Straighteners work because they have flat plates that get hot and touch together on either side of your hair. By doing that, they put heat through your hair follicles, trap in moisture and take out frizz. The plates on a flat iron can be made of several different materials, and they’re good for different uses. The best iron for you varies depending on the type of hair you have, the type of styling you want to do, and the amount of heat your hair needs.
The floating plates are contoured with smooth edges, so you won't have to worry about your hair snagging as you're styling. If you have thicker hair, you may want to consider the 2-inch plate option, which will cover more surface area and help you style your hair more quickly. However, if you'd rather have the versatility of being able to curl and flip your hair as well as straighten it, we'd recommend the classic 1-inch plate.
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.”
In the end you want to make sure that your hair is protected no matter what hair straightening treatment or tools you choose. Many hair straighteners are for daily discipline and upkeep. There are lotions, sprays, balms, serums and cremes to help you tame wavy or curly hair, control frizz or protect from humidity. Several hair straightener creams offer protection against damage from hair dryers and hot irons. Look for the hair products that will protect your hair and keep it smooth, shiny and silky.
In addition to its sweet settings and versatility, this hair straightener is also super lightweight and features thin, 1-inch plates to save precious real estate on your bathroom counter or inside your vanity cabinet! The BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium Straightening Iron is ideal for anyone with a tiny bathroom (or multiple roommates!) and who wants the results of larger hair straighteners without the added weight or storage space.
If you have ever visited a luxury spa or wellness company, you have probably run across far infrared heat a time or two. Without going into too much science, infrared heat is the same heat you feel when the sun kisses your cheeks and warms your body from the inside-out. Far infrared heat, in particular, has been used by medical and wellness professionals for years to treat a variety of conditions from muscle pain to even cancer.
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.
Ask any seasoned hair stylist for a flat iron recommendation, and you will hear the same brand time and time again: CHI. Known the world over as a leader in hair care and styling, CHI is your go-to name for salon results at home. While CHI offers a variety of designs (and fun colors!) to choose from, the brand’s G2 Ceramic and Titanium model is what caught our eye when researching the best hair straightener. This hair straightener is packed with high-tech features and an upgraded, ergonomic design for the shiniest and straightest do’ you’ve ever seen!
For some people, automatic shutoff is a critical feature since forgetting to unplug your flat iron could lead to a fire. However, others aren’t fans of auto shutoff since that means their flat irons could turn off while they’re still styling their hair. If this is the case for you, we recommend investing in a timed switch. That way, you can program the switch to turn off at a specific time and your flat iron will shut off as well.
The ½ inch plates allow the BaBylissPro Mini to get close to the scalp, so it will straighten hair from root to tip. It's lightweight and compact at 6 inches long, so it will fit easily in a purse or carry-on bag with no hassle. It comes with a heat resistant travel pouch for storage so you can pack up and go at a moment's notice before or after straightening your hair.
Many hair straighteners feature a visual interface to alert you when the device is getting a bit too hot for comfort or when it has surpassed the ideal temperature for your hair. With the T3 Micro Single Pass Flat Iron, you can expect the same visual cues with the bonus of sound alerts as well! That’s right; this flat iron will actually tell you when it reaches its ideal temperature or when it is about to shut off automatically after one hour. Now that’s some hot tech!
One of the great things is that it has an automatic shut off. Very long cord (9-feet) is something that many users really like. If you travel a lot, then GHD Classic Styler is the one to take with you. You will be able to use just about everywhere. This is also beautifully designed straightener that you will love to show to others. See the best 2 inch flat iron by ghd.
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.
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.
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.”