We started with six flat irons but ultimately dropped two because they didn’t work well on any of our testers’ hair. The inexpensive, but highly rated HSI Professional Glider Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron was bulky and awkward. Testers said it felt like two pieces of plastic passing through their hair. We thought the NuMe Megastar Hair Straightener, a popular and more high-end tool, would be a clear contender for our list. However, testers said it snagged hard against their hair to the point of hurting. It was also difficult to hold closed when styling. Because both of these flat irons received such low ratings among our testers, we didn’t include them in our top picks.
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.
Do you have curly, dry hair? Thick, color-treated hair? Short, straight hair? Fine, kinky hair? Finding the right flat iron for you really depends on your hair type. Heat and plate types are an important factor in this. Your flat iron should reach and maintain the right temperature and be made from the plate material that works best for you. While most will work well on a variety of hair types, pay close attention to reviews from people with hair similar to yours (bonus points if they include before and after pictures).
Working in sections, curl your hair. Using just the wand (and not the clamp at the bottom of the wand that "holds" the hair as it curls), wrap your section of hair around the barrel. Be sure not to overlap your hair, as this will reduce heat and result in limp sections. Use your fingers to hold the edge of the section of hair close to the barrel without burning your hair. Doing this rather than using the clamp will prevent crimps in the curls.
There are 25 heat settings (200 °f-450 °f) that are digitally controlled. It heats up to 450 degrees almost in an instant, making it a perfect solution for maintaining keratin treatments. You can use it without the infrared lights and still get great results, but when you turn them on, you will not believe the change in your hair quality, that will be visible immediately.
The nano ceramic plates in this straightener deliver far-infrared heat, a gentler alternative in and of itself. As if that weren't enough, there's also a reservoir where you can pour in some of the (included) argan treatment and thermal protectant, creating a conditioning steam that will strengthen and safeguard strands while you straighten. Admittedly an extra step, sure, but one that's well worth it.