itself. As if that weren't enough, there's also a reservoir where you can pour in some of the (included) argan treatment and thermal protectant, creating a conditioning steam that will strengthen and safeguard strands while you straighten. Admittedly an extra step, sure, but one that's well worth it.