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.
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!
Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy (like pillows), but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ‘em) products and single out the most convincing. While we’ve written about the best curling irons, hair dryers, and even a certain curling iron used on the Victoria’s Secret Angels, here, we’re going deep on the best flat irons and hair straighteners on Amazon. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)
Before placing your entire head under unnecessary heat conditions, try straightening a small section of your hair with what you believe is your ideal heat setting. Take notice of the way your hair reacts to this temperature, paying close attention to any fraying or singeing that may result. Smoking and that dreaded burnt hair smell are a sign that you may need to tone it down a bit to avoid permanent damage to your precious locks.
A lot of hair straighteners will boast that their nano-ceramic like this is a good thing. In reality, this means that they’re made up of a cheap filler material (that will not heat as evenly or remain as durable as true ceramic) which is coated with a thing outer ceramic layer. If you want a flat iron that’s safe for natural hair, make sure you go 100% ceramic, or better yet, solid ceramic infused with tourmaline or titanium.
“I wanted a straightener I could use on wet hair, since I’m usually on the go and don’t always have time to dry it. With this Wet 2 Straight Hair straightener, I was able to straighten my hair after it was towel-dried and only had to go over my hair twice for it to be completely dry. Granted, I have semi-thin hair, so it doesn’t take too much to straighten it, but with other straighteners, I would have to go over it about three or four times and couldn’t straighten it when it was wet.”
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.
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.
"Unite Pro Tools Flat Iron is an easy-to-use, low maintenance iron," says Chris Dylan. Dylan works with Kylie Jenner so finding an easy-to-use tool is a must when you’re helping someone go from a platinum blonde bob to jet black floor length extensions. in a span of a week. He notes that with a fast-heating iron and beveled edges, it creates soft waves and has a great temperature gauge that keeps you firmly in control of the heat.
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.”