Odds are, you probably just read right over the fact that this flat iron for hair comes with floating plates, but here’s the thing: floating plates are kind of a big deal. Our plates are not fixed, meaning that they have the ability to flex with your hair to get a better grip. What does that mean for you? The plates work with your hair in any position to help get it straight and smooth in less time.
Ever since the early 2000’s when the planet collectively decided that straightening our hair to death was a good idea, beauty companies have been searching for a way to achieve beautiful and natural-looking straight looks without frying or unnecessary damage. From ceramic plates to protective sprays and everything in between, we have been desperately searching for some way, any way, to show off a straight head of hair that isn’t entirely made of straw.
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.
Be sure to protect your hair against heat damage with Xtava’s Heat Protectant Spray every time you style. Not only does our heat protectant coat your hair with a lightweight layer of protection, but it also repairs hair from the inside-out with broccoli seed and Brazilian pequi oils to replenish moisture, restore shine, and infuse essential nutrients.
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.
Most mid-grade and high-end hair straighteners come with plates that are 1” or 1.5”. If you are looking at one that is 2”, 2.5”, or even bigger, steer clear immediately. Not only does larger plates make it easier for you to accidentally over-iron (and seriously damage) your hair, but they also make it more difficult to get all of the way down to your roots. For anyone with type 3 or type 4 hair, trying to use a large-sized flat iron would be far more trouble than it’s worth.
One of the Babyliss’ major drawbacks, and why we only recommend this flat iron for experienced users, is the outside gets hotter than any of our other picks. Hot to the point that it was too hot to hold. One tester said she was “afraid to accidentally touch the top of it.” Others said they could feel the heat against their scalps. At first, another tester said she didn’t mind the heat. This was moments before she burned the top of her hand when it merely grazed the side of the tool.
GHD’s “styler” is permanently set to 365 degrees Fahrenheit, which the company says is the highest temperature hair can tolerate before it becomes damaged. As a person who went from a dark brunette to blonde highlights, I can vouch for its straightening power on processed hair. And though I don’t typically think of “comfort” as a flat iron necessity, the springy hinge that connects the two plates really did make it easier to clamp and glide the tool down my hair with minimal effort.