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At first, the Bio Ionic 10X Pro Styling Iron’s vibrating plates seemed gimmicky. But we were surprised at how effective they were when styling our hair. Our testers found the vibrating plates made straightening their hair go faster with virtually zero snagging. Engaging the vibration was also simple — click the power button and tap the plates together and you’re ready to go.
The plate material you choose can also make a big difference on your style results. Ceramic, titanium, and tourmaline are the most common terms you'll come across. Ceramic plates hold heat well and provide even heat distribution, preventing any hot spots on the plates can cause damage. Ceramic is especially effective for fine hair that can be especially vulnerable to heat damage. While many hair straighteners have ceramic coated plates, plates made entirely from this material are more effective, as this coating can wear off over time. Tourmaline is a gemstone, but when crushed and used to coat the plates of a hair straightener, it has properties and results similar to ceramic plates.
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.
Both inexpensive and high-end flat irons come with a wide range of features. If you plan to travel out of the country often, then a tool with dual voltage might be a good option. Or you might find that the Bio Ionic’s vibrating plates are something you can’t live without after trying. A long cord that swivels at the end of the handle to ensure ease of use might also be an important feature for you. Some features you might not need include pads to rest your flat iron or gloves to protect your hands — both accessories our testers didn’t think were necessary. When researching flat irons, make a list of your must-haves and make sure the one you choose includes your top features before purchasing.
Once you have purchased your new hair straightener and mastered the multitude of ways you can put it to good use, the only thing left to do is take care of it, so it lasts for years to come! Just like any luxury beauty tool, you will want to care for your hair straightener to extend its longevity and prevent corrosion (which can actually leak into your flowing locks…yuck!). Our top tips for caring for and cleaning your new hair straightener include:
In the end you want to make sure that your hair is protected no matter what hair straightening treatment or tools you choose. Many hair straighteners are for daily discipline and upkeep. There are lotions, sprays, balms, serums and cremes to help you tame wavy or curly hair, control frizz or protect from humidity. Several hair straightener creams offer protection against damage from hair dryers and hot irons. Look for the hair products that will protect your hair and keep it smooth, shiny and silky.
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.
If you’re looking for an affordable mid-grade hair straightener that offers tremendous value, you can’t go wrong with the HSI Professional Digital Ceramic Flat Iron with Tourmaline. With a quick heat-up, digital LCD temperature control, and solid ceramic plates infused with tourmaline, you can straighten type 3 hair – and some type 4 hair – with ease.
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.
Due in large part to the damage we inflicted on our poor locks during this time, we’ve learned that heat protection isn’t just a luxury: it’s mandatory when it comes to hair straightening. That’s why so many hair straighteners now feature conditioners built right into the plates. We also learned that excess heat can cause permanent damage to hair, so now many flat irons come with automatic turn-off features or self-adjusting heat settings. Well, as the saying goes, there is no progress without a bit of struggle and our hair certainly struggled during the early 2000’s!
We’ve all heard the saying that the grass is always greener on the other side, and our hair types tend to follow the same old adage. If you were born with a head full of beautiful curls, you probably spent your childhood longing for straight hair; if you were born with bone straight hair, then you’ve probably spent more hours than you’d care to admit with a throbbing curler-induced headache. No matter how hard we may try to love the hair we’re born with; the truth is that most of us wish there were something else perched on top of our heads from time to time.
This styling iron has 1-inch plates, allowing it to do more than just straighten. It can also curl, flip, and be used to add volume if your hair tends to fall flat. It heats up in under 30 seconds so you can start styling almost right away, and there are a wide range of temperature settings from 250 degrees to 460 degrees Fahrenheit. While the high-temperature options make this straightener ideal for other hair types, too, if you do have fine hair you'll want to keep this in the lower temperature range.
FHI’s rounded edge allows you to easily curl or add waves without much effort. It’s almost as small as a travel flat iron, and I love that it straightens even the poofiest sections with just a single pass. But don’t just take my word for it, listen to Beyoncé (via InStyle): “I’m crazy about it! I can’t live without my flatiron! It takes me about an hour to do my hair, and the only time I don’t is when I’m on vacation.”