“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.”
Early hair straightening systems relied on harsh chemicals that tended to damage the hair. In the 1870s, the French hairdresser Marcel Grateau introduced heated metal hair care implements such as hot combs to straighten hair. Madame C.J. Walker used combs with wider teeth and popularized their use together with her system of chemical scalp preparation and straightening lotions. Her mentor Annie Malone is sometimes said to have patented the hot comb. Heated metal implements slide more easily through the hair, reducing damage and dryness. Women in the 1960s sometimes used clothing irons to straighten their hair.
Most mid-grade and high-end hair straighteners come with plates that are 1” or 1.5”. If you are looking at one that is 2”, 2.5”, or even bigger, steer clear immediately. Not only does larger plates make it easier for you to accidentally over-iron (and seriously damage) your hair, but they also make it more difficult to get all of the way down to your roots. For anyone with type 3 or type 4 hair, trying to use a large-sized flat iron would be far more trouble than it’s worth.
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.”
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.
“I’m a licensed hairdresser and I’ve used many hair straighteners, including Chi and Paul Mitchell. They work, but my hair is so thick that it takes me at least 30 to 40 minutes to properly smooth my hair. This is the absolute best hair straightener I have ever used. It straightened my hair in ten minutes (no joke). I’m extremely pleased and shocked. Looking to purchase a second one to have on hand for the future.”
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.
Though it looks high tech with an LCD screen, this budget-friendly straightener has impressed Amazon reviewers everywhere. "I have very thick curly/wavy hair and in a matter of 45 minutes my hair was the straightest I’ve ever been able to get it by doing my hair on my own," wrote one reviewer from Florida, who said her straight hair managed to endure the state's humid climate.
Hair straighteners come in a lot of different sizes, and that can make it more difficult to decide which one is right for you. By learning about the type of hair you have, the kind of style you want, and the amount of heat you need, you can also figure out what the best size iron for your hair is. It does make a difference for the sake of speed as well as precision. It sounds like a lot of work, but you can figure out what’s right for you by clicking here.
Twist And Curl – The awesome folks at Good Housekeeping couldn’t have put it better than this: curling your hair with a flat iron is like curling ribbon with a pair of scissors. To do this, simply clamp your hair straightener around a piece of hair as you normally would when straightening, except flip the entire tool, so your hair is now wrapped around one of the plates. Holding the tip of your hair for support, simply glide the straightener down the entire length of hair and just like magic, you’ve made a curl!
The plates in this techy tool house an internal microchip that constantly measures and maintains an even temperature. With no random hot or cold spots, you'll get smoother, straighter, strands in fewer passes. (Spoiler alert: Fewer passes equal less damage). Adjustable temperature settings — from 260 to 410 degrees — make this ideal for any and every hair texture.