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.
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).
“I bought the HSI titanium tourmaline ionic flat iron and I was so impressed with it. It glides so smoothly down the hair without any tugs! The digital display screen lets me adjust the temperature without any problems, it heats up fast, and I love that it comes with a pretty purple pouch, glove, and argan-oil serum. I also own the digital HSI ceramic ionic flat iron from 2013, and it’s still going strong, but I do like the titanium iron better, and I see myself using for it for years to come. It leaves my hair shiny and soft!”
Our two testers with kinky and thick hair loved the Chi Air Expert Classic Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron. In fact, it was each of their top picks, with the Bio Ionic coming in second. The Chi Air reaches 410 degrees F, which is definitely hot enough for thicker and curlier hair types. The speed at which the tool worked was surprising considering the kinkiness and thickness of both testers’ hair. One tester with long, curly hair had to leave early for an event and needed to finish styling. The Chi Air moved through her hair quickly, giving her time to spare. And, even at 410 degrees, our testers didn’t feel like their hair was being fried or that the heat burned their heads. In fact, they complimented how soft it made their hair feel and how comfortable it was to use, unlike the NuMe Megastar which snagged a lot or the HSI Professional Glider which felt hot against their scalps. As one tester said, “Chi is killing it.”
It comes with the most advanced heating element in this industry. Using a digital display, you can adjust temperature from 280F to 450F. This means that you can use it to style fine or very fragile hair as well as very thick and coarse. This is the model that is often recommended for women that have hair that is hard to straighten and difficult to keep straight. So if lower heats do not work for you, use the highest setting, and get pin straight results, like glass.
This Amazon reviewer dubbed it the "perfect travel tool" that straightens their hair just as effectively as a normal sized hair straightener and they like that it automatically changes voltage so you don't have to worry about doing so manually. Reviewer Lynn B. writes on Ulta that she loves how quickly it heats up, and how she can easily pack it away right after use thanks to the heat-resistant carrying case it comes with.
We usually roll our eyes at oil-infused heat tools — but you can actually watch this oil being sucked right out of the refillable cartridge in the handle. When you press the iron closed over your strands, the oil vapor seeps through tiny holes to condition and straighten your hair. And don't worry fine-haired friends: It made our tester's hair silkier, but not like she'd dipped it in an oil vat.