The more temperature control options you have, the more control you'll have over the heat you'll be applying to your hair. Keep in mind, any type of heat styling can be damaging to your strands, so you want to take care not to use too much high heat, especially if you're styling daily. Flat irons that have lower temperature options that start around 250 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for those with thin, damage-prone hair. If you do have thick hair, higher heat settings can help straighten those curls. To help prevent damage, you should start with lower heat first, and then only increase as needed. Keep in mind, anything above 400 degrees has the potential to damage your hair. Even those with coarse, curly hair should stay within the 350-400 degree range to be safe.
There is a slide at the base which holds the device from opening all the way (easier for storing) but if you slide the piece it allows the flat iron to open all the way. The instructions inside the box don't explain this part, so at first I thought it didn't open very far, but once I figured this out, it became a breeze to use. Speaking of the instructions, they are listed in English, Spanish, French, and German. (I think... I don't speak/read all of those languages, but I believe that's correct.)
If you are unsure what exactly your hair type is (or if it has changed over the years, which happens more often than you’d think!), check out this incredible overview by the hair professionals at Redken! Don’t stress if you have combination hair (i.e., fine and curly or thin and straight) either; we recommend choosing a hair straightener based on your biggest hair complaint and focusing on that problem first. So, if your curls are driving your nuts, you will want to select a hair straightener with higher temperatures, thin hair needs moisture, etc. You’ll find that your entire hair type can usually benefit from the extra TLC!
“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!”
If your hair is plagued by tangles and knots on a regular basis (even in between straightening!), try switching your hairbrush out for a wide-toothed comb! The added space in between the teeth gently separately knots and tangles without the painful “Ouch!” with each stroke. If that still isn’t enough to tame your stubborn tresses, try a wet brush! These brushes are specially designed to work through knotted, wet hair without any tugging or pulling.
Negative ions have been a longtime fan favorite in the hair care industry, and it is no surprise that this same technology would appear in our top picks for the best hair straightener. Negative ions have been found to reduce static and frizz while locking in moisture, and the same goes for your hair when you use the CHI Air Expert Classic Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron!
It becomes extremely hot – up to 392 degrees Fahrenheit, and it holds that heat until you shut it off. Because of this, you can straighten any type of hair with Chi, including very thick and coarse tresses. So if you have such hair, this iron could be your best option. It is not only designed to straighten but also to curl hair. Thanks to its ergonomic design, you won’t strain the hands and wrists during use.
With a maximum temperature of 450° F, the BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium Straightening Iron can really pack a punch despite its otherwise small frame. One thing to note though: these heat settings are not pre-set like the CHI G2 hair straightener we also reviewed, and you will need to play around with them to find the right temperature for your hair. This shouldn’t be a problem if you have a Saturday afternoon or two to kill, but may not be ideal for users that are looking for a flat iron with pre-recorded settings.
Early hair straightening systems relied on harsh chemicals that tended to damage the hair. In the 1870s, the French hairdresser Marcel Grateau introduced heated metal hair care implements such as hot combs to straighten hair. Madame C.J. Walker used combs with wider teeth and popularized their use together with her system of chemical scalp preparation and straightening lotions. Her mentor Annie Malone is sometimes said to have patented the hot comb. Heated metal implements slide more easily through the hair, reducing damage and dryness. Women in the 1960s sometimes used clothing irons to straighten their hair.
One of the biggest problems you will face when using a heated hair styling tool is overheating. We’ve all been there: you’re casually straightening your hair when a particularly funny scene comes up on the show you have playing in the background. After a solid minute or two of laughter, you realize (in utter horror!) that your poor hair has been sandwiched in between a couple of hot plates the entire time.
If being limited to only a handful of temperature settings isn’t really your cup of tea, look no further than the BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium Straightening Iron! This lightweight flat iron features a whopping 50 heat settings for hair types of all shapes, styles, textures, and colors making it one of the most versatile hair straighteners on our list.
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.