At $230, the Bio Ionic is pricier than any of our top picks. But you get what you pay for. You can truly do with your hair whatever you desire — straight or curled — in one pass. And, if you’re worried about it breaking a few years after purchase, the Bio Ionic comes with a five-year warranty. By investing in a better-quality tool up front, you won’t have to replace your flat iron every couple of years. Plus, the Bio Ionic goes on sale every now and then, so it’s worth keeping your eye out for deals.
When you apply heat to your hair, which is not a living thing, you’re essentially cooking it. And, just like food, it’s easy to overdo it. Short of actually searing your hair, you still run the risk of drying out each strand, which can lead to breakage and split ends over time. Every head of hair is different, and each type of hair has an optimal flat-iron temperature. Some locks need extremely high temperatures to relax — coarse hair or those with kinky hair need 380 degrees F or above. Others need hardly any heat at all — fine or damaged hair should be good below 300 degrees.
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We loved the Bio Ionic’s user-friendly design. Two of our favorite features are its bright digital temperature control and the instructions stamped directly onto the tool. It also feels natural in the hand, and its matte finish provides a slight grippiness, but doesn’t pull at the hair when styling. Plus, the tool sports a uniquely shaped plate that’s curved at the tip and makes it really easy to get close to the scalp. One tester who is new to using flat irons said the Bio Ionic felt intuitive and even encouraged her to try harder styles, like creating curls and waves.
No two heads of hair are the same, so the straightener that does wonders on your best friend's fine tresses may be useless on your curly mane. Luckily, there are many different types of hair straighteners. Some provide higher heat settings and wide plates to tackle thick curly hair, and others have ceramic plates and options for low heat settings that are better suited to easily damaged fine hair.
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.
The Chi Air is similar to other Chi tools and has that iconic sleek design with gold plates. However, one feature our testers believe makes the Chi Air stand out against the Chi Elite and others is that it’s so lightweight. True to its name, the tool is lighter than other flat irons which makes it easier to manage when styling. One tester believed the light design even made it snag less when passing over hair.
If you’re looking for an affordable mid-grade hair straightener that offers tremendous value, you can’t go wrong with the HSI Professional Digital Ceramic Flat Iron with Tourmaline. With a quick heat-up, digital LCD temperature control, and solid ceramic plates infused with tourmaline, you can straighten type 3 hair – and some type 4 hair – with ease.
Features: 360 degree swivel cord prevents tangling and keeps you on the move flexibly. Automatic safety shut-off after 1 hour. It can be a hair straightener and can be a hair curling curler. The tourmaline ceramic technology provide you for smooth results. With convenient LED temperature display aids styling. Fast heat-up, you'll be ready to style in no time. It will not harm your hair. Power on /off LED light indicator.
Celebrity hair stylist Priscilla Valles’s go-to straightner is the classic GHD 1-inch straightener. “I start in the nape and bring down small sections, one row at a time and I use a GHD flat Iron with a comb in the other hand,” says Valles. “I place the comb in front of the iron while ironing at the same time in a slow motion all the way down. Never stopping cause that will cause dents in the hair. At the end a dime size of ouai rose from top to bottom just to add some shine and control any fly aways!”
Seemingly small details like cord length can make all the difference in the effectiveness of a beauty tool. A longer cord length is desirable here, giving you more freedom and versatility depending on the power outlet situation in your home or your hotel if you're traveling. A cord with 360 swivel capabilities is also a plus. You'll be moving your hair straightener all around your head as you style, and a rotating cord will keep it from getting tangled.
With well over 25,000 reviews, the HSI Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron is one of the best straightening irons you can get, but because of its thin build and rounded plates, you can also use it to curl your hair. It’s got solid ceramic plates to reduce damage, evenly heat hair, and promote shine, and if you’re a traveler, it’s got a dual voltage that can be used anywhere in the world.
Nearly 21,000 people gave this flat iron a five-star review on Amazon. If they factored price into that rating, then I agree. For less than $60 it’s pretty spectacular, but it doesn’t beat the fancier ones in terms of performance. The temperature automatically drops after 15 minutes of use. And while it’s easy to adjust that, it is also slightly inconvenient.