By-and-large, most people with natural hair have some variation of type 3 or type 4 – which is exactly why low-end hair straighteners can be so dangerous. More curly natural black hair has a tendency to be more porous than other hair types. As a result, it can lose moisture easily and become damaged. With the wrong flat iron, this can lead to split ends and breakage after just a single use.
Straightening irons, straighteners, or flat irons work by breaking down the positive hydrogen bonds found in the hair's cortex, which cause hair to open, bend and become curly. Once the bonds are broken, hair is prevented from holding its original, natural form, though the hydrogen bonds can re-form if exposed to moisture. Straightening irons use mainly ceramic material for their plates. Low-end straighteners use a single layer of ceramic coating on the plates, whereas high-end straighteners use multiple layers or even 100% ceramic material. Some straightening irons are fitted with an automatic shut off feature to prevent fire accidents.
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.
With ceramic tourmaline technology, floating plates, and an extremely wide range of temperatures, the Berta Professional tourmaline ceramic flat iron is great for this type of job. It’s also got an elongated body so hair doesn’t slip off the end while you’re styling, and reviewers are saying things like, “I got the hair straightener to curl my hair and it does a great job. My hair never holds a curl but this flat iron did the trick.”
Given its tiny stature, it is no surprise that the BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium Straightening Iron is ideal for users with short or medium hair lengths. Unlike the more industrial models we reviewed that are designed for longer or thicker hair, this BaByliss hair straightener is small and light enough to polish off a short bob or shoulder-length style in no time.
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).
Size matters. With plates too big or too small, you’ll have to make multiple passes. This exposes your hair to high heat longer and increases the risk that you’ll do damage. According to Janine Jarman, owner and operator of acclaimed Hollywood salon Hairroin, a 1-inch-wide plate will do for most people, and if you want to use your iron for anything other than straightening, like creating curls or waves, you’ll need a 1-inch plate; anything larger won’t make the waves or curls tight enough. She also pointed out length is important too. “You need plates to be at least 3 inches long, or close to it, so you’re not spending a ton of time with small sections.”
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.
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.
Eight embedded sensors regulate and evenly distribute the heat on this ceramic iron, minimizing damage and increasing shine and smoothness. With adjustable temperature settings that go as low as 140 degrees (the coolest we've ever seen), it's ideal for anyone with super fine hair, or to smooth out the tiny frizzies around your hairline. It also comes with a lifetime warranty, which is never a bad thing.