If you lived through this particular time in our world history, then you probably remember the super straight hairstyles that we all sported a time or two (bonus points if you took a photo of yourself like this in your bathroom mirror using a digital camera!). For reasons we may never know for certain, sharp and straight hair was the hairstyle of choice back in the early 2000’s giving the good old hair straightener somewhat of a bad reputation.
By-and-large, most people with natural hair have some variation of type 3 or type 4 – which is exactly why low-end hair straighteners can be so dangerous. More curly natural black hair has a tendency to be more porous than other hair types. As a result, it can lose moisture easily and become damaged. With the wrong flat iron, this can lead to split ends and breakage after just a single use.
It is important to consider what options are important to you when selecting a hair straightener. You must select a hair iron with a heat setting that fits your needs. If you have fine hair, a lower heat setting may be sufficient. However, thick coarse hair may require a higher heat setting to achieve your desired look. Plate size should also be considered. A flat iron with small plates might be best for shorter hair, while a flat iron with larger plates might be best for longer hair. Some hair straighteners have features such as temperature readouts and rollers that might be important to your needs.
Flat irons can get pricey, but they’re an investment. The Chi Elite is inexpensive when compared to other high-end tools in the industry, making it a safe bet for those new to hair styling. Though it may be more expensive than some hair straighteners, it offers a high level of quality that the others don’t (not to mention it’s a Chi, which is known for quality). We tested the HSI, which is about $60 less expensive than the Chi Elite, and its cheapness was apparent at first glance. It did nothing for any of our testers’ hair. If you’re a beginner, the Chi Elite is a great first flat iron.
For those with thick hair, the idea of "quick styling" often feels like an impossible dream. It's usually easier to use the "throw it up and go" technique to get out the door in time. However, straight, sleek hair doesn't have to be a luxury reserved for those with fine hair, especially when you have a styling tool designed to tackle even the thickest, curliest hair like the Xtava Pro.
The Lanxim ceramic tourmaline argan oil flat iron is a great option for this type of style because it’s got one inch plates that have advanced infrared heat technology, an adjustable temperature that lets you personalize the heat levels to your hair, and a swivel cord that won’t get tangled. The floating plates are also infused with argan oil to keep your curls soft and healthy.
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.
We usually roll our eyes at oil-infused heat tools — but you can actually watch this oil being sucked right out of the refillable cartridge in the handle. When you press the iron closed over your strands, the oil vapor seeps through tiny holes to condition and straighten your hair. And don't worry fine-haired friends: It made our tester's hair silkier, but not like she'd dipped it in an oil vat.